Daniele Bennati (Tinkoff-Saxo) knows the finish of stage 3 of Tirreno-Adriatico better than anyone else and the Tuscan is hopeful that his local knowledge can put him in the shake-up for victory in his hometown of Arezzo on Friday afternoon.
"I go past there every day to take my son to nursery,” Bennati told Cyclingnews of the finish at Piazza della Libertà. “It's a great finish. I've got to say I like it because it finishes in my home town but it's going to a spectacular finale.”
The Tirreno-Adriatico peloton will tackle three laps of an 11-kilometre finishing circuit around Arezzo and pass the line four times in total before the finish. That extended reconnaissance could prove very useful given the technical nature of the finale and the uphill drag to the line.
“It won’t be easy, it's a complicated finale,” Bennati explained. “The route goes through a medieval arch and then turns immediately right. There are 200 metres that are quite steep and then after that, there are cobbles on a 5% slope until the finish.”
The 210 kilometre stage from Cascina features two categorised climbs, at San Casciano Val di Pesa and Poggio alla Croce, but the peloton should be largely intact by the time it reaches Arezzo.
Controlling the race on the finishing circuit could prove more difficult, however, and positioning will be crucial once in the city streets. While overall leader Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) and Marcel Kittel (Giant-Shimano) will both be keen for a win after failing to contest the sprint in Cascina on Thursday, Bennati warned that it is not a finale that suits out and out sprinters.
“They’ll try for sure and they could, but it won't be for pure sprinters,” said the Aretino, who instead picked Peter Sagan (Cannondale) as the favourite for the win.
“Positioning will be vital,” Bennati continued. “It’s more suited to Sagan than the pure sprinters, and – why not? – more suited to me too.”