Not only Etna and Blockhaus: lots of traps in the first week
Today’s rest day is a rest day only on paper, as the riders had to take a charter flight to Sicily and move to Avola, where tomorrow’s fourth stage will kick off. It’s not a trivial stage, as the riders will arrive at Rifugio Sapienza on Mount Etna, the first uphill finish of this Corsa Rosa. The final ascent is not prohibitive (23 km at 6%), but it will be essential to pay close attention to the weather conditions, since the last few days on top of the volcano were nothing but rainy, windy and cold.
In any case, the whole week – atypical for a first week, with so many traps even for the GC men – looks pretty interesting. After Etna there will be a chance to take a breather with the Catania-Messina and Palmi-Scalea stages which should allow the sprinters to unleash their horsepower. But the following day it’s back uphill again with the Diamante-Potenza stage, which runs entirely through the Lucania Apennines and doesn’t have a metre of flat road. The GC men may not attack, but there is room for breakaways and possible ambushes.
The same applies to the following day, with the city of Naples and the town of Procida playing a major role. The capital city of Campania will have plenty of short climbs to make the stage exciting and a potential hunting ground for breakaways. The only sure thing is that the stage setting will be noteworthy. The week wraps up with one of the toughest uphill finishes of the Giro d’Italia, the Blockhaus (14km at 8.5%), which will also be preceded by the Passo Lanciano (10.8km at 7.2%). Here the first big kick to the Corsa Rosa is expected, the gaps between the riders in the general classification will grow and the hierarchies in the race will become clearer.
It’s going to be fun, stay tuned.