After the difficult stage with the finish in Potenza, the Giro continues with a stage that should not be underestimated either, starting and finishing in Naples. There are many serious obstacles to overcome along the way, only a sprinter in top form can survive this.
Start: at 1.35 pm in Naples
Arrival: around 5.15 pm in Naples
Distance: 153 kilometers
The sprinter who wants to win in Naples on Saturday will have to have good papers. Unlike in 2013, when Mark Cavendish won in the city of Dries Mertens, the course is now hilly. And quite separate. The Giro peloton first makes a loop around Naples and then ends up on a tough lap that is completed four times. Afterwards they return to Naples where the finish is at sea level. Spicy costs but not insurmountable for a sprinter in top form.
Unpredictable. If the logic is respected, a harmless leading group will fight for the stage victory. We spontaneously think of Harm Vanhoucke, Mauri Vansevenant or Sylvain Moniquet, but we can probably name another twenty riders. Not to mention it’s up to the freebooters. But it is also possible that the sprinters’ teams try to control things. The day after and the day before a difficult mountain ride, people sometimes dare to take a day off.
These are the key moments
The peloton therefore has to cross the Monte di Procida four times, although that is not so bad. Two kilometers at six percent on average, that’s not what the average professional cares about. The tension will have to come from the succession of the climbs. The riders ride the same lap four times and that usually results in different racing behavior than with a ride in line.
This is what you need to know
Naples has much more to do with football than with cycling. The names Dries Mertens and Diego Maradona mean more to the coastal city than, say, Eddy Merckx or Tadej Pogacar. In 2013, the Giro departed from Naples with a stage in line with start and finish in the city. Mark Cavendish won and of course also took the pink.