What’s the stage like?
Largely flat. The early terrain is rolling, and a Category 4 climb comes at 60km, but the rest of the stage is largely flat as it heads to Termoli after 181km.
It won’t necessarily be straightforward, though. Running down the Adriatic coast, poor weather is forecast as possible, meaning we might see crosswinds and the resulting carnage that will bring to the peloton. And even if the sprinters manage to position themselves on the right side of any breaks in the group, the finish is complicated: several sharp turns, a road narrowing, and an ascent in the final 2km that includes a short ramp with 12% gradients will make this difficult for the out-and-out speedsters.
Who are the favourites?
After the overreaction of the market to Tim Merlier’s Stage 2 win, which saw him going off as the 2.506/4 favourite for Stage 5, there is a more sensible looking market here, which recognises Caleb Ewan’s pre-eminence in the sprinting ranks in recent seasons. Ewan is the rightful favourite at around 4.003/1, with Merlier around 5.004/1. Although given the strange finish here – which won’t perfectly suit either – it’s probably value to look elsewhere.
Who are the most likely outsiders?
For the same reason, I would avoid the other specialist sprinters. The likes of Giacomo Nizzolo (9.008/1), Dylan Groenewegen (10.009/1) and Fernando Gaviria (16.0015/1) are all capable of a win here, but it feels like they would need too much good fortune to make them value bets.
This will likely be won by a punchy sprinter who can climb a bit and, whilst Diego Ulissi (80.0079/1) is an interesting prospect in those regards, it would be hard to design a stage that better suits Peter Sagan. At around 7.006/1, he looks big value: he has been strong so far, as have his team, and they should be able to control the run-in to ensure that Sagan only has non-sprinters to beat at the finish.
What effect will it have on the overall markets?
Eyes return to the Points Classification whilst the General Classification guys lick their wounds from Stage 6. Watching that stage, it would be easy to conclude that the Giro is now between Egan Bernaland Remco Evenepoel, but it’s worth remembering that it’s still the first week, and the climbs we have seen so far aren’t representative of the longer alpine ascents that will decide things in the final week.
*Odds correct at the time of writing