Epic is perhaps over-commonly used in sport, but Stage 14 of the 1988 Giro over the Gavia pass was truly an EPIC stage. In Italy this stage is still known as “The Day The Big Men Cried” such was the brutal nature of the weather, combined with climbing the partially paved 2621m giant pass. Having snowed all morning, the race directors decided to continue with the race, citing that there was no ice, and therefore it was safe. Hampsten attacked on the climb of the Gavia, chasing down Johan Van de Velde whom he passed on the start of the descent. Van de Velde was stopped, crying by the side of the road being helped to a team car. Elsewhere, riders stopped, sobbing with pain brought on by the conditions they were forced to race through. Eric Breukink, eventually caught and passed Hampsten to win the stage. But Hampsten went on to win the Giro off the back of this epic stage.
Picture- Sergio Panizza/Courtesy of Stephen Hampsten