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Giro Stage 8: Saturday Shenanigans

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We hit the second weekend of the Giro with a hilly stage.

Peschici Poppy Field Giro
The peloton have gone to Peschici before. Here they are passing a poppy field en route in 2008.
DAMIEN MEYER/AFP/Getty Images

Stage 8: Molfetta — Peschici, 189km

Moving along up the back of the boot.

Mappa

And the profile...

AmyBC’s Wine of the Day

Guttarolo 2013 Primitivo Lamie della Vigna from Biondivino
Why, yes, the same producer, but two very different ways of making wine. Yesterday in anfora (clay), today, stainless steel. From the importer:Grapes are hand-harvested in late September/early October and fermented using natural yeasts in stainless steel fermentation tanks.The grapes are then macerated for 16 days and aged in stainless steel tanks for 20 months, followed by an additional six months in bottle before release. The wine is then bottled without clarification, filtration or the addition of sulphur dioxide.

Did You Know!

This stage takes the Giro onto the Gargano promontory, a protruding mass of land from the back of Italy's boot. Formerly connected to Croatia across the Adriatic, a series of what I assume were very amazing, very complicated geological events led it to now become part of Italy. It is now a budget tourist destination, and presumably some of those tourists would stay in the rather small coastal town of Peschici, where the stage finishes. Peschici is home to the museum of torture, where one can view thumbscrews, iron cages and Giro sprint stages from when Petacchi was at his peak, in the town's old Byzantine castle.

Stage Deets

The regular climb on Monte Sant'Angelo is the biggest challenge of the stage.

It's nine kilometres at nearly seven per cent, which would be enough to send quite a few sprinters out the back if it were raced up quickly. It tops out ninety kilometres from the end though, so it seems more like an annoyance than a real obstacle. Closer to the finish come the cat. four Coppa Santa Tecla (it's a rule that all non-gravel climbs on the second Saturday of the Giro must be named after saints, look it up) and a couple of noncategorised hills to close out the stage.

The final climb of the via Montesanto gets steeper as the finish line approaches, reaching twelve per cent in the final metres, and given that the peloton will be climbing for a kilometre and a half, that's enough to knock out the sprinters.

Pick to Win

There are teams that have the firepower to bring back the break and win this stage. There's also Cannondale, who have the power to win the stage, but not to bring the break back, and if not for that last bit I might just pick Michael Woods to win. I reconsider, however, and say that this is a day for the breakaway. Blockhaus will be climbed just twenty-four hours after the victor of stage eight raises his arms, so I can see the peloton easily willing to accept a piano day.

My pick to win from that breakaway, then, is Luis Leon Sanchez. He's been quiet so far, but Astana have the power to be a stage hunting force at this Giro, and this is their chance for a first win.