Tao Geoghegan Hart won a mountain stage in the Giro d’Italia on Sunday and seeks another on Wednesday. Photo by @BBCSport (Twitter).
- Stage 17 of the Giro (Wednesday, October 20) is the first of back-to-back days in the mountains
- Can Wilco Kelderman wrestle the lead away from João Almeida?
- Is the best betting value on Stage 17 the top GC contenders or a climbing specialist?
Stage 17 of the Giro d’Italia (Wednesday, October 20) is a major climbing stage and could have a large impact on the general classification. Can race-leader João Almeida survive? Will Wilco Kelderman take control? Could Tao Geoghegan Hart prove to be best in the mountains and steal the race?
The GC contenders are the favorites to win Stage 17. Let’s look at the top options on Wednesday and analyze the betting value.
Giro d’Italia Stage 17 Odds
|Tao Geoghegan Hart||+600|
|Thomas De Gendt||+2500|
Odds as of Oct. 20th.
It seemed like the hilly Stage 16 would be an opportunity for a breakaway and, indeed, a 28-rider break materialized. Jan Tratnik attacked on the climb of Monte di Ragogna and put away his competition. The peloton was more than 13 minutes behind, and race leader João Almeida made a late move to gain two seconds on his on primary rivals.
Almeida enters Stage 17 with a 17-second edge over Kelderman. Jai Hindley and Tao Geoghegan Hart are just under three minutes behind.
There are lots of pressure points on Wednesday’s 203-kilometre journey from Bassano del Grappa to Madonna di Campiglio. A category three climb and a trio of category one climbs (including a final 15.5-km surge with an average gradient just under 6% average gradient) will make for a challenging afternoon.
The 2015 Giro included a stage similar to Wednesday’s finish. Mikel Landa soloed to victory. Will somebody try a similar tactic in 2020? Let’s examine the top candidates.
Previewing Wednesday’s stage is similar to Sunday’s mountainous stage, which was captured by Hart.
It is possible Hart is the best climber in this year’s event. The 25-year-old Brit was third in the 2020 Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana, and last year took two stages and finished second overall in the Tour of the Alps.
Kelderman feels like he is going to win the Giro, but he actually has to finish the job. He has consistently made up ground in the mountains, and with three significant climbing days remaining, he is a deserving favorite.
Kelderman has two problems, neither of which need to be a factor as the riders close in on Milan. First, he has to hold off Hart and anyone else who proves to be a better climber than him, but with a three-minute edge, that is doable. Second, he has to overcome history. Kelderman has not won a race since 2015.
When Jai Hindley won this year’s Herald Sun Tour, he made his mark on climbs. Hindley won two stages and the mountains classification.
Hindley finished third in the mountains on Stage 15. The 24-year-old Australian has an opportunity. How strong will he be over the next couple days?
Including Almeida as a serious candidate to win a mountain stage feels silly, but so does excluding him. The surprise leader of the Giro since the end of Stage 3, Almeida has been expected to drop off at numerous points. Yet here he remains.
He added a minimal amount to his advantage on a hilly course on Tuesday. That said, mountain stages are not his strength. His goal for Stage 17 is likely survival on Stage 17, not victory, as he tries to stay at the top until Sunday’s time trial.
Veteran Ilnur Zakarin is listed at an intriguing +2500 price. He has finished among the top ten at a grand tour four times in his career, including a podium position at the Vuelta a España in 2017.
His first-ever grand tour stage victory came in the Italian mountains via breakaway during a rainstorm. He is crafty, tough, and dangerous on stages like Wednesday’s.
Dave Friedman has covered professional and college sports for two decades. From ESPN to the Associated Press, Regional Sports Networks, Metro Networks, and many local outlets, he has written about and broadcast major and minor events throughout the country.