The middle part is quite tough, but logically this is a sprint. The sprinters’ teams will hope that the break is quite small, because it’s much easier to control that way. It goes up and down quite a bit in that middle section, but of course the teams will factor that in to how much time the break gets. The last thing they want is to have to chase hard on the hilly part, so they will keep them in range in order to ride that section tempo.
The GC picture will be starting to form now. They will have the Abetone stage in their legs, so the maglia rosa contenders’ teams probably won’t work. Therefore the onus is on teams who have a sprinter, but no GC ambitions. They have the most riding on it and they can’t afford to pass opportunities like this up. So one way or another it’s all going to come back together for the finish.
Moment in time
The 1933 Giro was the most eagerly awaited yet. Cycling was immensely popular in Italy and the result was that the percorso was extended to 17 stages. The literacy programmes of the 1920s had seen to it that more Italians could read the Gazzetta and the Giro was the best marketing tool at its disposal. Previously it had been the preserve of great cities like Milan, Turin, Rome and Naples, but now the paper spread its net. As such stage 5 would conclude in Grosseto. Back then the Giro was a highly parochial affair and internecine rivalries were its lifeblood. They were what kept the public interested and in 1933 the Giro had arguably the best one yet…
Alfredo Binda had been dominating cycling for the best part of a decade. He’d won four giri and such was his supremacy that the organisers had actually paid him not to take part in 1930. Now, however, a hugely popular new star threatened to usurp him in a mano a mano contest at the Giro. He was Learco ‘The Human Locomotive’ Guerra and he entered the race as the newly crowned Italian champion.
When he dropped Binda magnificently on the road to Grosseto, the hordes who supported him cheered long and loud. Not only was it his third stage win, but Binda had been utterly trounced. A changing of the guard? Not quite. The following day Guerra crashed out and Binda claimed his fifth Giro after all…