Thursday saw a summit finish on the tallest active volcano in Europe. Friday… will be different from that.
What’s It About?
A week into the race, and the Giro hits mainland Italy for the first time. This stage is about bridging the gap between the excitement of Etna and the weekend’s excitement in the Apennines. After too many transfers, it is a short and flat day in the saddle, and a welcome finish in the town from which they’ll depart on Saturday.
Nothing to see here, folks. This is a flat and coast-hugging stage, moving north around the top of the foot and up to the base of the shin, if you are, like me, unable to think of Italian geography without comparison to the boot. Wind is the thing that might have altered this stage, but the forecast suggests there won’t be much to worry anyone.
Did You Know?
Well, no ruins to speak of in the vicinity of the finish, so I’ll move to my second go-to DYK idea; food. Ara tijeddra is a local dish, and one I dearly love. Why? Because it combines three different kinds of carbohydrates, and you can eat it with a spoon. Perfect post-exercise sofa food. So put this stage on record, get out and enjoy the outdoors, cook this, and watch the repeat with a bowl of it. Yumsk.
Whom Does the Stage Favor?
Sprinters. Which, given this field, isn’t a huge number of riders. For the bulk of the field, this will be a day to get through without incident, and that’s likely to be what happens. Helpfully, the organisers have even laid on a comparatively straight route through the final few kilometres, on nice wide main roads.
Hard to see too many bad luck stories emerging from this one, it’ll be a question of who has the best train, and who can generate the most speed.
AmyBC’s Wine of the Day
Wine: Giuseppe Calabrese Terre di Cosenza Pollino 2013 from Biondivino
From the importer:
Giuseppe Calabrese tends four hectares of mostly bush-trained old vines, in the Pollino Mountains of northern Calabria, in the ancient town of Saracena. He works without peer in this remote area; to say he’s plowing the rough road is understatement. The winter’s here are bracing, summer’s are fresh, thanks to the nearby mountains and high altitude (400 meters). The soil is a mix of Neogene marine deposits and limestone, as seen by the many ancient limestone caves you find in the area. Giuseppe’s wines are an echo of the local wildness, and the ancient Saracean civilization, which still imbues the area. The great Calabrian historian, Giovanni Fiore da Cropani described Saracena as an “Ancient land…built by the Oenotrians..500 years before the TrojanWar.” The Oenotrians were no ordinary ancient people, these people from Greek Arcadia, their name itself means ‘people from the land of the vines.”The red grape variety Magliocco Dolce [mah-l’yee-OHK-koh DAWL-che]* is intriguing and moody: smoky, savory, fresh black fruit, and grainy tannins.
Pick to Win
I talked about whether Marceczko was up to sprinting at this level, and he’s shown a few more signs of it. However, he’s yet to better Elia Viviani and I don’t think he will here. QuickStep’s train will enjoy this run-in and he’s good enough to repay them for an armchair ride to the 500m flag and strengthen his grasp on the points jersey.