A tricky second half of the stage and the chance for a rematch between Mathieu van der Poel and Biniam Girmay, but if they watch each other too much someone else will win the day.
The Route: a stage of two courses, primo piatto as the race heads up the Adriatic coast past a series of beachside holiday towns. Then at Cittanova the race flicks inland for something much less digestible. It doesn’t look like much on the profile but what the course lacks altitude it makes up for with attitude, fly over the area and the landscape looks corrugated or like a crumpled blanket with folds and typically the roads just rise and fall all the time. Plus they are frequently cracked and potholed although the Giro coming to town fixes some of this. It means a series of sharp climbs, several unmarked will make life hard for the heavyset sprinters and 1,800m of vertical gain in under 100km. One of the climbs goes through Fillotrano in tribute to Michele Scarponi.
The Finish: there’s the climb to Monsano for the last GPM of the day of 4km at 4.5% but a steeper middle section but the road still rises and falls on the way to Jesi. Once in town the final kilometre is slightly uphill to the line.
The Contenders: Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix) has won on these roads with his stage win in Castelfidardo from the 2021 Tirreno-Adriatico. The punchy climbs suit and he can clean up in a sprint from a reduced bunch. Or will he try to go solo and smash the peloton? He’d arguably win more if he tried more finesse and deployed his team more… but it wouldn’t be so spectacular to watch.
Biniam Girmay (Intermarché-Wanty) is proving very consistent but how to turn that into a win? He can hope to outsprint Mathieu van der Poel.
While the two names are obvious picks, they were in Naples too. Diego Ulissi and Alessandro Covi (UAE), Davide Gabburo (Bardiani-CSF), Andrea Vendrame (Ag2r Citroën) and Vincenzo Albanese (Eolo-Kometa) can try to get that home win for Italian cycling, Magnus Cort (EF Education) ought to suit the course and Caleb Ewan (Lotto-Soudal) and Arnaud Démare (Groupama-FDJ) can get over some climbs but might not force things given tomorrow suits more.
|Mathieu van der Poel, Biniam Girmay
|Ballerini, Schmid, Cort, Covi, Ewan
Weather: warm and sunny with a top temperature of 29°C. A light breeze will swirl from different directions during the stage and could help unpick the peloton atop some of the exposed ridges later on but a breeze and not a crosswind.
TV: the stage starts at 12.20, Cittanova and the hills from 3.00pm and finish is forecast for 5.15pm CEST.
J for Jesi: there’s no J in the Italian alphabet, nor a K, W, X nor Y which means Italian has
the one of the shortest alphabets in Europe. But today’s stage goes to Jesi, Sunday’s stage finish was at Majelletta below Blockhaus and in the peloton today you’ll find Jacopos Guarnieri and Mosca so these letters exist. Most languages have outside influences and imports, as well as old dialects and the J is an import and used sparingly, although of course every keyboard, even an Olivetti typewriter has one; likewise nobody seems to have trouble saying Jai Hindley and if you wear denim trousers you have jeans. Anyway it’s i-ezi/yezzi, rather jay-zee for today’s finish, and the town is spelled as Iesi with an “i” on many maps and signs, but the railway station is Jesi. Last Sunday’s mountain was interchangeable with Majelletta-Maielletta and Jacopo is a derivative of Iacopo.