Stage 8: Foggia-Guardia Sanframondi
Date: May 15, 2021
Stage start: 12:50 p.m. CEST
Stage type: Medium mountains
The Giro’s second weekend brings two stages with 3,400 metres of vertical gain. First up is this westerly run from Foggia into the Matese Regional Park, where the route turns south to finish with a short, but steep finale at Guardia Sanframondi.
The stage rolls from the off, which should enable a breakaway to get clear. As this is the easier of the weekend’s two mountain stages, certainly in terms of the final section, the escapees should have a better chance of staying away and contesting the day’s spoils between them.
The first intermediate sprint takes place at Campobasso, on the last roll before the stage’s biggest climb, the 20km ascent along the Matese ridge to the second-category Bocca della Selva, which last featured in the 2016 race when Alessandro Bisolti was the first to the top. It climbs initially to the Colle Macchio, averaging between 4-5 per cent gradient for the most part. It’s second half is a little tougher, averaging more than 6 per cent. Although it’s long, it doesn’t look hard enough to cause the GC contenders any problems.
There’s a long drop from the summit, the route descending almost to sea level over 40 kilometres, before kicking up towards Castelvenere, where the second intermediate sprint takes place. From there, just 7km remain to the category 4 climb to the finish. A false flat to begin with, the road ramps up much more steeply approaching the finish, ramps reaching 15 per cent, which should suit punchy climbers like BikeExchange’s Simon Yates, UAE Team Emirates’ Diego Ulissi and Deceuninck-QuickStep’s Andrea Bagioli.
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