Expect attacks from the contenders for Pink, writes Jack Houghton, but expect them after a breakaway has secured the stage win
What's the stage like?
We head for the mountains. 160km, down the spine of Italy, with riders tackling three categorised climbs, finishing at the summit of the third. Those categorisations might lead some to think this isn't a hard stage: after all, what are Category Two climbs to professional cyclists? However, the first, up Forca Di Gualdo, requires 10km of climbing, averaging over 7%, and the finish up to Ascoli Piceno requires 16km of climbing at a similar gradient. Make no mistake, this is tough.
The Giro has history on the final climb, and whilst it has never delivered huge time gaps in previous editions, it has seen the peloton in tatters by its summit.
Who are the favourites?
It's understandable why the main General Classification contenders, like Egan Bernal (14.0013/1), Simon Yates (20.0019/1) and Remco Evenepoel (20.0019/1), are favourites here. After all, they are the best climbers in the peloton. But whilst they might be happy to attack each other on the steeper sections of the final climb, they will likewise be happy to do this knowing that a breakaway has secured the stage win. That way they get to put time into each other without having to bury their teams in managing those riders who have gone off the front.
Things might work out differently, of course, but the likelihood is that the stage winner will come from outside those riders considered a long-term prospect and threat for the Pink Jersey.
Who are the most likely outsiders?
That then brings in a host of riders who suit the terrain, including Joao Almeida (30.0029/1) and Bauke Mollema (20.0019/1) - who both lost so much time on Stage 4 that they'll now be given the freedom to go for stage wins - and habitual breakaway merchant Thomas de Gendt (40.0039/1). Of the three, de Gendt is most interesting at the odds, as there remains some doubt around the form of Almeida and Mollema.
It's also worth taking note of a General Classification rider of the future, though. Jefferson Cepeda - winner of the Young Rider Classification at the Tour of the Alps whilst mixing it with the likes of Yates and Carthy - is already out of contention for overall honours, but will be keen to make his name by picking up a stage win. Expect him to pop up at some point in this year's Giro. Whether that's on Stage 6 or not, we'll see, but at 50.0049/1 he's worth an interest.
What effect will it have on the overall markets?
Depending on how seriously the General Classification guys go after each other, Alessandro de Marchi can retain the Pink Jersey on this stage, but there are likely to be some time gaps among the main contenders. Those gaps will most likely be counted in seconds rather than minutes, although with wind and rain warnings in the region, there might be more than some gentle reshuffling of hierarchies.
*Odds correct at the time of writing
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