And so, not even a week into the Giro d’Italia, the nasty, harsh, severe and brutal Italian mountains are here. The sixth stage of the Giro d’Italia officially takes on three categorised climbs, all of which will hurt and the last of which will guaranteed give a good indication of who is in with a chance – and who isn’t – of wearing the maglia rosa in Torino.
Stage 6: Ponte – Roccaraso (Aremogna)
Much shorter that its predecessor from the day before, stage 6 of the Giro d’Italia more than makes up for that with the difficulty that it packs into each kilometre. Like stage 5, the day begins by heading up, but unlike stage 5 . . . it just gets worse, much worse, from the top. The climb up the Bocca di Selva is some 20km in length but then the climb up to the finish line bites, bites and bites a bit more as the road heads up for the final 19km.
This is everything a GC contender has been waiting for and will be a great test for someone like Tom Dumoulin – great time trial rider and good climber – as he pits himself against someone like Vincenzo Nibali or Rigoberto Uran – good time trial rider but great climber. What will be of some comfort to riders like Dumoulin though is that the final climb up to the finish has a couple of ‘ledges’ of respite on the way to the summit.
It will be interesting to see how someone like Ryder Hesjedal gets on with a new team. The 2012 Giro d’Italia winner is now in the company of Trek-Segafredo having spent the last nine seasons in the Garmin set up, and last year at the Giro he just got better and better as the race went on. This season has been very modest by his standards so far, what will we see in the mountains of Italy?