Giro d'Italia 2024 stage 17 preview - the last summit finish

With over 4,000 metres of ascent, stage 17 is expected to be another tough day for the peloton

Date: Wednesday May 22, 2024
Distance: 159 km
Start location: Selva di Val Gardena
Finish location: Passo del Brocon
Start time: 12:35 CET
Finish time (approx): 17:11 CET

Think of a classic Giro d’Italia mountain stage, and visions of the Dolomites are likely to come to mind. While the Alps feature in both the Giro and the Tour de France, with the two countries sharing a border, this particular sub-section of the mountain range is situated over at the other side of Italy in the east, and possesses a distinct identity that gives the stages here a uniqueness that disguises it from the rival Grand Tour.

Not only are they striking in appearance, with jagged peaks pale in colour, another of their defining characteristics is how closely concentrated they are together, which is of particular significance to today’s stage and how it contrasts with the two mountain stages that precede it. Whereas both of those were long slogs through the mountains, each exceeding 200km in total, this will be a much shorter stage, lasting just 159km. Yet in that short space five summits have been squeezed in, amounting to 4,200m of elevation gain, only fractionally less than yesterday. What the stage lacks in length it makes up for in intensity, which in some ways could make it the hardest stage of the race; there won’t be any downtime or lulls for riders to rest and recover, but relentless racing, with barely a kilometre that isn’t either ascending or descending.

Right from the flag the riders will begin climbing, as they take on the 8.9km Passo Sella, one of the staple mountains of the Dolomites. Then follows the most charitable phase of the stage, consisting of almost 40km of descending, steep at first and then shallow, before the unpleasantries resume with the start of the next climb, Passo Rolle. This too is a mountain frequently used at the Giro, and will provide a long test, rising at 6.5% for 6km, then easing to 4.8% for the next 8km, then ramping back up to 6.4% for the remaining 6km. Another long descent comes next to bring them to the bottom of the simplest climb of the day, the category three Passo Gobbera, shortly after which comes the double ascent of this stage’s headliner mountain.

The Passo Brocon might not have featured at a Giro d’Italia for 57 years, but back in the 1950s it enjoyed a brief period of popularity, most memorably in 1956 when it was one of the mountains conquered by Charly Gaul during his epic pink jersey-winning comeback in the snow. Today it will be ascended twice, first from its shallower eastern side averaging 6.5% for 13.3km, then from the south, which might come to the same average but is horribly uneven, with one section of double-digit gradients sustained for 3km two-thirds of the way up. Though there are more mountain stages to come, this will be the last summit finish, and therefore an opportunity those wanting to make up time will not want to miss.

giro d'italia stage 17 profile
Stage profile sourced via the Giro d'Italia website


It is another challenging day for the peloton with two ascents up the Passo Brocon, including one to the finishing line, and one rider who loves to take the spoils in the mountains is Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates), winning four out of five mountain stages so far. This is his terrain and always puts on an epic display of strength, but with a lead of over seven minutes over his GC rivals, Pogačar and UAE may decide to save their energy and let the breakaway battle it out for the stage win. However, this is Pogačar, and he loves to race and win, so we should never count him out of victory. 

But this stage is also an opportunity for the attackers of the bunch, especially with fewer stage victories up for grabs as Rome nears. Movistar looked determined to bring back the attackers on stage 16, hungry for the stage win with Einer Rubio. Movistar already have one stage win at this Giro through Pelayo Sanchez in week one, while Nairo Quintana came close on summit finish of stage 15, taking second place behind the man in pink. Quintana is looking in good form and if he can get into the break, he’ll be a serious contender for the stage win over this terrain. 

Attila Valter could be a potential for Visma-Lease a Bike. The black and yellow squad have a stage under their belts with sprinter Olav Kooij, but they’ll still want to take a stage if the opportunity prevails. Damiano Caruso (Bahrain-Victorious) is another rider who, if he can get into the break, will be suited to a stage like this with over 4,000 metres of elevation. 

EF Education-EasyPost have a few options for potential stage winners and have been very active throughout this Giro. Georg Steinhauser did extremely well on the race’s queen stage to take third place and proved he is a rider to watch on the hardest stages. The American team also could opt for Esteban Chaves, who is another rider able to tackle this type of stage. 

Nicola Conci (Alpecin-Deceuninck), Michael Storer (Tudor Pro Cycling), Giulio Pellizarri (VF Group Bardiani CSF-Faizané), Simon Geschke (Cofidis) and Juan Pedro López (Lidl-Trek) will all be strong contenders for victory, as could stage winners and brothers Aurélian and Valentin Paret-Peintre, who are both super strong on mountainous terrain.


We think that Movistar will win their second stage through Nairo Quintana.

Shop now