The stage ends in Verona, writes Jack Houghton, which is its only point of interest on a day when the nearly men can shine
"Dylan Groenewegen has been mixing it with the best on the sprint stages so far, has stayed quiet on the harder days since, and will no doubt have his Team Jumbo Visma out in force to try and wipe away the shame of his banishment..."
What's the stage like?
Flatter than a road-bound hedgehog, with not a spike in sight. It's 198km. It's straight. There really is nothing to be said about it, hence the overworked hedgehog metaphor. It ends in fair Verona, where our sprinters will lay their scene. I'll try and keep the Romeo and Juliet thing going for interest.
Who are the favourites?
With Caleb Ewan and Tim Merlier both parting (such sweet sorrow) company with the race, the nearly-men of this year's Giro sprinting crowd have their chance.
Peter Sagan (9.008/1), who used his Bora Hansgrohe to brilliant effect in riding his rivals into submission on the hillier Stage 10, will have to rely on pure speed this time: there are no ascents on which to weaken his opponents. That probably means he will be outgunned in the final metres. Although a win would not be a surprise, he's hard to support at the odds.
Fernando Gaviria (7.006/1) laid down the biggest challenge to Sagan on that day, but how much of that was evidence of him returning to form is not clear. He survived the war of attrition where the other sprinters were slain, but his story of woe from recent seasons isn't obviously over. Like Sagan, a win for Gaviria would be no surprise, but he's not the value bet.
Better choices are Dylan Groenewegen (5.004/1) and Giacomo Nizzolo (5.004/1). I can't tip Nizzolo - for reasons outlined on Stage 2, Stage 5, and Stage 10 - so the choice is Groenewegen. He's been mixing it with the best on the sprint stages so far, has stayed quiet on the harder days since, and will no doubt have his Team Jumbo Visma out in force to try and wipe away the shame of his banishment, turning his critics' rancour to pure love.
Who are the most likely outsiders?
Matteo Moschetti (16.0015/1) and Davide Cimolai (18.0017/1) will likely be close to the action, but will ultimately be bit-part players.
What effect will it have on the overall markets?
Today is all about the Points Classification and whether Peter Sagan can extend his lead in it.
*Odds correct at the time of writing
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