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A taste of the strade bianche
Today's route has real spice. It pays tribute to Tuscany's own Gino Bartali on the tenth anniversary of his death by including sections on many of his favourite training roads around his home in Ponte a Ema, close to Florence. It starts straightforwardly enough but becomes trickier as it passes through Volterra, a World Heritage site that's one of the region's most stunning hill-top towns. Closer to the finish, there are sections on the "white roads" made famous by the early-season Monte Paschi Strade Bianche one-day race and a tricky climb before a downhill run to the line.
The stage has the lumpy look of a Classic. The last climb should bring out the overall contenders but maybe not at full bore with the Terminillo to come on stage 8. Damiano Cunego will fancy this stage.
"This is like a mini-Strade Bianche. I've never won that race so I'll be very motivated here. I wouldn't expect too many attacks from the GC guys but that's not to say it isn't a dangerous day for them. Someone like Basso might struggle on the gravel roads, where bike-handling is very important."
Vertical climb: 2,080m
Highest point: 585m
Category: Road Stage