By Gregor Brown in Varese
The Corsa Rosa will climb the Monte Pora for the first time in its history this Friday with the 228-kilometre stage from Legnano. The stage is the first of two final decisive stages, and High Road's Morris Possoni believes attacks will need to come immediately from the favourites if they are to make a difference.
The stage starts and ends in Italy's Lombardia region with three key climbs: Passo del Vivione, Passo Della Presolana and Monte Pora. Vivione is the longest – 19.8 kilometres and topping out with 55.4 kilometres remaining – while the double whammy of Presolana and Pora at the stage's end should see the guns start to fire.
"I have done it in training. It is a hard climb to ride after Vivione and the Presolana... It will make the selection," noted 23 year-old Possoni to Cyclingnews Thursday morning in Mendrisio. The Italian is from Ponte San Pietro, near the stage's mid-way point.
"I have not done it many times because in the winter there is usually snow up there and it is cold. The road should be good and clean now, on the Vivione."
Possoni believes it will be a good opportunity for the favourites to make time on their rivals, but timing will be the key as the last two climbs are not that long – Presolana starts with 16.1 kilometres remaining and Pora with just 6.4 kilometres to go.
"The favourites will have all of the ground they want to attack each other. ... If they are going well they have to keep a high pace over Vivione and then they have to attack right away on the Monte Pora because it is not very long, five or six kilometres from the start in Dorga."
There will be plenty of cheers for the home rider and he will try to make a showing if his legs feel good. "The stage will pass near my home, Ponte San Pietro – I will breathe in the home air. My fans, my parents and two sisters, Orietta and Emanuela," he confirmed will be lining the road. "Attack? If I am going well then yes, there will be many people out there to see me. The problem is that the energy level is low."