C-Cycling - Giro d'Italia 2015 Preview and Favorites

22/05 - Stage 13 - Montecchio Maggiore to Jesolo - 147 km

The route
If you are to miss any stage of this year’s Giro d’Italia, today is the day. The 147 km from Montecchio Maggiore to Jesolo are completely flat. The sprinters missed out on stage 10. There is no way they will let it happen again today. A headwind will help the peloton keep the morning breakaway in a tight leach.

The two intermediate sprints, both offering 20, 12, 8, 6, 4, 3, 2, 1 points, are located in Santa Maria di Sala (after 58.4 km) and Mestre (after 77.3 km). There are still 70 km to go from the last sprint. The riders targeting the red jersey will have no problems recovering from their efforts if they take part in these sprints.

For the GC riders, the solo focus is to stay upright and save energy for tomorrow’s long time trial. The biggest struggles towards the run-in in Jesolo will be possible showers during the stage. On such a relatively easy day in the saddle, it’s important not to let your mind wander off. You need to stay alert at all time, especially if the roads are wet.

As the riders reach the city of Jesolo, they turn left onto Via Cristoforo Colombo. The following 5 km are straight-out alongside the river. Soon after passing under the 10-km-to-go banner, the peloton turns right in Cortellazzao. A very narrow bridge take the riders over the water onto Viale Oriente where they stay for a couple of kilometers. It’s a wide road without any roundabout or other obstacles. With about 6 km to go, a few tricky turns lead the peloton onto Via Madre Teresa di Calcutta and later Via Martin Luther King. These 4 km are straight-out but do include numerous roundabouts and traffic islands. The last roundabout comes just 500 meters from the line. This - and the following sharp right-hand corner - will stretch out the peloton significantly. It’s extremely important to be well-positioned on the last 2 km. Only the final 400 meters are straight-out towards the finishing line. Hopefully, we won’t see any crashes on the wet roads!

C-Cycling.com Giro d'Italia 2015 Preview and Favorites

The candidates
As mentioned already in the overall preview, the level of the sprinters is very equal in this year’s Giro d’Italia. So far, we’ve only seen two real bunch sprints. Most of the sprinters are still looking for that stage win, which will save their race. It’s also important to remember that this is probably the last chance for the fast riders before the final stage in Milano. Everybody will be very eager to get in the mix today.

On paper, Andre Greipel is probably the best candidate. The technical final means it’s very important to be well-placed and have a strong team to support you. Lotto-Soudal and Greg Henderson nailed the leadout on stage 6 but it won’t be easy to repeat that performance today. Greipel is best when he gets a proper leadout. Jumping from wheel to wheel is not his strong suit. If however, Henderson gets first through the last corner with Greipel in his wheel, it will be very difficult to beat the big German in Jesolo.

To me, Giacomo Nizzolo has looked very strong the last couple of days. Also on the hilly stages. Nizzolo is always in the mix in these Giro sprints. Last year, he finished 2nd no less than four times in the race. This year, he was 6th and 5th in the two bunch sprints before winning the sprint in peloton on stage 10. Giacomo Nizzolo hasn’t won a stage in the Italian grand tour yet but it could very well change today. Trek’s sole focus in this race is to win a stage and maybe take the red points jersey too. Marco Coledan, Boy Van Poppel, Fabio Felline and the rest of the team is fully dedicated to support Nizzolo, who’s also a very good bike handler, which will come in handy in today’s technical final.

For other top candidates with a solid chance of winning in Jesolo, look to the usual suspects Sacha Modolo, Luka Mezgec, Moreno Hofland and especially Elia Viviani who must be very eager to perform in his home region today. Riders like Alessandro Petacchi, Nicolo Ruffoni, Alexander Porsev, Juanjo Lobato, Tom Boonen and Davide Appollonio will be fighting for the remaining places in top10.

It will be very interesting to see how Nicola Boem performs today. He’s currently leading the points classification after winning in Forlì. We might see Bardiani-CSF change strategy and have Sonny Colbrelli, Enrico Battaglin and Nicola Ruffoni trying to lead out Boem for the final sprint, which offers 50 points to the winner.

For live coverage of the stage, go to steephill.tv.

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