This is always an interesting phase of the race. Broadly speaking there are two types of riders – those getting stronger and those getting weaker. Everyone is feeling it and basic physiology determines who’s in which camp.
So it’s becoming clear who can’t win the Giro, even if we don’t yet know who will win it. It looks fascinating and as a cycling fan it’s one I’d want to go to see because anything could happen. It’s long, it’s up and down all day, and it’s in the south. If it rains down there it can be tricky and most of the towns you go through have a cobbled section. Then the people tend to get very close to the racers, so it presents a unique set of problems.
With guys like Contador riding, anyone who’s having a bad day could pay heavily. It won’t decide the Giro, but you can be sure that the winner will be a high class rider…
Moment in time
Benevento would wait a further 40 years before hosting its second Giro stage, the fourth of the 1965 edition. And what a peculiar stage it was. Nothing much happened for six soporific hours, but then all hell broke loose 40km from home. A group of seven went away, among them ace sprinters Cribiori, Durante and Dancelli. Also present was Giro newbie Albano Negro, from Vicenza, who stood third on GC. If, therefore, they could gain 37 seconds on maglia rosa Luciano Galbo, he’d become the first Vicentino ever to lead the race.
The problem was that little Galbo was a valuable domestique for Franco Balmamion and Italo Zilioli, two of the favourites. They plonked themselves on the front, had their Sanson team organise the chase, and set about reeling in Negro and co. So that was that. Wasn’t it?
As they came within striking distance, Balmamion punctured. Now Sanson were forced to wait, because he was a two-time Giro winner and strongly fancied again. Thus the chase lost impetus and, with no particular vested interest elsewhere, Galbo’s pink jersey disappeared up the road. Negro lost the jersey two days later and neither he nor Galbos would ever wear it again.