Stage 10 of the Giro d'Italia 2021 is the shortest road stage of the race at just 140km. This means the tempo could be hot throughout, but a mass sprint in Foligno remains the anticipated outcome.
Egan Bernal became the winner of a Grand Tour stage in Campo Felice on stage 9, where after an infernal tempo was set by Gianni Moscon, the Colombian attacked on the gravel and no one could follow. This move also catapulted Bernal into the maglia rosa, where he now leads Remco Evenepoel and Alexandr Vlasov by 15 and 21 seconds respectively.
Most of the remaining GC hopefuls came in within 12 seconds of Bernal which keeps the battle for pink open for now. Attila Valter fought hard, but dropped 49 seconds to Bernal meaning his stint in pink ended at three days. Valter is still 5th overall and can fight for a good placing in the GC.
For them, tomorrow will be something of a transition stage coming into the rest day on Tuesday. For the race's main sprinters, though, tomorrow will be a key battle.
Giro d’Italia Stage 10 profile
Starting in L’Aquila, a city in central Italy, the road continues to head north. The Sella di Corno is an uncategorised test but at 6km and 4.2% average gradient, it could provide the breakaway with a springboard to escape — this will be well-received by many following a prolonged fight for the breakaway over the previous few days.
After a lengthy descent, the road becomes flat where the only interruption is the intermediate sprint at Santa Rufina.
The single categorised climb of the day is the Valico della Somma which is 6.8km and averages around 5% in gradient. Only a fourth-category ascent, Geoffrey Bouchard is all but certain to hold the maglia azzurra through the first rest day.
With 40km remaining until the stage finish, it is possible that Bora-Hansgrohe will up the tempo here to push some of the pure sprinters out the back with Peter Sagan’s chances in mind. Bonus seconds are available with 18km to go, this may provide the only GC action of the stage.
The finish takes place in the town of Foligno and although there are multiple key turns in the final 5km, it’s perhaps the least technical sprint-finish thus far. The final turn takes place with 400 metres to go and sweeps to the right — the speed here will be high as the corner isn’t particularly acute.
Image credit: Stuart Franklin/Getty Images
The majority of the sprinters are still in the race and with only two men victorious in sprint stages thus far, many teams will be interested in chasing the breakaway to challenge for the stage win. The breakaway have already prevailed on four occasions, but we don’t see them winning again here even though a large downhill portion in the final 40km could give them hope. Let’s take a look at the sprinters set to challenge.
The stage will be heavily affected by a rider that is no longer present at the Giro d'Italia. Caleb Ewan abandoned whilst wearing the maglia ciclamino, complaining of knee-pain. After the Australian was out of position on stage 2 he obliterated the opposition on both stage 5 and 7. Ewan would’ve been the heavy favourite here, but his absence opens up the stage to another rider.
Among them, Giacomo Nizzolo. Nizzolo already has two second-places at the Giro d’Italia this year which only add to the nine runner-ups he had before the race departed from Turin. Nizzolo is desperate for a stage win at his home Grand Tour, is this the day he finally breaks his duck?
Dylan Groenewegen was completely out of position on stage 5 and didn’t have the legs as the road dragged uphill on stage 7. The Dutchman must be afforded time to re-adapt to the quick lane in the peloton, but now nine stages into his comeback the pressure may slowly be building. With no climbs in close proximity to the finish he'll consider this a major chance.
Alpecin-Fenix showed no signs of nerves in their first road stage at a Grand Tour when Tim Merlier romped to an emphatic victory on stage 2. If he’s positioned well for the finish the Belgian is explosive. He has a strong leadout too with Dries De Bondt, Gianni Vermeersch and Alexander Krieger.
Matteo Moschetti has sprinted well for Trek-Segafredo at the Giro d’Italia thus far. The Italian has finished in the top 6 three times already and although Trek-Segafredo aren’t particularly focused on the sprint-stages with Giulio Ciccone riding well in the GC, Moschetti can’t be written off.
Cofidis are on a high after they won their first WorldTour race for two years on stage eight with Victor Lafay. They will hope that confidence will now translate into the sprint team, where Elia Viviani has shown promise more than once of returning to his former self. Simone Consonni cannot be faulted with some excellent leadouts so far, Viviani will hope for more of the same from his teammates in Foligno.
Fernando Gaviria has had a drama-filled Giro d'Italia to this point. He has collided with his teammates and hit the deck on a descent whilst in the breakaway on the mountain stage. Nonetheless, Gaviria is a class act with five Giro d'Italia stage wins to his name in his career. Is this the day that everything finally comes together for UAE Team Emirates?
Peter Sagan has three top-5s at the Giro this year already, but is only fifth in the points classification. That piles a little extra pressure on the Slovak to deliver a strong result here.
Davide Cimolai, Andrea Pasqualon and Max Kanter are outsiders with a chance of making an impression.
The run has to end sooner or later. Giacomo Nizzolo will finally win a grand tour stage. The Italian is always there or thereabouts and has come close twice already at this race thus far. With Caleb Ewan stepping aside, the door is now open for Nizzolo. The work of Max Walscheid will be crucial to his chances. Watch out for Matteo Moschetti though, he may be going under the radar for Trek-Segafredo.