The Giro rolls out of Turin and crosses the Padan plains for a likely sprint finish in Novara.
Turin test: Filippo Ganna beat his body double Edoardo Affini by a wide margin, more a second faster per kilometre. Ganna can pump out the watts but his line in the corners was just as impressive. There were no big surprises, Affini and team mate Tobias Foss beat expectations. Rémi Cavagna didn’t and finished just behind his team mate João Almeida. Otherwise the main GC candidates all limited their losses with only Landa, Bardet, Buchmann and Martin more than 30 seconds down on Almeida. Yesterday’s Gazzetto Dello Sport’s editorial talked about the Giro back in May with the “thread of normality” returning to Italy and Ganna in pink seems part of this.
The Route: a start by the old royal hunting palace and then 179km north east via some climbing in the hills near Asti – home of spumante wine – with a small categorised climb to launch the mountains competition, a virtual finish line for many of the smaller teams who can collect the jersey for a day. Then the route flattens out and there are few secrets, it’s on wide roads and they’re exposed, past many rice fields.
A reminder that the Giro has two intermediate sprints a day and both offer points for the maglia ciclamino points competition, but the first each day also has points for the intermediate-only sprint prize, while the second has 3-2-1 second time bonuses
The Finish: via an industrial estate to the municipal sports field. This is a dragstrip with few technical features, a wide right bend with 1.6km to go, a dip under a railway line at the flamme rouge and then direct to the line.
The Contenders: sprints in grand tours have a Bayesian feel, the more of them we get the more a pattern is established. Today there’s no pecking order so instead Caleb Ewan (Lotto-Soudal) and Dylan Groenewegen (Jumbo-Visma) are the obvious picks based on their career records but the form this year isn’t so brilliant for Ewan, only one win when he could have landed more while this is Groenewegen’s first sprint since Katowice.
Tim Merlier (Alpecin-Fenix) is the next pick, capable of picking off the best sprinters in the world on his day only regularly enough, but he’s got a whole team in support. Elia Viviani (Cofidis) is still hunting for a big win to end a long spell without a World Tour sprint win, ditto Fernando Gaviria (UAE Emirates). Them take your pick from Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) who is hunting for points, Giacomo Nizzolo (Qhubeka-Assos), Matteo Moschetti (Trek-Segafredo) and if Groenewegen’s easing his way in then team mate David Dekker, who rode well yesterday, might make a more media-friendly story.
|Dylan Groenewegen, Tim Merlier
|Viviani, Gaviria, Nizzolo, Moschetti, Sagan, Dekker
Weather: sunny and mild, 23°C and a calm day.
TV: it’s live from start to finish. The flag drops at 12.55pm CEST and the finish is forecast for 5.00pm CEST. Tune in to watch the hustle and bustle on the approach in the final 30 minutes.