With Cadel Evans performing above expectations and Sir Bradley Wiggins struggling early on, stage five of the 2013 Giro d’Italia could see further attacks. Join us from 10:30pm AEST.
Stage five features with two small climbs coming late in the day but the most likely outcome, if the peloton gets its act together, is a bunch sprint.
Today’s stage finish is in Matera, Italy’s famed City of Stones. About 9000 years ago people here began carving their homes into the limestone hills.
Some of these homes are still used today and could provide a nice little hideaway for Matt Goss and his Orica-GreenEdge team mates if their timing in the final moments of today’s possible sprint finish once again goes awry.
The 203 kilometre stage from Cosenza to Matera is pancake flat until the final 25 kilometres kicks things up a little.
First to make life difficult for the sprinters is the Montescaglioso, a two kilometre drag with an average gradient of ten percent.
Following that is the steady four to five percent climb up to Matera itself, so the sprinters will want to have been well looked after before hand.
But this is not one of those stages that only needs to be watched for the last hour.
Despite its flatness, the route hugs the Ionian coast and the winds have been known to splinter a peloton into Qatar style echelons, leaving the unwary to scramble and waste precious energy chasing instead of preserving their reserves for the looming Montescaglioso.
This stage could go either way. Should the sprinters clear the final hurdles then it’s hard to go past the form of the fastest Twitter addict in the world, Mark Cavendish.
Then again, should they be spat out the back of the peloton moaning of bursting lungs and shredded legs, you can be sure that last year’s winner, Ryder Hesjedal, has launched yet another frisky attack off the front of the group.
Preferably, Australia’s own Luke Durbridge will go early and time trial his way along the coast and over the hills to claim Orica-GreenEdge’s third Grand Tour victory, saving them the need to hide out among the ancient dwellings in the City of Stones.
Join me tonight from 10:30 pm for all the answers.