Returning to the fray after a day off, this year’s Giro d’Italia offers up another opportunity for the breakaway to succeed, as the race heads from Penne to Gualdo Tadino. Totalling 239km, this is the longest day in the saddle for the riders at 2018’s edition, but should prove relatively manageable for those outside of the breakaway battle royale. Starting immediately with a tough Category 2 ascent, the contest to make the day’s cut is going to be a fierce affair, as it is unlikely the bunch will wish to work hard to reel back the morning’s move once it is away. The finish itself is somewhat rolling and technically demanding, though never becomes steep enough to truly favour the talents of pure puncheurs nor those with a strong uphill sprint. As with any lottery, on Stage 10 at this year’s Giro d’Italia, you have to be in it to win it.
Diego Ulissi now looks to be peaking well as the race enters its second week and will not wish to let such good form go unrewarded. A strong enough climber to follow the decisive moves early on, the Italian will be extremely confident of beating most of his likely fellow escapees in a sprint to the line, especially as the stage does not offer many clear opportunities for a rider to splinter from the beak in the final 40km. The only negative for Ulissi is that the day’s potential sprint finish is not contested at a noteworthy gradient, as he is often unmatchable when striking out for the win uphill.
Gianluca Brambilla may now be approaching the level of form which has previously delivered him grand tour stage victories and will look upon the difficult start to Stage 10 eagerly. A competent breakaway rider who climbs strongly and packs a competitive turn of speed, Brambilla is certainly a contender whom many others will wish to shake loose late in the day.
Giovanni Visconti is somewhat of a specialist when these long grand tour stages appear on the route, though is likely to have preferred a greater number of serious climbs to really make his rivals suffer on the day. Anticipated to be one of the instigators who helps to shape the breakaway, he knows how to survive such a stage in as best condition as possible and may prove to be one of the few strong enough to go solo during the latter half of the day if able.
Fausto Masnada and Natnael Berhane could both be enticed into action on Stage 10, knowing that a decent performance could deliver them some time in the King of the Mountains jersey, regardless of whether either seriously contests the day’s outcome.
1st Gianluca Brambilla 2nd Giovanni Visconti 3rd Diego Ulissi