2015 Giro d’Italia – Stage 11 Preview
What happened on Stage 10
It should have been an easy day for the sprinters, but the breakaway of five gave the peloton the slip, going all the way to the line, where Bardiani’s Nicola Boem took the biggest win of his career. But the main story of the day developed once Richie Porte punctured in the closing kilometers of the stage to Forli and couldn’t return to the peloton despite chasing hard, eventually finishing 47 seconds behind Alberto Contador and Fabio Aru, his rivals to the pink jersey. It wasn’t the end of this, as the UCI jury found out that the Australian got a front wheel from his countryman Simon Clarke, which is against the rules, as Clarke is riding for another team. As a consequence, Porte was docked two minutes and now lies in 12th place, 3:09 off Alberto Contador.
What comes now
Stage 11 (Forli-Imola, 153 kilometers) is short, yet quite challenging, marked by five short but hard-going climbs before entering the final circuit (the Tre Monti circuit), to be covered three times. The route takes in these climbs one after another, and never flattens out: Trebbio, Monte Casale, La Valletta, Monte Albano and Valico del Prugno. Then it reaches the Imola race track and enters the final circuit, at the exit point of the “Variante Alta” chicane.
The final 15,4-km long circuit is raced partly on the Imola race track, and partly outside it. From the finish line (on the pit straight), the route covers around 3,5 kilometers of the track, up to the “Variante Alta”. Here, the stage course leaves the race track, takes the climb leading to Tre Monti (4 kilometers, 5% average gradient), then descends onto quite wide and well-paved roads until the last kilometers, that leads to the entry point of the Rivazza turn, around 850 meters before the finish. The route features one last bend 650 meters from the finish, and a long, slightly bent home straight on an 8-m wide, perfectly level tarmac surface.
Even before the rest day, Michael Matthews made clear that he’s interested in winning this stage, and the former U23 world champion will start as one of the main contenders, although his chances depend largely on the thoughts of the GC teams, who can blow the race to pieces as they’ve done more than once last week. Another cyclist who marked this stage is Fabio Felline, but the Italian’s problem is that he isn’t the fastest in the pack in case it ends up in a sprint, although truth being told, he defeated Matthews in a Vuelta al Pais Vasco stage.
Enrico Battaglin and Davide Formolo also have their eyes on this day, and the same goes for Diego Ulissi, the winner of the Fiuggi stage. 2012 world champion Philippe Gilbert can be in the mix as well, and he has two options: to go into the attack and to wait for the sprints, where Francesco Gavazzi, Juan Jose Lobato and Grega Bole can also feature. Other candidates, but from a break, are Gianfranco Zilioli, Stefan Küng, Simon Geschke (who will try to gain more points in the mountains classification), Maciej Paterski, Luis Leon Sanchez and Adam Hansen.
The peloton will get to finish for the third time in Imola, the city most noted as the home of the Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari. At the previous visit, in 1992, Italy’s Roberto Pagnin took his only stage victory in the Corsa Rosa. The finishing circuit of Wednesday is identical with the one used for the 1968 World Championships, when Vittorio Adorni won the rainbow jersey.