Giro d’Italia 2013: Stage 5 preview

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Giro d’Italia 2013: Stage 5
When: Wednesday, May 8
To: Matera
Length: 203km
Category: Flat

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The Giro passes a second day in Calabria and enters into Basilicata, one of the least-known and poorest regions, and home of Fabian Cancellara’s parents.

The race has come to the City of Stones many times. The last time, in 2003, the leg covered similar roads: a flat run, the Montescaglioso climb and, 20km later, Matera. Robbie McEwen saw his win handed over to runner-up Fabio Baldato after the UCI jury relegated him for irregular sprinting.

It should be a relatively calm day for the new race leader, as the stage is mostly flat. The only risk is that winds off the Ionian Sea force splits and cause havoc ahead of the Montescaglioso.

The climb and pace shelled several sprinters, including Mario Cipollini, in 2003. A rider like Filippo Pozzato (Lampre-Merida) may be able to jump clear successfully on the small climb into Matera’s centre.

Matera is one of a kind. It is called the Città dei Sassi, the City of Stones, because the locals carved their homes into the lime rock. In fact, people live in the homes their ancestors created some 9,000 years before. Because of the ancient look, many film-makers use it for biblical films. Mel Gibson shot The Passion of the Christ here.

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