Giro d'Italia 2024 stage seven preview - a time trial with a sting in the tail

Pacing will be vital throughout this individual time trial which features a 6.6km climb at the end

Date: Friday May 10, 2024
Distance: 38.5km
Start location: Foligno
Finish location: Perugia
Start time: 13:00 CET
Finish time (approx): 17:09 CET

Founded in 1308 by Pope Clement V, Perugia University is one of the oldest in Italy. All those centuries ago, that first generation of people studying there could not possibly have comprehended the kind of research that is conducted today in preparation for the discipline of time trialling, which the city of Perugia will host. Even to us contemporary people who know what the concept of bike racing is, the gear and technology the riders use looks futuristic, as the science continues to advance in the endless pursuit towards more and more efficient aerodynamics. The results aren’t always aesthetic, as fans’ collective recoil in horror at the new oversized helmet showcased earlier this year, but do make the riders go ever faster

This kind of highly precise, scientific approach is what modern time trialing is all about. Everything from the gear that will be worn, to the position held on the bike, to the number of watts produced during the ride, will have been prepared to perfection. In this sense, time trialling has become the antithesis of another thing associated with Perugia — jazz, of which the city hosts one of Europe’s biggest festivals every July. There’s no room for improvisation or spontaneous self-expression when planning the optimised time trial ride. 

Aerodynamics are especially important for a time trial like this Giro d'Italia stage, which for the most part avoids the Apennine hills that cover much of the region of Umbria for an entirely flat first 34km from the cities of Foligno to Perugia. This is where the bigger time trial specialists can really gain an advantage on the lighter riders who are more at home going uphill, using their power and aero position to slice through the wind without having to worry about the effects of gravity. 

However, the city of Perugia itself is situated on a hill, so in order to get there, each rider will have to climb constantly fluctuating gradients for the last 6.6km of the course, including a ride of nearly 12% for the final 1.3km. Time trials like this have a whole different dynamic to ones that are completely flat, in that they are less punishing for the GC contenders who specialise in climbing, and that time your effort, and not going into the red and leaving yourself with nothing left for the final steep slopes, is especially important. Just as Primož Roglič, who has tasted both defeat and success in such circumstances. In 2020 he famously lost the Tour de France to compatriot Tadej Pogačar over the course of just a few kilometres climbing the Planche des Belles Filles at the end of the race’s penultimate stage; but then at last year’s Giro d’Italia, he used the Monte Lussari climb on the race’s penultimate day time trial to gain the 26 seconds he needed to take the pink jersey from Geraint Thomas, even despite suffering a mechanical halfway up. The climb at the end of today’s stage isn’t as long, and the stage too early in the Giro to be as decisive, but the time gaps between the favourites could ultimately be what swings the outcome of the race.

Stage profile sourced via the Giro d'Italia website


Pacing will be paramount in this stage as riders grapple with the urge to go all-out on the 34km flat stretch while conserving enough energy reserves to triumph over the gruelling 6.6km uphill finale. So, while the first three-quarters of this stage is designed for the TT specialists, the last quarter will throw a spanner in the works for those fast on the flats but not so much on the uphill ascents. 

Ineos Grenadier’s Filippo Ganna will go into all the TT stages as one of the favourites with his impressive skill set within this discipline, however, while he has demonstrated his improved climbing skills over the past year, the double-digit gradients of the final climb might see him lose time. But the British team will also have their GC contender, Geraint Thomas, who could be a potential winner for the stage win. He is strong against the clock and proved last year that he has the ability to perform well in a TT with an uphill finish. 

Thomas will also need to perform well on this stage if he is to close the time gap that stands between himself and Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates) before the big mountain stages arrive. Pogačar is a formidable rider and can tackle almost any terrain that he comes head-to-head with, so we do not doubt that he will perform exceptionally well on this stage. For UAE Team Emirates, Mikel Bjerg could also be another rider for the team who could see a top-10 finish or higher at the finish in Perugia.

Will Barta (Movistar) has had mixed results when it comes to the time trial, however, he has produced some strong results, including a fourth place at O Gran Camiño. Meanwhile, Luke Plapp (Jayco Alula), the Australian national time trial champion, will have ambitions of a strong performance, although he may have some fatigue following his exertions on stage six.

Stage five winner Benjamin Thomas (Cofidis) could be on track for a good result here. He is clearly in winning form and has some strong results in the time trial, making him an outside contender for the stage. Daniel Martínez (Bora-Hansgrohe), Magnus Sheffield and Tobias Foss (Ineos Grenadiers), and Max Schachmann (Bora-Hansgrohe) could also be high up on the results table.


We're going with Geraint Thomas to take the stage win in the race's first time trial. 

Shop now