The Polsa time trial will hold the key to this Giro d'Italia if snow forces the high mountains out. With only a one minute and 26 second lead, Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) is not taking any chances above Lake Garda tomorrow.
"We've previewed it twice. I drove up it, Nibali rode it," Astana team manager, Giuseppe Martinelli told Cycling Weekly. "We took note of every corner and detail."
Cadel Evans (BMC Racing), a noted time trial rider and 2011 Tour de France winner sits in second overall and Sky's Rigoberto Urán is in third at 2-46 minutes.
They eye the 20.6-kilometre test in Trentino, north of Verona, to make a difference. Their gains or losses could be final as snow is threatening both mountain stages to Val Martello and Tre Cime di Lavaredo in the following two days.
The Giro d'Italia ends on Sunday in Brescia with a flat stage that should do little to the overall classification.
"I think that both Nibali and Evans will be there without any big differences between them," Martinelli added. "Evans has more experience than Nibali, but Nibali has shown to be in good condition at this moment."
Martinelli said the time trial, rising from 187 to 1205 metres, suits a true time trial rider. It is more a flat test with a mountain top finish than a mountain time trial.
"The hardest bit is 7-8 per cent and there's a descent, a false flat. You can ride a 25 to 30 average, so you can't say it's a mountain time trial."
Martinelli ran off to look after Paolo Tiralongo, who needed a chest x-ray. At the BMC Racing bus, Baldato said his team was just as focused.
Before competing in the Giro del Trentino, Evans rode the time trial twice with Baldato in the car behind. At the top, they took in the views of Lake Garda and the valley below.
"It's a nice road, really fast, you can take it at 25-27 an hour for the first six to seven kilometres," Baldato said. "The second part is around eight per cent, a little steeper. It's a nice climb, not just for a climber, but for a time trial rider too."
Is it enough for the Australian to make up the difference?
"Nibali is going well, you saw that in the Saltara time trial," Baldato added. "So far, Nibali has been going stronger. I hope that changes for the time trial."
Giro d'Italia 2013: Previews and race info
Giro d'Italia 2013: British TV schedule
Giro d'Italia 2013: 10 things you need to know
Giro d'Italia 2013: The Big Preview
Giro d'Italia 2013: Stage reports
Stage 16: Intxausti continues Movistar's successful Giro with stage win
Stage 15: Visconti wins Galibier stage
Stage 14: Santambrogio wins and Nibali strengthens lead
Stage 13: Cavendish takes his fourth stage win of 2013 Giro
Stage 12: Cavendish takes 100th win as Wiggins' Giro bid faltrs
Stage 11: Navardauskas wins as favourites enjoy day off
Stage 10: Uran wins as Wiggins and Hesjedal lose time
Stage nine: Belkov takes solo win as Wiggins put under pressure
Stage eight: Dowsett wins as Nibali takes race lead
Stage seven: Wiggins crashes as Hansen wins
Stage six: Cavendish wins stage six of Giro
Stage five: Degenkolb avoids crash to take win
Stage four: Battaglin sprints to first Giro stage win
Stage three: Paolini takes charge
Stage two: Sky wins team time trial
Stage one: Cavendish wins opener
Giro d'Italia 2013: Photo galleries
Photos by Graham Watson
Stage 16 gallery
Stage 15 gallery
Stage 14 gallery
Stage 13 gallery
Stage 12 gallery
Stage 11 gallery
Stage 10 gallery
Stage nine gallery
Stage eight gallery
Stage seven gallery
Stage six gallery
Stage five gallery
Stage four gallery
Stage three gallery
Stage two gallery
Stage one gallery
Team presentation gallery
Giro d'Italia 2013: Videos
Giro final week preview
Giro week two preview
Giro first week video preview
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Founded in 1891, Cycling Weekly and its team of expert journalists brings cyclists in-depth reviews, extensive coverage of both professional and domestic racing, as well as fitness advice and 'brew a cuppa and put your feet up' features. Cycling Weekly serves its audience across a range of platforms, from good old-fashioned print to online journalism, and video.
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