Mark Cavendish notched up his fourth win of the 2013 Giro last night but the Manx man won’t be animating tonight’s stage of the Giro d’Italia. We’ll have live scores from 11.00pm AEST.
At 168kms the stage isn’t too daunting in length but it is the Cat 1 and 2 climbs that will test the GC men.
Vincenzo Nibali is still looking pretty in pink as he and his rivals had a break from attacking each other and let the sprinters, or just one sprinter, enjoy the race.
Tonight is the first of two mountain stages with tomorrow’s stage crossing the border into France which may see Nibali et al saving their legs for all out attacks on the Galibier.
Tonight’s stage will be more pragmatic as the GC men check each other but some fireworks are still expected on the final climb of the day.
Bradley Wiggins and Ryder Hesjedal have both gone home but the GC battle is far from over. Cadel Evans has held onto second position and tonight will see if he will challenge for the win or settle for a podium position.
With Tejay Van Garderen looking good for the Tour of California, Evans audition for leadership at the Tour de France won’t be hurt by a stage win.
The stage begins in the town of Cervere in the region of Piedmont which is known for its fine porro leeks. 168kms later the riders will roll across the line in the westernmost commune in Italy at the ski town Bardonecchia.
The finish is at the Monte Jafferau with an elevation of 1908m’s but after the riders have made their way up the 2035m of Sestriere, there will be some tired bodies on the 7km climb.
The lower slopes of the climb average around 10 percent with the max gradient of 14 percent before a slight respite as the climb eases up with an 8.6 percent middle section before the final few km’s average 9.9 percent.
The final two kilometres average 11 and 12 percent, there should be a few attacks by the GC men if they haven’t come already.
The winner of tonight’s stage is more likely to be a opportunist or GC man who’s aspirations for the overall have disappeared and stage victories their last chance for glory.
We saw Rigoberto Uran ride away to victory in the first mountain stage but as the Colombian is now leading Team Sky’s attack he won’t be afforded the same luxuries.
A small GC shake up is likely but Sunday’s stage into France looks like offering more fireworks.