The main contenders for the General Classification are capable of winning this, writes Jack Houghton, but will likely lack the motivation
"Pello Bilbao (40.0039/1) showed at the 2019 Giro how much he is suited by these harder hilly stages - winning two - and his win on the mountainous Stage 4 at the recent Tour of the Alps shows that he is in sparkling form..."
What's the stage like?
It's fascinating, seeing the race head into the Apennines, where an undulating 187km, including three categorised climbs, is likely to see the peloton splintered. Although the finish of the stage is a slightly downhill plateau, the Colle Passerino precedes it, a 4.2km climb through the forest with an average gradient of 10%.
Working out who might relish that final climb is one thing, working out who will still be in contention at that point is quite another. It's a stage to be cautious on.
Who are the favourites?
The early market movements see the General Classification main contenders as favourites, with Simon Yates (7.006/1) and Egan Bernal (9.008/1) heading affairs. Whilst they both have the fire power to win a stage like this, though, it's hard to see what their motivation would be: there is little to gain in terms of the overall race (time gaps among the top riders will be small), but lots to lose if over-racing too early.
Of the Pink Jersey hopefuls, Remco Evenepoel (15.0014/1) is the most likely to lay things on the line: he exudes the audacity of youth and will relish this parcours. Whether he quite yet has the fitness to be competitive on such a testing stage is debatable, however, so those odds look a little skinny.
Who are the most likely outsiders?
Pello Bilbao (40.0039/1) showed at the 2019 Giro how much he is suited by these harder hilly stages - winning two - and his win on the mountainous Stage 4 at the recent Tour of the Alps shows that he is in sparkling form. At such big odds, he's the value bet.
At potentially massive odds, though, it's worth also having a speculative interest in Matej Mohoric (200.00199/1). This stage is remarkably similar to the one he won at the 2017 Vuelta, and given that his opportunities for success at this Giro will be limited, he will likely be gunning to cause another upset here. At the time of writing, the market hasn't priced him up, so 200.00199/1 may not be available, but anything over 80.0079/1 would make him worth an interest.
What effect will it have on the overall markets?
There will certainly be some movement in the General Classification, and the Pink Jersey is likely to leave the shoulders of Filippo Ganna, but anyone with serious designs on taking overall honours should be close enough on the final climb. A handful of seconds might be won and lost, but nothing should be terminal at the day's end.
Peter Sagan moved up the Points Classification on Stage 3, and will be looking to pick up maximum points on the intermediate sprints here. Also expect Vincenzo Albanese, who claimed the Climbers Jersey on Stage 2, to be in another early breakaway to try and sweep up the mountains' points. That's a market where it's still too early to get involved, though.
*Odds correct at the time of writing
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