The Polsa time trial will hold the key to this Giro d’Italia if snow forces the high mountains out. With only a one minute and 26 second lead, Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) is not taking any chances above Lake Garda tomorrow.

“We’ve previewed it twice. I drove up it, Nibali rode it,” Astana team manager, Giuseppe Martinelli told Cycling Weekly. “We took note of every corner and detail.”

Cadel Evans (BMC Racing), a noted time trial rider and 2011 Tour de France winner sits in second overall and Sky’s Rigoberto Urán is in third at 2-46 minutes.

They eye the 20.6-kilometre test in Trentino, north of Verona, to make a difference. Their gains or losses could be final as snow is threatening both mountain stages to Val Martello and Tre Cime di Lavaredo in the following two days.

The Giro d’Italia ends on Sunday in Brescia with a flat stage that should do little to the overall classification.

“I think that both Nibali and Evans will be there without any big differences between them,” Martinelli added. “Evans has more experience than Nibali, but Nibali has shown to be in good condition at this moment.”

Martinelli said the time trial, rising from 187 to 1205 metres, suits a true time trial rider. It is more a flat test with a mountain top finish than a mountain time trial.

“The hardest bit is 7-8 per cent and there’s a descent, a false flat. You can ride a 25 to 30 average, so you can’t say it’s a mountain time trial.”

Martinelli ran off to look after Paolo Tiralongo, who needed a chest x-ray. At the BMC Racing bus, Baldato said his team was just as focused.

Before competing in the Giro del Trentino, Evans rode the time trial twice with Baldato in the car behind. At the top, they took in the views of Lake Garda and the valley below.

“It’s a nice road, really fast, you can take it at 25-27 an hour for the first six to seven kilometres,” Baldato said. “The second part is around eight per cent, a little steeper. It’s a nice climb, not just for a climber, but for a time trial rider too.”

Is it enough for the Australian to make up the difference?

“Nibali is going well, you saw that in the Saltara time trial,” Baldato added. “So far, Nibali has been going stronger. I hope that changes for the time trial.”

Giro d’Italia 2013: Previews and race info

Giro d’Italia 2013: British TV schedule

Giro d’Italia 2013: 10 things you need to know

Giro d’Italia 2013: The Big Preview

Giro d’Italia 2013: Stage reports

Stage 16: Intxausti continues Movistar’s successful Giro with stage win

Stage 15: Visconti wins Galibier stage

Stage 14: Santambrogio wins and Nibali strengthens lead

Stage 13: Cavendish takes his fourth stage win of 2013 Giro

Stage 12: Cavendish takes 100th win as Wiggins’ Giro bid faltrs

Stage 11: Navardauskas wins as favourites enjoy day off

Stage 10: Uran wins as Wiggins and Hesjedal lose time

Stage nine: Belkov takes solo win as Wiggins put under pressure

Stage eight: Dowsett wins as Nibali takes race lead

Stage seven: Wiggins crashes as Hansen wins

Stage six: Cavendish wins stage six of Giro

Stage five: Degenkolb avoids crash to take win

Stage four: Battaglin sprints to first Giro stage win

Stage three: Paolini takes charge

Stage two: Sky wins team time trial

Stage one: Cavendish wins opener

Giro d’Italia 2013: Photo galleries

Photos by Graham Watson

Stage 16 gallery

Stage 15 gallery

Stage 14 gallery

Stage 13 gallery

Stage 12 gallery

Stage 11 gallery

Stage 10 gallery

Stage nine gallery

Stage eight gallery

Stage seven gallery

Stage six gallery

Stage five gallery

Stage four gallery

Stage three gallery

Stage two gallery

Stage one gallery

Team presentation gallery

Giro d’Italia 2013: Videos

Giro final week preview

Giro week two preview

Giro first week video preview