I’m blogging Stage 7 live for the The Roar.
Here is the link
Come and join in the fun!
After Stage 6′s fried-egg profiled sprinter’s special, the Giro returns to the mountains on Stage 7 with a vicious 177km shark-toothed leg-biter from Marina di San Salvo to Pescara, along Italy’s Adriatic coast. We’ll have live coverage from 10.15pm AEST.
The Roar’s own Jono Lovelock has written a great preview of the stage and it’s poised to be a cracker.
The route provides everything that riders don’t want the day before a long individual time trial: flat sections are few and far between, there are constant changes in gradient and a couple of relatively short but punishingly steep climbs.
There will be nowhere to ease off and save the legs.
After an undulating first half of the stage, including a gradual climb over nearly 40km to Guardiagrele, all of the day’s categorised climbs come near the finish.
The first climb likely to trouble a few heavier riders is the Cat 3 to Chieti Pietragrossa, coming 136km into the stage. It’s a mere 2.2km in length, but with a maximum gradient of 16 percent it will certainly get the lactic acid pumping.
Not long afterwards comes the ascent to Chieti Tricalle – shorter, but with a peak gradient of 19 percent there will be many riders cursing into their handlebars.
Oh, and someone decided to put an intermediate sprint at the top, which should add some aggression.
Next come the Santa Maria di Criptis (Cat 3, 3.5km, maximum gradient of 18 percent) and the relatively benign (ha!) San Silvestro (Cat 4, 1.5km, 14 percent).
Then it’s a furious descent and a dash to the finish, which is the only flat part of the stage. Nobody can accuse race organiser Michele Acquarone of lacking a sense of humour.
Despite the flat finish, this stage will probably be too hard for many of the big sprinters, being more suited to a classics rider – think Ardennes or Milan-San Remo.
I think there’s a more than reasonable chance of a breakaway being successful, but a more interesting scenario is whether any of Wiggins’ rivals really try to make him suffer, in the hope of blunting his legs (and perhaps his confidence) before Stage 8′s crucial time trial.
Luca Paolini (Katusha) stills leads the race, with a lead of 17 seconds to Sky’s Rigoberto Uran, 26 seconds to Benat Intxausti (Movistar), Vincenzo Nibali (Astana, 31″), Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin) and Wiggins (Sky) both sit on 34″.
In other words, it’s all still to play for, and there’s plenty to lose on Stage 7. We’ll bring you live coverage from the Giro d’Italia from 10.15pm AEST.