By David Hunter
Conegliano > Valdobbiadene 34.1km ITT
The relative calm of an ITT.
This is a day for the specialists, despite a few lumps along the way. The hardest of the climbs comes after 6km, it is nearly 1km at 12%. After this is dealt with, the riders can settle into a nice rhythm and start grinding the big gear. The final 7km then turns lumpy, with three kickers to deal with. They are 1.5km at 6.5%, 1.4km at 3.7% and 300m at 5%, which takes the riders to the finishing line.
Sunny and the wind won’t be a factor. Perfect conditions for a TT.
Filippo Ganna – starts as the enormous favourite. His recent TT performances have been off the chart, winning in Tirreno, the worlds and the opening stage of the Giro. Not only that, but he can now win mountain stages too! The others need a miracle to beat him.
Rohan Dennis – not looking as good as usual. He’s been dethroned as the ITT world champion by his teammate, I’m interested to see how he responds. The Aussie is a magnificent TT rider, and this course is a good one for him. He’ll be hoping to re-find his old legs and push Ganna all the way.
Victor Campenaerts – I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, he just doesn’t win enough.
Mikkel Bjerg – I’ve been hugely impressed by him during the race. His first season with UAE hasn’t been one to write home about, but he certainly seems to be coming good now. The former three time under 23 ITT world champion will be excited to see what he can do in this stage, it’s always good to compare yourself to the very best. He was third in the opening stage, a result he would be happy with again.
Alex Dowsett – after taking the last few days easy, he should be challenging for the top 5. Already with a win in his pocket, he can ride without pressure, which should get the best out of him.
João Almeida – when you look through his career, he doesn’t have many top TT performances to write home about. His second place in the opening stage was one that really surprised me, but it was an indication of just how strong he is just now. This is a massive day in the fight for pink, if Almeida can produce a similar performance, he will take a commanding lead in the GC. A big day lies ahead for the young man.
Wilco Kelderman – see below.
This is tricky. The likes of Nibali and Fuglsang would normally be fairly similar on their TT bikes, but sometimes they can produce an outstanding performance. On a normal day, Kelderman would be the best TT rider of all the main GC guys, he loves spending time on his machine. I’ll let you in to a little secret. Way back at the start of the year, when the team were training on Mount Teide, Kelderman did the whole training camp on his TT bike! He will expect to put time into all his rivals, there is even a chance of moving into pink, but that depends on how Almeida goes.
Got to be another stage for Filippo Ganna.
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