Stage 8: Gabicce Mare – Saltara Distance: 54.8km Highest point: 234m Category: Individual time trial
TEST OF METTLE Eschewing convention, the Giro has placed the first big GC sort-out, a hefty 54.8km TT, squarely on the second Saturday. Unorthodox it may be but the crono is deserving of such prestige. Grand Tours are about finding the most complete cyclist and winners should be able to excel against the watch. So, controversial or otherwise, this is a breath of fresh air. On paper, the route looks straightforward, but in reality only about 20 kilometres are flat. Beyond that it’s bumpy and technical, with a stiff ramp up to the finish.
StefanoZanatta says: "It’s Wiggins’s chance to put the hammer down. Those who say the Giro will be won here are wrong but if Wiggins is in top condition, the likes of Scarponi will be up against it. Basso and Nibali will defend themselves as best they can and anyone losing just two or three minutes will be happy. Four or five minute deficits though? You’re going to have to take huge risks later as in modern cycling it’s becoming harder to make up that kind of shortfall."