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A voi! Stage 16: Motorola!

Pinzolo - Aprica 177 km Difficulty rating: ★★★★★ (+)

LUCA BETTINI/AFP/GettyImages

Hubba hubba hubba! You have to be heartless not to like the looks of this stage. Or be Mark Cavendish. Or........sane?

First off, the riders are just coming off a rest day. The first 13 km are straight upward at something like 6,5%, you just don't do that to people. That's like a 5AM wakeup-call on the morning after De Ronde. This isn't Nam, there are rules after all? So that monstrosity is probably going to make for an insane start and chuck a few unlucky souls out the back with nothing left on the day but misery and the timecut to worry about. But on the bright side, only 164km to go at that point.

After that the riders tackle the Tonale which is Gavia's less evil younger brother, the road last used when the weather cancelled out the Gavia. It's not horrible and should perhaps be the most conservatively raced climb of the day unless someone decides to go nuts. But realistically some sort of race rhythm should be in place by now and maybe KOM points are the biggest concern at that point.

gdi16

With the Tonale done there's really only a small matter of a bit of a lap race. Once up to Aprica, go around a little loop and then climb back up to Aprica for the finish. Easy peasy, Aprica is a tiny little climb of 14 km at 3,5%, this should be a piece of cake. Oh, and by the way, in between the two Aprica climbs there's this little thing:

mortirolo

Ok, maybe I was overstating the "easy peasy" bit a little? The Mortirolo should need little introduction at this point but if you are in doubt then both Will and the Grubers can tell you exactly what it's about. Having climbed the beast there is still a descent and the easy-ish final grind up to the finish for people to catch back up but the reality is that the balance of power at the top is usually doesn't change much in that final bit. Unless you make a deal with Ivan Basso, which Gilberto Simoni will tell you is a bit like waging a landwar against Russia in the winter.

Chi vincerà?

Alberto Contador: He may have gifted Landa at Madonna while he was busy chit-chatting with Fabio but there will be no gifts on this stage. Only way he misses is if Tinkoff let a harmless break get a little too much free reigns which isn't entirely impossible actually but this is such a hard day that they should be paying a heavy price for any early energyspending so odds are it comes together any way.