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Giro d'Italia Giro d’Italia 2024, Stage 8: Spoleto – Prati di Tivo, 152.0k

More plagiarism from @Devil's Elbow:

Stage 8: Spoleto – Prati di Tivo, 152.0k​

The hardest mountain stage in the first half of the race. While the GC battle should be all about the final climb, there are still nearly 4000 metres of elevation gain packed into a shortish stage and the effect of that shouldn’t be underestimated.

The route



The race has moved to the head of the valley of the previous day’s TT, a strategic spot where the town of Spoleto developed early. In Roman times, this was where the two branches of the Via Flaminia, the main route from Rome up north, reunited. In the early Middle Ages, it was the seat of an eponymous duchy, which briefly held the Italian crown, but its power was broken when Otto I invaded Italy; control subsequently switched repeatedly between the Holy Roman Empire and the Papal States. It did remain a regional capital until Italian reunification, but the loss of that status has reduced its importance today to probably the lowest point in its history.


The start is immediately uphill, with the final 2 kilometres of neutralisation being the first 2 kilometres of Forca di Cerro. While it’s not a hard climb, it could easily have been a cat. 3 or 4, but this is RCS, so it isn’t. The breakaway shouldn’t go here yet, but the door at the back of the peloton will be wide open from the get go.


The descent is a bit steeper near the bottom and moderately technical overall. It backs immediately into Forca Capistrello, the hardest climb of the race so far even if it’s a category 2 to Oropa’s category 1. The overall stats of 16.3k and 5.6% sell the climb short, especially due to the false flat downhill near the end: the section before that is 12.8k at a still-irregular 6.7%, with sections of 1.5k at 9.9% and 1k at 9.6% in there. This is the likeliest place for the breakaway to go, so it should be full of good climbers.


This is very much a lopsided climb, and so it’s a rather short descent before the riders embark on almost 60 kilometres of irregular terrain, with a lot of false flats and short climbs and descents but little actual flat. By the end of it, we’ve joined the route the Giro d’Abruzzo took in April en route to the same finish, transitioned from Umbria via Lazio into the Abruzzo, had the intermediate and Intergiro sprints, and, immediately after the latter, reached the next climb, Croce Arbio. Surprisingly, there’s an official profile.


The descent is shallow, wide, fast and untechnical. At the bottom of it, it’s immediately on to the final climb, Prati di Tivo. Though not quite at HC level, it’s probably the hardest MTF of the race. While it’s only been seen in the Giro once (1975, already on stage 3: Giovanni Battaglin, who would pull off the Vuelta-Giro double six years later, took the stage and the pink), it should still be familiar to everyone thanks to the Tirreno MTFs in 2012, 2013 and 2021, as well as the aforementioned Abruzzo stage a month prior to this one. It’s a remarkably consistent climb, slightly steeper in the middle but slightly easier near the end, with the bonus second sprint past halfway up in Pietracamela for some reason.



What to expect?

Big battle in the first quarter of the stage to get into the breakaway, a lull after that in which we find out whether the peloton wants the stage, and then showdown time on the MTF.
Prati di Tivo is a pretty constant 7% climb in the middle mountains, so no huge gaps are to be expected. In Tirreno 2021 Pogacar only had 6" on S. Yates and 29" on Higuita. He'll probably want to win the stage with a late attack. After the resting day he can start riding more defensively.
It comes towards the end of the first week and after an ITT, where most went as fast as they could out of the GC guys.

I am expecting someone or couple of riders to have a bad day.
I expect UAE to ride tempo for the rest of the mountain stages. They'll leave it up to other teams if they want to win the stage.
Why would other teams try and ride for the stage if they know Pogi will just beat them? Bora have the second-strongest rider in the race in Martinez, and even their best chance to win tomorrow is to put Schachmann in the break as Pogi is so much stronger. The only reasons why they would ride on the front is to make it hard so Martinez can put time into Thomas or to protect against a rider up the road from gaining time, realistically they have no chance with the stage
I agree UAE doesn't seem to be capable of controlling a stage like this. Which is really intriguing because I really wonder what happens if a gc rider tries to go into the break. I think the race will be blown to pieces on Capistrello and I have no idea how the race will develop from there on out.

I'm pretty sure the other contenders will just control themselves. From now on, I think, Pogacar and the others are in 2 different races and considering that noone (except for Thomas and..okay, Bardet) has a GT podium,.'m guessing everyone will try to seize his chance and won't take any risks.
Apart from maybe Arensman but even then the likes and Bora, Visma AG2R, and...well..Astana won't let him get away