STRICT DEADLINE = STAGE START TIME 11:40 CET
Most of this stage features a continuous uphill and downhill roller coaster ride southeast through the Macerata and Fermano Apennine valleys with short, sharp ascents followed by technical descents. The route has four GPMs (Cingoli: cat 4 746 m – km 95.4; Passo della Cappella: cat 2 772m – km 118; Montelupone: cat 3 251m – km 154.7; Montegranaro: cat 3 241m – km 176.5) with the cat 2 Passo della Cappella having 4 km of dirt with steep sections. After the crossing of Trodica di Morrovalle, the race faces the narrow Montegranaro wall with a maximum 18% gradient and 35 km still to go. There's a broad and fast descent of Casette d’Ete before the Santa Lucia ascent (max 15%) and the loop back to the Adriatica State Road via another technical descent. The only level road on this stage is the flat, wide finish in Porto Sant’Elpidio on the Adriatic coast. Expect a very small bunch sprint or a solo break to decide this leg-zapping, Ardennes classic-like stage.
CN's preview quotes Bergonzi of Gazzetta:
The finale is like a Tirreno-Adriatico stage. It’ll be beautiful, in the part of Marche famous for the shoemakers. This will be up and down all afternoon, and just stunning to look at. It’s made for attackers, but it’s one of those stages that are really difficult to call.
Somewhat unexpectedly, many sprinters were dropped in the modest undulations of the last 30km. The most unexpected of these was Farrar, who lost a chance to bonificate himself into pink. With Liquigas pushing the pace to keep Basso out of the way of crashes, only about half of the sprint field were in contention for the finale, where favorites Cav and Goss did not disappoint.
In the game, Cav and Goss were popular picks, so Benna's third place was the deciding factor. Congratulations to VirtKitty and Seahorse who swept the podium and were our joint stage winners today. Although the bonus for Benna was modest, with wannabe_scattista missing out on Cav, the total point haul from the stage was enough to propel VIrtKitty into pink. It's tight at the top of our GC, and with potential bonus bonanzas in the less certain stages to come, even newcomers who have missed the early stages can still quickly make up lost ground.
For each stage, pick three riders. The order of your picks does not matter.
The first three riders on the stage score. The basic score is stage winner 4 points, second place 2 points, third 1 point.
In addition there are bonus points awarded. Stage winner bonus is 24 points, second place bonus 12 points, third place bonus 6 points. The bonus points are split equally among all the DS's who picked that rider.
The entry deadline is the official start time of the stage. Now, people may want to be sneaky and change their picks before the stage starts when they see what other people's picks look like. That's fine, it's a normal part of the game and quite acceptable - but we'll allow strictly one change. You can change all three riders if you want, but it has to be in one new post. If you want to make a change, post it as a reply to your original post.
If you miss making an entry for a stage, no problem, you're still in the competition - you just score zero for that stage. Also, there's no limit to how early you can make picks, so if you're going on vacation, feel free to enter ahead of time for as many stages as you want.