Robbie McEwen believes that dramatic alterations made to the Giro d’Italia Stage 13 course could lead to “the best stage we’ve seen in years”.
As a result of heavy downpours, it was decided that the stage would be delayed as riders are driven by bus to the foot of the second climb, the Croix de Coeur.
The intended first climb of the Gran San Bernardo will be skipped, but the race will finish as planned in Switzerland at Crans Montana, where conditions are expected to be less dangerous.
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The changes to the course mean that the length of the stage is now around 80km, with the original length set for 200km.
McEwen believes that could upset the race preparation for all riders, and give a chance for the unexpected to unfold.
He told Eurosport’s Breakaway: ”You wouldn’t want the rain jacket on because they will be going immediately uphill, that climb is 13km, 8.5 (% gradient) average, straight out of the blocks. No wonder they’re trying to set up the turbo trainer in the sports hall.
“That could blow the race to smithereens. This could be the best stage we’ve seen in years.”
Dan Lloyd added: “In their heads, they’ve prepared for around about 200km with 5,000 metres or 4,500 metres climbing, and it’s not just the preparation in your mind, it’s the timing of your breakfast, it’s the amount you’re eating. All of a sudden now, they’re thinking of a very short, explosive stage.
“It suits different types of riders too.
“You’re going to have every domestique still here with a job to do, lining up, and if they decide to light it up at the opening line, it could be decimated by the time we get to the top of the first of the two climbs. It’s certainly a very different stage that could have a very different outcome to the stage we were assuming was going to happen 24 hours ago.”
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