Rested? Then we’ll start racing again and with a hard stage and two climbs that might not have the altitude of others in the race but they’ve got the attitude.
The Route: 193km and downhill from the start but it’s no freewheel, just the main valley road until Molina, then it’s on a small road and the climb to Sversi, a steep ramp to help any breakaway form. Then a long, gradual drop down to Trento and the Valsugana, passing below Monte Bondone and we’re into the Giro del Trentino – now rebranded as the Tour of the Alps – country. The Passo di San Valentino’s a tough climb, 14km at 7.8% and if it’s not famous this kind of slope for his length makes it harder than many famous climbs. It’s straight down too on twisty and technical descent with only five kilometres of valley road.
The Finish: the Sega di Ala climb’s new to the Giro but was used in the 2013 Giro del Trentino, Vincenzo Nibali won that day on his way to winning overall and Bradley Wiggins threw his bike which rolled across the road… and parked itself beside a concrete wall. Viral videos aside, the lesson to remember from that day is that 19 of the top-20 came in one-by-one and they were spread over four minutes. Yes it was Trentino and a lighter field and nobody had to fight for 12th etc but still, this a hard climb and feels like a staircase, the hairpins are tight.
The Contenders: Egan Bernal (Ineos) is an easy pick because he’s just climbing faster than everyone else and has a team that can set a pace on approach to the two final climbs that will help reel in the breakaways and yes he’s ahead he’s not yet going to be handing goodies to rivals. Giulio Ciccone is (Trek-Segafredo) incisive style is suited to these climbs too.
But Bernal isn’t a stone cold certainty, the breakaway still has a strong chance. Among the breakaway picks George Bennett (Jumbo-Visma) might like the warmer weather and he can use team mates like Edoardo Affiini to help tow the move away. Dan Martin (Israel) is climbing well, the same for João Almeida (Deceuninck-Quickstep) and Davide Formolo and again the trio the same problem of trying to win a stage but in doing this, threatening someone else’s top-10 position.
|Egan Bernal, Dan Martin|
|Brambilla, Bouwman, Cataldo, Mollema, Formolo, Fabbro, Fortunato, Ciccone, Cepeda, Villella|
Weather: dry, sunny and 20°C
TV: the stage starts at 12.10pm and the finish is forecast for 5.15pm CEST. Tune from 3.00pm to get the final two climbs.