The end of the season draws closer with a stiff 193-kilometre test around Bologna as the riders take on the Giro dell’Emilia.
Sandwiched between the Coppa Sabatini and the GP Bruno Beghelli in the late-season calendar – the 1.HC-ranked race is the most prestigious of the trio with a star-studded list of names gracing the podium over the years.
The Italian riders will be extra motivated having not won the race in the last three years, with the selective finally previously being used as a good gauge of form ahead of Lombardy.
With only five days of racing left on the European calendar after the race there will be a number of riders hoping to end the year with a bang.
The action takes place around the city of Bologna, capital of the Emilia–Romagna region, with the riders heading north early on for a flat opening drag which should let an escape group go clear.
The climbing begins in earnest after 50km with a gradual drag ramping upwards sharply into Montepastore. From there the riders tackle the brief kick up the Passo Sella della Croce. The half-way point is reached with a long descent back down into Vergato.
Next up is the Badolo ascent (127.8km) as the race heads into San Luca for the finale and a tough finishing circuit. Each pass over the 9km loop features an ascent up the steep San Luca climb, the 2.1km effort averaging 10% but with sections maxing out at 18%.
With the overall contenders whittled down it will be only the strongest in the bunch who are in position to contest the finish and add their name to the race’s list of winners.
Team Sky history
Rigoberto Urán graced the podium last time out with a strong ride in 2011 on the team's debut at the race. Thomas Löfkvist is another podium finisher in Team Sky's ranks having also claimed third in 2009.