Pinerolo-Ceresole Reale (Lago Serrù)
(196 km) 


The stage provides us a first real battle between the GC-riders (or their strongest helpers). The first mountain stage with hilltop finish, but before the peloton reach it, there will be 2 another hard climbs on program:

the Colle del Lys (cat 1)


the Pian del Lupo (cat 2)

At the beginning of the stage a huge breakaway group will be formed  most likely with some helpers of the favourites. Their task will be waiting for their bosses on the final ascent.  I’m curious what kind of tactic Trek-Segafredo is going to use on this stage, the KOM-points of the first two climbs are quite valuable for the current blue jersey man Gianluca Brambilla or for the ex KOM-leader Giulio Ciccone, meanwhile Bauke Mollema, the GC-rider of the team is in a good GC-position. Not the biggest favourite of course, but I think, this might be an interesting question for the first part of the stage.

Also an important question before the final ascent, what UAE is going to do with the situation, that Jan Polanc leads the GC with 5 minutes. It’s a big advantage even when we might know, that Polanc most likely will lose his jersey before the 2nd rest day. But of course he won’t give up it willingly right on the first or second climb.

On the Lago Serrù  (cat 1) there will be 2 very steep sections, one at the beginning of the climb cca 3 km long with an average slope of 8,7%,

and inside the last 5 km, especially at 2 km to go.

The real battle for the stage victory and the GC-positions will start at cca 4 km to go. Yesterday Mikel Landa (Movistar) and Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana) demonstrated, that they are “not dead yet” in terms of fighting for the final victory. Movistar has an another good option for today: Richard Carapaz.

BORA-hansgrohe has already 3 victories in the backpack at this Giro, but I’m almost sure, Rafal Majka will be the man of the day this Friday.  He looked impressively strong yesterday.  I would mention not one, but two dark horses for this stage, two riders of the Team INEOS: Ivan Sosa and Pavel Sivakov.  And don’t forget Fausto Masnada (Androni Giocattoli -Sidermec)!

Despite all his triumphs in the recent years, Vicenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida) is always like a dark horse to me, never knowing what to expect from him. But probably he will play a big role on this stage. Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) seemed to have a weak day yesterday, or at least he was a bit surprised by the moves of the other GC-guys in their group. He rode always a bit “under radar” in the recent years, and this Giro is the first Grand Tour, where he is a big favourite. This is a quite new situation for him, and after the stage yeaterday, I’m not sure anymore, that he will be able to handle properly when all his rivals go really offensive.

I have the strange feeling, that the loser of the day will be Simon Yates (Mitchelton-SCOTT)  – again. He has two strong helper, but… I don’t know. I have the feeling, that Esteban Chaves  will finish this day in a far more better position, than him. Which also means, Yates will lose a lot of time against the rivals too.


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