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2015 Giro d’Italia – Stage 13 Preview


What happened on stage 12

BMC did an excellent work in the last 20 kilometers and Philippe Gilbert made sure he won’t let his teammates down, by finishing first and taking his 8th career win in a Grand Tour, and Belgium’s 155th in the Giro d’Italia. Once again, Fabio Aru didn’t feel good and Alberto Contador noticed that, so he accelerated on the final 500 meters, which helped him increase his lead in the general classification. Thanks to his impetuous action, Contador now has 17 seconds over Fabio Aru, who said after the stage that he couldn’t hold wheels because of hypoglycemia, reassuring everyone this situation won’t repeat in the following days.

What comes now

Stage 13, between Montecchio Maggiore and Lido di Jesolo (147 kilometers), is one of the shortest of the 2015 Giro d’Italia, and it is also entirely flat. The route runs across the Venetian Plain, from Montecchio Maggiore through Vicenza, Piazzola sul Brenta, Mirano, Mestre and Musile di Piave to Eraclea, where the final 20 kilometers begin. Watch out for a number of obstacles, such as roundabouts, speed bumps and traffic dividers, while crossing urban areas.

The stage has a fast-running finale on level roads. After crossing the Piave River in Eraclea, the route first hits the city of Jesolo and then reaches Cortellazzo via the road that rolls along the riverbank. Here in Cortellazzo, the road turns right onto a bridge with narrowed roadway. The stage course then takes wide, flat and straight roads, “sprinkled” with roundabouts with different diameters, that lead to the finish line. The home straight is approximately 500-m long, on 7-m wide asphalt road.

André Greipel is the favorite, considering he is the most powerful sprinter on such a finish, but also that he has Greg Henderson in the team, who can provide an excellent lead-out, just as he did in Castiglione della Pescaia. On the other hand, Sacha Modolo can be advantaged by the technical finale, which can help him overcome Greipel and get his first Grand Tour win. Giacomo Nizzolo has a strong train, but he needs to be well-positioned, which happens rarely with him in the last hectic meters of a stage. Other candidates for the victory are Luka Mezgec, Moreno Hofland and Elia Viviani, who will try to take back the red jersey, which is now sitting on Nicola Boem’s shoulders.

Lido di Jesolo will host a Giro d’Italia finish for the fifth time. At the previous occasions, only home riders got the win: Rino Benedetti (1955), Dino Zandegu (1970), Paolo Cimini (1987) and Alessio Di Basco (1988).

2015 Giro d’Italia – Stage 12 Preview


What happened on stage 11

After being in the day’s break, Ilnur Zakarin attacked his companions with 20 kilometers to go and time trialed his way to victory on the Imola Formula 1 circuit. Winner of the Tour de Romandie this season, the Katusha cyclist got his first victory in a Grand Tour, and was Russia’s 24th in the Giro d’Italia. Back in the pack, Alberto Contador decided to attack in order to test his opponents, and even though he didn’t leave anyone behind, it was obvious that Fabio Aru had some problems responding, as he didn’t look too good in those last kilometers.

What comes now

The 12th stage (Imola-Vicenza, 190 kilometers) is clearly divided into two parts: the first 130 kilometers across the Po Valley are totally flat, while the last 60 kilometers are very wavy and rough, with a few demanding climbs, and a mountain finish after a final spurt. The route runs across the Basso Ferrarese region and the Polesine area, along flat, largely straight and regular-width roads, worn out at points.

Just past Torriglia, the route takes in the easy-to-ride Castelnuovo climb (5% average gradient), in the Euganean Hills, and then crosses a short sector of flatland leading to the Berici Hills. The course clears the Crosara climb, going up from the Mossano slope, with almost two kilometers at gradients exceeding 10% and peaks reaching as high as 17%, on quite wide roads leading to the technical Lapio descent and, eventually, to the challenging final 15 kilometres.

After Fimon, the route takes in a 2-km long climb, with an 8-9% slope, peaking as high as 11% at points. Then comes a short false-flat drag, followed by a demanding – yet short – descent, leading to the last 5 km, which run entirely on flat terrain up to 1200 meters from the finish, where the final spurt begins. The last km has an average 7,1% gradient, with slopes approaching 10% in the final part and topping out at 11% in the very last stretch of the spurt. The home straight is 300-m long, on 7-m wide asphalt road.

The finish in Vicenza is very tough and could bring another type of riders into play, the punchy ones, used with the hard climbs of Flèche Wallonne. For this reason, Philippe Gilbert will be one of the main candidates, the Belgian being keen to take that victory that has eluded him since the start of the race. Unfortunately for Gilbert, Diego Ulissi is in excellent shape and will have an important saying on Monte Berico, where he’s more than capable to outsprint all his rivals.

Giovanni Visconti lies in seventh in the general classification, but he’s more interested in getting a win, and stage 12 should provide him an excellent opportunity to reach his goal, so he’ll clearly be with the best in the finale. Damiano Cunego, Carlos Betancur (who is close to top form), Tom-Jelte Slagter, Simon Gerrans and even Fabio Aru – if he feels ok and Astana decides to put the hammer down – are other cyclists likely to be among the protagonists on the last uphill.

Vicenza was nine times in the past an arrival city in the Corsa Rosa, but only once before a stage has ended on Monte Berico. This happened at the 1967 edition, when Spain’s Francisco Ibarra Gabica defeated two Italians, Franco Balmamion and Imerio Massignan. That was Gabica’s sole victory of the season.

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.

2015 Giro d’Italia – Stage 10 Preview


What happened on stage 9

Paolo Tiralongo took his third victory in the Giro d’Italia, this time from a breakaway, becoming the oldest ever cyclist to win a stage at the race (37 years and 313 days). Once again, Rigoberto Uran lost time when Fabio Aru attacked, only Alberto Contador and Richie Porte being capable of responding. In the last 250 meters, Aru launched a sprint and gaped the Spaniard for one second. Contador remained in the pink jersey, with a three-second advantage over Aru.

What comes now

On Thursday, the bunch will line-up in Civitanova Marche, ready for a 200-km long stage which finishes in Forli, the town of Ercole Baldini, one of the finest time trialist ever seen, winner of the Giro d’Italia and the World Championships in 1958. The day is entirely flat and covers almost the whole of the Adriatica coastal road. The route unfolds along wide and largely straight roads for 100 kilometers, with just a brief detour to climb up Montedi Gabicce from the Pesaro slope. The following 60 kilometers run straight along the ss. 9 Via Emilia, through Santarcangelo di Romagna, Cesena and Forlimpopoli, leading to the finish in Forli.

The last kilometers past Forlimpopoli run along straight roads, with roundabouts and traffic dividers being the main obstacles typically found in urban areas. Approximately two kilometers before the finish, there is a 1,500-m setts paved sector, with a bend 1,100 meters from the finish, in Piazza Saffi, and a bottle neck 800 meters from the finish. The route features one last bend 500 meters before the end of the stage. The home straight is on level, 7-m wide asphalt road.

The weather will be excellent, with warm temperatures, but there’s still a risk of crosswinds. Giving how aggressive the GC teams were in the first week, it wouldn’t be surprising to see them coming at the front yet again, trying to create some damages and distance their rivals. Otherwise, this is going to be a day for the sprinters, and the technical finale should play into the advantage of Sacha Modolo, a rider who loves it when things become messy in the last kilometer. Another strong contender will be André Greipel, who’s keen to take the red jersey back from the shoulders of Elia Viviani. Of course, Sky’s sprinter will also feature there, as will Matteo Pelucchi and Giacomo Nizzolo, who is still in the hunt for his first Grand Tour victory.

Forli will host a Giro d’Italia finish for the ninth time, first visit here taking place in 1925, when Costante Girardengo was victorious. More recently, in 2006, Robbie McEwen was first – ahead of Olaf Pollack and Tomas Vaitkus – and became the only non-European cyclist to win in the capital of the Forli-Cesena province.

2015 Giro d’Italia – First week stats

– Orica-GreenEdge is the first team since Del Tongo (1985-1986) to win successive team time trial stages in the Giro d’Italia

– Simon Gerrans and Simon Clarke became the 7th, respectively the 8th Australian cyclist to wear the pink jersey

– Davide Formolo, Jan Polanc and Elia Viviani all scored their maiden victory in a Grand Tour

– André Greipel claimed his 13th career win in a Grand Tour and climbed to fifth in an all-time list of German stage winners in Grand Tours, behind Erik Zabel (20), Rudi Altig (18) and Marcel Wüst (14)

– Paolo Tiralongo became the oldest ever winner of a Giro d’Italia stage: 37 years and 313 days

– Seven of the 22 teams have nabbed a victory: Astana, Cannondale-Garmin, Lampre-Merida, Lotto-Soudal, Movistar, Orica-GreenEdge and Sky

– Alberto Contador has 12 days in the pink jersey and lies in third among the active riders, after Ivan Basso and Vincenzo Nibali, both with 19 days

– Simon Geschke is the first German cyclist to lead the mountains classification in the last four years

– Home riders have had an excellent week, winning four stages so far, taking Italy’s tally to 1241 victories in the race

– The first eight stages in line were won by eight different cyclists

– Ten riders have abandoned the race thus far, Etixx-Quick Step and Nippo-Vini Fantini being the only teams with two cyclists out of the race

2015 Giro d’Italia – Stage 9 Preview


What happened in stage 8

It was another another nervous day at the race, which started fast and led to more than 100 riders losing contact with the main group early on. Then, at the first intermediate sprint – won by Eduard Grosu – Alberto Contador came second and this allowed him to double the advantage he has in front of Fabio Aru in the general classification. On the last climb of the stage, Beñat Intxausti won from the break, while Aru and Richie Porte attacked Contador, hoping to distance him, but with no luck, as he responded each time.

What comes now

Benevento-San Giorgio del Sannio (215 kilometers) is a very wavy stage, with a total difference in altitude just under 4000 metres. The first rough part of the route rolls across the Benevento area, hitting Pietrelcina, Benevento and Atripalda. Here the course enters the Irpinia region, with a long and easy-to-ride climb up Monte Termino (20 kilometers, 4,2% average gradient), which is preceding the more challenging Colle Molella (9,5 kilometers, with slopes of 6,3%) ascent.

The route then follows the constant undulations that lead through Lioni, Sant’Angelo dei Lombardi and Castelvetere sul Calore, up to 20 kilometers from the finish, where the harsh Passo Serra climb (3,6 kilometers, 8% average gradient) will lead to the final kilometres of the stage. The road surface is worn out and narrow at points over some sectors. The Passo Serra climb has a really demanding central sector, reaching double-digit gradients. A short, brisk descent follows, up to five kilometers from the finish. Another short climb and a stretch on city roads precede the 600-m long home straight, with a 3% gradient.

On paper, this is an excellent course for the break to succeed, so look to such riders as Simon Clarke, Maciej Patersi, Enrico Battaglin, Philippe Gilbert, Adam Hansen, Ryder Hesjedal and Gianfranco Zilioli ready to take their chance. On the other hand, if everything will be kept under control by the peloton, then Orica-GreenEdge has the opportunity to take the victory, with Michael Matthews or Simon Gerrans, the only requirement for the Australian team being to pick the right man for this, unlike what they did in the Fiuggi stage.

Fabio Felline nabbed a second place in the race, but is in the hunt for that win that can save his team’s Corsa Rosa, which means he’ll be determined to give it everything in the finale. Giovanni Visconti – who lies in 7th place overall – has what it takes to go for the victory and the Italian is prepared to do utmost in order to reach his goal, but he should be with his eyes on fellow countryman Diego Ulissi, who recently proved that he came back to the top.

The Giro d’Italia has visited San Giorgio del Sanio just once in its history, at the 1987 edition. Back then, Paolo Rosola – one of the finest sprinters of the decade – came first, followed by Guido Bontempi and Stefano Allocchio.

2015 Giro d’Italia – Stage 8 Preview


What happened on stage 7

Diego Ulissi won his fourth stage in the Corsa Rosa, this being his first victory since serving a nine-month ban for salbutamol. After the longest day (264 kilometers) of this year’s Giro d’Italia, the Italian rider of Lampre-Merida outpowered Juan Jose Lobato and Simon Gerrans in Fiuggi, before being overwhelmed by huge emotions thanks to this liberating win.

What comes now

Stage 8, which takes the pack from Fiuggi to Campitello Matese (186 kilometers), is marked by the lengthy climbs of the two KOMs: Forca d’Acero (26 kilometers with a 5% slope) and Campitello Matese (13 kilometers, with ramps of 6,9%). After the start, the route hits Alatri, Veroli and Sora on largely flat roads. This is where the long Forca d’Acero climb begins, leading first to Abruzzo, and then fast to Molise. Along and easy-to-ride descent leads to Isernia along the new ss. 17 express way, which features a series of tunnels. Past Isernia, a further stretch on wide and slightly hilly road leads to the Campitello Matese climb.

The final ascent is 13 kilometers in length, and after the first deceptive false-flat drag, the route gets to the town of San Massimo with gradients of approximately 10%, then it takes the road leading to the finish (large, well-surfaced and with wide hairpin bends extending up to one kilometer from the finish). Starting from the last kilometer, the road descends slightly up to 250 meters from the finish. Here the road levels out on the home straight, on 6.5-m wide asphalt road.

Fabio Aru and Richie Porte will try to test Alberto Contador, who has a subluxation of his shoulder after crashing in stage six, so you can bet on the fact that the two of them will attack at some point, the main question being if Contador can hang on. It will also be interesting to see how the Spaniard’s team will react on the last ascent, considering it was below-par in some key moments of the race so far, after a very powerful start to the race. Besides these three, other cyclists to watch out for are Rigoberto Uran, Darwin Atapuma and Giovanni Visconti, who’s had a very impressive first week.

Campitello Matese is going to host a Giro d’Italia stage for just the seventh time in history. Most recent visit here was recorded in 2002, when Gilberto Simon won ahead of Francesco Casagrande and Franco Pellizotti, while 37-year-old Jens Heppner kept the pink jersey he was helding since stage seven.

2015 Giro d’Italia – Stage 7 Preview


What happened on stage 6

After a textbook lead-out of Greg Henderson, André Greipel claimed his 13th career win in a Grand Tour, and his third in the Giro, following the ones of 2008 and 2010. By doing this, he climbed to fifth in an all-time list of German stage winners in Grand Tours, behind Erik Zabel (20), Rudi Altig (18) and Marcel Wüst (14). It was a crazy finish, which led to a crash festival because of a spectator trying to take a photo. Many riders hit the ground, including Rigoberto Uran (with no serious consequences), Nippo-Vini Fantini’s Daniele Colli – who fractured his arm – and race leader Alberto Contador, who ended up with a dislocated left shoulder, and although he is in pain, will try to be at the start of Friday’s stage.

What comes now

With a length of 264 kilometers, this is the longest stage of the 2015 Giro, and the longest in any edition of the Corsa Rosa of the last 15 years. Its profile features no really challenging points, but the final part of the route is quite wavy. The first 70 kilometers run along the Aurelia highway, the route then enters the Maremma region past Montalto di Castro. Rolling along gentle undulations, the route hits the towns of Tuscania and Vetralla, and skirts around the urban agglomeration of Rome.

The sole categorized climb of the day is set in Monterotondo (4th category, 2,5 kilometers, 5,1% average gradient), on top of a shorspurt. After rolling past Tivoli, through the hamlet of Ponte Lucano, the peloton will be confronted with the last 60 kilometers, wavier and more complicated, in terms of both course and profile, that lead to the finish in Fiuggi, along Via Prenestina.

After the town of Piglio, some 15 kilometers from the finish, a U-turn leads to a short descent (where the road is slightly narrower at points); from here, the stage course takes the new Via Anticolana. The last 10 kilometers run gently uphill. After crossing the Monte Porciano tunnel (672 meters – straight and slightly uphill), 5 kilometers from the finish, the route reaches Via Prenestina through large, well-paved roads, still climbing slightly. Upon entering urban Fiuggi, the road turns left, and climbs at a gradient of 2% up to the last kilometer, where the route becomes slightly steeper. The home straight is 350-m long, on 7-m wide asphalt road, with a gentle 3-4% gradient.

Having such a long stage and a testing finish will sure lead to a nice breakaway going ahead up the road, with the hope of giving the slip to the sprinters. If the cyclists that are at the front are caught, then attacks will come on the undulating roads to the finish, before the last climb. In case none of these goes to the end, Michael Matthews will become the main favorite for the win, the 24-year-old Australian having a big opportunity to take his second victory at this year’s edition, after the one in Sestri Levante.

Orica-GreenEdge can play at two heads, with Simon Gerrans attacking in the finale and paving the way for a sprint of Matthews if he gets caught. Philippe Gilbert is another rider who is very likely to go full gas in the last kilometers, same thing applying to Giovanni Visconti. On the other hand, if it will all play out at a sprint, besides Matthews, other cyclists who have a fair chance of nabbing the win are Fabio Felline, Enrico Battaglin, Grega Bole, Francesco Gavazzi and Juan Jose Lobato.

It will be for the ninth time that a Giro d’Italia stage will end in Fiuggi. At the previous visit, in 2011, Alessandro Petacchi was in a perfect position coming into the last 500 meters, but he launched his sprint to early and was overhauled by Francisco Ventoso, who took his first victory in the race. Back then, the top 10 consisted of a mix of sprinters and GC riders, with Danilo Di Luca and Michele Scarponi also fighting for a good place.

2015 Giro d’Italia – Stage 6 Preview


What happened on stage 5

For the second day in a row, the breakaway went all the way to the finish, where Jan Polanc won his first race. A 23-year-old who turned in pro in 2014, the Lampre-Merida cyclist became the second Slovenian to take a stage in this race, after Luka Mezgec. Behind him, Alberto Contador attacked from the peloton with four kilometers to go and only Richie Porte and Fabio Aru were able to follow him from the favorites group. The three launched an exciting sprint in the last 500 meters, with Aru finishing third and taking bonifications thanks to which he’s now just two seconds behind Contador, the new leader of the Giro d’Italia.

What comes now

On Thursday, the peloton will line-up at the start in Montecatini Terme, one of the towns that have hosted the 2013 UCI World Championships. This stage is almost entirely flat, except for a short, central sector where the categorized climb is set. The first 80 km roll along mainly level roads across the Pisa territory. Just past Saline di Volterra, the route reaches the Colline Metallifere and goes ahead, passing through Pomarance (KOM climb), Larderello and Castelnuovo Val di Cecina.

A final, level stretch leads to the finish, on largely straight roads.The last eight kilometers are on a perfectly flat road and feature only two bends, 2,7 and 2,3 kilometers from the finish, followed by a long, slightly bending stretch up to 1,000 meters from the finish, where the home straight begins, on 7,5-m wide asphalt road. 1,500 meters from the finish there is a speed bump that can be cleared following a straight trajectory. There, in the Castiglione della Pescaia – a town which makes its debut in the Giro d’Italia – the sprinters are expected to fight for victory.

André Greipel came to the Corsa Rosa with the goal of taking a win, and after failing to do it in Genova where he “didn’t read” the finale as he should have, the German rider of Lotto-Soudal has a big chance to make up for that in stage six, which totally suits him. On the other hand. Elia Viviani looks to be in a great shape, but the leader of the points classification will not be underestimated now, after his rivals made that mistake a couple of days ago.

Sacha Modolo will also be eager to bag a victory and make it two out of two for Lampre-Merida; for this, Modolo will count on the likes of Maximiliano Richeze and Roberto Ferrari, two cyclists that can prove very important in the last kilometers. Finally, Giacomo Nizzolo (who has had some health problems), Matteo Pelucchi and Moreno Hofland will be other sprinters hoping to cross the line first in Castiglione della Pescaia, but they’ll start as outsiders on Thursday, so a win of one of them will count as a semi-surprise.

2015 Giro d’Italia – Stage 5 Preview


What happened on Stage 4

Davide Formolo took a memorable victory in La Spezia, after a thrilling day which saw the peloton being shattered to pieces by Astana, the strongest team in the race. It was a stage of attacks and counterattacks, a chaotic and crazy one, at the end of which the 22-year-old Formolo won his first race since turning professional and by doing this, he underlined his huge talent. Also on Tuesday, Simon Clarke became the 8th Australian rider to wear the pink jersey, while Rigoberto Uran and Jurgen Van Den Broeck came home 42 seconds behind Fabio Aru, Alberto Contador and Richie Porte.

What comes now

Stage 5 takes place almost entirely in Tuscany and is dedicated to the great Gino Bartali, who was first on the Abetone twice, in 1947 and 1948, although back then the stages didn’t finish on the climb, like it will be the case now. The stage which starts from La Spezia is quite short – 152 kilometers – and features just two obstacles, whose gradients are not too steep. The first part of the route is basically flat; past Aulla, the road starts to climb up to Foce Carpinelli (10 kilometers, 5% average gradient), then runs down to hit the short Barga climb and reaches the foot of the final ascent (17,3 kilometers with a 5,4% gradient).

The Abetone climb starts in La Lima. Gradients only slightly exceed 2% over the first 4,5 kilometers. The following 8 kilometers are steeper, with gradients around 7%, with the maximum gradient (14%) coming with around 7 kilometers left of the ascent. The route then levels out slightly – 5% – up to the finish, on wide and well-surfaced roads. The uphill home straight, with a gradient of 5%, is 100-m long (on 5,5-m wide asphalt road).

Fabio Aru has the strongest team in the race and will be keen on showing that he left all his health issues behind and that he’s a big contender not only for the podium, but also for the overall win. Besides the stage victory on this mythical climb of the race, Aru will have another stake: take as much seconds as possible to his opponents before the individual time trial that comes at the end of the second week, where everybody expects him to bleed minutes.

Alberto Contador doesn’t want the pink jersey, but he wants to prove to his rivals that he is in an excellent shape and Abetone should provide him with an excellent opportunity to fire the first “bullet” at this year’s edition. Of course, Richie Porte will also be there and can attack on the last part of the climb to score the win, but an even more interesting rider than the Aussie is Rigoberto Uran, who has to take back time to these three in order to keep his pink jersey ambitions alive.

Other cyclists to watch out for on Wednesday are Jurgen Van Den Broeck, Damiano Caruso, Esteban Chaves (the Colombian cyclist of Orica-GreenEdge, who can become the new leader of the Corsa Rosa), Stefano Pirazzi and Damiano Cunego, who doesn’t pose any threat in the general classification.

Introduced on the route in 1928 (when Domenico Piemontesi was the first rider to cross it), Abetone was a stage finish three times in the Giro d’Italia – 1956, 1959 and 2000 – the most memorable being the one from 56 years ago. In 1959, Abetone came at the end of stage three and Charly Gaul, nicknamed the “Angel of the Mountains”, a rider who used a high cadence on the ascents and is widely considered as one of the best climbers of all time, attacked and distanced all his rivals, the victory giving him the pink jersey, which he eventually won in Milan, 6 minutes and 21 seconds ahead of Jacques Anquetil.

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