Out and back from Napoli, today’s stage should be a lot like yesterday’s one, but drier and hopefully with fewer crashes.
Cave Canem: four riders jumped away at the start as the rain sluiced down, one of them was Thibaut Pinot who took the points on the first climb to extend his lead in the mountains competition and then promptly sat up, leaving a trio to supply the day’s animation. Only they were supplanted as suddenly a stray dog ran towards the bunch causing a crash and the worst off seemed to be Remco Evenepoel. He was sat on the ground for some time before getting up and slowly pedalling back to the bunch, seemingly ok. He’d crash again near the finish, two scares and crashes are rarely without consequence, there’s inflammation, tissue damage, bruising and possibly lost sleep, all with a summit finish tomorrow and the time trial on Sunday.
A crash with 7km to go felled many others including Primož Roglič and Kaden Groves but they got back in time, although Jay Vine was among those who’d lose contact. Evenepoel’s second crash of the day was inside the final 3km. With the sprint raging in the final 200m Mark Cavendish’s back wheel spun under effort causing him to sit up and stop sprinting and Alberto Dainese to cut across, causing a chain reaction where Cavendish crashed, sliding across the line. But ahead of all of this was Kaden Groves who held off Jonathan Milan and Mads Pedersen for the stage win.
The Route: a 162km day trip out of Napoli to Amalfi and back, it would be a day to sell images of the region with the coast and the views of Mount Vesuvius but the weather looks mixed. The climb of the Valico di Chiunzi might tempt a few to move but things settle down as the race winds its way along the Amalfi coast where the road can be narrow in places. The last 65km are a fast run back into Napoli.
The Finish: a dash around town by the sea including some urban cobbles between 3km and 2km to go and five corners between 3km and 1km to go but they’re sweeping bends and can be ridden fast. The finishing straight is over a kilometre long.
The Contenders: a copy of yesterday’s stage with some climbing early and then a clear run to the line so a likely sprint finish and going by yesterday some teams won’t push the pace too hard on the climbs as even if it might eject some sprinters there’s a long time to go. Kaden Groves (Alpecin-Deceuninck) went down in the crash yesterday and got back and won the sprint so he’ll be hard to beat if he can get a clear run to the line.
Groves, Dainese, Milan
Weather: a mix of clouds and sunshine and a cool 18°C.
TV: KM0 is at 1.15pm and the finish is forecast for 5.15pm CEST.