Stage winner: Mark Cavendish (Sky) wins his second stage of 2012 Giro, his ninth career Giro win
Pink leader: Ramunas Navardauskas (Garmin-Barracuda) finished in the bunch to defend pink, but was docked five seconds when the jury ruled a gap in the final sprint
Red points: Matt Goss (Orica-GreenEdge) sprinted to second in the stage to defend his points jersey
Blue mountains: Alfredo Balloni (Farnese Vini-Selle Italia) keeps the KOM jersey he won in stage 2
White young: Navardauskas also leads the young rider competition
Weather: More spring warmth
Another splendid day is on tap as the Giro nears the end of its first week, with temperatures in the high 70s F and light NW winds at 5-10mph.
Tomorrow’s stage: Into the hills
The 95th Giro continues Friday with the longest stage yet, a 210km march from Urbino to Porto Sant’Elpido. The lumpy stage, by far the most difficult so far, could see the Giro’s first breakaway pull clear to the finish.
The route features four rated climbs, but it’s up and down almost from tape to tape. The day’s main hurdle is the Giro’s hardest climb so far, with the Cat. 2 Passo della Cappella at 118km. The 4.5km climb features ramps as steep as 16 percent, enough to put some riders into the red, but too far away from the finish line to have much GC impact.
The Cat. 3 Monte Granaro climb at 33.75km to go should provoke some late-race attacks from stage hunters if a breakaway is not clear and away. The lumpy finale flattens out for the final 15km in what could be a reduced group bunch finish.