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The long run from Vasto to Melfi is a stage of two parts that should be handled with considerable care by the GC contenders. A seemingly sedate opening phase, which comprises a flat run across Molise and northern Puglia, gives way to a rather more complicated finale in Basilicata, where two well-placed climbs provide an obvious springboard for late attackers.
The category 3 climb to Valico dei Laghi di Monticchio takes in ramps of 10% on its sinuous path along the mountainside, and there is only a brief respite before the road climbs again for the short, but sharp category 4 ascent to Valico La Croce, which comes with 26km to go.
A long and fast drop towards an intermediate sprint follows before the shallow haul to the finish line in Melfi. Vigilance will be the byword for the overall contenders.
Melfi, in the heart of the volcanic area of Vulture, is known for the production of Aglianico del Vulture wine and for the imposing Norman castle that dominates the skyline in these parts.
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