Giro d´Italia 2021 – Stage 17 Preview – Ciclismo Internacional

Giro d´Italia 2021 – Stage 17 Preview

By David Hunter

Canazei > Sega Di Ala 194.1km

This stage has a sting in the tail.

The day begins with 50km of downhill, which will make it very hard to get the break going. A short, but steep, cat 3 climb interrupts this easy run, climbers will hope the break goes here. We then have another downhill section before 40km of flat. This brings the riders to a very challenging finish.

The Climbs

Passo San Valentino is 15.8km at 7.1%. It’s narrow and steep, a proper mountain test. The crest comes with 38km to go, with a fast descent to take the bunch back down into the valley. This road is good, the downhill shouldn’t cause problems.

10.9km at 9.7%, Sega Di Ala is a brutal way to finish a stage. The numbers include two flat sections which the riders will be delighted to see, the rest of the climb is eye wateringly steep. In a race of incredible climbs, this is one of the most difficult. It was used way back in the 2013 Giro del Trentino, the day Wiggins threw his bike in disgust, and it delicately landed against the side of a wall. The gaps that day were huge, this climb is going to blow the peloton to pieces. The worst of the climb comes between 3km and 4km from home, at this point it gets super steep.

Weather

Dry!

Tactics

What type of break will we get? Climbers will need the help of teammates to make the move of the day, it’s likely to take a long time for things to settle down. The stage is relatively simple for a team to control, but who wants to? Not Ineos, they have two stage wins and a commanding lead. Caruso would love a stage, but Bahrain are short on men to chase. EF could chase for Carthy, Astana for Vlasov and maybe Trek for Ciccone.

The composition of the break will be vital. Trek-Segafredo lead the team classification, and they’ve been very good at getting into breaks. I think they are unlikely to miss this one, which means chasing the break will be up to EF and Astana. Given the difficulty of the last two climbs the break will need a big gap to ensure victory. It also needs a climber or two to make the move, the climbs are too hard for a non-climber to hold off the bunch.

Once the GC group get on the final climb, we should see fireworks. Bernal looks comfortable in pink, but you can never take things for granted in the Giro. We also have six riders battling for the podium, this should mean we get some attacking racing on the final climb. If it does all come back together a certain Colombian wouldn’t mind taking another stage win.

DS Cycling Mole

Smokin Jo, you know you’ve always been my favourite. We’re entering the final week and we change our tactic. Remco is out of the GC picture, so we get to chase the breaks. Everyone has freedom to try and jump in the morning break, but our best options would be The Prof and Stilknox, but they could do with some help from the rest of you to make it. João, let’s see what you’ve got. Maybe it’s not too late to persuade Pat to get his wallet out.

Contenders

Dan Martin – the “just outside the top 10” pick. The final climb is great for him, and we don’t have any complicated descents where he can get dropped. Making the break won’t be easy for him, but he’ll be giving it a good go.

Felix Großschartner – the “it’s about time I showed up” pick. The stage takes place relatively close to the Austrian border, adding some extra motivation for him.

Geoffrey Bouchard – the “KOM jersey” pick. Yes, he used up a lot of energy in this race, but he’s climbing very well. AG2R will be fully committed to getting him in the break, we’ll then see if he’s got anything left.

Koen Bouwman – the “I’ve got nice hair” pick. His performance at this race has been impressive, he seems to be leaving the race a far better rider than when he started.

George Bennett – the “I’m getting the hang of this breakaway riding” pick. He’s not converted two big chances, but this stage is another that suits him well.

Antonio Pedrero – the “have you watched the last few stages” pick. Very good on steep climbs and current form is very good.

Bauke Mollema – the “stubborn old mule” pick. Don’t write him off just yet. He came for a stage win, and he’s been close on several occasions, I expect to see him in the break.

Davide Formolo – the “I might be too close to the top 10” pick. Now he’s 11th he might it hard to get some freedom to chase a stage win.

Alessandro Covi – the “close but no cigar” pick. He’s really impressed me in the last week, going very close to victory in Montalcino and on Monte Zoncolan. A big win is coming.

Egan Bernal – the “obvious” pick. Will we find the Colombian in a generous mood? Not a chance, if the stage is up for grabs, he’ll be going for it.

Prediction Time

It looks another good day for the break as I’m not sure how many teams will be wanting to chase. Making the break will take power and a huge slice of luck. I’ll take a win for Bauke Mollema, he knows how to slide into winning moves.

Back in the GC group I don’t think we’ll see Bernal cracking, he’s likely to take even more time on his rivals. Caruso, Carthy, Ciccone and Vlasov will be hard to split.

David HunterFollow us on Twitter and InstagramJoin us on facebook: Ciclismo Internacional

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