Date: Thursday May 12
Distance: 192 km
As described in the official racebook – the ‘Garibaldi’ – “the route is undemanding” for this first day on the Italian mainland. There’s a few little lumps and bumps along the way as the riders begin their trek north, but this should be a bunch sprint.
Who’s it for: The sprinters.
Dane Cash’s picks: After Wednesday’s stage saw a somewhat reduced field contesting a sprint, Thursday’s stage should feature all of the big fast finishers. Mark Cavendish (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl) and Caleb Ewan (Lotto Soudal) are probably the favorites.
Interestingly, as of press time, Ewan actually has the shortest odds with some bookmakers even though Cavendish may seem the more obvious choice on such a pure sprinters’ stage. Until Ewan looks a bit healthier following his earlier crash, I’m certainly wary of seeing him as a favorite, although of course that means I’ll be off the back on the day that he does prove to be fit.
Arnaud Démare (Groupama-FDJ) has established himself as a solid third favorite – at the very least – having finished second to Cavendish on the opening stage and having won stage 2. Things seem to be clicking for the Frenchman right now. Fernando Gaviria (UAE Team Emirates) also looks fast and it would not be a surprise to see him take the win after some close calls. Giacomo Nizzolo (Israel Premier-Tech), Phil Bauhaus (Bahrain Victorious), Biniam Girmay (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux), Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix), and Cees Bol (DSM) are the others to keep an eye on.