Giro d'Italia 2022 Giro d'Italia, Stage 9: Isernia – Blockhaus 189 km (Sunday, May 15th)

From @Eshnar's excellent 2022 Giro d'Italia: Stage-by-stage Analysis thread:

Stage 9: Isernia – Blockhaus 189 km
Sunday, May 15th, 11:35 CET



Technical Overview:
The second weekend ends with a very serious mountain stage in the Appennines, with the hardest MTF of the race. The stage is a bit different than originally presented, and in this case the changes have been for the better, as the first half of this stage is a lot more interesting. The fun begins right at the starting town of Isernia, where the riders will immediately climb the first climb of the day, the Valico del Macerone (GPM3, 3.5 km at 5.4%), a very short and easy climb with a long history in the Giro, before facing its quick descent. At the bottom, the road will rise again, a lot steeper this time: Rionero Sannitico (GPM2, 10.1 km at 6%) is a proper climb, with steep sustained sections and only a couple of easy kms in the middle. What follows is a descending false flat rather than a descent, and after around 10 km the peloton will hit another climb, Roccaraso (GPM2, 7.7 km at 6%), that brings to another highland without a proper descent. After this blistering start, the riders will get some breath along the rolling terrain that follows, which mostly comprises descending false flats and gentle slopes. The road will keep undulating until the town of Pretoro, at 54 km to go. Here, the riders will head south towards the Majella massif, where they will be staying for the rest of the stage. The ascent to Passo Lanciano (GPM1, 10.3 km at 7.6%) is not particularly hard from this side, but will wear legs nicely and probably favour some action by stage hunters or GC lieutenants. The descent is along a much steeper road, but it is not very technical, although it does get a bit tricky at the bottom. Here, at 27 km to go, the road will rise yet again gently (around 4-5%) up until Roccamorice, where the final intermediate sprint is located and the final climb starts. The mighty Blockhaus (GPM1, 13.6 km at 8.4%) is, as I said, the hardest MTF of this race. Its final 10 kms at 9.4% will do a lot of damage and probably revolutionize the general classification.

Final km:


The Climbs:

Valico del Macerone
: GPM3, 3.5 km at 5.4%
A classic climb, used in the Giro many times. This is the easier side. Short and easy.


Rionero Sannitico: GPM2, 10.1 km at 6%
A good climb split in two by a short flat section that lowers the average gradient.


Roccaraso: GPM2, 7.7 km at 6%
A decent climb with a few good ramps. Here is the profile (up to km 10)


Passo Lanciano: GPM1, 10.3 km at 7.6%
This side of the Passo Lanciano is partly the same used in 2009 to reach the Blockhaus. The bottom half is new though, and it features a small descent and a steep ramp to make up for it.


Blockhaus: GPM1, 13.6 km at 8.4%
Same side used in 2017. It is a great climb that will cause a lot of damage to everyone. It is definitely the hardest MTF of the race, and has a strong case for being the hardest climb of this edition.


What to expect:
The first real all-out battle for the GC. I doubt any meaningful action can happen on Passo Lanciano, barring very ambitious team moves. The frantic start might help to spice things up.


Majella National Park
On current form, Kämna has an outside shot at keeping the pink jersey from the peloton, he would need a really good day in combination with Yates not fighting for the win though.

Other than that, this is as good as a first-week MTF gets. Blockhaus is an awesome climb, the first 40 kilometres should be frantic, and nobody seems capable of gaining a stranglehold on the race like we've seen Froome and Pogacar do on the first mountain stages of Tours.
It's a tough start to the stage! Definitely not designed for the sprinters to survive.
But climbs at the beginning of mountain stages are overrated?

But what is the problem with the flat starts? On most of those stages, the break cannot establish itself before the first mountain anyway, which makes the racing even harder than if it's just a W/kg slugfest from the beginning.

Edit: okay, "most", is - admittedly - perhaps stretching things a bit.
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The time limit is ~1h, so if anyone doesn't catch the gruppetto after the first climbs, it will be a very hard day.
What's the last time anyone finished an hour down?

These stages with a climbing start and then a GC finish tend to have a very moderately paced middle part.

Yesterday they finished at 42 minutes, I don't think tomorrow is 20 minutes harder.
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It's a hard start but even if it took two hours for the break to go there's a lot of valley to come back on before Lanciano.

I think the stage win will be between the GC guys, but I'll go with De La Cruz from the break .
One of the best stages of the year, a classic very hard MTF with a super strong climb before and and hellish start. I feel like we havent even seen the GC riders in the race up until this point, so its definitely very welcoming to see some action soon. Will be some big time gaps.

I wonder if Greenedge or whatever that team is called will finally realize they are in a bike race and do something. They are really annoying me.
A big stage, probably the most important in the first 2 weeks of the race. The Giro is so backloaded that the next big mountain stage is one week after Blockhous! Normally I would favour Yates, especially given it's still first part of the race, but not sure now considering that he's injured (unfortunately). I think Carapaz will reach his best form in the 3rd week so no win for him tomorrow. Maybe Landa will win it (if a breakaway isn't a factor). Should be interesting in the last 10 km at 9-10%, no place to hide there.
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