Giro Stage 12 Preview

Thursday, 22 May 2014

So far the “fight for pink” has been a group hug with riders marking each other. Exclude Domenico Pozzovivo’s 30 second raid to Sestola last Sunday and most of the time gaps on GC have been created when the riders weren’t racing together, whether in the team time trial or following the Montecassino crash. All change today as riders are forced to show their form.

Stage 11 Wrap

How many riders had been dreaming of this day? In the end a rider who wasn’t supposed to ride the Giro won. Michael Rogers was a late call-up after visa problems blocked Tinkoff-Saxo’s Ivan RovnyNikolai Trusov.

Gianni Savio’s dreams turned to nightmares because the day’s breakaway didn’t have a single rider from Androni. Consequently the Italian team chased the move down and on the Naso di Gatto climb it all came back together. Julian Arredondo jumped away to bag the mountain points. At one point it was heading for a bunch sprint, albeit in reduced company. But then Michael Rogers attacked. It was perfectly timed, there was not much of a chase from the peloton and few teams had strength in numbers. He took 45 seconds lead and if it began to get close in Savona he had time to savour the win.

Note the crashes of Luke Durbridge and Adriano Malori. The Australian left the race and Malori rides on but looked a mess at the finish. Both were contenders for today’s time trial.

The Route: 41.9km of rolling roads through the Barolo vineyards. Say vineyards and most people say wine and today’s route will have gourmets salivating. But for the cyclist vineyards typically mean hills and exposed terrain. Vines are cultivated never to reach more than shoulder height, they provide no shelter for the rider and more so now since the growth on the vines is still emerging.

There’s a climb right from the start but it’s a gradual affair. Most will be in their tri bars and a large chainring as the road is wide and rarely exceeds 5%. If you see a rider on the inner ring, it’s likely to be something like a 46T. Then follows a regular descent, fast but just enough to require effort. There are some technical bends and they bare witness to various accidents with skid marks and dented crash barriers as the riders descend into Alba, Italy’s truffle capital. Then follows a long flat section out of town to leave the climbers floundering. After 34km the road tilts up but just, the last climb is another steady affair where the road rises at 4%.

The ensuing descent is the most technical part of the course with a narrow road, a sketchy surface and at one point, a double-digit slope down. It’s not treacherous but the rest of the course can be paced to perfection while this is all about nerves and skill. The finish in Barolo sees a strength-draining rise to the line.
The Contenders: a difficult pick but Cadel Evans is the default choice. He has the experience and ability to win the stage. His selection is also because of the relative weakness of others, the GC challengers in this race are primarily climbers and there are few time trial specialists in the field.

Adriano Malori would be my second pick. The Italian chronoman has been targeting this stage but he had a big crash yesterday and lost a lot of skin. Even if the injuries are superficial it’ll hurt to wear a skinsuit. Given the uncertainty he could surprise but he might just opt to complete the course and serve Nairo Quintana later in the race. Fellow Movistar rider Jonathan Castroviejo is another specialist but he excels in shorter distances. As for Nairo Quintana everyone took one look and thought he was just a climber but now people appreciate his all-round abilities and he has a good position. A top-10 ride should be priced in and today will reveal the extent of any injuries, he’s been complaining of bruising on his hip and reduced power.

Next comes Belkin’s Wilco Kelderman who has pedigree in time trials. He first made a name for himself in the 2012 Dauphiné time trial when he was fourth in the 54km time trial. He’s in form and the course should suit him.

Thomas De Gendt is one of those erratic riders. Capable of great rides one day but invisible the next. Instead OPQS team mate Rigoberto Uran is obviously one to watch. Not normally a name to associate with time trialling but he was solid in the Tour de Romandie and should crack the top-10 today.

What about Domenico Pozzovivo? Only Tony Martin and Fabian Cancellara beat him in the Vuelta’s 39km time trial stage. Some are tipping him for today but the course is different, he’ll lose time on the flat section around Alba but many are still tipping him as an outsider to win the race outright if Evans falters in the third week. Giant-Shimano’s Tobias Ludvigsson is a good pick… for the future. He might surprise today but the distance is long for 23 year old.

Team Sky are being outclassed in this race by the likes of Ag2r La Mondiale and FDJ and that’s not something many expected. But Kanstantin Siutsou was fourth tenth in the world championships last year but has been quiet in this race, Edvald Boasson Hagen can do well as can Dario Cataldo. A stage win seems unlikely for the team.

Any others? Ryder Hesjedal should find the long drags just to his liking but a stage win would be a novelty. Orica-Greenedge’s Michael Hepburn is a specialist but also young, today should be a learning experience while the course is too hilly for team mate Svein Tuft. Lotto-Belisol’s Maxime Montfort is a steady rider and why not Adam Hansen who is in good form but has yet to emerge in this race, after all the Australians are having a great time? Finally Michael Rogers should be rinsed after yesterday’s efforts but this is his speciality.

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Cadel Evans
Wilco Kelderman
Thomas De Gendt, Jonathan Castroviejo, Rigoberto Uran, Adriano Malori
Hansen, Ludvigsson, Monfort

Weather: sunshine and clouds with temperatures of 22°C. There’s no wind to worry about but there’s growing talk of rain for the afternoon.

TV: the race is on a variety of TV channels according to where you are in the world. Eurosport is covering the race across most of Europe. beIN SPORT has the rights in the US and France. There’s cyclingfans.com and steephill.tv for TV schedules and pirate feeds and more.

Time trials never make great TV but this stage is important to the race so watch to see who is in form. The finish is expected around 5.10pm.

Production Note: these previews are freshly baked every day to go out at dawn. But if there’s anything useful in the newspapers or elsewhere later in the morning, I’ll add it. For example today the risk of rain has increased so I’ve revised the weather section plus added the embedded tweet to show Malori’s problems.

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{ 50 comments }

Joe K. May 22, 2014 at 6:20 am

Michael Rogers looked very smooth and powerful yesterday breaking away which is surprising given his absence of racing days during his suspension. Aussies are showcasing their class at this years’s Giro!

Abdu May 22, 2014 at 9:03 am

How about Dodger’s coded thanks to Cadel for not chasing him down, stopped short of saying it but went on about the class of Cadel, etc. Assuming it’s true, well done Cadel for letting Rogers get his moment of glory. It’s been a long time since they were on T mobile together.

Not like Lance, didn’t he order certain riders to be chased down for no reason other than his own pure meanness?

Student Cyclist May 22, 2014 at 7:28 am

Think you might’ve got your Australians and Russians mixed up inrng. I thought Jay McCarthy was a late replacement for Nikolai Trusov. Either way Ivan Rovny is definitely riding (and got a top ten a couple of days ago)

The Inner Ring May 22, 2014 at 8:46 am

Correct, I’ll fix it above.

Tovarishch May 22, 2014 at 7:45 am

Rigoberto Uran is obviously won to watch

Freudian?

The Inner Ring May 22, 2014 at 8:46 am

Maybe, more the preview had to be written late last night after a long day.

Dr. Fly May 22, 2014 at 7:17 pm

…but still ended up being eerily prescient!

The Inner Ring May 22, 2014 at 7:38 pm

I should have claimed it as a deliberate phrase ;-)

Bundle May 22, 2014 at 11:40 pm

Rigoberto IndURÁN.

Strictly B-Grade May 22, 2014 at 8:06 am

won to watch – one to watch.

Petar Dundjerski May 22, 2014 at 8:26 am

Poor Hesjedal. A meagre honourable mention from Inrng but not even a single 46T on the list. He will beat Cadel Evans, however.

TTSchmee May 22, 2014 at 8:41 am

Poor Hesjedal no longer on the juice you mean. The only thing that’s sad is his Schleck-like status of an average rider now he’s no longer doping.

The Inner Ring May 22, 2014 at 8:49 am

When at US Postal/Discovery he was unremarkable too. He has won the Giro but next to nothing else during a career that’s over 10 years long now. Last year made more a name for himself with alternative sunglasses than results. He’s still a very useful rider for his team but he’s never won a TT before.

Abdu May 22, 2014 at 8:57 am

He’s well placed at a team known for insipid mea culpas with regards to doping. Oh it was years ago, and I only used it once. Stuart O’Grady could be a good assistant DS at Garmin then.

Augie March May 22, 2014 at 9:54 am

Well Hesjedal has won the Canadian national time trial title in 2007, and has been a part of 3 winning TTTs at grand tours which surely must count for something. Plus there was his 6th place on the final ITT stage of the 2012 Giro that gave him the win. Sure he’s not a top TT rider but on his day he can certainly distance the pure climbers against the clock. Considering the field at this year’s Giro I’d expect at top 10 from him.

Vanilla_Thrilla May 22, 2014 at 12:29 pm

A bit harsh perhaps. In the 3 grand tours since his win he’s withdrawn through injury or illness twice and finished well down in last year’s tour after cracking a rib in a crash on stage 1. Previously he’s had a 6th place finish in the 2010 tour and numerous top 10s in various stage races and classics, including Liege where he’s ridden in support of Dan Martin.

True, his TT isn’t going to set the world on fire, but again a crash (this time in the TTT) has effectively put him out of the running for any possible shot at the podium. I’ve heard Vaughters say his biggest strength is his recovery, so he only really gets a chance to shine at the back end of especially tough 3 week races.

Mats May 22, 2014 at 8:35 am

Did you see the tall Shimano rider yesterday who could follow Arredondo’s attack! Fantastic ride from him, I’d say. Also Nico Roche is riding aggressively day after day and is a joy to watch.

The Inner Ring May 22, 2014 at 8:50 am

It was Georg Preidler and it was good to watch the effort but he was so visibly in the red just to follow Arredondo.

GeorgeY May 22, 2014 at 9:33 am

Brave effort by Georg Preidler but Arredondo was playing with him, whenever Preidler got close he just upped his pace, ever so slightly, to keep clear. Power to weight will always get you sooner or later.

Abdu May 22, 2014 at 8:54 am

Sky aren’t being outclassed by FdJ and AG2R, they’re being absolutely smashed by them. Minnows like Androni are showing more fight, on 0.001% the budget.

Sky’s best on GC is Siutsou who is 19th (with all Sky riders still there), behind the Neri Sottoli rider in 16th (with 2 riders out already), then it’s daylight to 40th place Henao. Dropped by the team suspected of doping, he seems to be all ok now I see?

Stop even mentioning them, unless you mention these other teams first, or perhaps ask why they’re such rubbish?

The Inner Ring May 22, 2014 at 9:00 am

I rather like seeing Sky forced to improvise, to infiltrate breakaways and plan ways to win a stage like everyone else rather than the usual train on front of the peloton which numbs many an uphill finish. Without this the third week will be more open and variable.

Note Henao is Sebastian, cousin of Sergio who is still “parked”.

noel May 22, 2014 at 10:05 am

I was watching Rogers yday and thinking – didn’t Eddie B-H use to make those kind of moves 2-3yrs ago… like his TdF stage win, plunging down a descent ahead of the peleton…

Tovarishch May 22, 2014 at 9:19 am

Sky really seem to lack quality DS’s. Cioni is there because he speaks fluent English and has a degree in Sports Management with his main task being PR. Dan Frost was with Saxo-Tinkoff during their lowest period. Servais Knaven seems the only one who can get results

Anonymous May 22, 2014 at 9:50 am

it was sky’s other belarusian kiryienka who took fourth in firenze last september. siutsou finished tenth but

Anonymous May 22, 2014 at 9:51 am

…90 seconds back.

The Inner Ring May 22, 2014 at 10:20 am

Thanks.

Ankush May 22, 2014 at 9:53 am

“fight for pink” has been a group hug ..LOL!

Bundle May 22, 2014 at 11:54 am

I also laugh. And weep… :( ;)

TreeTrunk May 22, 2014 at 9:53 am

Based on your comments in the preview does Pozzovivo not merit a single ring?

Shame about Malori’s accident, the route is long for him but I still thought that he would have been the class of the field today. Fingers crossed he gets a good result to cheer him up!

noel May 22, 2014 at 10:10 am

I thought it was a fantastic shot when Rogers was soloing down the home straight and suddenly the thundering peleton surged over the rise behind him. Clearly fore-shortened by the long lens and he was never in danger at that stage, but still gave me goosebumps!

Ralph Rogers May 22, 2014 at 5:49 pm

me too, he’s on his own, miles (seemingly) from anyone and then BOOM! they all charge over the horizon in a swarm. I loved it and rewound to watch it again…

Andy Logan May 22, 2014 at 10:16 am

Quintana has a cold now apparently, so will see how he goes today.

Steppings May 22, 2014 at 10:30 am

Nice to see a solo win yesterday.

Dexvaldinho May 22, 2014 at 10:41 am

Absolutely horrible race so far- virtually no redeeming features even though it passed 500 metres by my mother’s front door. Sorry, just had to vent

Anonymous May 22, 2014 at 1:34 pm

Apology for your boring post is accepted. Thank you.

flanaghan May 22, 2014 at 10:44 am

I saw an interview last night on gazzetta.it where Quintana said his leg’s okay now but was lamenting a chest cold, instead. Hope he doesn’t end up pulling out like Wiggins did last year.

Adrian May 22, 2014 at 11:21 am

Dear Mr. INRNG you say that Pozzovivo “will lose time on the flat section around Alba” but by the same logic he would have lost a lot of time in the 2nd half of the 2013 Vuelta time trial as it was almost all downhill. Judging by that Vuelta test I reckon Pozzovivo could do very well today – sadly he doesn’t make my fantasy team though!

The Inner Ring May 22, 2014 at 11:33 am

He’s presumably aero downhill. It’s more when it comes to turning a 55×11 at 55km/h that he’ll suffer… but it’s all relative and the Alba section is not too long.

One Man Grupetto May 22, 2014 at 11:47 am

He’s not in contention for today but surely some kudos to Alexis Vuillermoz of AG2R for his under-the-radar performance so far. He’s done some superb work for Pozzovivo but still lies 14th.

The Inner Ring May 22, 2014 at 11:53 am

He’s doing very well and can improve too, he’s an MTB rider who is still learning about road tactics, positioning and stage racing (he’s done the Tour de France already). I tipped him as one of two Sojasun riders to sign (Delaplace was the other). He breathes in an odd way at effort, apparently the result of an accident years ago.

Alex Murray May 22, 2014 at 12:56 pm

As interesting as relative strengths of the GC contenders will be their lieutenants. Wonder whether Morabito and Sanchez will be told to take it easy for Evans and whether AG2R, OPQS and Movistar will rein in theirs

PT May 22, 2014 at 2:48 pm

Is it just me who hears “the fight for pink” as a double-entendre? Or perhaps I listened too much to AC/DC in my younger days…….

The Inner Ring May 22, 2014 at 2:55 pm

I think many people find it an odd phrase, one that doesn’t translate so well

Anonymous May 23, 2014 at 8:39 am

I as well

Joesph May 22, 2014 at 3:09 pm

These daily stage previews are superb. Thanks.

LM May 22, 2014 at 7:11 pm

Uran — Wow!

Hmmm May 23, 2014 at 4:13 am

Wow! or huh?

Not normal maybe?

Abdu May 23, 2014 at 1:17 am

As another poster mentioned on another site, why was Chris Anker Sorensen allowed to continue riding?

He has now withdrawn with severe headaches from a bad concussion, but the team doctor and race doctor both let him ride on to the finish. His crash with Moreno was a bad one, they both looked terrible. Sorensen later said he had no recollection of the last 20-25 km’s.

This can’t be good for the sport. Letting riders potentially re-injure themselves, and do so in a peloton with the potential for crashing others quite high.

No other sport sees an incident where the athlete is badly concussed and then sends them back out, and into danger what’s more. In the stage yesterday, he had to negotiate a steep fast descent. A concussed rider is surely at risk there?

Most other major sports use SCAT system to test the concussed athlete, looks to me like the doctor asked “how many fingers?”

It’s about time the UCI took into account the safety of the riders. Surely the UCI race doctor can take the rider out of the race, maybe reinstate them at the end of the stage if they are cleared?

Paul (not the famous designer) Smith May 23, 2014 at 2:04 am

I didn’t watch the Time Trial last night, but since it was wet was it a matter of who had the biggest balls on the descent?

Hmmm May 23, 2014 at 4:14 am

Or who had the best transfusion.

Oh hang on, did I say that out loud?

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