Giro d'Italia 2015: Stage 5 Preview
The 2015 Giro d'Italia has worked its way into the mountains and to commemorate this Santini have designed a special jersey. Stage 5's Abetone inspired jersey features a butterfly design and Japanese theme, a nod to Italian composer Giacomo Puccini, who penned part of Madame Butterfly whilst atop Abetone in 1903.
Stage 5's 152 kilometre run from La Spezia to the summit of the Abetone marks the first of the Giro's six mountain-top finishes. This beautiful route will be one for the climbers to test their early form and attack on, just as Fausto Coppi did, at the tender age of 20, on the way to taking his first Maglia Rossa back in 1940.
The route takes riders up and down through the Central Apennine mountains of Tuscany before the 17 kilometre category 2 climb to Abetone. The climb will come as a unpleasant reminder of what is to come in the second and third week for those riders not so at home in the mountains. The gradient is nothing to scoff at either with the road ramping up to an uncomfortable average of 7% after 4.5 kilometres and staying that way to the finish line.
Stage 5 will certainly be an opportunity for the climbers to stretch their legs and claim the pink jersey, which they could hold until stage 8 and possibly beyond. This summit finish brings an opportunity for the GC riders to suss each other out and the pace at the front is sure to be breakneck with unworthy riders being dropped, suffering significant time gaps.
Aiming to build on last year's success, Fabio Aru will look to test his main GC rivals, Contador and Porte, up the Abetone. Similar to the Plan di Montecompione climb he won last year's stage 15 on; Aru will hope his early season altitude training will play to his advantage on what is sure to be an early decisive climb that could see him hold onto the Pink till stage 8's climbs and perhaps into the second week.
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