Three sharp climbs are like hurdles on an athletics track, they shouldn’t stop the sprinters but somebody could still trip up along the way.
But the real obstacles lie closer to the finish, including a narrow bridge in the final kilometre.
Yesterday’s Stage: a win for Ramunas Navardauskas. If the name is a mouthful, learn to pronounce it:
He’s a valuable rider. A recent stage win in the Tour de Romandie with a sprint, now he wins on a climb. He wore the maglia rosa in the Giro last year too. He’s a big rider but not heavy. Able to climb well, he’d have been a precious aide for Hesjedal. It wasn’t just the win that impressed yesterday but the manner. Argos-Shimano’s Patrick Gretsch had attacked the breakaway of 20 riders, taking over a minute’s lead on the descent. After a few attempts from others, Navardauskas and Daniel Oss (BMC Racing) sped away. In no time they caught Gretsch and ditched him. The pair took over a minute on the breakaway group behind and on the climb Navardauskas just rode away.
The Route: note the short distance, it’s only 134km. There are three climbs along the way but only the last two are categorised:
- Muro di Ca’ del Poggio 1.2km, 12.2% average, 16% max
- Montello – Santa Maria della Vittoria 3km, 6.3% average, 14% max
The Ca’ del Poggio climb has been used for the Italian national championships but it’s only crossed once and so the “wall” is no problem. Montello is harder and starts with the steepest part first which means the slowest riders can come unstuck. But it’s over 40km from the finish and if the sprinters struggle they should have time to get back on.
The Finish: the race does a lap of Treviso, crossing the line once to speed around the city before heading back to the line. It’s pan flat but note the multiple warning signs above, there are plenty of corners and obstacles in town. Above all there’s a pinch point with 400 metres to go as the race passes over a bridge – note the water – and then enters an S-bend.
The Scenario: a bunch sprint seems likely. Indeed if tomorrow could deliver a bunch sprint, it’s not guaranteed and Stage 21 seems to be only other certain sprint finish of the race and so it’s likely many sprinters will be targeting today’s finish… and then thinking about which stage they might abandon the race on.
Treviso gets its name from “three views” and having seen Mark Cavendish win twice, we could seem him get his third Giro win today, and apparently his 100th career win too. His sprint train is working but I gather OPQS are still trying to get Ale Petacchi for the Tour de France. Nacer Bouhanni has been finishing very fast, blocked in the last sprint on Stage 6 he still surged to the line. Elia Viviani is my other pick, he’s likely to carry on to the end of the race too and in the red jersey points competition, sits on 60 points, second to Cadel Evans with 73. We’ll see Matthew Goss and his train again and with the tricky finish this could hold the key to getting to the line.
Weather: wet and windy with cool temperatures. The forecast is for rain showers so the finish could be wet or dry, especially as there will be a firm 25km/h breeze from the south-east meaning a headwind for the finish.
Looking further ahead snow is forecast for the weekend’s Alpine stages. It doesn’t look like it’ll be enough to block the roads but it could be enough to make the roads slippery or just unpleasantly cold. More updates closer to the day.
Word of the Day: fabbrica meaning factory. The finish town of Treviso is the home to Pinarello, the frame manufacturer that sponsors Movistar and Sky, indeed these teams visited the plant on Monday’s rest day.
But there’s plenty more in the region, you’ll find Campagnolo to the west in Vincenza and Willier Triestina too. There’s a range of other companies, for shoes alone there’s Sidi, Diadora, Northwave and Gaerne. And if you want to know why Sidi is called Sidi and Gaerne is Gaerne, click here.
Top 20 overall
1 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana Pro Team 43:26:27
2 Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC Racing Team 0:00:41
3 Rigoberto Uran Uran (Col) Sky Procycling 0:02:04
4 Bradley Wiggins (GBr) Sky Procycling 0:02:05
5 Robert Gesink (Ned) Blanco Pro Cycling Team 0:02:12
6 Michele Scarponi (Ita) Lampre-Merida 0:02:13
7 Mauro Santambrogio (Ita) Vini Fantini-Selle Italia 0:02:55
8 Przemyslaw Niemiec (Pol) Lampre-Merida 0:03:35
9 Benat Intxausti Elorriaga (Spa) Movistar Team 0:04:05
10 Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) AG2R La Mondiale 0:04:17
11 Rafal Majka (Pol) Team Saxo-Tinkoff 0:04:21
12 Sergio Luis Henao Montoya (Col) Sky Procycling 0:05:06
13 Tanel Kangert (Est) Astana Pro Team 0:05:08
14 Carlos Alberto Betancur Gomez (Col) AG2R La Mondiale 0:05:26
15 Robert Kiserlovski (Cro) RadioShack Leopard 0:05:57
16 Yury Trofimov (Rus) Katusha 0:06:08
17 Franco Pellizotti (Ita) Androni Giocattoli 0:06:55
18 Samuel Sanchez Gonzalez (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi 0:07:46
19 Rafael Valls Ferri (Spa) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team 0:08:41
20 Damiano Caruso (Ita) Cannondale Pro Cycling 0:08:43