Stage 19: San Candido - Piancavallo 191 km
Did You Know!
I wrote the Italian name of the start town San Candido in the header but like most towns in this area of Italy it also has a German name "Innichen". And actually we may be more correct in using that as almost 75% of the population count German as their main language. This is of course a leftover from the time of WW1 when Austria lost this region to Italy in the brutal war. Innichen itself was a bit away from the frontlines and served as a garrison and hospital at the time. We are well and truly in the Dolomites on this stage, more precisely the area called Sesto or Sexten Dolomites. The area is now more often referred to as the Parco Naturale Tre Cime. Whether this is because the similarity to the term "sexting" became a liability is unclear.
AmyBC’s Wine of the Day
i Clivi R_B_L_ Brut Nature
100% Ribolla Gialla
From the importer: Their varieties include the native varieties Ribolla Gialla, Friulano (formerly known as Tocai Friulano), Malvasia Istriana, Verduzzo (in dry form, which is unusual), and a little Merlot, which has so acclimatized to this corner of Italy that it's practically native. All of the wines are grown organically, and are cleanly but very naturally made, expressive, distinctive and mouthwatering. The winemaking is essentially the same with all of the whites, except the lees-aged wines and the sparkler. The whites are not macerated with the skins, they are fermented using indigenous yeasts, and they age on the fine lees until bottling.
What’s It About?
This is a pretty typical Vuelta stage stuck in the middle of the big Giro-deciding week. A bit of minor climbing en route but this is basically all about that final Piancavallo climb. Stage 18 offered the complex multiclimb day and this is more a full on dragrace. At least the Giro is offering up some different types of stages for the week three mountain-bonanza.
The Piancavallo looks like a promising climb if you are a Nairo fan. Of the 15,5 kms the first six are the hardest, opening up for an early attack if needed. It averages 9,4% for that part but as you can see there is an evil km or two that are much worse. After that comes a "normally hard" part where you can solidify your advantage before a fairly easy final third. In the best of worlds this layout should discourage the conservative "wait for the last 3 km" approach since it looks unlikely to offer opportunities for any major gains that way.
Pick to Win
At what point do you start feeling sorry for Team Sky? Maybe at the point where Landa couldn’t close the door on Nibali in the final meters of the queen stage to Bormio I would guess. Anyway, he looks to be climbing well enough to be able to ride away with the stage here, maybe benefitting from one of the GC bigs attempts to win time and the overall.