By David Hunter
Salita di Ello – 1.9km at 6%
Salita di Colle Brianza – 4km at 5.7%
Salita di Cagliano 4.2km at 7.5%
Salita de Lissolo 2.1km at 9%
These 4 climbs happen in the space of 25km, and greatly reduce the peloton. It usually means we get a small bunch sprint, but this cannot be guaranteed. When the peloton is small, the chance of a lone break increases, as it’s harder to organise a chase.
Lampre are the defending champions and return with a strong squad, but Pozzato is not back to defend his crown. After racing today, Ulissi has been banned again! They do have Rui Costa, his final race in the rainbow jersey. He was in fine form, in Canada, and this is a race he can win.
This is an important race for Vincenzo Nibali. He will captain the Italians, in the Worlds, so needs to show some form. I would expect to see him attack on the climbs. Astana also have Francesco Gavazzi, winner of the race in 2010. He should be involved in the sprint finish.
Peter Sagan looks made for this race. He shouldn’t have any problems with the climbs and will be the fastest sprinter left. Far too often, he’s left without teammates, hopefully Cannondale can support him better, in this race. He did a great job today, leading Viviani to victory. If he wants this race, he’ll win.
Bardiani will be looking towards Enrico Battaglin. He surprised everyone, with his mountaintop win in the Giro. If he continues to climb like that, these climbs will be easy and he can unleash his sprint. They also have Pirazzi and Bongiorno.
Neri Sottoli will have the double attack of Ponzi and Finetto. Ponzi was 2nd, in 2013, with Astana. He took 3 wins, before April, but has struggled since. Finetto has shown some fine form in recent weeks, winning Tour de Limousin. Both riders have the ability to reach the podium, but can’t beat Sagan. Ponzi finished an excellent 3rd place today and will hope to go well here. I have spoken to Mauro and he intends on having a rest day.
I’m really looking forward to watching Robert Power. The 19 year old Australian, is a phenomenon. A brilliant climber, and a fast finisher. Watch him go! Today, Finetto attacked on the final climb. He was followed by Nibali, Pozzato and Power!
Another challenger is Jerome Baugnies of Wanty – Groupe Gobert. He’s had a good season, including 2nd place in Giro della Toscana, but will struggle against the sprinting speed of the riders already mentioned.
Other riders who should challenge are: Rubiano Chavez, Machado, Konig, Sepulveda, Rebellin and Ruben Fernandez.
Keep an eye out for Fernandez. He won the Tour de l’Avenir, in 2013, and after a solid season, he’s off to Movistar. He is a real talent.
Has to be Sagan for me. He should be challenged by Gavazzi and Rui Costa, watch for the constant attacks by Vincenzo Nibali.
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