The first part of stage ran along the rather busy Statale Adriatica (SS-16) which unsurprisingly contours the stunning Adriatic, at times it had a wavy profile.
The route finally left the coast inland past Francavilla a mare and hit (literally) Chieti which presented a short climb with punchy bits where the immediate sprint is set on the official route. Mick performed well with only a minor sweat.
From Chieti the real climb started, confusion may have occurred as the roads became narrow and the surface worn (actually we encountered several busy workmen frantically filling in the holes in preparation for the Giro) but the Garmin once again delivered.
The ascent to the Blockhaus (cat 1 climb) really starts at San Valentin in Abruzo Citeoire. Mick was brimming with confidence at the prospect of conquering the Blockhaus. The climb was steady early on, however the final climb (13km) created much exertions and plenty of perspiration. The cadence was steady and eventually Mick hit the summit, the snow prompted a brief snowball fight. Amazingly Mick had completed the steep ascent (Passo della Maielletta or “Mamma Rosa”) on Roccamorice side. It is the toughest side of the well-known climb with its middle section measuring over 7 km in length at gradients of 9-10%. The finish is the same from 2009 at 1,675 m of altitude.