Enna > Termini Imerese 150.3km
Despite the presence of a few hills in the opening 30km, I think we’ll see a similar start to the previous stages. The world tour teams will ensure a relatively weak break gets away, then everyone can rest up and wait for the finale. The finish to the stage is a tough one, but some of the sprinters will back themselves to take the win, but so will the puncheurs.
Warm and sunny, but there is a threat of rain.
The climb is about 1km at 6%, and then it flattens out for the final 100m. The hairpin bends will only add to the drama, I love the look of this finish. The race isn’t for the finishing line, first into the last corner will take the win.
It’s all about positioning for the final climb. The road approaching it is wide and straight, the battle will be fierce and the wide road will also make it dangerous. The first corner comes with 1.7km to go, quickly followed by another just after. Another corner (1.2km to go) takes the bunch onto the climb and from this point it’s very difficult to move up, those at the front at the start of the climb will be fighting for the win.
Diego Ulissi – UAE are likely to enter the climb in a good position, then it’s over to Ulissi. They need to make the final kilometre as hard as possible, to try and stop the sprinters from taking the win. To win this stage, Ulissi needs to start the climb close to the front, and UAE need to make it impossible for anyone to move up the line.
Vincenzo Albanese – 2nd in the opening stage, this is a big chance for him. He climbs very well, but he also has the kick required to go up against the sprinters. The problem could be positioning, but his team did a great job today. With two 2nd places in his pocket, he’ll be motivated to try and get on the top step.
Matteo Malucelli – it looks an excellent finish for him, but it’s all to do with positioning. He doesn’t have the same help as some of his rivals, and a poor position makes it impossible to win. He’ll hope his teammates can get it right and he can fight for the win.
Niccolò Bonifazio – took a brilliant win today, and he’ll fancy his chances of another. He’s the type of sprinter who doesn’t mind an uphill finish, he’ll hope to be in the right position for the finale, just like he was today. A sprinter riding with confidence is a dangerous beast.
Blake Quick – as a former under 23 Aussie road race champion, he doesn’t mind a few hills. He was 3rdtoday, and this is another chance to impress.
Damiano Caruso – it’s unlikely he’ll win, but as he finished 5th in today’s sprint, I have to include him. Bahrain only have a team of 5, but they are all focussed on Caruso. He’s likely to be in a good position for the final kilometre, then we’ll see if he’s got the punch to challenge the fast men.
He’s been knocking on the door. I’ll take a win for Vincenzo Albanese.
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