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: Stage reports
Giro d’Italia 2013: Photo galleries
Photos by Graham Watson
Giro d’Italia 2013: Videos