May 13, Stage 5:
San Martino di Castrozza - Alpe di Siusi 125km
- John Stevenson
May 05, 2009, 1:33 BST,
June 09, 2009, 11:47 BST
Stage 5 - Wednesday, May 13: San Martino di Castrozza - Alpe di Siusi, 125km
Route: The profile for this stage is shaped like a massive half pipe; the old adage of 'what goes down must come up' has never rung more true.
There are effectively 57.2 kilometres of descending after the initial and gentle 8.2km climb up the Passo Rolle. That is countered by 25 brutal kilometres of climbing from Prato all'Isarco to the finish at the Alpe di Siusi. That's an average gradient of 6.1 percent, with the final ramp from Siusi to the finish yielding an unforgiving 8.1 percent grade, enough to split up some likely contenders.
Local hero: The middle of this stage is in the heart of the training area north of Trento used by Gilberto Simoni. The Diquigiovanni rider would love to put one over on Basso, a favourite target for Simoni's vitriol.
Procycling's top tip: All the major contenders will need to be at their sharpest today and one is almost sure to ride into the maglia rosa. It looks like a battle between Liquigas and Astana. With so much racing still to do, it would be no surprise to see someone like Franco Pellizotti slip away from the favourites.
Savio speaks: Alpe di Siusi is a tourist zone, like the day before, and a classic Dolomiti day. If it was any other Giro year these stages would be deciding days, but remember, we are only in the first week. Here the food is hearty, influenced by the Germans: speck and local cheese.