After the great effort (and even greater gratification) of the Stelvio climb, the peloton sets off again in what’s expected to be a fast and nervous stage, particularly in the second half, taking the riders to Lake Garda. From Cesano Maderno to Manerba del Garda, 159 km, departing through the plains north of Milan, dotted with built-up areas with the usual crossing difficulties made up of traffic obstacles such as roundabouts, traffic dividers and various types of street furniture. Before Brescia, the race will head north towards Lake Iseo and climb the Passo Tre Termini (8.2 km at 5.8%), the ascent to Lumezzane (4.3 km at 4.4%) and the Passo di Sant’Eusebio (5.7 km at 3.1%) before descending to the shores of Lake Garda with some final ups and downs suitable for possible hand-wringing.
The last 700 metres towards Manerba del Garda also climb 5%, making the finish even more uncertain. Legend has it that Manerba was built to worship the goddess Minerva. She came to hide in this valley, where she planted her olive trees and taught many of her arts and crafts.
And since riding a bike is itself an art, many riders will try to impose themselves on the banks of Lake Garda. The stage claimed by Gil Gelders (Soudal-QuickStep DT) back in Cherasco is very similar to this one, so watch out for the Flemish, but also for Francesco Busatto (Circus-ReUz-Technord), Davide De Pretto (Zalf Euromobil Fior), Darren Rafferty (Hagens Berman Axeon), Alessandro Pinarello (Green Project-Bardiani CSF-Faizanè), Santiago Umba (GW Shimano-Sidermec), Thibaud Gruel (Groupama-fdj) and Jordan Labrosse (AG2R Citroën).