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Giro d'Italia Giro d‘Italia 2024 Stage 3, Novara-Fossano, 166 km


Thanks to @Devil's Elbow for the great write-up:​

Stage 3: Novara – Fossano, 166.0k​

The first of three consecutive sprint opportunities. At only 750 metres of elevation gain, it looks really easy at first glance, but a tricky finale means it’s less than ideal for the heavier guys.

The route



The riders have transferred southeast overnight into Novara, part of Lombardy from the Middle Ages until the 18th century but long since the easternmost city in Piedmont. This position on both the main route from Turin to Milan and what was an international border until unification was and is favourable for trade, but also meant it was the site of various battles in the 16th and 18th centuries. It is also the birthplace of Beppe Saronni, famous for winning two GCs and 24 stages at this race (largely during its dark age) as well as a raft of big one-day races, but also for an exceptionally early decline and rather questionable subsequent career as a team manager.


There isn’t all that much to say about the stage. It trades the flats of the Po valley for the hills of wine country midway through, but as the riders mostly stick to the valley it’s barely visible on the profile, save for the token KOM at Lu (probably the shortest-ever name for a classified climb).


Quite soon, the riders make it to Fossano, strategically situated on a ridge where the wine country turns back into the floodplain. Said ridge will play a key part here, as they enter town via a 1.8k, 5.3% climb. This will be the first pro race here since the Giro del Piemonte in 2009. That race featured the same final hill, with Gilbert winning a sprint of four after forcing a selection on said hill. However, the hill comes at 3k to go here rather than the 1.2k of that race, thanks to a rather unnecessary detour.



And 2024. Note the hairpin just before the flamme rouge, things might get hairy:



What to expect?

It seems a lot harder to make a winning move on the hill with the increased distance to the finish, but the more onedimensional sprinters really should be too far back by the summit to contest this one. In other words, probably a reduced sprint.
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So. Kooij fell. Jakobsen was shelled off the back at the first hill yesterday. Milan versus Merlier? With an advantage for the man from Belgique, because Milan had some issues at the weekend too?
Wonder if Merlier is able to properly follow if they go really hard on that last climb of 1-1.5km long. It's still 5%, if I was Wanty I would go all out to drop some sprinters. Might be a shot for Girmay on the podium
Milan looked ok going for points sprint. He got boxed in but seemed ok. Be interesting to see how Ewan does as he used to be able to get over some lumpy stuff in the past. Andresen kept winning in Turkey recently when he should have been leading out Jakobsen and Dainese at Tudor is going for win number 3 at the Giro, so plenty of contenders. If Milan gets dropped off at the right spot though, I think he's got the speed to win. Ousiders pick Girmay and FDJ's Pithie
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So. Kooij fell. Jakobsen was shelled off the back at the first hill yesterday. Milan versus Merlier? With an advantage for the man from Belgique, because Milan had some issues at the weekend too?
What were Milan's issues?

The uphill drag reminds me a bit of the Tirreno stage where Milan beat Philipsen, albeit with a much longer flat section at the end. Given his known track ability in three to four minute efforts, I think he's the favourite out of the sprinters. Depends on his form ofc
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The guy seems to crash every other day he races, as I've said previously at some point you can't blame your luck anymore.
yeah, for sure. In March Dunbar said that he crashed 7 times within a year.

No idea how many he has had since.
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Smaller riders generally crash more imo because they have much less visibility ahead into the peloton crashing in front and the road itself. Just look at poor Pozzovivo, he's had so many crashes he's no longer even able to to sit symmetrically on the bike.
It doesn't help the smaller riders generally are not in the best GC teams as they can't TT, so not right at the front when it all kicks off or in team able to keep them at the front.