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Approaching the Business End of the Giro

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My clumsy questioning of whether you can segment this Giro was answered pretty clearly by the riders today, as they sauntered out of Emilia and down to the Tuscan coast at a pace that demonstrated their interest in getting ready for tomorrow. Clearly today was the last day of the warmup phase of the Giro d'Italia... and tomorrow the real work begins.

Tomorrow's climb up to the Santuario Nostra Signora Della Guardia is an hors d'oeuvre, to be indulged carefully and digested on Wednesday, before the Giro serves up a six-day-long feast only the elite climbers will enjoy. [/torturedmetaphor] Tuesday's stage will be like the Montevergine -- where the race can be lost, but not won -- only more so. The climb itself is significantly steeper than Montevergine, and comes at the tail end of the Giro's second-longest stage, a full 230km. None but the most threatening breaks will be chased down by the top teams, given the distances involved, and the fact that none but the most elite escapees could make it to the line anyway. Tuesday will be about keeping the cards close to the vest, if at all possible. Maybe DiLuca will once again want the thrill of a stage win, but there likely won't be much in the way of time gaps. Those will start showing up Thursday.

We are eight days away from the Zoncolan stage, by which time the Giro will just about be won. After that, some minimal climbing and a huge time trial will be left to sort out the final podium places. But starting tomorrow sorta and Thursday for real, the battle commences in full.