Sunday’s wet time trial certainly caused havoc with the anticipated battle amongst the general classification contenders, but Stage 10’s charged finale should re-ignite the fuse extinguished earlier in Chianti. Today’s route features a total of four categorised climbs during its 219km route from Campi Bisenzio to Sestola, and though its ascents feature double digit slopes, its the attritional nature of climbing and technical descending which will drain the legs fastest on Stage 10.
Ilnur Zakarin looked rather shaky in the midst of Stage 9’s torrential downpour and understandably focused upon staying upright on tricky terrain instead of risking injury and ending a Giro d’Italia which has started brightly for the Russian. Stage 6 demonstrated his ability to climb with the best and still finish with a convincing burst of speed, but will perhaps struggle to dominate on a finale which lacks the degree of steepness we have previously seen him put others to the sword upon. Given his time losses on Sunday, he could be forced into attacking regardless, even if only to start regaining time a few seconds day by day.
Esteban Chaves finds himself in a similar position as to that of rival Zakarin, heading into a day which could allow him to recoup his losses after a soaked time trial left him cautiously navigating his way round the course, rather than building upon the performance of his against the clock in Apeldoorn. Orica-GreenEDGE are likely to work at the front of affairs to ensure the day’s breakaway are caught around the Category 1 Pian Del Falco, possibly then drilling into the final ascent in order to set Chaves up for an attack which showcases his potent turn of speed on climbs such as these.
Alejandro Valverde could prove to be a likely accomplice in the attempts of the afore mentioned to put time into the likes of Vincenzo Nibali and Mikel Landa. He may instead keep his powder dry for another day which suits him better, such as those which are much steeper rides up to the finish line. Movistar may in fact decide to place a rider in the breakaway to hedge their bets, thus freeing them from the need to chase, while also keeping Valverde in contention should everything come back together late on.
Jakob Fuglsang has already caused a stir with his attack on Stage 6 which put plenty of rivals under pressure and there is a strong chance that this move will be utilised once again by Astana. Vincenzo Nibali’s team are wanting to distance as many threats to the maglia rosa as possible before the big mountain stages in order to reduce the number of riders Nibali will need to be wary of later in the race.
As mentioned previously, the breakaway have a strong chance of staying away all day and riders likely to feature are: Przemyslaw Niemiec, Carlos Betancur, Matteo Montaguti and Alessandro De Marchi.
1st Esteban Chaves 2nd Alejandro Valverde 3rd Ilnur Zakarin