We’re back from a rest day and this time – unlike stage 10 – the peloton is going to be blown to shreds. Tomorrow’s stage has everything needed for high drama; we’ve just had a rest day, we’re climbing from the start, and the route has been replaced at the last minute due to an avalanche threat. Six men will believe they can still with this Giro d’Italia but by the end of tomorrow a few may have been cut from that list.
The Just Profile
The Passo della Presolana has been described as a ‘leg-stretcher’ but eating 7% gradients for breakfast has the potential to destroy the peloton. The break will be formed on this climb but it’s going to be messy. All the GC riders will want a lieutenant up the road and teams hunting the stage will also need multiple options up front.
At the town of Cedegolo we climb to Cevo, the replacement for the mighty Gavia. It’s long at 11 km but much easier than the planned ascent (the Cima Coppi is now on stage 20). Next up is a long drag to Aprica – a town that will always remind me of the Mortirolo and then… it’s time for the Mortirolo.
It’s nearly 13 km and averages a double-digit gradient. The core of the climb averages over 12%. It’s far, far more brutal than Alberto Contador made it look in 2015. The Zoncolan may be Italy’s toughest climb, but the Mortirolo is a close second.
After a fast descent, the last 15 km are much gentler… albeit still uphill.
Launch a Tenner – Miguel Angel Lopez 8/1
Miguel Angel Lopez can’t win the Giro. He’s had a few too many slices of bad luck, combined with a lack of ability against the clock. He remains, however, one of the best climbers in the race. Tomorrow I think we’ll see Lopez, Ricky Carapaz, Vincenzo Nibali and Mikel Landa dance together on the Mortirolo. Lopez has breathing space and can attack away from watchful eyes. Also his price is the best…
Launch a Quid – Fausto Masnada 33/1
Fausto Masnada is my new best friend (check my Twitter). More importantly, he’s the best climber on his team (sorry Matteo) and will be one of the strongest climbers in any breakaway. He’ll need to have a cracking day tomorrow but with one stage win in the bank, he can attack with nothing to lose.
Launch a Quid – Tanel Kangert 66/1
EF Education will be interested in the stage and the bookmakers have responded by making Hugh Carty and Joe Dombrowski disappointingly short. Despite his lack of wins, I believe Tanel Kangert is just as strong going uphill and has no lingering GC ambitions after losing time over the weekend.
Launch a Quid – Alexis Vuillermoz 66/1
Are you even surprised anymore?
Launch a Quid (maybe) – Victor de la Parte 150/1
Earlier today I realised that Team CCC were riding the Giro d’Italia. Víctor de la Parte is easily their best climber and – to be fair – has been quietly going about his business so far this month. CCC need to get in tomorrow’s big break. Come on Victor!
Any Other Business
Roglic can continue to have a wobble if he is only losing handfuls of seconds. He will hammer both Movistar riders in the time-trial. Movistar lead the race but they have to be aggressive every day. Roglic will get the Dumoulin treatment from now to Verona.
The Passo Gavia (removed from this stage) has been included in the Giro d’Italia seven times since 1960 as the ‘Cima Coppi’. However, on not one occasion was it crested first by an Italian!