Giro d'Italia 2020: Stage 14 preview

Stage 14: Conegliano to Valdobbiadene

Date: October 17, 2020 

Distance: 34.1km 

Stage start: 12:35pm CEST

Stage type: Time Trial

The Giro’s third weekend begins with its second individual time trial, a 34.1km test through the Prosecco vineyards between Conegliano and Valdobbiadene. While the course will favour the TT specialists, the climbers shouldn’t be completely outclassed, as there is a significant ascent at either end.

It gets under way with half a dozen kilometres on the flat to arrive at the foot of the Muro di Ca’ del Poggio, which is classified as fourth category. It begins with a 90-degree left turn, the road launching straight up through the vineyards on the hillside, then steepening as it twists through the vines. The gradient briefly touches 19 per cent as the course rises to a ridge with spectacular views towards the high mountains, which will welcome the race on the following stage.

The riders bump along this ridge for five kilometres, then sweep down through Refrontolo to reach the plain below. It’s on this section to the bottom of the second climb that the likes of Geraint Thomas, Rohan Dennis and Victor Campenaerts should make the most significant gains. Here the road runs very straight and relatively flat until the left turn that leads up to the village of Guia, passing numerous Spumanti wineries on the way. Hugging the hillside, the route follows the contours for the next four kilometres before dropping into Valdobbiadene, where a hard right turn leads onto the final few hundred metres up to the line.

The course should enable the rouleurs-grimpeurs such as Ineos’s Thomas to gain a useful cushion on the pure climbers, but without tilting the GC balance too far in their favour. A look back at the 34.2km TT that took place at almost the same point in the 2018 race, for instance, reveals that Simon Yates finished just 1:37 down on stage winner Dennis, the kind of deficit that can easily be recouped on any of the fearsome mountain stages just ahead.

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