Giro 2018 Favourites stage 9: Strike on final haul up of some 50 kilometres

The 9th stage of the Giro d'Italia comes down to the last 47 kilometres. These are virtually all uphill, although there is some (false) flat relief. Who are favourite to win this mountain race? (Slideshow route/profile)

Thibaut Pinot and Miguel Ángel López are riders with a knack for this kind of exhausting ascents, although you’ll never know if the race does come down to a clash of GC contenders. Is there a team willing to control the race? Not only the last climb is mega, the same goes for the stage itself – it’s 224 kilometres long. The route is perfectly suited for a long range attack. Yet, no matter how the race unfolds, the final haul up the Gran Sasso will be decisive.

The 9th stage of the Giro d’Italia is played out in the Apennines. The finale is a mega-long ascent with two KOMs. Firstly, the route climbs to Calascio – 13.7 kilometres at 6%. After reaching the crest the road drops down for a few hundred metres before it starts to point uphill again – although false flat in the first 5.6 kilometres. Then the actual haul up the Gran Sasso kicks in. The climb amounts to 26.4 kilometres, but the middle section is really nothing to worry about as this is flat or even slightly descending. That said, the sheer distance is something else. The uphill stretches are mostly averaging at 4% to 5%, but a few kilometres before the top – when the Gran Sasso has been sapping the energy of the riders for more than one hour – the Grande Finale rears its head. The last 4.45 kilometres to the line at the Campo Imperatore plateau go up at 8.2%, while with 1.5 kilometres to go the steepest ramp (13%) appears. Which is a perfect place to strike.

The Michelton-Scott duo Chaves/Yates were by far the best GC-climbers on Mount Etna, are they ready to pull it of once more? Again, team work could be key. When third placed Chaves strikes Yates can just relax and see what happens. López is has no choice but to attack as he is more than 2 minutes down on GC.

Formolo is the most prominent GC-rider who buried his overall ambitions on Mount Etna. The Italian will be granted the opportunity to go on the attack, while former GC-contender Gesink is a new-born rider who is eyeing up stage wins these days.

Favourites 9th stage 2018 Giro d’Italia

*** Thibaut Pinot, Miguel Ángel López, Esteban Chaves, Domenico Pozzovivo
** Simon Yates, Fabio Aru, Jarlinson Pantano, Davide Formolo, Giulio Ciccone
* Robert Gesink, Rubèn Plaza, Sergio Henao, Richard Carapaz, George Bennett

Read also: route 9th stage 2018 Giro d’Italia.

Giro d’Italia 2018 stage 9: Route maps, height profiles, and more

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