The first of this year’s two decisive individual time trials at the Giro d’Italia is to be tackled on Stage 10, taking the shape of a rather long 39.8km course, covering a range of technically demanding roads from Foligno to Montefalco. The opening 12km – 13km of the time trial will benefit those who specialise in the purest form of racing against the clock, seeking to churn huge amounts of power as they sail through relatively simple roads. However, it is from this point onwards that the thoroughbred time trialists may see their ambitions clipped by those able to take advantage of the hills and technical sections, producing a varied mixture of contenders for Stage 10 honours.
Tom Dumoulin continues to impress when having to compete with the far more talented climbers at this race, demonstrating his abilities when finishing behind mountain goat Nairo Quintana by only 24″ on Stage 9, after producing another well judged ride up a climb which broke many contenders. The Dutchman has become one of the leading lights in time trialing during recent years, though has now admittedly switched focus to grand tours, yet has managed to avoid diminishing his form against the clock in pursuit of better showings uphill. He may not be as powerful upon the shorter and more simple TT courses, but for Stage 10’s mixture of power and precision, Dumoulin will be expected to turn in a dominant performance which will secure the maglia rosa; for what may prove a longer time than many expect.
Bob Jungels is another rider who will view the day’s course with eager eyes, no doubt seeing the combination of opening power section and following tricky run to home as ideal territory from which to secure a stage victory. The opening week demonstrated how strong Jungels is at Giro d’Italia so far and he will have sought to conserve energy ascending Blockhaus compared to his major rival for today Tom Dumoulin. A slightly fresher Bob Jungels could prove a serious challenger for the talented Tom Dumoulin, pushing the latter’s skills all the way to line if he wishes to win both stage and maglia rosa in Montefalco.
Vasil Kiryienka could prove Team Sky’s best chance of immediately salvaging something from 2017’s Giro d’Italia, after team leader Geraint Thomas saw his general classification chances scythed down when hemorrhaging time after being brought down by a parked motorbike. The Belarusian rider is extremely talented when it comes to this distance and choice of terrain, but is unlikely to have entered the race with much freedom to consider winning on Stage 10. Regardless, if given permission to totally commit himself to winning this stage, Kiryienka is capable of turning in a storming ride without a great deal of preparation.
Geraint Thomas will be the other option for Team Sky to ease their wounds after the disaster of Stage 9, the Welshman potentially encouraged to channel his frustrations into a stage winning performance here. It is easy to forget how gifted Thomas has previously proven to be against the clock, mostly as a result of playing lieutenant to both Bradley Wiggins and Chris Froome for so long now, yet that does not mean he cannot still rise to the challenge. The course does in fact suit him relatively strongly and there is no doubt that he will not wish to ride the rest of the Giro d’Italia simply for the sake of finishing, especially as he has never looked stronger on a bike as of right now.
Victor Campenaerts has enjoyed some impressive results during individual time trials recently, rising rapidly beyond people’s previous expectations and outperforming some highly regarded specialists along the way. Another rider who is expected to enjoy the nature of the course, a strong showing here is well within his abilities, though his responsibilities to captain Steven Kruijswijk could stand in the way today.
Others likely to challenge the top ten are Ilnur Zakarin, Andrey Amador, Tobias Ludvigsson, Tanel Kangert and Vincenzo Nibali.
1st Vasil Kiryienka 2nd Tom Dumoulin 3rd Geraint Thomas