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For a moment, Wladimiro Panizza had no eye for the grassy mountain pastures, the stream that flows through the valley, the gnarled and crooked spruce along the road and the view of 2189 meters, when all hairpin bends can be seen at a glance. The Italian definitively lost the 1980 Giro and saw only black snow.
On the descent of the Stelvio, Hinault joined his teammate Jean-Réné Bernaudeau, who had a reputation as a descender. In the sinking to Bormio, Bernaudeau rode like a madman according to Hinault: "He didn't even use his brakes in the tunnels, the fool!" They won minutes. It won Bernaudeau the stage victory, Hinault his first of three Girozeges. The road across the Stelvio was kept passable by snow creators (of flesh and blood) a hundred years ago, since 1959 the mountain pass is closed from the end of October to the beginning of May. And even then it happens that the Stelvio is still removed from the Giro schedule due to heavy snowfall (or bad weather), such as in 1988, 1991 and 2013. That also happened in 1984, but then other matters played a role. The Italians were terrified that another Frenchman was going to win the Giro and canceled the climb, officially because the Stelvio was impassable due to snow.
With photos of the top where there was hardly any snow, Fignon showed that this was nonsense. The Italians just didn't want him, a good climber, to put darling Francesco Moser at an unbridgeable backlog. The organization was unrelenting and in the time trial a few days later Moser won the Giro. In the final ranking he had more than a minute ahead of Laurent Fignon. The inclusion of the mythical mountain in the course of the Tour of Italy remains a risk because of the altitude and snowfall in the spring. But if the Passo dello Stelvio is climbed by the pros, it is always a memorable day, just as it is for the brave amateurs and enthusiasts who dare to climb. "The highest blessing for a touring cyclist," a friend once said. (He was very well trained, I have to say that.) - Wiped Idzenga