One of the harder one-day races will take place in Italy this Saturday. It is a race I have grown particularly fond of the last couple of years. It is a race where the legs can decide, but from time to time, it is also the teams with multiple options who end up winning this one day race.
The planimentry and the profile.
As shown above, we have a few climbs. The most important will be the San Luca climb which you often connect with this race. The other important climb might be Medelana. It might bring a different dynamic to the race where multiple teams can send satellite-riders in the breakaway.
This climb starts with 80.8 km left of the race. Is it too far out? I’m afraid so. There is a downhill, followed by a valley before the San Luca circuit. It could be an important climb, unfortunately, I think it is too far out. The San Luca circuit is too demanding.
San Luca circuit
The San Luca Circuit has 253 climbing meters per circuit and they do it five times. Normally, the group gets smaller and smaller by each time they ascend. As mentioned, the better the team, the better the options.
San Luca Climb
A short and hard climb. It suits the puncheurs, but after almost 3000 meters of climbing – it also suits the climbers with a fast finish.
It starts cloudy around Bologna and at the end they should have blue skies.
Quick-Step brings a strong squad here, but no clear race favorite. Evenepoel and Almeida are both in good form. The former showed himself at Worlds a week ago and Almeida was good in Luxembourg before Worlds. They have strong helpers too who could attack from further out. How will they want to ride this race? I think they will be on the offensive.
Woods is one of the best riders on steep slopes. Recently, you saw it in Tour of Britain. One of his big weaknesses has always been his ability to position ahead of the climb. It should be a bit easier tomorrow as the peloton gradually will get smaller. I am not sure ISUN will throw all their eggs in his basket but I think it would be the best choice.
Gaudu took a stage win in Luxembourg a few weeks back. He is also a punchy rider and his results throughout this season has been very good. I think he might be outmatched in this field but he has a fine shot at another good result.
Roglic could perhaps be a bit tired after a long season, but in 2019 he did the Vuelta and was still mighty strong a few weeks after at the Italian one day races. He even won this race back in 2019. Given he has Vingegaard and Kuss with him, he should have plenty of helpers.
Pogacar seemed good at the European Championships and it should be even better now. I wonder of UAE will race for him or they will use Ulissi, Formolo and Hirschi to mark attacks or try to attack. They have a very, very strong team and Hirschi is looked very good. I’m not sure how he is doing after his fall at Worlds, I saw him with blood down his leg. They have a strong team on paper.
Who will win?
A win for Roglic. Riders often have very strong performances after Grand Tours.