Congratulations to Damiano Cima! Today’s victory will be the highlight of his career – and he deserves it for the way he has approached the 102nd Giro d’Italia. Ackermann looked frustrated with the peloton’s inability to catch the runaway Italian but has deservedly wrestled the points jersey back from Arnaud Demare.
The Just Profile
A lumpy start to the stage includes the Passo San Boldo. It’s a gentle climb by Giro standards but impressive with it’s many hairpins. However, the only interesting climb comes at the end of the stage, after visits to Fonzaso and Lamon. The San Martino ascent is 13 km long but averages less than 6%. It’s another uphill finish that should suit powerful, punchy climbers. Saturday poses a far harder test.
Launch a Fiver – Esteban Chaves 40/1
Two-time Grand Tour podium finishet Esteban Chaves will be looking to add some glitz to his 2019 season. The Yates charge has failed and I would be disappointed if Chaves was kept on a leash in the next two days. There’s really no need for Yates to keep Chaves with him tomorrow. The Colombian was third at longer odds on stage 17, but 40/1 is still workable.
Launch a Fiver – Tanel Kangert 40/1
EF Education want a win and I’ll be back on Tanel Kangert tomorrow. It’s likely that Hugh Carthy and Joe Dombrowski will go for glory on Saturday (by either moving into the top ten or going for victory in the high mountains) and I think tomorrow will be Kangert’s day. He won’t struggle on the final climb.
Launch a Fiver – Bob Jungels 66/1
At 50 minutes down, Jungles is a prime candidate to boss the breakaway tomorrow. I’m hoping he’s interested in the stage win because he’ll be difficult to topple on the final climb, especially if he has the support of a teammate in the break. 66/1 is kind!
Launch a Quid – Peter Serry 150/1
Quick-Step’s second option is Peter Serry. He should be fine on the San Martino and may be feeling more frisky than a potentially tired Jungels.
Launch a Quid – Krits Neilands 125/1
Krits Neilands is showing signs of strong legs in the third week of just his second grand tour. 125/1 is a huge price for a rider who is very likely to get into the breakaway and give his all for the struggling Israel Cycling Academy.
Any Other Business
We’re very close to the final weekend and Vincenzo Nibali can’t afford to lose anymore time. Bahrain have to monitor Movistar in the final 20 km.
Once upon a time, San Martino was a hospice for travellers crossing the valleys!