What’s It About?
This is the longest stage of the Giro at 239 kilometers and starts with a heretofore unused climb up another side of the Gran Sasso to start the day. The course then continues north and crosses the Apennines with lots of lumps but no major climbs along the way to finish in Gualdo Tadino, in the Umbria region. If this isn’t a day for the breakaway, I don’t know which day will be. Expect a fun fight to get into the break on the starting climb and then an easy day for the GC contenders.
Big starting climb + lots of bumps along the way = it’s gotta be a day for the breakaway.
Profile of the starting climb:
It’s always fun to have the post-rest day stage start on a long slog of a climb. About the only excitement for the day for the GC riders will be to see if any riders have a Tejay-esque jour sans (giorno senza?) on that climb. Otherwise, look for a big fight to get in the break on that opening slope.
The finish will be flat with a long, straight, and wide run in to the final 2 kilometers at which point the riders turn off the via Flaminia onto the narrower streets of Gualdo Tadino. There’s a quick right and then left with about one kilometer to go before another quick successions of right hand turns onto the finishing straight.
Did You Know?
I was going to wax poetic about the undeniably best and most versatile of pasta, penne, but unfortunately, the starting town, described as one of the most beautiful towns in Italy, was not named after the most beautiful pasta in Italy or vice versa.
The opening climb will have the riders passing the Hotel Rigopiano, which was hit by an avalanche on January 18, 2017, killing 11 employees and 18 hotel guests. Miraculously, rescuers were able to pull out nine people, including four children, and three puppies. Giampiero Parete, the luckiest man alive, was a hotel guest at the time staying there with his wife and 2 children. He had gone out to pick up some Tylenol for his wife when the avalanche struck and miraculously his wife and two children were pulled from the snow safely. The family has written a book about the ordeal entitled Il Peso Della Neve (“The Weight of Snow”).
There is still an ongoing manslaughter investigation of the local authorities for failing to respond to the reports of the avalanche and controversy in the region about who is to blame for the tragedy, but the Giro (RCS and a few local riders such as Giulio Ciccone and Giuseppe Fonzi) will be paying tribute to the victims of the avalanche on the rest day.
Besides commemorating the recent tragedy, the route looks to take in many historic and beautiful areas, but unfortunately the only Pliny the Elder that I consult with is the alcoholic variety. Wikipedia the Elder tells me that there was lots of drama in the Umbria region regarding the Visigoths and Ostrogoths. If there isn’t a surf rock cover band in Gualdo Tadino named Goth or Ostro-goth? I’ll be extremely disappointed. Of particular historical note, the race will pass by the town of Nocera Umbra, which looks all belissimo sitting up on the hill.
However, the town had to be built on that hill because of the goddamned, good-for-nothing Visigoths who destroyed the town when it was in the valley. In the 1200s, the town came under control of the noble Trinci family. In 1421, the Castellan of Nocera Umbra, Pietro di Rasiglia, suspected his wife of adultery with a Trinci family member and did the only reasonable thing-- he invited the entire Trinci family on vacation (a hunting party) and murdered them all. Unfortunately for the Castellan, Corrado, the young and too-cool-for-hunting-with-the-fam member of the Trinci family stayed home and survived and then took swift revenge on Rasiglia by enacting the Visgothian plan of destroying the entire town again. Poor young Corrado did not last long as the ruler of the city, though, as the real cool Pope, Pope Eugene IV, who had friggin’ papal armies, sent Cardinal Giovani Vitelleschi to destroy whatever rubble remained of the city and kill Corrado, resulting in the city being under papal control until the 1860s.
AmyBC’s Wine of the Day
Wine: La Quercia Colline Teraman Montepulciano d’ Abruzzo
La Quercia is a small winery stretching for about 12 hectares in vineyards and 3 in olive tree groves. It also has oenological plants for 400 square meters, with a productive capacity of around 4000 hl of wine. The activity of the company is eager to respect nature and environment in order to attain good and healthy products. Cherries and blackberries. Very easy drinking.
Whom Does the Stage Favor?
If you are a climber that has lost time in the GC and are looking to get a stage win, you’ll be looking to get in the break. That 16 kilometer climb from almost the very start of the stage will ensure that the breakaway consists of the climbier types. Once that break gets away, provided there are no dangerous riders involved for the GC, the peloton should give them lots of leeway. Look for a rider or riders from the break to make a move on the categorized climb to Annifo or on the descent. Looking to riders who can take this stage, there are a whole bunch to choose from: rider from Androni who gets in the break, LL Sanchez, Alexey Lutsenko, David Villella, Matej Mohoric, Giovanni Visconti, Giulio Ciccone, Alessandro De Marchi, Davide Formolo, Ben Hermans, Tim Wellens, Eduardo Sepulveda, Louis Meintjes, Hugh Carthy, Joe Dombrowski, Jose Goncalves, Enrico Battaglin, Bobo Gesink, Gianluca Brambilla, Jarlinson Pantano, Valerio Conti, Jan Polanc, Diego Ulissi, and John Darwin Atapuma. Good luck trying to pick one. It’s a fool’s errand.
Pick to Win
Well, crap, looks like this fool has to pick one. Let’s go with Tim Wellens to get his second Giro stage victory. He’ll like the length of the stage and if he gets in the break is almost assured to attack his break companions with 30 kilometers to go. He took it easy on Gran Sasso and coming off a rest day, it’s hard not to see him attacking.