Just when it looked as if the Giro D’Italia was all but done and dusted, along comes a dramatic finish on what would be considered a benign climb at the end of a quiet day in the peloton yesterday.
But the beauty of sport is that just when it seems predictable it flips logic and predictability onto the scrapheap, creating a blank canvas or betting docket to fire another prediction at the future!
The breakaway enjoyed its first day in the sun on Stage 18 but following Pink Jersey holder Adam Yates tepid finish to the stage the challengers smell blood. All of this makes Stage 19s extraordinarily challenging course even more interesting.
Surely the GC big guns will ensure a bruising battle from the gun with over 4,000 metres of climbing ahead of them. The peak of Delle Finstre may come 70km from the end but with over 2,000m and 18 hair pin bends it will whittle away any pretenders to the stage.
Rather the winner of this stage will be someone who has shown legs and can climb these slopes over a sustained spell.
While Tom Dumoulin showed his capability on the climb yesterday he faces a much tougher test on steeper slopes and more undulating gradients. Yates looks suspect, while Pinot was reeling early on today.
We arrive at Chris Froome who has showed his capability sporadically and Domenico Pozzovivo who is too dangerous to be afforded any leeway and too light to explode away up a climb. However the diminutive Italian covered all attacks comfortably yesterday and led home the main GC riders.
With a gruelling day in prospect there may be no one left to mark him on the final climb of Bardonecchia. The fact is none of the GC men may have a team to support them at this stage which is something Pozzovivo has lacked throughout this tour. This will be a bitter fight and the toughest will win out.
We think the mercurial Pozzovivo can deliver an overdue win on these testing slopes.
Recommendation: Domenico Pozzovivo to win Stage 19, 1pt each way, 14/1 Skybet (1/4 odds 1-3)
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