Stage winner: Roman Kreuziger (Astana) won his first career Giro stage to take the edge off the disappointment of losing time and a chance for the GC podium on Wednesday
Pink leader: Joaquim Rodríguez (Katusha) defended pink, but barely, just 17 seconds ahead of Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin-Barracuda)
Red points: Mark Cavendish (Sky) made the time cut, but saw his points jersey come under serious threat from Rodríguez. The world champion leads the Spaniard by just 13 points, 138-125. Rodríguez can take the points jersey if he’s fourth or better in Saturday’s stage
Blue mountains: Stefano Pirazzi (Colnago) scooped up first-place points at four of the day’s five climbs, but Matteo Rabottini (Farnese Vini) remained in first place, leading 65-44 in the KOM competition
White young: Rigoberto Urán (Sky) widened his lead to teammate Sergio Henao to 2:26
Luca Mazzanti (Farnese Vini) crashed on the descent off the Manghen, suffering multiple cuts and scrapes to his left side. Also crashing was Robert Hunter (Garmin), who sustained cuts and scrapes to his right side. Both riders were able to finish the stage.
Weather: Chance of rain, cooler
Forecasters are calling for afternoon showers, with cooler temperatures, highs in the 50s F on the valley floor and colder at elevation. Mostly cloudy, with a chance of afternoon showers.
Tomorrow’s stage: Mortirolo, Stelvio suffer-fest
The 95th Giro hits a crescendo with Saturday’s penultimate stage. The long day in the saddle features passages over two of Italy’s most emblematic climbs. First up is the Mortirolo, which has been decreed as the “Pantani mountain” in honor of fallen Italian star, Marco Pantani.
The stage ends atop the 2,700-meter-plus summit of the Passo dello Stelvio. The route climbs up from Bormio on the “easy” side, not the more famous switchbacks on the northern face. The final climb will be difficult enough, sure to produce the Giro’s decisive attacks.
The Stelvio is also this year’s “Cima Coppi,” the Giro’s highest point in honor of the “campionissimo” Fausto Coppi. This is the 10th time the Stelvio has been the “Cima Coppi.” The Passo Pordoi has served as the most-used high point in the Giro’s history, with 14 passages.