Stage 8: Gabicce Mare to Saltara, 54.8km individual time trial
We’ve had the team time trial, and now we get to the first of two individual time trials. This one is a bit different from the decisive ITTs in last year’s Tour, although it is still a key stage for the GC contenders. The profile might not look like it but the first part of the parcours is up and down, left and right bends, short sharp climbs, short sharp descents, narrow roads – there is only about 20km of flat in all and the final 400 metres is a steep climb (max gradient of 13%) to the finish line.
Of course, everyone will be watching to see if Bradley Wiggins can recover from yesterday’s setback and recover the time lost after his late fall. If he’s at 100% – and that is by no means certain – you’d have to put money on him to win the stage. As far as the other GC contenders are concerned it will certainly sharpen the race up considerably, with strong time-trialists such as Cadel Evans and defending champion Ryder Hesjedal looking to assert themselves over the pure climbers. The times posted on this stage will shake up the GC and might make teams tweak their tactics over Monday’s rest day.
Link: Official website