Another chance for KOM contenders to put their stamp on the contest for the blue jersey, stage 14 of the Giro d’Italia is much more severe than the day before. A row of jagged teeth is there to greet the field in the middle of the race, and the finish won’t do many tired legs any favours either.
Stage 14: Alpago – Corvara. 210km
Just a couple of days earlier riders were enjoying the ‘rest day that wasn’t’, a stage so entirely flat it was an absolute gift for any and every pair of tired legs in the peloton. But looking at this stage one can’t help but think that the organisers have a very cruel streak in their blood. Six official climbs feature during the stage, as well as the final uphill ramp to the line – unclassified – but a nice way to finish the field off don’t you think?
The Passo Pordoi is first, before the road circles figure-of-eight-like to take in the Passo Sella Sellajoch, the Passo Gardena Groonerjoch, the Passo Campolongo, the Passo Giau and finally the Passo Valparola. If a team like Sky, Astana or Movistar can really grab this stage by the scruff of the neck then they could cause a serious amount of damage. There is no real let up in the first 94km of racing, it’s almost entirely uphill.
This could be Vincenzo Nibali’s chance to lay claim to the overall lead in the race he has won just once back in 2013. He has filled every spot on the podium in each of the last three editions of the race that he entered, but this will be the first time that he has raced his home tour in three years. With strength in the team like what he has this is certainly a stage that should see them shine.