Stage 10: L’Aquila-Foligno
Date: May 17, 2021
Stage start: 1:55 p.m. CEST
Stage type: Flat
The mere mention of L’Aquila is enough to evoke memories of the astonishing 256km stage halfway through the 2010 Giro into what was then an earthquake-devastated town. In torrential rain and mist, the bunch lost both its bearings on a large breakaway group and, eventually, 13 minutes on those riders as Evgeni Petrov won the stage and Richie Porte, then racing in Saxo Bank colours, pulled on the maglia rosa.
At not much more than half of the length of that epic stage and with just a couple of small climbs on the route, this short run to Foligno is extremely unlikely to produce anything like the drama of that day 11 years ago. The riders will start ascending soon after the start to reach the Sella di Corno, its moderate ramps likely to provide a springboard for the day’s escapees.
Dropping away from it, the route reaches the first intermediate sprint at Rieti, then turns due north and runs directly towards Foligno. The road rolls to the only categorised climb of the day, the fourth-category Valico della Somma, from the top of which 40 kilometres remain to the finish, giving the bunch plenty of time to reel in the breakaway group if it desires.
Halfway there, the riders will pass through the second intermediate sprint at Campello sul Clitunno and then speed on towards Foligno, where Nacer Bouhanni won a bunch sprint on the Giro’s last visit in 2014. All in all, this is the kind of straightforward stage you’d expect to see after a rest day rather than before one. Instead, the riders will go into the rest day contemplating the immediate prospect of one of the Giro’s toughest tests…
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