The Giro d’ Italia general classification battle is going to heat up this week. It will be a mentally demanding week for the GC contenders, and their teams. With multiply mountain top finishes, and an uphill individual time trial. The week ahead promises plenty of action and excitement in the quest for the Maglia Rosa.
Giro d’ Italia Enters Tough Week Of Racing
On Tuesday the teams will be back on the road after their second rest day. Tuesdays stage features one category one climb and three category three climbs. The stage will finish on a seven-kilometer category three climb, with gradients of 5-6%. This will be the second uphill finish in the race thus far.
Then on Wednesday the riders will finsih in Asolo. The last time Asolo was featured as a stage finish was in 2010, and GC contender Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) won the stage that year. A one-kilometer climb five-kilometers from the finish is where the fireworks are likely to happen.
Thursday will be a day for the sprinters, and a welcomed stage for most of the riders. The pancake flat course will give the riders a day off from climbing, and will only be 182-kilometers. The favorite for this stage has to Andre Griepel, but this is also golden opportunity for other teams looking for a sprint stage win. Especially since German sprinter Marcel Kittel (Ettix-Quick-Step) is no longer in the race.
Stage 13 will begin a brutal weekend for the riders. The route features four categorized climbs in a row. With two of the climbs being category one climbs. It will be a exciting, but tough day for most of the riders. As the GC contenders will most likely be attacking each other on the final climbs leading into the five-kilometer downhill finish.
The next day wont offer any respite for the riders. Stage 14 includes the Passo Giau climb which has an average gradient of nine percent, and kicks up to 12% in the toughest parts of the climb.The finish to this stage will be a tricky one. With the ascent of the Muro del Gatto coming in the final kilometers, and then followed by the eventual run in into the finish. This will be a golden opportunity for one of the GC contenders to solidify a lead on their competitors. This stage will also give us a glimpse of which riders are cracking, and which ones are still in the mix.
The grueling week of racing all comes to a close on Sunday. With an uphill individual time trial. The 10.8 kilometer route will start off flat, but then it will kick up to average gradient of 8.3% for nine kilometers. It will be an exciting time trial that could offer a major GC shake up in the standings at the end of the day.
Heading into this week Gianluca Brambilla (Ettix -Quick-Step) will be in the Maglia Rosa, but it is very unlikely that he will hold on to the jersey for very long. With Nibali, Alejandro Valverde, and Tom Dumoulin (Giant-Alpecin) less than a minute down in the GC standings. It would appear that these three are the best positioned heading into the week to claim the leaders jersey.
For the other riders the focus will be on cutting away into the time gaps. Mikel Landa (Team Sky), Rafal Majka (Tinkoff), and Ilnur Zakarin (Katusha) will all have work to do this week if they hope to be in contention for the podium in the last week of the race.