This is the toughest stage of the Tirreno-Adriatico, featuring a summit finish. Starting in Morro d’Oro, the route is an endless succession of climbs and descents, linked without pause for breath. The stage passes through some of the most popular locations of the ‘Race of the Two Seas’, such as Offida, Comunanza and Amandala. After taking a first pass through Sarnano, the route takes in successive climbs, with KOM points up for grabs in San Ginesio and Gualdo. The course is very demanding in both course and profile. Overall, the roads are relatively wide and well surfaced to slightly worn out. The closing climb from Sarnano to Sassotetto (14.5 kms) has a 6.5% average gradient, with peaks topping out at 12%.
The final kilometres correspond to the closing climb leading to Sassotetto. The gradients are quite steady around 6-7%, peaking out above 10% at points, and long straight stretches alternate with hairpins. The gradient decreases shortly before the finish. The home straight is 100 m long, on 7 m wide asphalt, and slightly uphill.