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what to expect from the second week?


After a rest day on Monday in Pescara, the riders of the Tour of Italy will hit the road again on Tuesday, to start the second week of racing. Third in the general classification, Romain Bardet “is wary of the days to come”. Arnaud Démare will have new opportunities to win.

After a first real explanation between the favorites of the Tour of Italy this Sunday, on the slopes of the Blockhaus where Jai Hindley won ahead of Romain Bardet, we will have to wait a little longer to find the battle of the leaders. The second week of racing promises to be especially favorable to sprinters and backpackers, even if the mountain will be on the menu on Sunday in the Valle d’Aosta region.

If the riders experience their second day of rest this Monday in Pescara, they will set off again this Tuesday along the Adriatic. The 10th stage, 196 kilometers long between Pescara and Jesi, promises to be undecided with a climb for punchers at the entrance to the last 10 kilometers and a final on a false flat rise. On paper, the profile seems to correspond perfectly to the qualities of Mathieu van der Poel and Biniam Girmay. With his Intermarché-Wanty Gobert team, the Eritrean, who is competing in his first Grand Tour, will no doubt want to outrun Arnaud Démare before the sprint.

Because with two stage successes in the first week, Arnaud Démare is in the lead in the points classification. Wearing the cyclamen jersey, the French sprinter has a 27-point lead over Girmay. Third in this ranking, Mark Cavendish is already 69 units behind but does not seem able to fight for this jersey. The Briton from the Quick-Step will undoubtedly aim for Wednesday’s stage, between Santarcangelo di Romagna and Reggio Emilia.

New opportunities for Démare

The profile of this eleventh stage will be completely flat, in principle allowing a new bunch sprint. Not yet a winner, Caleb Ewan will have the ambition to recover after losing a member of his train (Rüdiger Selig) just like Mark Cavendish, who will have to compose without Michael Morkov, the best pilot fish in the world. The Australian should in any case give up before this weekend, he who will then participate in the Tour de France.

Thursday, from Parma to Genoa, the route of the longest stage of the Giro (204 km) will cross the chain of the Apennines and will include several climbs and descents which could prove tricky in the event of relaxation. For the candidates for the breakaway, it will be the ideal day despite the relatively flat last 30 kilometers and a short passage on the motorway at the entrance to Genoa. In the event of a sprint, a rider like Biniam Girmay could still take advantage of the absence of certain sprinters.

The next day, the 13th stage, significantly shorter (150 km) and less hilly, will pay tribute to Sanremo, city of cycling and city-start this time. The finish will be judged at the foot of the Piedmontese Alps, in Cuneo, where the hypothesis of a sprint is credible. The summit of Colle di Nava, the main difficulty of the day, seems a bit far from the finish to make some sprinters jump.

A tough weekend

The organizers have planned a tough weekend in the absence of the historic Giro passes. Saturday, the stage will be intense (147 km) and will include two climbs of the two difficulties adjoining Turin, Colle della Maddalena (3.5 km at 8.1%) and especially the hill of Superga (5 km at 8.6 %), before the arrival judged in town. Current contenders for the mountain classification should end up at the front. Current wearer of the distinctive blue jersey, Diego Rosa will have to be wary of riders like Koen Bouwman and Lennard Kämna, who have already won a stage each.

The playground of the 14th stage could lend itself to a battle between favorites if they decide, but they will certainly have their eyes already on the 15th stage on Sunday. The leaders will meet in the Aosta valley to join Cogne. Two climbs classified in the first category (Pila-Les Fleurs, then Verrogne) will precede the final climb, very long (22.4 km) but rolling (4.3% average gradient) and not conducive on paper to a selection between the best overall.

Bardet is “wary of the days to come”

In the Blockhaus, three men proved to be the strongest: Romain Bardet, Richard Carapaz and Mikel Landa. But well helped by Joao Almeida’s climb to the train, Jai Hindley had settled a group of six riders which also included veteran Domenico Pozzovivo. Nevertheless, during the last foray into the Blockhaus in 2017, already on the occasion of the ninth stage, Nairo Quintana had triumphed alone but he had lost the pink jersey on the last day in favor of Tom Dumoulin.

The first week has already made it possible to see more clearly with the abandonment of Miguel Angel Lopez or the failure of Simon Yates. Vincenzo Nibali has lost time and Tom Dumoulin is already out of the game. Currently third in the general classification, Romain Bardet assures us that “everything is fine” but is wary of the days to come. “The next four stages may have pitfalls, we will have to remain attentive”, said the Frenchman at a press conference on Monday, favoring Saturday’s stage (Turin), “harder than the mountain stage the next day”. It will then be time to think about the last week, the most demanding and important for the final classification, where between now and then everyone’s state of form will undoubtedly evolve.

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