Today’s live coverage gets under way at 1pm (BST)
Today’s menu . . .
As is often the case at the Giro d’Italia, today’s stage is very much one of two halves as it winds its way towards the best that is Monte Zoncolan. That beast, however, may be a little less scary than normal today as the riders will go up the easier side. That easy side tops out at a gradient of 27% so I’m almost certain it will not feel easy later on this afternoon when the riders are crawling up this wall-like climb.
Anyway, as usual there are two intermediate sprints where points are up for grabs in the race for the maglia ciclamino in Meduno, while the second one just under 20km from the line in Arta Terme bonus seconds are up for grabs. There are three climbs of note, the category four Castello di Caneva which is just 3.4km long with an average gradient of 4.4% that summits 77.9 kilometres into the stage, while just under 70km later a tougher test awaits. The category two Forcella Monte Rest is 10.5km at 6.1% which will soften the riders up ahead of the final climb of the day, Monte Zoncolan. Although not that high (1,728 metres above sea level), and on paper does not especially look too tricky – I am basing this wildly inaccurate assumption purely on its numbers – this 14.1km long climb with an average gradient of 8.5% will, one suspects, provide the canvas on which today’s general classification battle will be sketched out.
Here’s what the roadbook says: “This mountain stage is divided into two parts: it starts flat and continues on a slight incline for 130km, all the way to Monte Rest. The route then weaves through a brace of hairpins, on narrowed roadway, both on the way up and on the way down. After going back on broader roads in Priuso, the route passes Tolmezzo and Arta Terme, reaching the foot of the closing climb.
“The first 11km ascend in hairpins, on wide roads, with gradients around 7-8%, whereas the last 3km are very demanding.”
And in conclusion, here’s the finale: “The last 3km rise sharply on narrow road with only a few bends, and gradients often exceeding 20% (averaging 13%). The pitch over the final kilometre largely hovers around the 18% mark, with gradients exceeding 25% and topping out at 27% both along the hairpins and in the final stretch. The last 50 metres are on tarmac road and on a slight incline.”
Catch up: Highlights from yesterday’s stage
Hello and welcome to our live rolling blog from stage 14 at the Giro d’Italia, the 205-kilometre run from Cittadella to Monte Zoncolan.
The day after Giacomo Nizzolo (Qhubeka-Assos) must have as if he had finally entered some sort of heavenly oasis having won the first Giro d’Italia stage of his career on his eighth outing at his national race, the Italian and his fellow sprinters will, today, edge their way gingerly towards what will feel like purgatory for them. That’s right folks, today the race returns to the mountains and one of the most feared climbs in world cycling, Monte Zoncolan, but before we look at what on on today’s menu let’s remind ourselves about the standings in the top spots in the four jersey classifications.
Given the nature of yesterday’s stage – a panflat course from Ravenna to Verona – there was very little movement in the general classification. Indeed, no rider within 30 minutes moved up or down the general classification and so Egan Bernal (Ineos Grenadiers), the 24-year-old Colombian, retained his lead and will for the fifth day today wear the maglia rosa, or the pink jersey.
Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) finished third on Friday, a results that ensured he kept hold of the maglia ciclamino, the cyclamen jersey, as leader in the points classification, although Nizzolo closed the gap on him and now trails the three-time world champion by nine points.
What with there being no points available in the mountains classification yesterday, Geoffrey Bouchard (Ag2r-Citroën), who took control of the maglia azzurra almost a week ago now, will again wear the blue jersey as overall leader in the mountains.
The top three in the youth classification mirrors that of the overall and so Alexandr Vlasov (Astana-Premier Tech) will wear the maglia bianca, or the white jersey, on behalf of the maglia rosa Bernal.