João Almeida has led the Giro d’Italia for most of two weeks but how will he do in the mountains? Photo by @PCMPTMag (Twitter).
- Stage 15 of the Giro (Sunday, October 18) includes four big climbs before a rest day on Sunday
- It is likely that many of those with ambitions of winning the event will attack and try to make their move on Stage 15
- How can we get the most value betting on Stage 15 of the Giro d’Italia? Read below
Crunch time is coming to the Giro d’Italia. Sunday’s stage in the mountains concludes the second week of racing. Two of three time trials are in the books, and major climbing remains. Before Monday’s final rest day, we can expect the General Classification (GC) contenders to try and make a push up the standings on Stage 15.
As expected, Filippo Ganna and Rohan Dennis were the best on Saturday’s time trial. Ganna won his third stage of this year’s race. He was 26 seconds better than Dennis. João Almeida widened his edge in the overall race.
Who is going to wear the pink jersey in Milan? Sunday’s Stage 15 may be telling. Let’s look at the odds and break down the contenders in Sunday’s pivotal stage.
Giro d’Italia Stage 15 Odds
|Thomas De Gendt||+750|
|Brandon Mc Nulty||+6600|
Odds as of Oct. 17th.
While the time trial specialists took the top honors on Saturday, among the GC Almeida gained time, Wilco Kelderman was solid, and Brandon McNulty jumped into the Top 10 with the third best day among all riders.
Almeida leads Kelderman by 56 seconds. Pello Bilbao is in third place, 2:11 behind Almeida. McNulty is 2:23 behind the leader, and Vincenzo Nibali has 2:30 to make up. Rafal Majka and Domenico Pozzovivo are tied for sixth, 2:33 behind the pace.
Another incredible day for João Almeida, 6th in the TT.
Takes 16 seconds off Kelderman, 1:22m from Nibali and Bilbao, 1:32 from Pozzovivo. pic.twitter.com/MbH22tPSGW
— José Morgado (@josemorgado) October 17, 2020
While the climbing on Sunday in totality is significant, the 185km path from Rivolto Air Base to Piancavallo builds throughout the day. There are three category two climbs, each not walkovers, but none overly long or with horribly difficult gradients. The category one uphill at the end begins with 6km’s at 9.4%, with the last of those kilometres at an average of 11.6%. The climb mellows somewhat as they get towards the top of the climb.
A similar course in 2017 was a Giro game changer. Mikel Landa soloed to victory and race leader Tom Dumoulin couldn’t hold off sustained attacks from Nairo Quintana, who wrestled the pink jersey away. Will we see something similar this year?
For someone who has been near the top of the standings for almost the entire race, Kelderman is lying in the weeds. He so rarely wins a race or even a stage that he is easily dismissed, but one could argue he has been the top rider in this year’s Giro. Based on his position in the standings, pedigree and style, he is among the top favorites at this juncture.
Kelderman was fourth this year on the Tirreno–Adriatico and Tour de la Provence. He finished sixth in the UAE Tour and seventh on the Tour de Pologne. His last victory came in the 2015 Dutch National Road Championships.
Domenico Pozzovivo has won one grand tour stage. It came at the Giro in 2012. That said, the veteran can climb.
At just 5’5″ Pozzovivo has less mass to get up the mountains than many rivals. He was second this year in the Tour of Oman. Last year he won the mountain classification and finished second overall in the Tour of the Alps.
Going into the Giro this year two-time winner Vincenzo Nibali was a contender but not one of the favorites. Through mostly attrition he looms a serious threat but must make up ground in the mountains.
Nibali finished second in last year’s Giro d’Italia. He has reached the podium in each of his last six trips to Milan. He has not won a race since the 2018 Milan–San Remo.
What more could you want from race leader João Almeida? Riding in his first grand tour, thus far he has been up to every task placed before him.
While Tadej Pogačar was not under-the-radar when he won the Tour de France in the same way Almeida was prior to the Giro, there is something about youth and endurance. Both are 22 years old. Almeida finished second on the Giro dell’Emilia this year, and third in the Settimana Internazionale Coppi e Bartali and Vuelta a Burgos. How will he fare in the mountains?
If Jakob Fuglsang is going to make a run, it better start soon. A two-time winner of the Critérium du Dauphiné, he is in 12th place, just over four minutes behind Almeida.
Fuglsang has never made the podium at a grand tour, but this continues to feel like his best opportunity. There are enough serious climbs to come that he can make his move. Starting on Sunday would be advisable.
Rafal Majka can be a bit of a forgotten contender. The veteran has been among the Top 10 seven times on grand tours, including all five of his trips to Milan. His best result on was a third place finish in the Vuelta a España in 2015.
Majka has twice been the King of the Mountains at the Tour de France.
It feels like it would be a mistake at this point to dismiss McNulty. The 22-year-old American vaulted up the standings on Saturday, and could be dangerous.
McNulty was a terrific junior rider, and this year was fourth in the Vuelta a San Juan, and seventh in the Vuelta a Andalucía. It feels like the door is open and on Saturday McNulty announced his presence.
Dave Friedman has covered professional and college sports for two decades. From ESPN to the Associated Press, Regional Sports Networks, Metro Networks, and many local outlets, he has written about and broadcast major and minor events throughout the country.