Giulio Pellizzari enduring the bad weather and grueling climb on Stage 16 of the Giro d’Italia. Source: @Bardiani_CSF official X account of VF Group-Bardiani CSF-Faizanè.

Our fascination with sports brings us incredible stories, and cycling is no exception. The Giro d’Italia, with its drama and hope, is a perfect setting for such tales. It’s a place where dreams are born, destroyed, and resurrected. Mountain stages, in particular, are grueling tests of endurance, which is why they are so captivating.

This story is about Giulio Pellizzari‘s brave attempt to win the 16th stage of the 2024 Giro d’Italia. At just 20 years old, Giulio was the youngest participant, racing for the VF Group-Bardiani CSF-Faizanè Team.

Originally, the stage was set to start in Livigno and end with a climb to Santa Christina in Val Gardena, Sud-Tirol, Italy. However, due to severe weather, the course was modified. The beautiful area was shrouded in heavy rain and clouds, making it a miserable day for racing.

In cycling, endurance often triumphs over emotion. For Giulio and his team, this stage was an opportunity to win or at least bring visibility to their jersey. The rain was not going to stop their attempt.

Dr. Andrea Giorgi, a friend, physician, and coach at VF Group-Bardiani CSF-Faizanè, asked Giulio to share his data from this ride. We are fortunate to collaborate with Team VF Group-Bardiani CSF-Faizanè and their medical and performance staff. In a previous blog post, we discussed Enrico Zanoncello’s winning sprint stage. Now, we continue examining the Workout Reserve model through Giulio’s epic climb to Santa Christina.

After the race, Dr. Giorgi reviewed the Workout Reserve analysis generated by Athletica. He found it particularly useful for assessing how fatigue impacts a cyclist’s performance. By analyzing Giulio’s racing data, we built his maximal mean power (MMP) profile. The Workout Reserve graph provided insights into how close Giulio came to his best performance across different time and intensity ranges.

Giulio’s power profile and Workout Reserve generated by Athletica

The graph showed that Giulio’s Workout Reserve was close to 100% at the start. A Workout Reserve below 0% indicates maximum performance, so Giulio couldn’t exceed that point. Each time the Workout Reserve approached 0%, Giulio had to slow down to recover, illustrating the limit of his endurance.

Highlighted in the graph are key moments where Giulio was closest to his maximum. The blue circle marks when Alaphilippe attacked, and the red circle shows Giulio’s solo attack during the final 1.5 km of the stage. The “Limiting MMP” indicated Giulio’s maximum effort in these moments. At the end of the stage, his Workout Reserve dropped below 0%, showing he was exceeding his historical MMP in the 36-minute domain.

Giulio’s “Limiting MMP” was 5 minutes for the first blue circle, meaning Giulio was at the maximum of his 5-min MMP. At the end of the stage, his Workout Reserve dropped even below 0% (-3.5%), indicating that he was exceeding his historical MMP in the 36-minute domain.

Ultimately, Giulio was passed by Tadej Pogačar with only 700 meters to go. Despite this, Giulio managed to secure second place, holding off Dani Martínez. Beyond the finish line, Giulio received an unexpected gift: Pogačar’s pink glasses and jersey, a gesture that will never be forgotten.

We are grateful to Giulio for sharing his data and story of endurance, struggle, and sportsmanship. We look forward to many more stories like this.

Giulio’s and Tadej Pogačar embrace after the stage

Final Word

The Athletica Workout Reserve was invaluable in assessing Giulio’s performance, providing insights for potential training improvements. Giulio achieved his MMP multiple times across different time domains, confirming his effort was maximal and strenuous. Some argue that different team strategies might have changed the outcome, but the unpredictability of the sport is part of its charm.

The Workout Reserve model is unparalleled in describing exercise depletion and recovery. This tool is available to all Athletica users, with a Connect IQ App for Garmin devices to monitor Workout Reserve in real-time.

If you are a pro cyclist, coach, sport scientist, runner, or triathlete interested in testing and improving this technology, please reach out to [email protected]. Read my blog post on Maximal Mean Power.


Follow and support Team Bardiani on their official website and on X/Twitter @Bardiani_CSF.

Follow Andrea Giorgi’s research activities on ResearchGate.

Relive the excitement of stage 16 in this highlights video.

Finally, consider riding in South-Tirol when you have a chance. Just check the weather forecast in advance!

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