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Giro Stage 15: Dolomite Timetrial

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Marka/UIG via Getty Images)

Stage 15: Castelrotto - Alpe di Siusi 10.8 km TT

The uphill timetrial, the oldest trick in the book for Giro organizers to include timetrials but without ruining the chances of their Italian home-heroes in the process.

What's It About?

We stay in the Dolomites just a stone's throw from the finish of stage 14 in Corvara. Well, a stone's throw if you can throw a stone over the Passo Gardena that is? LAst time the Giro visited here was stage 5 in 2009 with Denis Menchov winning the stage ahead of Danilo Di Luca. Di Luca hence kicked Swede Thomas Löfkvist out of Pink after the stage, something that history books don't reflect anymore because Di Luca's result was........ questionable and now stricken. But I'm not bitter, we have Swedes in the Pink Jersey all the time.

Course Features

This is ski station territory we're riding into, nothing much up here but that.

The route itself is simple enough, a climb that starts gentle and then turns into nasty 8-9% territory for the last 7 kms. Nothing crazy like the Plan de Corones which we have seen as an uphill TT in this area before. No gravel or crazy stuff either.

Riders to Watch

This is going to be a who's who of the GC guys. The top 10 should probably not be all that different from the final top 10 in Turin except perhaps not in the exact same order. Nibali and Zakarin seem like the obvious names that should benefit but as far as TTs go this should be perfect for Valverde too. Jungels is the big question mark, what is he capable in a TT at these climbing percentages? Not too much would be my guess but he has surprised so far in this race. Pozzovivo is another who could bounce back in the GC perhaps on this stage, the climbing TTs suit him well.

Outside the top ten it will be interesting to see Roglic once again and also what a guy like Nieve can do now that he has no restraints.

AmyBC's Food and Wine Pairings

Wine: Ansitz Rynhoff Vernatsch Speaking of grapes that I love, it is time for vernatsch, also known as schiava or even Trollinger. Strawberries and violets.

Food: Apple Strudel -- a dessert of apples, pine nuts, and raisins or currants rolled up in paper-thin pastry -- is the defining dish of Italy's Trentino-Alto Adige region. This autonomous province borders Austria to the north and is squeezed between the Veneto and Lombardy regions to the south. Knowing this -- and that the region was part of Austria until after the first World War -- helps explain why this Austrian favorite is also beloved in Italy. Strudel's history goes back even further, though: It was brought to Austria by the Turks (there's an undeniable similarity between strudel and the more ancient baklava).

Pick to Win:

Vincenzo Nibali. I think this is a day he will want to take advantage of. And he can.