Stage 5 of 2020’s Giro d’Italia will not help those who have already struggled in the opening week, as the peloton are tasked with 225km of undulating road, including a category one ascent ahead of a downhill run into the finish. The day begins in Mileto and finishes at Camigliatello Silano, taking in the climbs of Catanzaro and Tiriolo, after which an extended sequence of riding occurs until the foot of Valico di Monte Scuro.
Classified as a Category 1 ascent, the Valico di Monte Scuro lasts a leg numbing 24.2km and even features erratic ramps at the midpoint which go beyond 20%. It looks a day for the breakaway, so expect a frantic start to make the day’s winning move, then sit back to see who can grind their way over the final climb and descend into the finish for stage honours.
Diego Ulissi has proven to be in great form already and has previously turned in strong showings on long climbs, knowing that a subsequent descent and sprint makes him an obvious favourite at the finish. He might not have had this stage circled ahead of today, but riders often seek to make the most of great form, which could tempt him into action once more here.
Davide Villella suits the day’s course well, offering Movistar the most likely chance to make the breakaway and feature as one of the best on the final climb. His difficulty will be dropping his rivals before the summit, eager to to avoid a potential sprint finish after the descent into town.
Atilla Valter is an extremely interesting talent and shall hopefully be tasked with making it into the key moves on Stage 5. The Hungarian can climb convincingly at this level already, though the depth of quality at a grand tour is another measure of his talents to come, but he should be up to the challenge and is a definite name to watch for in the break.
Geoffrey Bouchard collected the mountains classification jersey at last year’s Vuelta a España without winning a single stage, so perhaps he will find fortune more favourable at the Giro d’Italia instead. He is certainly well enough equipped to feature, yet it still remains difficult to see him taking the honours come the finish.
Joe Dombrowski is forever featured on the list of candidates for lottery like stages such as these, yet the winner of the baby Giro d’Italia has never fulfilled the expectations placed upon him. Rapidly approaching 30 years old, it is surely now or never for the American to find his feet at this level, with Stage 5 a potential springboard to do so.
Tobias Foss is another gifted youngster, perhaps not quite ready to go all the way on a stage like this, but deserves a mention as could feature in the early break and could be given the go ahead to stretch his legs on the Valico di Monte Scuro.
Damien Howson is a good fit for the day’s challenge and should be given greater freedom now team leader Simon Yates has already shipped a race scuttling number of minutes on the general classification. The 24.4km ascent of Valico di Monte Scuro means he can settle into a rhythm once safely navigating the steep middle section, sustaining an infernal tempo which should send his fellow escapees tumbling down the mountain.
Thomas De Gendt can always be mentioned on these long and undulating grand tour stages, as we have so often seen him set off early in the day and never look over his shoulder until the race is won. With the mileage of the Tour de France already in his legs, he can certainly stay the distance, but the question is whether he is truly in his best form quite yet to take the win.
Sam Oomen has looked poised to announce his arrival at the biggest races for a little while now, so why not do so by winning a stage of the Giro d’Italia. As previously seen at Haut Var, the young Dutchman is not far off some of the best GC climbers in the peloton, so the freedom to hit out for a breakaway stage could be a wise move by Team Sunweb.
Jhonatan Narváez might be the man sent into the fray by Team INEOS and their new salvage operation, maybe even given a companion to look after him in the flatter sections of Stage 5, keeping him fresh for the long ascent of Valico di Monte Scuro.
1st Atilla Valter 2nd Damien Howson 3rd Sam Oomen