Dario Cioni says
It’s a difficult stage to call, for all sorts of reasons. It’s only 136km, and historically these stages have tended to be really fast.
Of course, in reality, it’s the riders who will determine the shape of it. My guess is that it will go from the gun, in which case they’re in trouble because it will be a really hard afternoon. My guess is that if a small break goes early the sprinters’ teams won’t try to control it, because it’s too hard a stage to really manage.
The team with the maglia rosa might want to keep it, but if they have GC ambitions they might just let it go. If, for example, we had Viviani in pink from the team time trial, we’d probably want to defend it. But it all comes down to the teams’ goals and to that first hour. It’s not one where you can predict what might happen, which of course is the whole point of it…
Moment in time
There exists a famous photograph, taken by Timm Köln, of a certain Manuele Mori. It’s a close-up of a patched-up Mori at the 2006 Giro, and to be honest it’s pretty grizzly. Mori looks like his jaw is being held together with a sticking plaster.
Mori is a gregario, just like his bother Max and their father, Primo. Prior to the 2006 Giro he’d never won a pro bike race and yet here, as he pelted down the Colle di Bracco with Emanuele Sella, his ship appeared to have come in. As his mum, dad and sweetheart waited at a sodden finish in Sestri, their wildest dreams were about to come true. Sella, you see, was the world’s worst sprinter. And then, 7km from the line, total and utter calamity.
First Manuele Mori overcooked it on a hairpin and flew headlong over the guardrail. He landed in a field and, when he looked round, saw that his bike had followed him. He therefore got back on it and set about trying to reach the erstwhile chasers. Manuele caught them and, adrenaline coursing, dropped them again. He was set for a sensational win, but his back wheel had been bent out of shape in the crash.
The rest you can guess, but suffice to say that poor Manuele’s helmet finished up in pieces, that the picture says it all, and that he has no recollection whatsoever of what befell him. Probably just as well. Manuele Mori is 35 now and he still hasn’t won a stage at the Giro.