If you thought that stage 221 was a tough assignment – and it was the toughest stage to date – then stage 222 will make you think again. This stage is an absolute beast, presenting you with an overall average of a hundred feet of climbing per mile and a two thousand five hundred feet challenge, by far the hardest climbing day to date.
As rollouts go, it’s pretty innocuous: it climbs at the prescribed rate of a hundred feet a mile for the first two and a hard miles, but after that it descends down to sixteen hundred feet by the seven mile mark: and therein lies the problem because by eighteen miles, you’ll have climbed to almost three thousand two hundred feet: indeed in the six miles between miles seven and thirteen, the road rises fourteen hundred feet. Even when you crest the summit at eighteen miles, the climbing isn’t finished because the last seven miles of the stage are lumpy flat with more than a hint of further uphill pain, the result of which is that you don’t actually reach the highest elevation of the stage until twenty three miles. It’s a real slog.
In terms of the geography, this is a great stage if you like bends. There’s really not a lot of straight road, not more than a hundred metres or so anyway, so don’t expect to be seeing too many riders away in the distance. Ninety percent of the stage is forested, the only exception coming at seven miles as the road passes through the town of Moty. The route actually deviates from the M55 highway shortly after, possibly to take a less tortuous route up the main climb of the stage: hairpins do suggest an easier gradient than that offered by the M55.
The next summit, the second highest of the stage, is at Gramatukha at eighteen miles, and the final one, the highest of the stage, is at Glubokaya at twenty three miles. Although the road doesn’t exactly hog the railway line throughout the stage, it does cross it half a mile from the end of the stage on what is a somewhat surprising descent to the line.
Distance: 25 miles / 40 kilometres
Ascent: 2536 feet / 773 metres
RGT Magic Road: V28yOEgauASH
Max elevation: 3190 ft
Min elevation: 1612 ft
Total climbing: 2537 ft
Total descent: -2032 ft
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