Stage 7 saw Adam Hansen (Lotto-Belisol) win a breakthrough grand tour stage and Bradley Wiggins (Team Sky) not only lose time but also crash. The first individual time-trial is upon us – join The Roar for coverage from 11:15pm AEST.
Stage 8 is the first genuine GC stage for 2013 and was to be the stage when Wiggins would put his rivals to the sword.
Wiggins’ Tour de France victory last year was built on his success in the two individual time trials but after losing time overnight, any possible lead after ITT looks more likely to be seconds than minutes.
This is the first individual time trial but second of three races against the clock at the 2013 Giro after the TTT on stage 2.
Luca Paolini (Katusha) lost the pink jersey as he struggled in the wet and greasy conditions to somewhat surprise maglia rosa wearer, Beñat Intxausti (Movistar).
Intxausti has a slender five second lead over favourite Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) and defending champion Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin-Sharp).
Cadel Evans (BMC) and Robert Gesink (Blanco) are within 20 seconds of Intxausti which leaves Wiggins as the only favourite outside the top ten.
Paolini has had his fun in pink and Intxausti looks likely to enjoy just the one day as Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) and Salvatore Puccio (Team Sky) have already done.
The 54.5km course is sure to separate the contenders from the pretenders but it is also a course on which the specialists will shine. Wiggins will be a favourite for the stage win which begins in Gabicce Mare in the Marche region and finishes in Saltara.
There are two tie checks on the course with the first one at 26kms at Pesaro and the second at 51.5kms at Calcinelli.
The first 37kms of the course are undulating before the long flat drag to the second time check and then an uphill finish into Saltara. This is still very much suited to the ITT specialists so expect Wiggins to claw back the time he lost in the first week.
This will be a test for Nibali and Hesjedal to limit their losses before the mountains while for Evans and Gesink they can let their rivals know they’re not here for a nice Italian holiday. Taylor Phinney (BMC) would have selected the stage as a season goal but as the young American is suffering from hay fever, it hard to back any result but one of the GC men winning tonight.
Join us from 11.15pm AEST as we bring you all the action from what should be a pivotal stage in the 2013 Giro.