Dull day, great finish.
We ended up with a three-up sprint almost, with Ewan finally getting his stage win, beating Gaviria and Bennett in the process.
Nothing much else to talk about as the day was a typically dull transition stage. Hopefully things are slightly more exciting tomorrow. Let’s have a look at what’s in store for the riders.
A medium mountain stage with all of the climbing packed into the second half of the day.
With almost 80km of flat roads, the fight for the breakaway could be pretty intense. Well, it normally would, but this Giro has been different in that regard so who knows. The route does hug the coast-line for all of that opening 80km but early forecasts show the wind to be a little benign so it is unlikely that we’ll see some echelons. How disappointing!
The Cat 2 climb of Monte Sant’Angelo is 9.5km long, averaging just over 6%. It’s not overly tough and comes too far from the finish to cause any hassle. Likewise, the following Cat 4 ascent of Coppa Santa Tecla is still too far from the end of the stage to be an issue for both the bunch and the break.
It looks as if it will be a stage that will come down to the final 15km.
We don’t get much information about the uncategorised climbs before the descent and rise to the finish, which you can see above, so you know the drill…
Strava profile, viewable here.
If you take the rise as a whole, then it is roughly 5 km at 3.9%. Not bad, but it can be split into 1.9km at 6.3% and 2.4km at 4.7%, with a little bit of descent in between. The steepest ramps of the second section come at the start of the climb, so a lightweight rider might want to attack there before it flattens out down to 2-3% before the top.
We then have our fast descent and climb to the line.
It is important to note how technical the climb is itself with a sharp hairpin at around 300m to go and it still even twists and turns from there.
Who will be raising their arms aloft as they cross the finish line first?
How will the stage pan out?
It should be a break. There might be a few teams who will fancy controlling it and setting up a certain rider but that will be very hard to do.
I’m sure most of the teams will want it to be a break, especially with the tough finish of Blockhaus coming the following day, they’ll want to conserve as much energy as possible.
So it’s that time again where we play…
It’s even more difficult to successfully pick someone for the break tomorrow because the opening half of the stage, where the break will be formed, is completely different to what they’ll face at the end of the day. When has that ever stopped me before though?!
There seems to be a recurring theme at this Giro so far where teams with GC contenders have been a bit wary about getting guys up the road, with the only exception being Trek and BMC on Stage 6. Will this pattern continue as the main contenders look towards stage 9? Quite possibly, so I’ll be considering riders from teams without a GC contender, or one that can at least mount a reasonable top 5 charge.
The young Wilier rider has impressed me a lot during this race so far. He was up with the GC contenders on Etna until a very untimely mechanical saw him drop out of that group. Nonetheless, he got himself going again, limiting the damage to one minute. He lost a lot of time on the echelons of stage 3, so he is no immediate threat on GC. Clearly in great form, he would have a great chance if he makes the move.
After Cannondale made a mess of Stage 6, I’m sure they won’t make the same mistake tomorrow. Looking at their squad, Villella looks like an ideal candidate for this type of strong man’s finish. A former winner of the Baby Il Lombardia, he finished 5th there in the full edition last season. Packing a solid uphill kick, his fellow breakees will not want to bring him to the line.
The former U23 World Champion is slowly finding his feet at World Tour level and with UAE active in attacks so far, they’ll no doubt try to send someone up the road tomorrow. A coming of age performance is on the cards!
Now for something a bit different…
If you follow me on Twitter you’ll know that on the preview for today’s stage (6) that I received a very constructive comment from a Mr Wong.
So I thought I’d take this feedback on board with a brand new segment for breakaway days or stages that are in the balance…
Wong’s Wildcard/ The Wongshot
Basically, I’ve copied the startlist and created a list on random.org and well, erm, randomised it for a rider. I’ll then create a possible scenario where and how said rider might win. Tomorrow’s guy is…
Although the Dutch rider is on domestique duty for Kruijswijk, his team leader gives him the nod to chase stage honours. As a strong all-rounder, Clement makes the break with ease but also follows well on the hills as some of the other escapees put in probing attacks. Coming into the closing 15km, Clement knows that his form isn’t that great and he’s not explosive enough to beat the other guys on the final climb, so he decides to attack on a pan-flat section with 17km left. With some hesitation behind, the gap quickly grows to 30 seconds as everyone else looks around. They eventually get organised but it’s too late, and the Dutchman holds on to take a great win!
Breakaway stays away and I’ll for an impressive young Spaniard to have the required kick on the final climb to steal stage honours. Rodríguez to win!
In before Clement wins…
Small punts on breakaway guys(all Bet 365);
Rodriguez 0.3pt WIN @ 300/1
Mohoric 0.4pt WIN @ 80/1
Villella is too short at 40/1 for a breakaway pick so instead I’m backing…
Grosschartner 0.3pt WIN @ 200/1
Also, I would like to point out now that the blog has gained a bit more traction during the Giro that I don’t see myself as a proper tipster or anything like that. It was never the intention when starting this whole thing up. It’s more a case that I enjoy writing the previews and trying to deconstruct how the race might plan out, often with an extravagant twist. I see them more as a guide to the following day’s racing more than anything else. My very original posts had no “pts” etc advised on them, just a general idea of who I was backing. However, people requested that I do so and I eventually just added them in at the end of each preview.
I don’t charge for the previews, you’re not forced to back anyone I do. I just put a few bets on to have someone to back for the day and make the sport even more enjoyable to watch! Don’t wager anything more than you can afford to lose.
Those were My Two Spokes Worth.