A long day and a likely sprint finish await.
Stage 11 Wrap: a full day’s racing with a fast start that split the race apart and left Tom Dumoulin with only two team mates by his side until things calmed down and regrouped. Up ahead a 25 rider went clear including Movistar’s Andrey Amador and from this two riders went clear, Mikel Landa and Omar Fraile. Eventually the pair were caught but when Pierre Rolland attacked on the final slopes of Monte Fumaiolo, Fraile had the energy to get across even took the mountains points ahead of him. The two started the descent to the finish together but were joined by Rui Costa and it looked like a three-up sprint only for Tanel Kangert to bridge across to make it four. Fraile had been out all day but still finished off the sprint. Behind Thibaut Pinot tried an uphill attack, more to test the legs after his disappointment in the time trial and Vincenzo Nibali had a go too. But it all came to nothing. Amador’s infiltration of the break allowed him to gain time and move up to sixth overall. Dumoulin survived the day and his Sunweb team rode well but the next test is replicating this in the high mountains.
The Route: 229km, a long day. A start in Forlì and then onto Faenza and up the Lamone valley to the Colla di Casaglia, high at 913m but the road is tracked by a railway line for most of the way, a clue to the gentle gradient but it gets harder near the top amid dense chestnut forest. A good descent to the Mugello and then the novelty of the day, the race rides along the A1 Autostrada for just over 30km including the Valico Appennino, a climb as gentle as the autostrada implies. Then it’s a gourmet delight as the race drops back down the plains via Parmigiano cheese country, through the vinegar city of Modena and then they approach Reggio Emilia.
The Finish: flat and fast as they reach the city of Reggio and take the main road around town. The bends you see in the map are gentle. The danger comes in the street furniture with islands, bollards and more.
The Contenders: it’s today and tomorrow only for the sprinters so several teams will want to make this count. Perhaps a “commercial break” will go for the airtime but otherwise it’s back to Caleb Ewan, André Greipel and Fernando Gaviria as the three top picks with Sam Bennett next. Jakub Mareczko and Sacha Modolo could feature too although the former could be rinsed from his efforts to stay in the race yesterday, he was dropped and needed several team mates to rally to his side.
|Caleb Ewan, Fernando Gaviria, André Greipel|
Weather: warm and sunny for the most part with a top temperature of 28°C when the reach the plains later on, where they’ll enjoy a 15km/h tailwind to the finish.
TV: 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.