A flat procession to Tortona, the town where Fausto Coppi died from malaria aged 40. Maybe not the most cheerful commemoration but there’s music along the way too.
Stage 12 Wrap: a long and uneventful stage, the kind where you wonder if the majority of the audience is only made up of people unable to avoid watching, for example near-mummified hospital patients in traction in a room where there’s a TV stuck on RAI. We got a repeat episode too with Fernando Gaviria taking his third stage win thanks to a perfect leadout from Ilio Keisse and Max Richeze.
The Route: so flat and uneventful let’s talk something else than the roads. The race visits Parma, always good to see the Giro riding through a city because it’s a way to reach more people. Later on they reach Piemonte, the home region of Fausto Coppi. It’s also home to songsmith Paolo Conte. Who? You may not know him but you’ve probably heard his music in film soundtracks or ad campaigns, probably “Vieni Via Con Me” with its English chorus of “it’s wonderful, s’wonderful”. The Giro rides through Stradella, once a big centre of production of accordions celebrated by Conte. This isn’t coincidence or a tenuous filler to pad the pixels here: Conte celebrates cycling. His lyrics include references, for example “Boogie” has a fondo come ciclisti gregari in fuga or “going flat out like cyclists in a breakaway” and of course the energetic tribute to Gino Bartali, Coppi’s arch rival which brings us to Tortona…
The Finish: flat and the bend with 500m to go isn’t sharp but has traffic islands and the riders will be funnelled through the gap.
The Contenders: the last sprint stage of the Giro. Fernando Gaviria and Quick Step put on a convincing show yesterday so they’re the obvious pick but remember sprints are never the same, if you could re-run the same sprint in some kind of sporting Monte Carlo simulation the results would surely change. So Caleb Ewan should be a bit fresher after a flat stage so his 82nd place yesterday after tangling with another rider can be amended. André Greipel will give it all before he quits the race today. Jakub Mareczko is showing his speed too while Sam Bennett is close but keeps missing out. After these riders it’s hard to see another riding winning, the likes of Sacha Modolo, Roberto Ferrari, Phil Bauhaus and more are taking part but beating all the previously cited riders sounds like too much.
|Caleb Ewan, André Greipel
Weather: turning cloudy with a good chance of rain, a top temperature of 23°C but cooler later as the rain arrives. A downpour or thunderstorm is possible too. A 20km/h wind will blow from the south-east, a tailwind all day except for the finish in Tortona.
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.