Sunday’s stage is due to get underway at 11.25 am (BST). At the same time, our live coverage kicks off at 1 pm, by which point we suspect the peloton – and possibly a breakaway – will have reached the first climb of the day, the category two Passo Godi, which is 13.9km long with an average gradient of 4.1%.
Incidentally, despite today being the most mountainous of the race thus far, none of the climbs go above 1,657 metres above sea level meaning none of the riders should suffer with any altitude issues – and equally those that were born to race at 2,000m+ will not be able to gain any physiological advantages over their rivals once the road goes up high into the clouds.
Stage nine profile
Anyway, here’s what the official website says about the day ahead: “This queen stage across the Apennines of Abruzzo takes in several ascents, including four categorized climbs. From the start until Celano, the route takes a succession of long climbs on moderately wide roads, followed by sometimes technical descents.
“Past Ovindoli (see above), the route enters the Piana delle Rocche and becomes somewhat more manageable, up to Rocca di Cambio (below). Here, the course makes for Campo Felice, taking in the closing climb.
Rocca di Cambio
“The final climb is nearly 6km long, and the gradients are not very sharp. After a long, well-lit tunnel stretching from 3 to 2km remaining to the finish, the final 1,600 meters, as well as the home straight, are on unpaved roads, with peaks topping out at 14% over the last 500m.”
Catch up: Highlights from yesterday’s stage
Hello and welcome to our live blog from stage nine at the Giro d’Italia, the 158-kilometre run from Castel di Sangro to Campo Felice. Following yesterday’s stage that was won by Victor Lafay (Cofidis), Attila Valter (Groupama-FDJ), the 22-year-old Hungarian, kept hold top spot in both the general and youth classification and will for a third successive day be dressed in the maglia rosa, or the pink jersey.
Caleb Ewan (Lotto-Soudal) bailed pretty early into the stage, meaning Tim Merlier (Alpecin-Fenix) regained the top spot in the points competition and today will wear the maglia ciclamino, the cyclamen jersey, for a fourth day – not a bad run for the grand tour debutant.
With the nine-man breakaway taking the points in the mountains classification, Gino Mäder (Bahrain Victorious) was able to keep hold of the top spot and so goes into today’s mountainous stage wearing the third maglia Azzurra – blue jersey – of the 24-year-old’s career. The top three in the youth classification mirrors that of the overall. So Remco Evenepoel (Deceuninck-Quick Step) will wear the maglia Bianca, or the white jersey, on behalf of Valter.