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A tough day and one for the break says Geraint Thomas… but there's a nice tight turn at the finish if ends in a sprint...

A stage that starts and finishes on the coast, and heads along it for the opening 50 kilometres, but after that there are a succession of tough climbs as the race goes into the hills above the Ligurian sea. Inside the final ten kilometres, there’s a fast descent from the day’s last climb, as well as a 180-degree bend just 500 metres from the finish.

Alessandro Petacchi, left out of the Lampre team, has admitted he’s not up to this year’s Giro after struggling with bronchitis, and while this isn’t a sprinter’s stage, he’ll have mixed feelings about missing it – he lives close to the start, and was born in La Spezia, which the race passes through shortly before the bumpy stuff starts.

GT: I think another breakaway day, for the GC men, unless they’re particularly dangerous, they’re not going to make any advantage there. It will just be a day for them to limit the amount of work they’ve got to do, really. I can’t see any teams really wanting to bring a break back, it’s tough terrain as well, they’ll have to ride quite hard. It will be a hard day and a big fight at the start, and probably a decent sized break.

For more on this year's race read our full Giro d'Italia Preview.

Plucked from the obscurity of his London commute back in the mid-Nineties to live in Bath and edit bike mags our man made the jump to the interweb back in 2006 as launch editor of a large cycling website somewhat confusingly named after a piece of navigational equipment. He came up with the idea for road.cc mainly to avoid being told what to do… Oh dear, issues there then. Tony tries to ride his bike every day and if he doesn't he gets grumpy, he likes carbon, but owns steel, and wants titanium. When not on his bike or eating cake Tony spends his time looking for new ways to annoy the road.cc team. He's remarkably good at it.