The first stage of the Giro d’Italia to be held in Italy arrives in stage 4 when the race travels 200km from Catanzaro to Praia a Mare.  Two things stand out about the stage: first the route profile is by far the most undulating at this point, and second, this really suits a breakaway.

Stage 4: Catanzaro – Praia a Mare.  200km

The race takes on a coastal feel for stage 4 of the Giro d’Italia.  200km of the race heading north up the west coast of Italy.  It does have the feel of something that might make a couple of alarm bells ring for GC contenders, and it’s the potential for the wind factor that triggers those bells.  When Chris Froome won his first Tour de France back in 2013, he was helped by the conditions that (literally) blew the race to pieces on stage 13, putting 8.45mins into rival Alejandro Valverde on a day that was supposed to be plain sailing for the GC contenders from a look at the parcours.

This stage is a little like that.  Two category 3 climbs will keep things interesting for a breakaway, with the first being the reasonably severe climb up Bonifati but the final uncategorised climb and following descent will likely see a breakaway attempt for the stage victory.  The final mound is small yet very, very steep; hitting 18% gradient in places.  This will likely be the launchpad for the stage victory, but with the climb being so short it would pay to be a proficient descender on top of that.

A rider like Vincenzo Nibali will fare well on a stage like this.  Given an inch of rope and he will take a mile, as the world of cycling has become somewhat used to not just his solid climbing ability; but also his freakish commitment to the descent.


Photo:  Sirotti


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