A beautifully brutal stage of high climbing, writes Jack Houghton, where altitude-dwelling Carapaz will excel
"Carapaz has started to look the stronger in the last few days..."
4 pts Back Richard Carapaz at 4.507/2
What's the stage like?
It's a suitable mountain stage to crown this Giro. Only 167km, it packs-in three monster climbs, twice going over 2,000m: the magical elevation where strange things happen to the human body.
On the final climb to the summit finish, there are ramps of 18%.
In a Giro that has treated the breakaway well, this surely must be a day for the General Classification guys.
Who are the favourites?
It's no surprise that Richard Carapaz (4.507/2), Jai Hindley (5.509/2) and Mikel Landa (8.007/1) lead the race for the Pink Jersey. They've been consistently the best climbers on every stage of note, and expect all three to be present at the business end here.
Of the three, Carapaz has started to look the stronger in the last few days and, at the odds, he is preferred. He could have done without the abandonment of Richie Porte on Stage 19, but the Ineos team has so much strength in depth that it should have little effect, and it would be no surprise to see them go hard on the Passo Pordoi, where Carapaz's altitude advantage (his home is at 3,000m) will be at its height.
Who are the most likely outsiders?
A case can be made for Hugh Carthy (9.008/1), who has come into form in the last week, and Vincenzo Nibali (50.0049/1) is still ever-present despite his ever-advancing years. But neither of these riders are likely to be able to withstand a concerted effort from the market leaders.
What effect will it have on the overall markets?
The three General Classification leaders are a slight anomaly: they are all appalling time triallists (in professional terms... they are faster than me). All, then, will be desperate to seal things here. Expect fireworks.
*Odds correct at the time of writing