Giro d’Italia stage 17 essential preview: mountain testing continues


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APRICA, Italy (VN) – After back-to-back alpine stages where you could almost throw a blanket over the four main Giro d’Italia contenders at the finish, the race will continue its passage through the mountains as it heads towards Lavarone a day when rain and cooler temperatures could be a factor.

Talk to BikeNews after stage 16 of the Giro d’Italia arrived in Aprica, Bora-Hansgrohe team principal Enrico Gasparotto suggested that fatigue and the sudden change in conditions could lead to gaps appearing between the four outstanding Giro riders – Richard Carapaz (Ineos Grenadier), Mikel Landa (Bahrain Victorious), João Almeida (UAE Team Emirates) and his Bora’s Jai Hindley.

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“We know tomorrow’s stage because we did reconnaissance after Tirreno-Adriatico in March and the penultimate climb I did as a rider,” explained Gasparotto. This penultimate climb is the Passo del Vetriolo, where American Andy Hampsten scored a crucial time trial victory in the 1988 Giro that helped him win the overall title, although the riders ran on the opposite flank from the pass that day.

“The final is quite difficult and the last climb is very steep. We’ll also have to check the weather, as the forecast isn’t very good, although it doesn’t look like it’s going to rain all day. But it looks like it will be humid in some areas and so far it has been very hot and humid, and temperature changes like this can impact the body.

Gasparotto says he’s confident his man Hindley will hold up, but added: “They’re still so close together that there’s no room for error. We take it one day at a time. If we see the opportunity to seize some time, we will definitely go for it. I think Jai showed once again how hard he rides. He again beat Carapaz in the sprint and gained four seconds there, so it was a good day for us.

He said the key for Carapaz, Hindley and Landa was to gain ground on Almeida ahead of the final day’s time trial in Verona. “Almeida is 44 seconds behind but it’s the best time trial and he can really gain a few seconds in the time trial,” said Gasparotto.

Ineos team principal Christian Knees pointed out that the Lavarone stage may seem a little easier than Tuesday’s race in Aprica which ended with the Mortirolo and Santa Cristina climbs, but it does not should not be underestimated. “You have to remember that we are in the third week, so there are a lot of tired people with tired legs. Any day now could be game-changing, and even if it isn’t, squeezing a few seconds off someone could be the difference on GC. Every day is a final now,” Knees said.

He was impressed with his team’s performance and how their leader Carapaz had defended the pink jersey.

“The team was strong, it was hard work today. Just like on the stage before the rest day, it was difficult to control the breakaway because it seems that everyone wants to get into it. But they controlled everything brilliantly, and in the end Richard was strong enough to stay with the other main contenders, so it’s all good from our perspective,” Knees said.


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