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Giro d'Italia 2023 Giro d'Italia, Stage 4: Venosa – Lago Laceno 175 km (Tuesday, May 9th)

From @Eshnar's excellent 2023 Giro d'Italia: Stage-by-stage Analysis thread: https://forum.cyclingnews.com/threads/2023-giro-ditalia-stage-by-stage-analysis.38851/#post-2828615

Stage 4: Venosa – Lago Laceno 175 km

Tuesday, May 9th, 12:30 – 17:10 CEST



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Technical Overview:

The stage starts in Venosa and provides tough terrain right off the bat, with two uncategorized climbs of 3 km at 7% and 5 km at 4% before a quick descent brings everyone to the first categorized climb of the day, Passo delle Crocelle (GPM2, 13.6 km at 4.3%). This is a long ascent without steep ramps, so it will only be good for warming up and perhaps to determine the composition of the breakaway, if it has not gone already. It is followed by a long descent on wide roads and a very short flat section before the next climb, which includes the intermediate sprint of Muro Lucano. Valico di Monte Carruozzo (GPM2, 19.9 km at 3.8%) is a somewhat tougher climb than the previous one, but still nothing more than a warm up compared to what is to come. Plus, its top is still at 65 km to go. The following descent is very straightforward, with only a short twisty section near the end, and it brings to an ascending false flat 25 km long. Finally, at 12.5 km to go, after a short descent and the intermediate sprint of Montella, the final climb and main dish of the day starts. Colle Molella (GPM2, 9.6 km at 6.2%) is the first GC-grade climb of this Giro, with its 3 km section at over 9% near the top which might see the first real attacks of this edition. The top is at 3 km to go, basically all false flat until the finish in Lago Laceno.

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The Climbs:

Passo delle Crocelle
: GPM2, 13.6 km at 4.3%

Its average gradient is reduced by two short flat sections, but even so, it rarely goes over 6%. At least I think. The profiles I could find are all over the place.

Valico di Monte Carruozzo: GPM2, 19.9 km at 3.8%

Just like the previous one, the average gradient does not say much. The initial ramp of Muro Lucano can get a bit steeper, but not by much.

Colle Molella: GPM2, 9.6 km at 6.2%

It is basically one steep 3 km ramp preceded by very gentle slopes. It did not do a lot of damage last time they finished right after it, in 2012, but that Giro is best forgotten. In 1998 instead, it was a great ascent.

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What to Expect:

A big selection, if not proper attacks by GC favourites. Last time the Giro came here we have not been lucky to say the least, but even then it showed attacks can stick here. GC contenders will need to be on their toes.

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Alex Zülle winning solo in Lago Laceno, Giro 1998
 
Soudal have been very clear about not wanting to keep the pink jersey, so there are only two ways the break doesn't make it: Jumbo control this with bonus seconds in mind, or someone deemed too dangerous for GC is in the breakaway. Evenepoel and Roglic will most probably come out to play on the final climb and you'd think they'll want to put everyone who's dropped a little further away in case someone rises up in the Alps, hopefully there's at least one person who can follow so that it isn't a two-horse race immediately.
 
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Remco seems to be much further ahead in form right now, then some of the others. I think he will attack to gain some time here or he may wait for stage 7.

He should be trying to maximize his advantage this week to build up a comfortable lead going into the 2nd week, where he will probably be able to defend himself or gain more I think.

3rd week anything could happen. We have seen riders crack unexpectedly before.
 
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Fwiw I think some people are being way too deterministic about Evenepoel's and Roglic' climbing shapes based on a TT and an intermediate sprint Roglic didn't even try to win. After all the premature conclusions made after Roglic won an uphill sprint at last year's Vuelta two days prior to being smoked by Evenepoel (and Vine) on Pico Jano, you'd think we'd collectively be a little wiser...
 
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If Quick Step wants to lean away the jersey.

Fortunato, Riccitello or maybe even Pozzovivo given he's 40 years old already. Leknessund might be too close to be allowed, but still possible.

Paul Lapeira probably goes for the mountain points again. Which should succeed. But the final climb should be too hard for him, unless he rather saved energy today.

The likes of Dombrowski are going to be present in the big breakaway certainly. But dunno if he should be taxed higher for a stage win, than those 3 names I mentioned above.

Might be just a really, really weak breakaway group instead though. Then, Dombrowski indeed stands a chance.
 
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