Fossacesia Marina > Ortona 19.6km ITT
The battle for the pink jersey begins with a 19.6km ITT. Ganna won the opening TT in both 2020 and 2021, he’s back to see if he can do it again and be the first rider in pink in 2023.
A beautiful day, with lots of sunshine and warm temperatures, and hardly any wind.
There’s 16.8km of straight, flat road, before the riders hit the climb.
It doesn’t last long, but it will give the punchy climbers a chance of claiming back a few seconds. From the top there’s only 1.6km to go, most of which is on narrow roads. There’s some city centre cobbles too, but they are nice and smooth.
Filippo Ganna – can he win his third opening TT in the Giro? The Italian will start as the favourite, the flat section is perfect for him to build an advantage over all his rivals. He’ll lose a couple of seconds on the climb, but he’ll hope to have enough in the bank to take the win.
Remco Evenepoel – is it possible for Remco at race weight to stay close to Ganna on the flat? Ganna will have a big advantage, a flat road without corners should favour the heavier man, but Remco is capable of the incredible. He’ll use the climb to gain some seconds, but will it be enough?
Primož Roglič – don’t write him off, he’s also an exceptional TT rider. I don’t think he’ll win, but the podium is possible.
Stefan Küng – after another excellent classics season, Küng comes to the Giro with the ambition of winning this stage and taking the pink jersey. This season he won the ITT in the Algarve, beating Ganna in the process. Küng has taken some impressive wins in the past, but winning this stage would be his biggest achievement so far. He’ll be good on the flat, and hold his own on the climb, he’ll fancy his chances of beating the big two.
João Almeida – his TT seems to have gone backwards in the last couple of years, but I think he’s capable of finishing in the top 10. His TT in the Algarve wasn’t great, but 7th in Tirreno was much better, he’ll hope to continue that upward trend.
Geraint Thomas – one word that sums him up is solid. I would say he’s certain to finish top 10, and more than likely to be top 5. His performances this year have been nothing to write home about, but it’s all about peaking over the next three weeks.
Mads Pedersen – earlier in the season he won the TT in Bessèges, which features a much harder climb than this one. He’d probably prefer a shorter effort, but he’s capable of challenging for the top 5. Another goal will be to finish within 15 seconds of the race winner, which will give him a big chance of taking the pink jersey on Sunday or Monday. Potentially wearing the leader’s jersey in a grand tour must be a massive motivating factor for him, I expect a strong performance.
Edoardo Affini – 2nd in the opening TT back in 2021, he’ll be super motivated to try and take his first grand tour win. He’ll do well on the flat, but he’s going to lose some time on the climb, which will be crucial.
Jay Vine – the surprise package. He’s not raced since 21st February, but I have a feeling he could go very well.
Josef Černy – his recent TT win in Romandie means he’ll arrive full of confidence. The flat section is perfect for him, but as a heavier guy, the climb isn’t ideal. The good news is that he seems to be climbing better than usual, I’m hoping for a top 10 result.
Lennard Kämna – on his day he’s capable of riding an excellent TT. He was 2nd in Tirreno, something similar here would be the perfect way of starting his GC campaign.
The route favours the heavier TT specialists, I think some of them will only lose a handful of seconds on the climb, it’s not long enough to really have a huge impact on the outcome.
It’s a win for Filippo Ganna.
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