All eyes will be on pre-race favourite Nairo Quintana when the Giro d'Italia gets serious and reaches its first full mountain stage on Satuday.
For many, the young Colombian is the most talented climber in the peloton and Saturday's stage from Foligno to Montecopiolo – concluding in a summit finish – will be a good opportunity to showcase that ability.
The Movistar rider has not enjoyed the smoothest Giro up until this point, however. The team have won team time trials at the Vuelta and finished second in last year's Giro team time trial but had to settle for a slightly disappointing eight place in Belfast.
To add to that, Quintana was one of many top riders who crashed on the sixth stage, suffering several minor injuries in the process.
More importantly, perhaps, the crash lost him close to 50 seconds to the stage leaders, leaving him eleventh in the general classification, 2:08 down on race leader Michael Matthews (Orica-GreenEdge) and 1:47 behind Australian Cadel Evans (BMC).
The situation looks challenging for Quintana but Satuday's mountain stage in central Italy, culminating in the first category climp to Montecopiolo, will at least offer him with a good chance to pounce back.
"He's got bruises and scratches, today [stage seven] he's sure to be uncomfortable, but hopefully over the next few days he'll be all right" Movistar sports director Jose Luis Arrieta told cyclingnews.
"You can say tomorrow [stage eight] is more suited to him, but every day here is key: just look at yesterday [stage six] and that crash. It's also very important how quickly he recovers from that, too.
"We're still in the first week, and there's a long way to go, even if a lot seems to have happened since Belfast."
It was not just Quintana who suffered injuries in the substantial crash on stage six. Several other Movistar riders were involved and picked up knocks and bruises. Andrei Amador injured his neck, Adriano Malori has a knee injury while Gorka Izaguirre has a road rash almost the length of his body.
"It's quite a list, but what can you expect when 60 percent of the peloton goes down?" Arrieta says. "We all saw it coming, too, but when everybody wants to be in the front, there's all that rain bringing out all the dirt and oil to the surface, it's going to be bad.
"It's always better to have an advantage rather than to be down on time, but the margins as yet are not overly worrying. Of course it's difficult and it's an important time gap and we're racing against a former Tour winner here, and one of the strongest teams in the Giro.
"But there's no way we're throwing in the towel at this point, with two weeks left to race. Little by little we'll go on seeing what we can do, and just as he's been unlucky on several occasions, everybody else may have their moment of bad luck, too and we can take advantage of that."
Arrieta holds no grudges over the riders and teams who did not stop to wait after the pile-up crash on stage six. "The circumstances were what they were, they didn't wait and that's all there is to it."
He does not feel it would have been reasonable to require riders already preoccupied by flat-out racing to realise what was going on behind them and make a decision to stop without the input from their directors – who already had more than enough concern attending to all the riders on the ground.
"If they'd stopped and waited, it wouldn't have been a bad thing to do, but the rider is probably the last person who will think about it [stopping] under those circumstances, when they're stressed out because there's just been a huge crash, and the race is full on."
Stage eight of this year's Giro is the first of three stages dedicated to legendary Italian climber Marco Pantani, who died in 2004. 126 of the 179 kilometres will be raced on relatively flat terrain but riders will be battling for positions at the start of the climb on the lower slopes of the Cippo di Carpegna.
The first climb boasts a 10 percent gradient but it is the final two-part climb that will separate the contenders from the pretenders and although the Giro will not be won by any one climber on the day, it can be lost.
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