By David Hunter
Mileto > Camigliatello Silano 225km
Another weird looking stage, I do love the Giro.
The stage begins with a short uphill punch, this gives some climbers they hope of making the break, but only if it goes really early. The most likely scenario is the break establishes on the next section of road, which is relatively flat, once the short descent has been dealt with. This is not great news for the climbers.
The weird bit of the stage is the final climb. It’s a thing of beauty, and but rare to have a 24km climb cresting with just 11km to go. This usually deters the GC teams from chasing down the morning break, but given the bonkers nature of this race, anything could happen. Please note, the stage is 225km long, which is very rare.
24km at 5.7%, with a maximum of 24.2%, I love this climb. The first 6km is relatively boring, but then the riders start to pass through some of the little villages. At this point the road becomes ragged, which makes the climbing harder than normal. The hardest section of the climb comes after 10km, when we head through Macchia and Spezzano della Sila. The road is narrow and very steep, lasting for around 4km, perfect for a long-range attack. The rest of the climb, still a huge 10km to go, takes place out on the edge of a green area. This section of the climb is relatively steady, but we do have a kick up right at the end of the climb.
From the crest there is still 11km to go. The initial descent is quite easy, taking place on a relatively wide road. The final kilometre then kicks up a little, but it’s nothing to worry about.
Lots of cloud, with a risk of rain. There will be a light wind coming from the sea, but it won’t have any impact on the stage.
Excellent. The big climb is hard, but not hard enough for gaps between the GC riders. This will be a brilliant day to be in the break, especially as most riders are already out of the GC picture.
Without structure and order we have chaos. With Thomas and Yates already out of the GC picture we have a vacuum of power. QuickStep are in the race lead, so they will defend the jersey, but we all know that Almeida won’t be winning the overall. Trek-Segafredo seem to be the strongest team, but they don’t look that powerful to me. All of this means we should get a day for the breakaway, but expect action from the GC group once on the final climb. With few strong domestiques to chase, there is a chance to take some time, even though some will think the climb isn’t hard enough.
Ruben Guerreiro – current form is good, and EF are full of confidence. He’s gone close to winning a grand tour stage, but hasn’t quite managed to get it over the line. He’s a very talented climber, a big win is just around the corner.
Thomas De Gendt – this is a brilliant stage for him. We’ve already seen that he’s interested in getting in breaks and taking KOM points, you can bet your house on him trying to make this one. The final climb is where he could do a lot of damage, the length and gradient are very good for him.
Damien Howson – as Yates suffered on Etna, we’ll have to see how Mitchelton-Scott change their approach to the race. Yates isn’t totally out of the picture, which means they might hope he gets better as the race goes on. If they decide to change their strategy, Howson would be a good option for the Aussies.
Diego Ulissi – already with one stage win, but he’ll sense an opportunity to win quite a few more over the next few weeks. He’s clearly in great form, and this climb is well within his capabilities. While the climbers could struggle making the move, Ulissi has the engine to get in the morning break. If he makes it, he’ll be the big favourite for the win.
Matteo Fabbro – this rider has seriously impressed me in the last few weeks. Firstly, he was so unlucky not to win the final stage in Tirreno. In this race, we’ve seen him smashing up a few mountains, putting many riders into difficulty. This kid has form, I hope to see him in the break.
Jonathan Castroviejo – climbed very well on Mount Etna, but is still 6:31 down on GC. I’m not too sure if QuickStep will be happy to allow him into the GC fight, but I suspect no one will really see him as genuine contender over the three weeks. If the break goes on the flat, he certainly has the power to make it.
Davide Villella – exactly the type of rider who can win this type of stage. He can hold his own on the climbs and has a fast sprint. Movistar will be looking to get in the morning move, you just now they’ll want to move up the team classification.
Wilco Kelderman – if it comes back together, Kelderman has the fastest sprint of the GC riders.
It’s got to be a day for Thomas De Gendt.
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