Fog, mist, sleet, snow, wind and definitely no sun - there was plenty of weather on the mountain during stage six of the Haute Route Dolomites Swiss Alps and none of it helped the riders.
Yet such is the reward of conquering the most challenging and dramatic terrain in cycling, the peloton soaked up another incredible day in the saddle, happy in the knowledge that Venice is now just one day away.
With a downpour on the start line and freezing fog on the day’s first two climbs - Passo Sella and Passo Pordoi - the stage was shaping up to be a washout. The Italian Police even took the decision to neutralise the final climb of the Passo Falzarego given the conditions.
But as the peloton hauled itself up the untimed 11km ascent of the Passo Falzarego, the cloud parted revealing the Dolomites’ iconic stone spires. A rainbow even formed over the finish line in Cortina d’Ampezzo 1000m below as the riders descended to the line.
“In the space of 30 seconds, the entire reason for all the training, the investment in making it here, was paid off. There can’t be a more dramatic place to ride a bike in the world,” said Germany’s Christian Reim.
Fernando Pelletier Shien from Mexico added: “We do this because it’s hard. If it was easy we might as well go and play soccer. Today made all the suffering worth it.”
America’s Rebecca Johnson said: “This event has been harder than I thought it would be. Today was about battling the conditions but it helps to know we are nearly there. This race allows you to achieve something you didn’t believe was possible.”
Tomorrow’s final stage from Cortina d’Ampezzo to Venice covers 174km and includes two of the most famous climbs of the Dolomites: the Passo Giau and Passo San Boldo.
Stage 6 Results
1. Nicolas Roux – FRA – 01:52:33
2. Andrea Nicosia – ITA – 01:53:01
3. Loïc Ruffaut – FRA – 01:53:55
1. Marg Fedyna – CAN – 02:17:06
2. Rebecca Johnson – USA – 02:22:40
3. Véronique Fortin – CAN – 02:30:03
1. Loïc Ruffaut – FRA – 13:25:38
2. Nicolas Roux – FRA – 13:36:47
3. David Polveroni – FRA – 13:40:43
1. Véronique Fortin – CAN – 15:31:24
2. Marg Fedyna – CAN – 16:09:46
3. Rebecca Johnson – USA – 16:42:01
All the results can be found here.