Eurosport expert Adam Blythe expects Saturday’s Stage 14 of the Giro d'Italia - finishing atop Monte Zoncolan - to produce a great GC battle.
Following a Stage 13 won by Giacomo Nizzolo, Egan Bernal (Ineos Grenadiers) holds a 45-second lead over Russia’s Aleksandr Vlasov (Astana-Premier Tech) and 1’12” over Italian Damiano Caruso (Bahrain-Victorious). Blythe expects Ineos to try to control the race from the off.
“I think Ineos will try to control the race all day,” said Blythe on the latest episode of the Breakaway. .
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“Bernal’s main objective will be to keep the pink jersey. A win on the Zoncolan would be incredible. But I just think he will focus on not losing time.
Gaining time is always a big objective, but it wouldn’t surprise me if they (Ineos) let a big break go to minimize the risk of a real GC battle.
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Dan Lloyd agreed, adding that the profile of Stage 14 lends itself to a surprise winner.
“Looking at the profile there could be a surprise winner again, like [Mauro] Schmid on Stage 11 in Montalcino. The opening part of tomorrow's stage is pan flat which makes it really difficult for pure climbers to get up the road, the likes of George Bennett for example.”
However, Blythe expects a tense battle between the GC contenders as they jostle for the slightest of advantages, with Vlasov particularly well-placed to make a move.
“I think if Vlasov sees an opportunity, he can try to gain a few seconds on Bernal, but ultimately Bernal looks in such great form at the minute that it is going to be very difficult to do so.”
Blythe added that Simon Yates (Team BikeExchange) could use his intimate knowledge of the climb to make a GC move.
I think Simon knows this climb very well, having come second to Chris Froome in 2018. He will know it like the back of his hand and I think it suits him, so he might try to jump up a few places.
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“It is a very hard climb, don’t get me wrong, but it is not that hard leading up to it, and that can make a huge difference, for the likes of Yates and Hugh Carthy (EF Education–Nippo). I don’t think we will see massive gaps but I think we will see a great battle between the GC guys to try to gain a couple of seconds here or there.”
Coverage of Stage 14 of the Giro begins at 10:10am on Eurosport, the Eurosport app and Eurosport.co.uk
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