The Spin: Giro Stage 13

Friday, 18 May 2012

A strange stage, this is the just 121km and a sprint looks likely. There will be two races on today, the first to ride as fast as possible to win the stage and the second to go as slow as possible to save energy ahead of tomorrow and the Alps.

The start in Savona brings back memories of Eddy Merckx. Not directly of course, instead I enjoyed two biographies about the best rider of all time (reviews: here and here) and he infamously left the Giro after testing positive during the race following a stage to Savona. The town isn’t known for too much else, a industrial city with a port and once famous for its steel and shipbuilding industries. It is linked – like every town on the Italian coast it seems – with Christopher Columbus.

The race then heads inland and once the climb to Montemozolo is done, sticks to flatter roads. The race will pass many vineyards where they make easy drinking red wines with the dolcetto grape. Sometimes the wine can have a fizz and acidity to it and we’ll see if the racing matches this. But the short distance could mean a high tempo race and all efforts to escape get corked by the sprinters’ teams. Although with Matthew Goss recovering from injury, the work will fall heavily on Team Sky. Still, many should try since they’ll know their chances of winning a stage are fast diminishing with the Alps looming. The area is also famous for its white truffles and if a rider wants to win from a breakaway today he’ll need to sniff out every opportunity possible. In short, a breakaway might get away uphill but teams might combine to set up a sprint finish.

For once the finish looks safer on paper with a finishing straight over three kilometres long in the small town of Cervere. At 121km this is a “sprint” stage but will the sprinters have their day? Probably since there’s only one stage left in the race for the sprinters afterwards. Meanwhile the second race should see the overall contenders trying to soft-pedal their way through the day, saving every possible calorie in order to ensure fresh legs for tomorrow and the first Alpine summit finish showdown of the race. Everything will change.

Justin May 18, 2012 at 10:26 am

We are at that emotionally transitional part of the Giro when we leave the sprints (today) and head towards the business end of the contest. I am looking forward to seeing the selection of the True Climbers. Part of me wants to see Frank make a commitment but I am not confident. Perhaps a countryman can get the job done?

I appreciate the insight and knowledge of the fruit the riders pass by. There is a strong association with wine and cycling to an average Americano like myself.

Cheers to this blog!!

Champs May 18, 2012 at 10:32 am

I expect an outcome pretty similar to the stage 13 I saw in Florence three years ago.

You know the drill: GC teams control the break, sprint teams finish it off. Favorites will cede 30 meaningless seconds by slipping off the back of a sprint likely won by Cavendish. The Sky train might sputter, but he can still freelance it.

Ankush May 18, 2012 at 10:35 am

can we let Cav take this one please. Thanks.

Bundle May 18, 2012 at 10:57 am

Well, only if he promises to make it to Milan within the time limits, and without touching the cars…
Joking aside, it should be a cinch for him today. There are no sharp bends today, and the little climb is nothing (although someone will try to put the Sky train behind at that point).

Sim May 18, 2012 at 10:56 am

Gawd, I cant take the emotional stress of any more nightmares 400 metres from the line…a 3rd stage for Cav or I really will be chucking my toys out of the pram!

Bundle May 18, 2012 at 11:00 am

1) I wouldn’t understand if a team helps Sky control the stage instead of sending riders on breakaways. But again, there so many things one doesn’t understand..
2) Can’t wait for the moment when favourites’s legs are no longer “fresh” at all, and the real race begins.

Ronan May 18, 2012 at 11:25 am

Perhaps we’ll see more of a fight from some of the other printers who will be packing their bags and leaving the Giro after today. Young Italian guys like Guardini and Modolo haven’t really shown thus far and will want to make an impression, especially as it would place a big marker ahead of Olympic selection.

rhys May 18, 2012 at 11:39 am

Fair call, Ronan. Teams with sprinters by now have to realise that they aren’t going to beat Cavendish and Sky in the last two or three hundred metres. Someone like Farnese-Vini who are now without a leader should shake things up a little instead of wandering about the countryside like headless chickens. What I wouldn’t give to see three or four members of a team go from 1km out with their own train.

Ablindeye May 18, 2012 at 11:59 am

Teams effectively do “go from 1km out” and indeed considerably further. No-one ever makes it off the front end because everyone is flat out and the guys at the front of the line are using some extra 20% energy then those sat in their slipstream :)

Sally Gap May 18, 2012 at 2:47 pm

Christopher Columbus – he made bicycle tubing, right?

Eric May 18, 2012 at 9:03 pm

I can get the Tour of CA on tv but is there any place I can DVR the Giro?

Sally Gap May 19, 2012 at 3:07 am

If you’re anywhere in Europe/Middle East/North Africa, Rai Sport 2/Rai 3 have extensive (eg Pozzivio playing cheesy keyboard very well just after the finish/Interviews with riders eating breakfast/4 hours of almost commercial free racing ) coverage, just point a satellite dish at Hotbird 13.0 East, and hook up a FTA receiver.

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