A hilly day in the Apennines with hardly a metre of flat road but it’s not mountainous like we’ll see in the Alps. Many riders will have ticked today for the breakaway.
Stage 10 Wrap: there’s Tom Dumoulin and the rest, a result similar to last summer’s Ardèche time trial stage of the Tour de France where the Dutchman was so far ahead of everyone it almost pays to look at the stage classification without him because it looks like everyone had a bad day when compared to Dumoulin. Among those who did have a bad time were Nairo Quintana and Thibaut Pinot, the Colombian floundering in the wind and the Frenchman saying he had a jour sans after the rest day. Both lost time to Dumoulin but also their other rivals, notably Vincenzo Nibali who finished sixth on the stage. It leaves five riders in search of a podium although sixth overall Bob Jungels says he simply had a bad day to Blockhaus and can contend too and Thomas looks keen to move up too. As for Dumoulin, now being nicknamed the Tulipano Rosa or “pink tulip” by the Italian media things look promising, he’s got 2m23s on Quintana already and there’s the Monza-Milan time trial on the final day as insurance. Only the Alps are in the way and if Nairo Quintana is climbing well his team look very strong too which promises a battle.
The Route: a tappone, Italian for a big stage thanks to the saw-tooth profile and few flat roads over 161km. The start in Ponte a Ema celebrates Gino Bartali who was born there and became a symbol of Tuscan and Italian cycling and there’s now a museum dedicated to him. 15km of riding across the plains and then they hit the Consuma, 15.9km at 6.1% and the early slopes bite hardest with 6-7% for the first nine kilometres before easing for a few kilometres and then more 7% before levelling out across the top. The descent is on similar roads. They drop into Stia and climb straight out on the Passo della Calla, 16km at 5.3% but harder than the stats sound with lots of 6%.
Next is the Passo Carnaio listed as 11.4km at 4.5% but look closely at the profile it’s one of those staircase climbs with flat sections and steeper moments, even 10%. A short descent and they ride into Bagno di Romagna to cross the finish line with 47.9km to go – Pibernik alert – and head for a hilly circuit.
They climb Monte Fumaiolo, 23.1km at 3.7% but with steeper moments, especially at the top, the chance for a climb to get a gap. Then comes a descent down to the finish on a winding road through woodland with corners but few hairpins, the kind of road where a rider can quickly get out of sight.
The Finish: an almost flat finish and on a long straight road, the easiest part of the stage.
The Contenders: many riders will have picked today for the breakaway meaning there will be a fight to go clear and a lottery element, as strong as some need to be to get away some can sit out the hostilities for N minutes only to jump once and hitch themselves onto the right wagon. So picking who gets away is random, let alone who wins…
Valerio Conti is an obvious pick, keen to make amends for that crash in Peschici and if he’s from Rome he spent his U23 days in the region. A similar story for Giovanni Visconti who hails from Sicily but moved to the region to pursue is his career and he’s a stage hunter who can get the day off shepherding Nibali. Lotto-Jumbo’s Enrico Battaglin could get into a breakaway and can cope with these steadier climbs and is very fast for the final sprint. Cannondale-Drapac have had a torrid time with their tactics, can they get into the right move this time? Davide Villella and Michael Woods seem like good choices. With BMC’s overall ambitions over we’ll see what the team can do. Ben Hermans and Silvan Dillier are obvious picks for a punchy stage while Dylan Theuns can still have his day too. Watch Jan Polanc and Daniel Teklahaimanot to see if they get in the move as they’ll both be interested in the points for the mountains competition.
Is there room for GC action? There always is but if this stage is hard, the long climbs still reward being sat tight on a good wheel so any team trying to up the pace to shred the bunch risks using up their own riders first before rivals crack. The climb over Monte Fumaiolo is there to be exploited but there’s a long run to the finish afterwards, perhaps some riders contesting the lower places in the top-10 try a move but their rivals will be alert.
|Valerio Conti, Giovanni Visconti|
|L-L Sanchez, Battaglin, J Hansen, Villella|
Weather: sunshine and a top temperature of 23°C in the valleys. A light breeze from the north-east at 15km/h meaning a headwind for a lot of the stage but these roads are often sheltered by woodland.
TV: they reach Bagno di Romagna at 3.55pm CET and then head out for the circuit. As usual the finish is forecast for 5.15pm CET. There’s live coverage on home broadcaster RAI in Italy and Eurosport for much of Europe and beyond. Otherwise cyclingfans.com and steephill.tv are the go-to sites for schedules and pirata feeds.