Stage 16: Pergola - Benevento
Thursday, May 7, 2009 11.00pm
Four serious mountains in 237km
Route: Another stage that looks like RCS Sport have dropped a piece of string on a map and designed the day around it. These climbs are much harder than those of the two previous days. Monte Nerone and Monte Catria feature long, steep ramps that favour climbers with a rapid turn of speed. The hardest section of Monte Petrano is near the bottom, and there will be major splits there.
Local Hero: The Michele Scarponi fan club will be out in force, assuming they haven't deserted him after his involvement in the Puerto scandal. The Diquigiovanni rider is having a resurgence this season, exemplified by his stage and overall victory at Tirreno-Adriatico.
Procycling's Top Tip: The overall contenders will be at the fore, but this stage will also suit a flyweight climber with a rapid change of pace such as Scarponi's team-mate José Serpa.
Savio speaks: The Monte Petrano will be decisive; we will see who can win the Giro and who will lose it. It is very difficult, and you will see some circumstantial alliances amongst the teams to put others into trouble.
Monte Petrano is a hard climb as you can see it from the map. You will have some time gaps after a long 237-kilometre stage. It is Le Marche, the region of Michele Scarponi and he could be a man for the stage. Simoni is our leader, but we are not going to completely sacrifice Scarponi. He will remain in the wings as a second classification option.