Stage 11: Perugia-Montalcino
Date: May 19, 2021
Stage start: 1:10 p.m. CEST
Stage type: Rolling
A race that has been bubbling gently during its first half begins its second with a long-awaited return to the sterrati that were the main feature of March’s Strade Bianche one-day Classic. Four sections of white roads feature in the final 70km of this stage, totalling 35.2km altogether, more than twice the amount that appeared on the epic 2010 stage to Montalcino, when heavy rain turned the dust on the white roads to sludge and clay-caked World Champion Cadel Evans produced a scintillating performance to win the day.
Heading west from the start, the opening 40 kilometres or so are flat and could see a high-speed and frenetic battle between the leading teams to get riders into the break. The terrain rolls over the next 50km to reach the first section of sterrati at Torrenieri, which stretches for 9.1km. Exiting this, the riders will return to a surfaced road for just half a dozen kilometres and then enter the longest and toughest of the four dirt sections.
It begins with a dip, which is followed by a sharp climb leading through the first intermediate sprint at Castiglion del Bosco. The white road continues to rise beyond this, reaching the third-category Passo del Lumo Spento. Here, the tarmac returns, a dozen steadily-descending kilometres leading into the second intermediate sprint and the third section of sterrati at Castelnuovo dell’Abate. This ripples on for 7.6 kilometres to reach another short descent on a surfaced road that leads into the final 5km section of sterrati.
This rolling section of white road is the easiest of the quartet, although it won’t feel that way for most in the peloton, which should be scattered by now. It leads onto a second ascent of the Passo del Lumo Spento, on the road this time, beyond which there are less than 4km down to the line in Montalcino.
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