One of the warm-up races for the Giro. This year, it is packed with climbs.
A short day but with five climbs in the finale. The last 53 km of this stage are brutal with the penultimate climb at 5.2 km at 10.1%.
Here, the profile fools you a bit. It is one of the easier stages here despite 3000 climbing meters. The last two climbs are not difficult enough for big GC gaps – we should see a reduced GC sprint or a solo winner.
Kind an odd stage with a descent. The last climb is difficult, 15.5 km at 7.5%. It was used in the Giro d’Italia 2021 – stage 17 as the penultimate climb.
I love it when there is a morning climb. Since the first climb is the most difficult one, either we see a GC group fight it out or the breakaway taking a win.
Another morning climb! As it is the last stage, we should see the GC fight it out. The last climb is tough – 5.6 km at 10.7%.
Most important GC days in order.
Stage 3 – most important.
Stage 1 and stage 5.
Stage 2 and stage 4.
It seems we will have some stages with bad weather conditions and some with good.
In order to win, you must be a climber than can manage both the shorter, steeper climbs and the longer efforts too. The last two stages start tough, that means having a strong team is vital – otherwise you can get isolated very early on those days. Then, three/four of the stages could end in reduced GC sprints – the bonus seconds are vital.
INEOS – some team they are bringing here. Arensman, Tao, Sivakov and Thomas. What will the pecking order be? I assume we will find out after the first stage. I am a huge fan of Arensman but so far, his season has been a bit poor. Tao has been better than expected, with top results in Valenciana, Ruta del Sol and Tirreno-Adriatico. Sivakov and G are in the same box as Arensman – my best guess is Tao, he also packs the best sprint of them.
Carthy – the pure climber. He can do about anything when the road goes towards a mountain crest. The short and steep climbs are perfect for him – he does well on them despite his size. 7th on the tough classics-stage in Tirreno-Adriatico is his best result this year, and since we are approaching the Giro, I think he will fight for the podium.
Vlasov – not as good as in 2022 but I think he has a different approach this season. He knows he can compete against the best uphill but I do worry if he can follow the best on stage 3 – he does seem to have poor results when the climbs are very long. The other days, he will be a serious contender for the stage wins.
Buitrago – did not do to well in Tirreno-Adriatico but prior to that, he did well. He loves steep inclines and he can handle a longer climb too. I think he will be in contention for a lot of stage wins but in my opinion, he could have problems on stage 3 too. It is a very tough climb.
Haig – a shadow of his former self. I hope he bounces back but a top-10 is the most realistic result.
Pozzovivo – back in the WT! He will do well here but the main issue is most stages do not finish uphill. Ge was 6th overall in Coppi e Bartali, his shape is good.
Gall – he did well in Basque Country – he is still flying under the radar. Another strong GC result for him here.
⭐⭐⭐⭐ Tao G. Hart
⭐⭐⭐ Vlasov, Carthy
⭐⭐ Arensman, Pozzovivo, Thomas
⭐ Sivakov, Gall, Haig
Who will win?
INEOS has the numbers, my pick is Tao G. Hart.