A route to put the tourism in a grand tour as the race passes the scenic parts of Sicily with a finish on the valley of temples in Agrigento.
Veni, vidi, vici: Filippo Ganna won the stage by a comfortable margin. Several crashed, among them Miguel Angel Lopez who changed hand position on the bars just as he rode over a pothole which bounced him off the saddle and he smashed into the barriers, he’s out of the race and probably won’t be seen in an Astana jersey again (there’s talk he and Harald Tejada could leave for Movistar or Ag2 La Mondiale). Geraint Thomas was the best among the GC contenders with Simon Yates over 30 seconds down on him and the other prime picks over a minute down already.
The Route: 149km and all about the finish. Nobody wants to let a big break go, starting with Ineos who have bigger ambitions than shepherding Ganna but one extra day in pink would be nice for the team and many teams have protected riders for the finish today, there’s a wide cast of characters.
The Finish: a four kilometre uphill drag, it averages 4% but the middle two kilometres are an awkward 6%, hard enough to eject most of the sprinters.
The Contenders: it’s a finish for puncheurs and scattisti rather than sprinters. Riders like Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) and Michael Matthews (Sunweb) won’t find the finish easy although they’re safe picks as if they can hang tight but if the bookmakers rate them highly for today be careful. Otherwise Diego Ulissi (UAE Emirates) is a specialist at finishes like this while Enrico Battaglin (Bahrain-McLaren) used to be too but has a low win rate this days.
Andrea Vendrame (Ag2r La Mondiale) and Fausto Masnada (Deceuninck-Quickstep) are good picks too. Simone Consonni (Cofidis) is an Italian version of Bryan Coquard although maybe with more chances of winning. Otherwise this finish is accessible to many, from sprinters who can hold on across to GC contenders. It sounds like a cop out for a blog trying to pick winners but sit back and enjoy the hectic finish which should have more surges than a French phone book.
|Diego Ulissi, Michael Matthews
|G Thomas, Almeida, Masnada
|Vendrame, Sagan, Conti, Consonni, Battaglin, Yates
Weather: warm and sunny, 30°C and the Sirocco wind won’t blow as hard as yesterday.
TV: if you enjoy watching cycling on TV you’re spoilt today. The women’s Liège-Bastogne-Liège finishes around 12.30pm CEST and then the Giro picks up with coverage soon after 2.00pm CEST and the finish forecast for 4.30pm CEST and the men’s Liège-Bastogne-Liège finishes around 5.00pm CEST.