This could be the decisive stage of this year's Giro d'Italia, a nasty mountain trial that takes them from Castelrotto to Alpe Di Siusi. Join our expert as he continues sharing more winning picks.
Giro d'Italia St.15 - Castelrotto to Alpe Di Siusi, 10.9kms
This could well be the decisive stage of this year's Giro d'Italia, a nasty mountain time trial that takes them from Castelrotto to Alpe Di Siusi. There's 1800m of almost flat roads before the road starts rising, and rises all the way to the finish for the next 9kms.
There may be some riders who will ride a regular road bike and some that will ride a TT bike, the benefit of riding in an aero tuck position will probably be negated by the discomfort of having to climb in that position. The climbers might prefer to ride on a normal road bike, maybe with some tribars on whereas the TT guys might want to stick to their TT bikes.
The mountain time trial was first introduced in 1936 and has become regular fixture in more recent years. In 2014, Nairo Quintana won the mountain time trial to Crespano del Grappa before going on to win the race overall
Not a lot to say about it, 1800m at 1.8% to kick things off and then it's 9kms at a pretty steady 8.4%. The first 5kms are on pretty straight roads but soon the road starts twisting and turning with a lot of hairpin bends and sharp turns with it straightening up again with 800m to go. The intermediate is taken after only 4.4kms and with 7.5kms gone it hits the max gradient of 11%. So it's not brutally hard, but climbing at over 8% for 9kms will test everyone, and we're going to have a real battle amongst the GC candidates with just six stages to go.
Contenders and Favourites
This is devilishly difficult to work out. Riders showed today that there are some who are really starting to struggle and some who are still in great shape.
Vincenzo Nibali is the favourite, at just 2/1, as low as 13/8, and as he was being left behind in today's stage I couldn't have seen him being the favourite for this. But he recovered well and powered home to close the gap, although to be fair a lot of that was helped by the descent, something he is highly skilled at - there are no decents on this climb tomorrow. He has to fight back tomorrow and he is a fighter, today was tough on him but he should bounce back. Will it be enough to win the stage? Hard to know, but he seems awfully short to me at just 2/1 - he would have suffered a lot today and his confidence would have taken a knock too.
Esteban Chaves was superb today, in fact he has been superb for two weeks, always present, always attentive. But his record in TTs is pretty awful, although he hasn't done too many hill TTs like this one in the past. Closest to it might be the Pais Vasco TT last year to the hill finish in Aia, but he was well off the pace in 33rd. He is climbing really well but his first TT was pretty awful, 51st place, 3'48" behind Roglic. How can you trust him at just 3 or 4/1 with that record? Ok, this is 9kms of flat out climbing, but the skills to pace yourself and keep the power down when on your own as opposed to sitting in are very different and I can't back him as one of my Free Picks at that price.
Steven Kruijswijk though did a lot better than Chaves in the last TT, beating him by nearly a minute and a half, and he was looking really strong today, as he has all week. He did well in the 40km TT, finishing 21st and he also did well in the uphill TT in the 2011 Giro over 12.7kms when he finished 13th, not far off the likes of Rodriguez, and ahead of Kiryienka. He is more or less the same price as Chaves, but I'd much rather be on him than Chaves. He's 4/1 with Skybet and that's worth a go I think - he'll be last man on the road and will have all the time checks.
After that it gets really hard to figure out - Valverde was cooked today and he's not a great time triallist. Bob Jungels has suffered a lot over the last few days and looked to be in real trouble today when he got dropped, but he rallied really well and actually finished 21st on the stage. He put in a great ride in the Chianti TT to finish 6th and he has won an uphill 12km TT in the Etoile de Besseges and finished 3rd in the hilly TT in the Tour de Romandie this year. He is around 20/1 and could have a big chance of landing a podium. He's 16/1 with Sportingbet who are paying 4 places and that might be worth backing.
Ilnur Zakarin has some making up to do and this course should have suited him, before the last few days I'd have thought he'd be one of the favourites for it. Instead he is 16/1 5th favourite..we know he can TT, we know he can climb, but can he pull it all together with the week he's had? He's also had problems staying upright on his bike in the last TT, although I think he shouldn't have the same problem here. I would like to back him, but I think he might be looking at a 5th to 10th place tomorrow.
Rafal Majka same, was disappointing today and I can't see him putting in a winning ride here, it's not one of his strong points. Rigo Uran could be anything again, he was fancied for the last TT and had a shocker, alright, he crashed, but he was well out of contention already. He finished not far behind Majka and Zakarin today so is climbing ok, if not great, but you will need to be TTing and Climbing at your best tomorrow to win this and I don't think he is.
Primus Roglic is an interesting one - no one expected him to do what he has done in the last two TTs of this race. Marginally beaten by Dumoulin in the opening TT, he got his revenge in style in the second TT. Can he do it again? Can he do it uphill as well as on the flat? Well he has nothing in his results to say that he can, he doesn't seem to have ever done an uphill TT. Seeing as though he is clearly the best TT'er in the race, he has one of the best bikes and seems to be climbing ok too then he has to have a chance. He ranges from 14/1 to 22/1 and the 22/1 might be worth backing e/w.
Nieve, Henao, Pozzovivo, Kung, Kangert, Fuglsang - they can all fight for a top 10 place I think, but I don't think they'll be winning. Andrey Amador was one I thought, hoped would go well in this TT, but he has suffered a lot in the last two days. He can't handle the sudden accelerations too well, but he might be able to ride this well at his own, steady pace. He's 40/1, but I'm not tempted, I just hope he does a good TT to pull him back near the podium.
And that's about it - not many at bigger betting odds appeal, Moser might go well, Ludviggson might go well but I'm not interested. I think it will be a fascinating TT among the top favourites, and I think Kruijswijk can set up an exciting last week by extending his lead in the GC. Primus Roglic is a bit of a punt given his unkown capabilities on a TT like this, but he is just riding so well against the clock he is worth a small investment.
2pts win on Steven Kruisjwijk at +400 with Skybet
0.5pts each-way on Primus Roglic at +1800 with Sportingbet paying 4 places
Roglic to beat Nieve - 1.5pts at +120 with Paddy Power
Kruijswijk to beat Nibali - 2pts at +110 with Bet365
Zakarin to beat Valverde, Jungels to beat Siutsou, Boaro to beat Moser - 2pts at +275 with Bet365