The first true mountain top finish of the Giro is on tap. Will this make or break the likes of Wiggins and Hesjedal?
After a day off, the Giro resumes in grand style, hitting the biggest hurdle of the race so far. The drenching Sunday that cost Ryder Hesjedal time and nearly threatened to do the same to Bradley Wiggins put an awful lot of pressure on the teams looking to keep their GC men in contention.
Interestingly enough, it was the relatively untried Astana team that rode so well Sunday that they can go into today with some confidence. They will have a whole slew of attacks to deal with, including that of Domenico Pozzovivo, who will feature on the long, steep climb to Altopiano del Montasio. The first category climb pairs with another first category to provide massive tests of the GC contenders.
Keep your eyes on the Colombian duo of Rigoberto Uran and Sergio Henao. Sky won’t wait to start chipping away at Nibali, and the two climbers are close enough to force a serious chase on the ascents. Other teams will try hard, but they may not have the firepower needed to break Nibali. However, if they can ride the coattails of other attacks, Evans and the others may stand a good chance of adding pressure to Astana’s load.
The final climb of the day is over 10km long, plenty long enough to cause massive gaps of the GC men. But those with dreams of a stage win should be flying high, with a special nod to Pieter Weening, Jose Cobo and the other climbers tucked safely over five minutes behind the leaders.