The longest time trial at this year’s Giro d’Italia is a 34.2km run from Trento to Rovereto, a course which should suit the more power based riders in contention for the day’s honours, as there is not truly enough ascending to bring the featherweight cyclists into contention. Weather is always crucial when it is a race against the clock and the expectation is that the wind could prove pivotal if it changes direction as anticipated, leaving those who head off earliest with an advantage on Stage 16.
Tom Dumoulin is reigning world champion in the individual time trial and has long been predicted to win this stage as he seeks to take a sizeable bite from Simon Yates’ current lead, if not consume it entirely and begin cementing his ownership of the maglia rosa. Perhaps more so than ever at a grand tour, Dumoulin has ridden within his limits as often as possible, no doubt realising that the absence of favourable terrain to attack upon in the final week, makes this time trial the cornerstone of a genuine bid at the title. This added freshness will only help him to call upon further firepower as he hopes to execute a crushing victory and set the third week of racing up to be a dramatic battle royale.
Rohan Dennis knows he is capable of matching the Dutchman Dumoulin on such a course, though after an already tough two weeks of racing, Dennis is likely to find it difficult to produce his absolute best today. Another of the time trial specialists whose talent is rooted in being able to sustain as much power as possible for the entirety, Stage 16 is an ideal platform for the Australian to place himself in the frame for a victory during this Giro d’Italia.
Chris Froome must feel like a pendulum as his form swings from one extreme to the next during this race, left to hope that today is a stage where it swings in his favour, which certainly should be the case given his previous dominance of grand tour time trials. However, there is not enough climbing to truly benefit the Team Sky captain and his work will be cut out if he seriously wishes to take a win today. With question marks still remaining as to his current condition, Stage 16 ensure there shall be nowhere to hide if cracks begin to appear, the day ending with certainty as to his general classification hopes.
Alex Dowsett looks to be in his best shape since moving teams during the off season and performed strongly in the opening time trial of this year’s Giro d’Italia. This long power-based course plays to his strengths well, while his current placing on the general classification means he shall be down the start ramp earlier than others here, hopefully taking advantage of favourable weather conditions. The British rider already has a Giro stage win under his belt and there is little to suggest he cannot at least feature in the mix for today’s honours.
Ryan Mullen has long been a specialist when it comes to this drag race style time trials, where it is all about producing as many watts as possible and sustaining that level of power all the way to the finish line. The Irishman has been performing well at this brutally tough edition of the Giro d’Italia, yet there is no doubt that the previous two weeks of racing will have impacted his ability to perform today and could be what hampers him most. However, he is perhaps the only contender here where the distance and terrain suit him almost perfectly, something which a fresh Mullen could certainly convert into a stage win.
1st Tom Dumoulin 2nd Rohan Dennis 3rd Alex Dowsett