When Wednesday May 28
To Vittorio Veneto
With only a handful of small climbs — small compared to the giants crested in the past few days — stage 17 is a small island of calm among the imposing peaks of the dolomites.
In fact, it’s very similar to stage 17 of last year’s Giro, which itself was sandwiched between a couple of Alpine stages. That day, however, saw Giovanni Visconti defy the flat terrain and win from a breakaway, and the fatigue felt from the peloton at this late point in the race may mean that escapees will be given a chance.
Visconti used a climb 20km from the finish to launch his race-winning attack, and the category-four Muro di Ca’del Poggio is situated at the same length from the finish line today. The Muro did not prevent Mark Cavendish from winning a bunch sprint when it was last used in the Giro two years ago, but that day it featured at a distant 75km from the finish.
With a gradient that averages 12 per cent and maxes out at 18 per cent, this looks an ideal springboard for a late attack. Expect opportunistic stage-hunters like Pieter Weening and Stefano Pirazzi to test the sprinters’ teams’ resolve today with some testing attacks.
Did you know?
The ‘Venato’ part of the name of today’s destination city was added to remember the Battle of Vittorio Veneto, which took place nearby in 1918. The decisive battle secured victory for the Italians over the Austro-Hungarians in the latter stages of world war one.