Giro 2014: Stage 18 Favourites: Long day in mountains for the GC men

Ivan BassoThursday, May 29th- Another summit finish, this time the nasty climb to Rigugio Panarotta. With gradients as steep as 14% and two other major cols earlier in the stage, time gaps could be significant. (Slideshow route/profile)

This is the first of three stages that will decide the race. With a mountain time-trial tomorrow and the feared Monte Zoncolon the day after, it’s difficult to know how riders will approach today’s stage.

A breakaway will certainly fancy their chances in the hope that the GC riders call a truce. However, with so much on the line and an opportunity to put minutes into their rivals, it’s difficult to see the anyone settling for their current placing, especially after the controversy over the Stelvio descent which eventually put Quintana in pink.

Uran needs to come out swinging again in order to take back time on his compatriot, but he may feel like the mountain TT is better place to do so. It’s also very difficult to see just how any rider could drop Quintana at this point as he seems to have peaked right on time.

Rolland will no doubt be on the move again, and Hesjedal will hope to take more time and push closer to a podium place. The Canadian would be on the podium now if it wasn’t for the disastrous team time-trial in Belfast.

Kelderman, Aru, Majka and Pozzovivo will all be involved and look to take any advantage they can.

Evans seems to be crumbling with every stage, it’ll be interesting to see if the old Aussie can find a spark in the closing days.

Favourites

Nairo Quintana

Outsiders
Rigoberto Uran
Wilco Kelderman
Ryder hesjedal
Fabio Aru
Rafal Majka
Domenico Pozzovivo
Cadel Evans

Giro 2014 stage 18: Images and more

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