Barely a blink of an eye and it feels like we are back in the mountains. Four climbs litter stage 13 of the Giro d’Italia, but in theory this will be a stage that doesn’t win the race; but for anyone struggling this could be a nail in the coffin of defeat.
Stage 13: Palmanova – Cividale del Friuli. 161km
It is not a long stage, as stages in this year’s Giro d’Italia go, just cresting the 100 mile mark. But four big climbs will make this an interesting stage to watch. This is a stage that could well factor in deciding the King of the Mountains classification as I imagine that not many of the GC challengers will have pencilled this one in as a defining stage for them. There are four summit finishes that are far more likely to play a role in solving that puzzle.
For someone who has been ruled out of potential victory in the general classification at this stage though, this could be a stage for redemption. Expect a breakaway with a potentially unusual concoction of riders in it to go clear. But also keep a look out for someone like Rafal Majka. If anyone’s been the ‘unsung hero’ in Tinkoff’s make up over the past few years it’s been him.
A loyal domestique to Alberto Contador when the need has arisen, but a poacher of opportunities when they present themselves, Majka is still only 26 years old but he has three Tour de France stage wins to his name, a king of the mountains title in the same race and 6th and 7th overall in the Giro d’Italia; not a bad record. Where he will be at this stage of the Giro will be interesting, but he could potentially do something . . . if the opportunity arises.