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Why stage 11 of the Giro could be a classic

Josh Cunningham
17 May 2016

After an uneventful first 200km, the finale of stage 11 of the Giro could make the stage one of the most exciting.

When perusing the stage profiles of a Grand Tour, it's normally the ones with either the most, or the biggest, ups and downs that provide cause for anticipation. But one of the first to catch our eye was stage 11, from Modena to Asolo, with its duo of climbs in the final 25km having potential to light things up. 

While the big mountain stages are where the GC battles are usually won and lost, and while they also play host to some of the best attacking riding that pro cycling has to offer, they can also prove to be uneventful and predictable. The severity of their parcours can lead to cagey, defensive riding, because of the rider's fear of potentially losing time to their rivals, rather than gaining it. 

However, stage 11, despite its 200km of flat, has two kicks in the finale which promise to throw the proverbial amongst the pigeons and potentially provide a thrilling contest. The first, the Forcella Mostaccin, is a 2.9km effort that comes 20km from the finish, and averages 9% with ramps of up to 16%. Rolling roads and smaller, less significant climbs then follow, before a final 1.5km climb with 5km to go, which also contains cobbles over the top. 

It is difficult to say whether or not a large group will contest the finish, whether a small group or lone escapee will hold off the bunch, or whether the pure sprinters will even be able to hang on. And for this reason, as is the case in Milan-San Remo or a modern day Paris-Tours, we can at least expect some aggresive, attacking racing. The fact that the finish is so unpredictable will cause nervousness among not just the stage hopefuls, but the GC ones too, and their protective trains will be prominent going into the finale too, adding yet more ballast to the cumulative snowball of anticipation among the riders as the entire peloton aims to be at the front.

Andre Greipel has already won two stages of this year's Giro, and with his known ability to get over climbs such as these, the pace will have to be very high to expel the German from the back of the bunch. Arnaud Demare won Milan-San Remo earlier in the year, and while the climbs on stage 11 may not be as long as the Cipressa or Poggio, it proves he can hang on over a lump or two. Giacomo Nizzolo and Sacha Modolo are other potential sprint threats. 

Fabian Cancellara, Ramunas Navardauskas and Daniel Oss are suited to the kind of effort that would be required for a lone escape, or as part of a smaller group if one is forced, or allowed, to go clear. If the climbs are made hard enough by all of the preceding build up, and subsequent attacks, then a GC group could find themselves at the front, in which case Alejandro Valverde or teammate Jose Joaquin Rojas could be effective in a sprint.

It's an interesting stage, as part of the Giro d'Italia itself, and as a standalone race, but we advise you to watch the final 25km very carefully, as you never know what might happen. 

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