Date: Friday May 27
Start: Marano Lagunare
Finish: Santuario di Castelmonte
Distance: 178 km
A tough mountain stage that spends some time in Slovenia and includes roughly 3,200 metres of climbing. There are two Cat 3 climbs in the first half of the stage, but the day’s toughest challenge will be the Kolovrat climb in Slovenia. It’s 10.3 km long with an average gradient of 9.2% but most of the climb is above 10%. This climb peaks about 45 km from the finish, which could make it a great launchpad for someone from the early break, or indeed from the peloton.
After a lengthy descent, the last 7.1 km of the stage averages 7.8%.
Far from the toughest stage on paper, but coming this late in the race it could easily cause an upset or two.
Who’s it for: The first climb is not until 70 km into the stage, so expect another big fight for the breakaway. The GC favourites could have one eye on Saturday’s stage 20 handing the stage win advantage to the breakaway artists. Nevertheless, with the top three separated by barely more than a minute, each will clearly fancy their chances of overall success. Hope for some signs of weakness to spark the GC battle to light. Otherwise, we could see a repeat of Mt. Etna and a win from the breakaway.
Oh yeah, and stage 19 is another day for Mathieu van der Poel.
CyclingTips’ picks: Take your pick from any of the riders already in breakaways this week. Thymen Arensman, Mauri Vansevenant, Hugh Carthy, and Gijs Leemreize all still want a stage win. Stage 19 could be the last chance for Bauke Mollema to complete the set of grand tour stage wins at this Giro. Joe Dombrowski will hope to get the freedom to chase a stage win now that Nibali sits more than four minutes off the podium. Formolo and Covi seem like Team UAE’s best chances to make up for João Alemida.
When to start watching: You’ll probably want to be watching by the time the race reaches the start of the Kolovrat climb. That’s expected to happen sometime around 3:25 pm local time (6:25 am PDT / 9:25 am EDT / 11:25 pm AEST).