Tirreno-Adriatico: Stage 7 Preview

Monday, 11 March 2013

Tirreno Adriatico time trial

For the fourth day in a row, we will have a new rider in the blue leader’s jersey. Vincenzo Nibali attacked exactly where everybody expected him to do so, but still no one – except for Purito and Sagan – could keep up with him. Nibali now leads overall with 34 seconds down to Chris Froome and I will be very surprised if he doesn’t win Tirreno-Adriatico for the second time in a row.

This time trial is the same as last year and I doubt even Chris Froome can take back more than half a minute on Vincenzo Nibali in just 9.2 km. Nibali has been working very hard on improving his time trial skills and with a new bike and new skinsuit he could even end up surprising quite a few on this stage.

Purito is after two good stages now third overall. He is 11 seconds in front of Contador and 21 seconds in front of Kwiatkowski. Once again, his chances of reaching the final podium depend on his time trial. In January, he said he had improved a lot already and now is really the time to show it. It will be more than difficult to keep Contador – and especially Kwiatkowski – behind him but personally, I hope he will manage.

Originally, I had Fabian Cancellara and Tony Martin as my two big favorites for the stage, but both put in quite an effort on stage 6. Cancellara was in the morning break and Tony Martin took a big turn for Kwiatkowski in order to close the gap. Still, other candidates like Taylor Phinney and Svein Tuft aren’t in the race anymore, so I think we’re back to where we started.

Tony Martin changed his race schedule (from Paris-Nice to Tirreno-Adriatico) in order to help his team win the opening TTT and then win this stage himself. He managed to win the first one and the chances are quite good he will to win this one too.

Tom Dumoulin and Lars Boom would have been two good jokers for this stage but since both of them were in the big break on stage 6, I’ll look to Movistar to find my jokers. Jonathan Castroviejo started out Tirreno-Adriatico with GC ambitions, but lost time in the last two stages. He is right now 14th overall but without a chance of making top10. Castroviejo is an excellent time trialist and he’s especially good on these short distances. He will be one to look out for. The same goes for his teammate Alex Dowsett. He is the British national champion and without him, Movistar probably wouldn’t have taken 3rd place on the opening team time trial. Normally we see surprises in the final time trial in a stage race and I think Alex Dowsett could be that surprise.

I’ve picked Moreno Moser as my joker three times during this race – without any luck – but don’t be surprised if he ends up doing something great on this stage.

Winnerpick: Tony Martin
Joker: Alex Dowsett

For live coverage of the stage check out cyclingfans & steephills.

C-Cycling

Preview courtesy of C-Cycling. Thanks to Mikkel for these informative previews and I’m sorry problems caused by the host company behind this website meant I could not put the Stage 6 preview online. Remember you can follow Mikel Condé on Twitter as @mrconde

Simon Fielder March 11, 2013 at 11:06 pm

Thanks – small comment but I think Movistar came second not third in the TTT. Will be interesting to see how Dowsett goes – good luck to him for leaving Sky and trying his luck.

Bundle March 12, 2013 at 8:30 am

Froome can win and if he can relax and should try to. Contador seems weaker on the flat than before the ban, in 2009, he would’ve been a favourite today. It’ll be interesting to see if he makes the top-10 now.

BC March 12, 2013 at 8:37 am

Yesterdays stage raised several simple questions in my mind concerning SKY. 1. Why did they allow such a large group to escape early in the race. 2. Why were their riders overgeared for the 30% ramps. 3. Why was Froome not better prepared with wet and cold weather clothing. 4. What happened to their ‘strength in numbers’ stratagy at the end ?
All simple questions, but for a team that looks for all advantages too, many left without answers.
A very demanding but exciting stage all the same, with a well deserved overall GC leader.
I agree that the GC time difference is to great for Froome to close and it would be nice to see Dowsettt pull of something special.

Anonymous March 12, 2013 at 11:45 am

Not just Sky, I thought just about all the riders were over geared. Sagan even resorted to a zig-zag strategy to get up the climbs. Could it be that the peloton underestimated the severity of the stage?

Larry T. March 12, 2013 at 2:00 pm

+1

Roy March 12, 2013 at 3:46 pm

Quote from Nibali after the race yesterday: “we knew at the start of the race there was a 27% climb coming, so our bikes were set up for it and we were well prepared.” I guess the subtext of that is that some riders weren’t prepared?

Ablindeye March 12, 2013 at 5:01 pm

Possibly less prepared for the slippery conditions more than anything else? As an example Contador seemed to struggle with having to keep some weight over the rear wheel to keep some traction.

hoh March 13, 2013 at 2:16 pm

Q1: They are hoping for a breakaway to survive and sweep up bounce seconds. A bit of wishful thinking I’d say but that’s understandable.

Q3: If one can predict how exactly a human body would response to particular weather condition and it’s performance under such, one would be a Nobel Price winning biologist, not a pro-bicycle team career. The “right amount of clothing” is a very objective thing, it changes. If Froome was more suited to cold and damp weather, the extra clothing would have been a burden.

Q2: It’s related to Q3. The correct gearing depends on road gradient, weather condition as well as BODY CONDITION. If Froome had put on more clothing (and ate more), this might have been the right gearing for him.

Noel March 12, 2013 at 10:08 am

BC – I think we need to take a step back. Sky have done an unbelievable job over the last 18mths, but that doesn’t mean that it’s to be expected every time. For 8 riders to control the other 170 or so over a parcours like that is almost impossible. In fact I’d say it’s actually heartening that they have proved themselves a little bit human (whilst winning the other stage race going on this week let’s not forget). Sure you can point to a few things that might have gone better, but the Nibali, Sagan and Purito were incredible yesterday, and your never going to be able to control everything in every race all the time. Well played to Nibali though, you can see why Brailsford wanted him until Wiggo became a possibilty.

Ablindeye March 12, 2013 at 10:23 am

Watching it back the last climb and the descents were just as definitive as the initial 27% incline. The first climb got the gap (no amount of team mates is going to make a huge difference on such a steep slope) it grew a bit on the descent then more so on the last “lesser” climb as far as I could tell.

That said I’m not sure anyone could do much once Nibali, Sagan and Sanchez had the gap and were descending together – I hear they’re half decent on the downhill!

BC March 12, 2013 at 12:00 pm

Noel, of course you are correct, and as you say its sometimes good to see that SKY are human – helps quieten those with doubts. It still begs the question as to why so many mistakes were made by a team with a reputation for attention to detail. I guess if its not in the legs then even detail is not going to save you !

ave March 12, 2013 at 10:25 am

It was exiting, I hope Aquarone was just joking about it being too much.
If this is what it takes to not allow for a single team to control the race, then be it.

Noel March 12, 2013 at 11:00 am

everyone moans about sky’s tactics – am I the only one who finds it quite compelling having one team drilling it while the others all try and disrupt their rhythm?

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