The stage we’ve all been waiting for… unless you’re 75kg plus and still in the Giro. The race goes into the mountains and one of the hardest summit finishes in the sport.
Stage 13 review: a sprint finish and Elia Viviani found winning ways again, he was clearly the fastest in the finishing straight and took his third stage win ahead of Sam Bennett after a hectic sprint where no team could impose themselves leaving the riders bouncing around like pinballs. He made a “calm, calm” gesture as he crossed the line, a nod to the apparent tension on the team bus yesterday and the (social) media pressure on him. Note that Esteban Chaves was dropped on the climb and if some yesterday stepped back to better leap forward today the Colombian was quickly isolated by the slope.
The Route: 186km north into the Carnic Alps. The first climb of Monte di Ragogna might just be a 3rd category climb but it’s like something out of the finish of a Tour of Lombardy, it’s narrow, twisting and steep and will have riders testing out their low gearing for the day. The next climb to Avaglio has a hard middle section too and much more of an Alpine feel as it rolls up into the hills. The Passo Duron is 4.4km at most of it over 10%.
The Finish: they ride through Ovaro and the road is steep enough and then it leaves the town and passes the church with the bell tower built on the other side of the road and soon after the road rears up and barely relents. This is like stacking the Mur de Huy several times over and even with the lowest of gearing it’s hard work (see the Roads to Ride piece for a fuller explanation). It’s not a climb where surprise counts, to accelerate it’s better to wind it up slowly and asphyxiate rivals rather than catch them by surprise with a sudden attack. After the long wooded section comes a series of tunnels which leads riders into the natural amphitheatre and the slope rises to the line.
The Contenders: there’s a good chance the breakaway stays away. Normally the big teams like to set a fierce pace into the final climb of the day in a show of strength but who will do this today? Count Sky out given they’re out of the picture. Mitchelton-Scott don’t need to use up riders and if Astana have tried in previous stages it’s backfired when Miguel Angel Lopez to attacked early, got countered and was dropped but the Colombian still has space for a result. Kenny Elissonde could get the day off team duties given Chris Froome’s troubles, Sky have often gone stage hunting once their GC bid has imploded, he’s won on the Angliru before so why not win here? Vasil Kiryienka too. Ben Hermans could remind us Israel Academy are in the race, Dimension Data’s Natnael Berhane is a good climber and Lotto-Jumbo’s Robert Gesink could try but I think he’s more suited to other mountain stages. Bardiani’s Guilio Ciccone is climbing well and has the space to go clear.
Among the GC contenders Simon Yates is the easy pick. He’s won two stages but arguably his best move was the jump on Etna, he went when others couldn’t. He hasn’t reconned this stage but team mates know it well and he need only follow until late and clip away for a few seconds lead and the time bonus.
Domenico Pozzovivo is in great shape and the climb suits him as it’s a pure test of power to weight. Davide Formolo is also climbing well and looks leaner than ever and Richard Carapaz is the curiosity pick, how will he fare?
This is the anti-Dumoulin stage, the next summit finishes are much more gradual and should suit him more. The same for Thibaut Pinot, he’s climbing very well but the climbs to come next week suit him more.
This is a hard climb and often the action happens in slow motion. Nobody needs to jump away, just to lift the pace and the lighter riders have the advantage of being able to dance through the hairpin bends while bigger riders have to take it steady around the bends.
|Simon Yates, Domenico Pozzovivo|
|Davide Formolo, Guilo Ciccone|
|Elissonde, Lopez, Pinot, Hermans|
Weather: a mild 24°C in the valleys, cooler at altitude and a good chance of a shower or two.
TV: Host broadcaster RAI offers the best coverage, Eurosport has the rights for many countries across Europe and Australia and it’s streamed via Fubo and Flowbikes in the US and Dazn in Japan. They reach Ovaro around 4.30 and the finish is forecast for 5.15pm.