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Giro d'Italia Giro d’Italia 2024, Stage 14: Castigliano delle Stiviere – Desenzano del Garda, 31.2k (ITT)

From Devil’s Elbow’s write-up:

Stage 14: Castigliano delle Stiviere – Desenzano del Garda, 31.2k (ITT)​

The second and final time trial is a fairly typical affair, slightly rolling and in a touristic area. With 40k of time-trialing and zero truly hard mountain stages under the rider’s belts, it’s likely to be a day where gaps are extended, rather than overturned.

The route

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The riders will roll down the starting ramp in Castigliano delle Stiviere, on the southern edge of the low glacial hills behind which Lake Garda is located. It was the site of major battles in the War of the Spanish Succession and in Napoleon’s Italian campaigns, but those are dwarfed by a battle that took place in the first town passed by the riders: Solferino. This was the decisive battle of the Second Italian War of Independence, as well as one of the largest battles of the 19th century. The Austrian loss here to an alliance of the House of Savoy (by this time known as the Kingdom of Sardinia) and France (who received Savoy and Nice from Sardinia in exchange for their participation) meant it lost all its Italian possessions but Venice to what would soon become the Kingdom of Italy. However, that was not the only major impact of this battle, as it was witnessing the disregard for the wounded in its aftermath that led Henry Dunant to found the Red Cross.

Just after Solferino, which is also the first time check, we have the most rolling section of the TT: a 700-metre, 5.7% dig up to Cavriana. Here, the riders turn north, towards Lake Garda as well as the second time check at the Torre di San Martino, which commemorates the aforementioned battle. By this point, the lake is a stone’s throw away and the final kilometres are just about on the shore.

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Desenzano del Garda is the largest town on the lake, and has been one of the major centres on its shores throughout its history. It was already a favourite destination for the rich in Roman times, and the remains of a Roman villa can be seen today. For centuries, it belonged to the Republic of Venice, which is reflected by much of the architecture in the town centre. Today, it serves as one of the main hubs for tourism on Lake Garda, both as a gateway and as a destination in its own right. It is also the hometown of Sonny Colbrelli, missed sorely in the peloton.

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What to expect?

Unlike the first TT, this route should greatly suit the specialists and the top-10 should reflect that. For the GC battle, the combination of over 70 kilometres of TT and a lack of major mountain stages thus far will ensure that the pure climbers have their work cut out for them if they want to podium.
 
Ganna, Sheffield and Arensman podium. Arensman matched Pog on the flat portion of the last TT and paced well enough to do well on the climb so he should be impressive. Also expecting a good ride from Thomas. Wouldn’t be surprised if Pog doesn’t overburden himself and lets the other guys duke it out.
 
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Because a Friday TT followed by a massive mountain stage on Saturday and again on Sunday would be better for the television audience.
I suppose that Saturday and Sunday slots are probably sold to host towns at a higher price than Fridays. This "touristic area" has an interest in showing off their storefronts or courtyards full of turquoise water or whatever attracts the travelers.
 
Because a Friday TT followed by a massive mountain stage on Saturday and again on Sunday would be better for the television audience.
On paper maybe. But then one of the two mountain stages would likely be neutralized by the peloton and the TV audience would just endlessly complain. TTs can't be neutralized. The best riders have to go full gas no matter what.

I love TTs. Perugia was incredibly entertaining for me. I would trade it with a mountain stage only if the organizers could guarantee me the riders will go full gas from far out. But they can't, so I'll gladly take the TT.
 
I suppose that Saturday and Sunday slots are probably sold to host towns at a higher price than Fridays. This "touristic area" has an interest in showing off their storefronts or courtyards full of turquoise water or whatever attracts the travelers.
Yea, but the money gotten from paying towns has diminishing returns if the TV audience isn't watching. In Italy it's crucial, given that even la Gazzetta dello Sport, the historical sponsor of RCS, doesn't have front page images of the Giro.
 
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