The Giro resumes with a stage of two halves, the first mountainous and on back roads, before the latter part on the plains as the race heads for a seaside finish in Viareggio.
The Route: 196km south across the Apennines with 2,600m of vertical gain, most in the first half of the stage. By now this is a familiar pattern in this year’s Giro with some hilly terrain for a breakaway to go clear and then the sprint teams can take over for the second half. But today’s hilly first half is harder. Normally the Passo della Radici is a long climb and only steep at the top but here it’s climbed via some smaller side roads which make it a little bit better for the breakaways as the roads are more lumpy with more bends, it’s just harder to see what’s going on or chase. But the descent is the main road and the small climb of Monteperpoli is just something to help the legs get warmed up again, nothing savage although a nice viewing point if you’re visiting given the restaurant the top.
The Finish: a big long sea side finish, all flat and no bends in the final 3km.
The Contenders: a breakaway or a stage for the sprinters? It depends who goes up the road early, if it’s a handful of wildcard invitees then it’s 90% for the sprinters, if some big names go up the road they’ve got a chance and more might fancy a go today as the hard start suits.
There’s no real hierarchy among the sprinters. Kaden Groves (Alpecin-Deceuninck) is quick but missing leadout lieutenant Ramon Sinkeldam. Fernando Gaviria (Movistar) is almost a finisseur these days taking a flyer in the sprinters but today’s 3km finishing straight’s no help. Jonathan Milan (Bahrain) has the raw power but is hardly stringing together the wins. Mads Pedersen (Trek-Segafredo) took his first bunch sprint the other day and can do it again.
The romantic pick would be Mark Cavendish (Astana) who is back on familiar roads near Lucca where he used to live and train. More practically he’s looking faster and has a decent chance. Third in Napoli Pascal Ackermann (UAE) has really seen his win rate decline since his Bora days but he’s still a top class sprinter.
Possible breakaway picks would be Matteo Cattaneo (Soudal-Quickstep) to perk up an orphaned team, Callum Scotson or Alessandro De Marchi (Jayco-Al Ula) as they are solid rouleurs who make a chasing bunch toil, ditto Alberto Bettiol (EF Education-Easypost) who is a local too, or sorts, a Tuscan but these aren’t quite his training roads. Trying to pick more names isn’t easy as other names might be retained for sprint / breakaway chasing duties.
|Pedersen, Cavendish, Gaviria, Ackermann|
Weather: after sunshine on a rest day it’s back to rain showers, some heavy, and 15°C. There’s a light tailwind in town for the finishing straight.
TV:KM0 is at 12.20 and the finish is forecast for 5.15pm CEST.