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Photo ©: Bettini

92nd Giro d'Italia - GT

Italy, May 9-31, 2009

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Stage 18 - Thursday, May 28: Sulmona - Benevento, 182km

Route: The sprinters who are left will have been plugging away for almost a week now with their focus very much on this stage, and they'll be determined not to let this chance for glory slip by them. A break will go early and the sprinters' teams will claw it back on the flattish roads during the second half of the stage.

Local Hero: This has never been a stronghold of Italian cycling, and even less so at the moment, after a host of riders from this region have drifted out of the sport. Step forward Giuliano Figueras, Raffaeles Illiano and Ferrara, and Salvatore Commesso.

Procycling's Top Tip: It could well be an all-Italian sprintfest by now, in which case Lampre's Mirco Lorenzetto will fancy his chances, given his rash of form this season.

Savio speaks: The Benevento stage is for sprinters, but there will be a few riders who may try to blow it up on that first climb. If I had a team that was not working for the overall classification I would send all my men on the front for the Cinque Miglia climb.

I remember 2001 on the stage to Reggio Emilia. We attacked and formed an escape with our Fredy Gonzalez and eventual winner Pietro Caucchioli. We did not have anyone fighting for the classification, so we had nothing to lose.

Benevento is an area known for Mozzarella di Bufala. It is great on its own or with some tomatoes, 'Caprese'.

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