When Tuesday, May 24
Impact on GC 4/5
>> Struggling to get to the shops? Try 6 issues of Cycling Weekly magazine for just £6 delivered to your door <<
After a well-earned rest day, the third week kicks off with yet more climbing in the Dolomites (albeit condensed into just 132km, making this the shortest road stage of the race).
Once over the long and steady Passo della Mendola, an even longer descent leads the riders to the foot of the Fai della Paganella. This 9.5km, 7.5 per cent averaging climb is where the action should kick off, although any attackers must cautiously bear in mind that there are still 8.5km to race after it is crested, comprising of a short downhill, short uphill and one-kilometre long drag to the finish.
This might not be as difficult as the preceding stages, but rest days and short stages can do funny things to a rider’s form, so don’t be too surprised if any frontrunners lose significant time.
Steven Kruijswijk (LottoNL-Jumbo) goes into the stage as overall race leader with a significant two minute and 12-second advantage over second-placed Esteban Chaves (Orica-GreenEdge). Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) is third at 2-51.
Kruijswijk’s rivals could use the stage to put pressure on the Dutchman, with Astana in particular having the strength in numbers to set a fast pace to try and crack the LottoNL-Jumbo team and its leader.