Giro d'Italia 2020: Stage 8 preview

Stage 8: Giovinazzo to Vieste

Date: October 10, 2020 

Distance: 200km 

Stage start: 11:25am CEST

Stage type: Hilly

Hugging the Adriatic coast almost all the way from start to finish, this is a stage of two halves. The first extends for 90 kilometres from Giovinazzo to the initial intermediate sprint at Manfredonia, during which the riders will clock just a few dozen metres of vertical gain.

Manfredonia is the southern gateway to the rugged Gargano promontory, the “spur” on Italy’s boot. The race enters this peninsula of soaring headlands and ancient oak and beech forest via the second-category ascent of Monte Sant’Angelo, extending to 9.6km and averaging 6.1 per cent. After descending back down to the coast, the route bumps eastwards, crossing a fourth-category climb at La Guardia before reaching the start of the 14km-long finishing circuit.

This begins with the short, but in parts, extremely steep climb of Via Saragat. It barely extends much more than a kilometre in length, but with ramps to 17 per cent it’s likely to be the launch-pad for attacks by punchy climbers, particularly the second time the riders tackle it. The far side of this jarring test is very benign, though, the road descending steadily back to the sea and onto the first pass through the finish at Vieste, the site of the second intermediate sprint.

This leads straight to the Via Saragat, which is sure to see attacks from the lead group, whether it comprises a small number of escapees or the remnants of the bunch. If it’s the latter, there will be numerous candidates for a late attack from explosive climbers such as Deceuninck-QuickStep’s Fausto Masnada and UAE’s Diego Ulissi. The GC favourites may judge that the finale is not hard enough for them to gain a significant advantage on their rivals and hold fire for the much more challenging stage at Roccaraso on Sunday.

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