There's always an exodus of notable, mainly sprinting, talent before the Giro's critical mountain tests, and why not given there is nothing much to whet their appetite during the final week of the race. With the biggest climbs now looming, the sprinters will be determined to make the most of the two stage-winning opportunities they have left. This is the pick of them, so any break today is almost certainly doomed unless their lead amounts to more than a minute coming off the final small climb.
Procycling's favourite to win:
It's difficult to see past Greipel, Petacchi and Farrar, especially as several potential sprint contenders will be leading these guys out. Watch, though, for Androni's Alberto Loddo, whose 25th career win this year was his first ever on home Italian soil. The passage through Macerata may be a good omen for Katusha's rouleur extraordinaire Mikhail Ignatiev (right), who won there during Tirreno-Adriatico.
Vertical climb: 770m
Highest point: 301m
Category: Road Stage