A trip out of the mountains to the sea. The profile screams a sprint stage but the mix of riders left could change all of this.
The Giro resumes after a rest day and we begin the backloaded final week with the first of three summit finishes.
As if it’s not been damp enough, an autumnal feel today with a course borrows, or rather copies the Tour of Lombardy, including the lively finish through Bergamo’s citadel… but there’s a good chance the sun’s out today.
A sprint stage with a 2,000m mountain in the way… weather and rider vote permitting.
Bonjour, the race starts in Piemonte but heads to Italy’s Aosta valley where French is a second language and then crosses into francophone Switzerland for two more climbs.
The Giro reaches the Alps but this is a day for the breakaway more than the first big showdown among the overall candidates.
What’s Italian for déjà vu? Another contest between the breakaway and the sprinters’ teams on a 200km+ stage with over 2000m+ of vertical gain… and it’ll rain again too. But if the stages have similarities, the racing keeps changing. All change tomorrow though with the start of the Alpine racing.
The Giro resumes with a stage of two halves, the first mountainous and on back roads, before the latter part on the plains as the race heads for a seaside finish in Viareggio.
Having started on some notes following yesterday’s time trial, all thoughts were Evenepoel having a slender 45 second lead that he’d couldn’t just defend. Instead he’d have to try and attack once he’d got beyond the rest day and two likely sprint stages that might offer him more recovery after his crashes. But that’s all been binned with the news he’s out of the Giro following a Covid test.
In the space of a week we’ve gone from the pre-race scenario of an exclusive duel between Evenepoel and Roglič, to Evenepoel not building the lead he needed, and now to Ineos leading the race but only just.
A time trial stage and in the absence of Filippo Ganna it feels like the big question is Remco Evenepoel’s winning margin; the other is the order of the other GC contenders and the gaps between them.
Evenepoel is the obvious pick but this stage will show us what health he’s in after his crashes this week. It’s the high point for him on paper as after today he’ll be racing on terrain where his rivals will feel they have the advantage, especially after yesterday’s finish in Fossombrone.