“Hello, legs? You’re about to get tested this weekend. Are you ready? You’d better be…”
Stage 7: Fri 16th May, Frosinone to Foligno, flat, 211km
This is officially a flat stage but, as you can see by the profile, it’s one of those stages organisers like to classify as flat but isn’t really. Undulating would be a better word for it, with two classified climbs. A break could get away, but the sprinters will also want to use some train energy to force a fast finish as it’s their last chance to score some red jersey points before the rest day.
If it does finish in a sprint, the final 2km looks fairly nasty. There’s a sharp right followed by two left-handers in rapid succession, before a long curving right-hander leads on to the short 160-metre finishing straight. If it’s wet, things could get messy – the last thing anyone needs after Thursday’s carnage.
Stage 8: Sat 17th May, Foligno to Montecopiolo, medium mountains, 179km
This is where the hard stuff really starts, as we see the first of the cat 1 and 2 climbs in this stage. And they’re pretty much bunched together at the end, after about 130km of undulation. The first climb of the day is the cat 1 Cippo di Carpegna, 6.8km with an average 9% gradient, followed almost immediately by the 9km climb up Villaggio del Lago. After a short descent, the peloton hits the Montecopiolo which has a 13% sting just before the finish line just to make sure the guys know that this Giro will coddle them no more.
Stage 9: Sun 18th May, Lugo to Sestola, medium mountains, 172km
A flat start, three climbs bunched together in the second half of the stage, 172km – what, did I just cut and paste stage eight? No. I did not. This stage is a bit different in that there is little undulation in the first half and 50km of the final 60km of this stage is climbing. The cat 3 Sant Antonio and cat 4 Rocchetta Sandri pummel the legs before the long, steady 8% climb up to the finish at Sestola. There are going to be some tired legs by this point but we should also see some attacks by those keen to recover time lost in the carnage on stage six, so we might see a GC contender or two dropped today. We’ll certainly see who has the legs and the heart for the rest of the race.
Link: Official website
Header image: Foligno