It's back to flatter roads for stage 11, in fact before they reach the final challenge of the lumpy hills on the approach to Asolo. It's the 3rd longest stage of the Giro at 227kms.
Giro d'Italia St 11 - Modena to Asolo, 227kms
After a day in the mountains it's back to flatter roads for stage 11, 200kms of flat roads in fact before they reach the final challenge of the lumpy hills on the approach to Asolo. It's the 3rd longest stage of the Giro at 227kms, and there will be some tired legs after that hard day in the hills the day before.
I'm glad I steered clear really of GC men bets on stage 10, Valverde was only 8th on the stage, Fuglsang was 10th, Ciccone, Rovny, Atapuma were three that I don't think many would have picked out as being in the first three home.
This 11th stage is a stage of two very distinct parts: the first 200kms runs almost dead flat from Modena to just before Asolo, while the last 27kms or so of the stage are far more challenging and lumpy leading into the finish.
With just under 23kms to go, just past Maser, the road tackles a short yet very steep climb up Forcella Mostaccin that averages 7.8% for 2.9kms (with gradients topping out at 16%), followed by a technical descent (narrow at points) leading to the Monfumo hills and to Castelcucco. Here, a series of undulations will lead to the final Asolo climb. Five kilometres before the finish, the road climbs up towards Asolo along a 1km ramp with gradients of approx. 7% that leads into the old town centre through a mediaeval gateway and on a setts-paved stretch.
This is going to be a curious stage. 200kms of nothing worth watching. The break will go, but it could be a real dog-fight to get in to it and it might be a frantic and fast opening hour of racing until the break goes. The last 27kms are pretty interesting though, with the Forcella Mostaccin that averages nearly 8% and hits max gradients of 16% and the lumpy run in to the flat last kilometre.
The break might make it of course, they'll have a slight tail/cross wind for most of the day and after a hard day in the mountains, the break might get a very big lead and with it getting messy over the last 27kms they might just make it. I think it will be pulled back by the sprinters teams though as their chances are few and far between from here on in.
André Greipel was superb on stage 7, it looked like his chance was gone when he lost position and got squeezed up in the last 200m, but out he got and surged past Modolo and Nizzolo. That day AG seemed to get over the final climb quite comfortably, while Viviani and Kittel were dropped (but got on again eventually). The question is will he be able to hang on over the climb? Will he be dropped on the lumpy roads heading to the finish? Maybe - it will all depend of course on how hard his rivals ride it, and I expect Lampre and Trek to really gun it up there.
There could be some attacks too on this climb which could kick the whole thing off and it could break to pieces. Greipel will need to be near the front and will need to be dragged to the finish by Lotto, but he could make it. I wanted to see what price he was and at +4400 with PP he was worth a shot I think.
Giaccomo Nizzolo is back finishing 2nd again with an unlucky 2nd place in stage 7, it looked like he had done enough to win it. I think he will be one of the better sprinters at getting over these hills and will have a strong chance of victory here. It would have been better if the finish was slightly uphill but if they have shaken Greipel he has a good chance of finally landing his stage win and will be keen to kick on now in the Points competition, for which he is now the 6/4 favourite, despite sitting in 4th place, 41pts behind Greipel. He is a big looking +2200 cycling odds to me, I want to be with him again.
Sacha Modolo too will be keen to get up and land a win after his two 3rd places so far, and he too will be keen to move up the Points competition, he currently sits in 6th place. He has been right up there in a few sprints but missed out completely on stage 3 after he got caught up in Taaramae's crash. He too should be able to negotiate the final hills well and will be well looked after by Ulissi, Mohoric, Koshevoy, Conti and Ferrari to deliver him in to a good position.
Matteo Trentin has been showing himself well lately, with a fine 6th place in stage 7 and then working his ass off for Brambilla's win on stage 8. It all depends on what he is tasked to do today though, as he could be asked to look after Jungels and/or Brambilla so he might have to foresake his stage ambitions. I hope they give him a chance as I think he could have a chance on this finish, either from a late attack from a small group or from a reduced sprint. At +2200 he's worth a cycling pick too I think.
It was Sonny Colbrelli's birthday yesterday and the Bardiani squad delivered a win on his birthday with that performance by Ciccone. He actually didn't do too bad himself, finishing 14 minutes ahead of the likes of Nizzolo and Modolo who were in the autobus. He would be one of the most likely of the sprinters to get over the final hills though, but he's very short I think at just +800
Trentin to beat Sbaraglli - 2pts at 5/4 with Bet365
Nizzolo to beat Modolo - 3.5pts at 4/7 with Bet365