This is mostly flat, but there’s no way a sprinter is going to win. I know the finish in Fiuggi very well because we did it a lot at Tirreno-Adriatico. It’s the longest stage of the Giro at 263km. The way it evolves will depend on whether they let a break go, how many people are in it and who has the maglia rosa. My feeling is that an Ardennes-type rider could do well, somebody with the power and freshness to attack on short, punchy climbs. If I were to guess I’d say that Diego Ulissi, or a rider like him, will likely win it.
So it’s quite hard to call, but the last hour should make for really good TV. There will be teams with no sprinter and no GC contender who will identify it as a priority, so I suspect you’re going to see a real battle. You might see a few seconds lost here and there among the GC riders, but no more.
Moment in time
Though his memory has been largely obscured by the mists of time, Modena’s Walter Generati was a fine GC rider in the late 1930s. Three times he finished in the top 10, and he famously won the Metz stage of the 1937 Tour. However, he owes his fame (or at least what’s left of it) to his descending skills. As regards bike handling, there was nobody to touch him.
Legend has it that his team leader Giovanni Valetti had a mechanic sabotage his bike at the 1937 Giro. Valetti, they say, was upset because Generati threatened to usurp him. He therefore loosened his bottom bracket, costing him 15 minutes and putting paid to any big ideas he might be harbouring. Generati was livid and took it out on the pedals to win the next day in Puglia.
He won another stage the following year and had his revenge at the 1940 Giro. Valetti had won the previous two editions, but had shipped 18 minutes – and with them his own maglia rosa aspirations – on the road to Pisa. By the 17th stage, concluding in Fiuggi, Generati was also a GC non-entity. Therefore when the two of them attacked on the final climb, the peloton promptly sat up and let them sort it out once and for all.
Valetti knew he’d no chance in a sprint but, try as he might, he couldn’t shake Walter off. And so it was that Modena’s finest sprinted gleefully to his third and final stage of the Giro.