The 3rd longest stage takes place up the middle of Italy & out of the worst of the Apennines on a rolling 'transition' stage that could well see a breakaway succeed. Betting preview & pick inside.
Giro d'Italia St 7 - Sulmona to Foligno, 211kms
Friday the 13th - will it be lucky for someone? The 3rd longest stage of the race takes them further up the middle of Italy and out of the worst of the Apennines on a rolling 'transition' stage that could well see a breakaway succeed or it could end in another bunch sprint like it did the last time the Giro came to Foligno in 2014.
The stage is a long affair at 211kms and rolls along over lots of lumps and hills all day long. Nothing too major though and should be a relatively easy day in the saddle for the GC favorites. The climb of the Valico Della Somma is 17kms long but the average gradient is only 3%. The last 5kms are closer to 6% though as it gets steeper towards the top. Once over the top there are 40kms to go, 22kms of which are descending, 18kms of a flat run in to the line.
Contenders and Favorites
The big question of course here again, is, will Marcel Kittel get over the final climb and get to the finish in a fit enough state to contest the sprint? He has shown in the last two days that you still can't trust him on even the easiest looking mountain days, or even over a small hill on a finishing circuit. Which Kittel will we see tomorrow? Is he worth backing again as the cycling pick or should we steer clear? It's leaning towards avoid to me following the last sprint outcome.
Giacomo Nizzolo is one that has to be considered as he almost won this stage in 2014, going down by millimetres to Bouhanni. He said that he didn't feel great in stage 4 before he crashed, but that could be smoke and mirrors, he was in a great position and looking very strong and in control as they hit the flamme rouge. I want to give him another go to prove himself in, hopefully, a safer and more normal sprint. If the peloton races really hard over the final climb we may see some of the sprinters dropped, giving him a good chance.
Andre Greipel has to come in to the reckoning now, following his demolition job on stage 5. He was always in a great position and sat in cleverly behind the FDJ and Bardiani guys until a gap opened with about 200m to go and he shot through it surprising his rivals. He quickly gained a 10m advantage which he more or less held all the way to the line. Lotto-Soudal will bury themselves for him to get him in to position, as coming off that final bend in a good place is crucial.
Caleb Ewan has struggled so far in this race and has not managed a top 6 yet. I had a feeling he might struggle in this race, and I can't see that changing on this stage. Sonny Colbrelli likes it when it's tough with a climb thrown in near the finish too. He almost finished 2nd on stage 5, only for Démare to pass him in the last 20m, but he was way off the pace in the two sprint stages in Holland, a worrying sign for a more flat out, high speed finish, which we'll get here.
Arnaud Demare has looked good in taking two runner-up spots in the race so far. He was no match for Kittel's kick in stage 2, but FDJ had set their stall out in the last few kilometres that Démare fancied it and did everything they could to put him in with a chance of winning it. He again was in a great position on stage 5, led out by two team mates in the last kilometre, but he was not prepared for Greipel's early kick and blew his chances. I wouldn't rule out Démare coming off Greipel's wheel in the last 100m to take the stage, FDJ should have him in a good position as they round the final bend.
Sacha Modolo was fancied by some on stage 5 but disappeared out of contention, along with Nizzolo when Taaramae fell in front of them. He hasn't been as consistent for me though following his 3rd place on stage 2 and I am not convinced he'll be challenging for the win tomorrow, and I fancy Nizzolo to take him in their H2H.
Manuel Belleti, Eduard Grosu, Kristian Sbaragli, Moreno Hofland, Rick Zabel - they have all been coming close without ever looking like winning, they could be fighting for 5th to 10th places again. Of course a break might make it and there are plenty of contenders for that break, but I think the likes of FDJ, Trek and Lotto-Soudal will keep the pace really high and will do their utmost to shell Kittel and with an intermediate sprint coming just 30kms from the finish, they may look to pull the break back before then.
I think Greipel has a great chance of making it two wins in a row from sprints, a third win in a row for Lotto-Soudal and a fifth stage in total for the Germans out of seven. Kittel is very fragile and is way too short looking to me at 7/4 cycling odds, he may be left behind again. I think Démare will be up there too, and Nizzolo will be desperate to make amends for stage 5. A matchbet you have to take though is Ruffoni to beat Pelluchi - Pelluchi has to be the worst climber of any sprinter ever, he finished dead last again today, over 25 minutes down, he's likely to be left behind again tomorrow. Most sportsbooks opened this line at 11/10, I took some, it's now 8/13 and I still think that's worth backing.
1pt each-way on Giacomo Nizzolo at +850 with BetDSI
1pt each-way on André Greipel at +450 with BetDSI
Ruffoni to beat Pelucchi - 5pts at 8/13 with Bet365
Nizzolo to beat Modolo - 2pts at 4/6 with Bet365