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A nod to Pantani
This long stage runs alongside the Adriatic coast and finishes in Marco Pantani's hometown. The route detours inland late on to take in some of Pantani's training roads. Indeed, the two climbs near the finish, the Perticara and Barbotto, are both on the route of the Nove Colli Marco Pantani cyclo-sportive, which takes place a week before this stage. These climbs might derail the sprinters, especially when they hit the 18 per cent Barbotto, but with 40km left, don't bet against a bunch gallop.
Will Paris-Nice sensation Peter Sagan make the Liquigas line-up for the Giro? His lack of experience suggests not but his form may make him difficult to leave out. If included, the Slovak neo-pro is an intriguing wild card on tricky days like these. He could win from a break if he gets into the right one.
"Cesenatico is the home of Marco Pantani but also of the Nove Colli gran fondo, which will take place on the weekend before the Giro comes to town. Every year, literally thousands of bike-nuts flock here for what is now one of the most important events on the amateur cycling calendar – and the end of this stage will take in some of the short, steep climbs that they face in the Nove Colli. We have something else in store for Cesenatico but it's secret that we're keeping up our sleeve."
Vertical climb: 1,790m
Highest point: 665m
Category: Road Stage