In a rare act of tenderness, the Giro organisers have given the riders a rest day on Monday to help them get over the rigmarole of the transfer from Ireland. They then use the next three stages to start ratcheting up both the distances and the difficulty.
Stage 4: Tue 13th May, Giovinazzo to Bari, flat, 121km
The organisers show yet more compassion for the riders as they’ve scheduled the shortest and flattest stage of the race just after the first rest day. That said, the riders aren’t going to be dawdling – this should be one of the fastest stages of the race and will end in a bunch sprint in Bari. The riders will do well to check the race book carefully though, as there are plenty of twists and turns in the final 3km, with a final 90-degree left-hander just 350 metres from the line.
Stage 5: Wed 14th May, Taranto to Viggiano, medium mountains, 203km
Add about 80km to yesterday’s stage and ensure the second half is rolling terrain and three climbs – a Cat 3 and the Cat 4 climb at Viggiano twice at the end – and you have a puncheur’s dream stage. The climb at Viggiano averages a mild 4% gradient for its 7.5km but is steepest towards the finish line – the final kilometre averages over 6%, with the final 150 metres or so at nearly 8%. Perfect for a scrappy stage-hunter to attack and perhaps take the maglia rosa.
Stage 6: Thu 15th May, Sassano to Montecassino, medium mountains, 247km
This is the second-longest stage of the race and except for a few lumps and a Cat 4 in the first half of the stage, it’s mainly flat until the very end. Like yesterday, this climb suits the puncheurs so expect the guys who battled it out in Viggiano to be at the sharp end again today. The flatness of the stage, however, means that the peloton will most likely hit the base of the climb up Montecassino together. It averages a shade over 5% but flattens off considerably in the final kilometre, so timing is everything.
Link: Official website
Header image: Monastery at Montecassino