Giro Stage 18 Preview

Thursday, 29 May 2014


Another day, another mountain stage. It’s easy to just see more peaks on the profile but each stage is different. Today’s


Stage 17 Wrap

A maxi-breakaway. 20 riders got away and Stefano Pirazzi won thanks to a late attack and celebrated with a gesto dell’ombrello to the media who had been criticising his riding style (endless attacks, no results). He made it three for Bardiani-CSF. Meanwhile Four for Neri Sottoli… as in the number of riders left in the race. The fluo yellow team is in danger of becoming invisible.

The Route
The Route: a case of the old and the new. The stage begins with the classic Passo San Pellegrino, 18..5km long at 6.2%. It sounds gentle but the upper slopes are much steeper. It might not be decisive but it adds a lot to the day’s effort. It’s followed by a regular descent.

The Passo Redebus is the new addition. It goes up in two sections, the graphic above shows the top part, almost five kilometres at 10%. Short but irregular and it serves to soften up the legs.


The Finish: 13.4km at 8.4% but again the average is not the story; or at least the mean slope is 8.4% but the mode seems more like 10%. The climb to the Rifugio Panarotta (“Panarotta Mountain Hut”) starts in Levico Terme and it’s gentle out of town. But soon the hairpins begin and so do the steep slopes.

The road rises all the way to the line with a slope of 8.5% in the final moments.

The Scenario: the last chance for a breakaway. With the time trial, Zoncolan and the final stage to go this is the last obvious pick for a breakaway, especially as the GC candidates could sit tight ahead of tomorrow’s giant mountain time trial.

The Contenders: it’s hard to select breakaway riders but if there’s one rider who wants to win a stage, surely it’s Nairo Quintana? He won the other day in dominant fashion only to find the subject was flags, rules and everything but his win. But he might have to be patient and win tomorrow or on the Zoncolan. He needs the win to calm the storm.

-
Nairo Quintana
Rafał Majka, Pierre Rolland
Domenico Pozzovivo, Fabio Aru, Ryder Hesjedal

Weather: cloudy with a temperature of 23°C in the valleys but cooler and the chance of rain higher up.

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.

The race is due to hit the final climb around 4.20pm Euro time but tune in before to see the approach to the climb and see who is fighting for position. As ever the finish is expected around 5.10pm.

NickV May 29, 2014 at 6:24 am

Watching Quintana race last night (as he appears in the picture above) I wondered why don’t Santini provide a ‘gilet rosa’ for these wet/cold days?
We can surely assume he’d be happy to wear the pink vest if it was provided!
I know in the TdF a yellow wind vest in provided for the race leader for inclement weather and surely as the last two editions have shown us, the weather in Italy in May is more likely to warrant a gilet than during July in France.

Bundle May 29, 2014 at 10:33 am

The pink jersey is just that, the jersey. It’s ridiculous and counterproductive to dress from head to toes in pink. Movistar are lucky that their shade of blue goes very well with that pink., they could have left him with blue shorts and the rest.

Tom May 29, 2014 at 8:38 pm

How is it counterproductive? Do pink shorts make him ride slower up the mountains?

PT May 30, 2014 at 2:29 am

No but they do make him (or anyone who tries to go all-pink) look like a goose. It is after all the leaders jersey, not the the leaders kit. If you want to celebrate a little then I think Cadel and Rigoberto had it right with just the bar-tape. Less is more.

TrollDJ May 30, 2014 at 4:30 am

Merckx refused to wear the yellow jersey when he took it because Ocana crashed, but he was honourable and a great champion.

Coming out wearing all pink like he did, with pink bar tape pink glasses, etc. despite the controversial and disputed way he took the maglia rosa, is ill advised to say the least.

RooBay May 30, 2014 at 6:19 am

We are talking about a gilet here (i.e. an item of clothing that goes over the jersey when the weather is too cold for just a jersey) not any other kit (most of which is arranged by the team and not the Giro organisation). An entirely sensible suggestion. Poor Swein Tuft only had the jersey for a day and had to spend the whole time wrapped up in a black Castelli Gabba jacket because of the conditions. I’d feel ripped off.

Mats May 29, 2014 at 7:24 am

I would like to add Wilco K. to your list of potential winners. Let’s say with two inner rings. He was clearly stronger than Majka and Pozzovivo on Val Martello. Having said that, I believe the winner will be an outsider. Many teams need to get something out of this Giro and this stage might be their last chance.

The Inner Ring May 29, 2014 at 9:09 am

He’s doing well but perhaps profited from the marking and nervousness the other day. Now I’m not sure the others will let him gain any more time.

Petar Dundjerski May 29, 2014 at 8:37 am

Still no love for my compatriot Hesjedal. This may be his last chance for a stage victory in this year’s Giro. An inner, inner ring? On a tripple?

The Inner Ring May 29, 2014 at 9:08 am

Alright, I’ll put him in! ;-)

He was climbing well and could enjoy the last few stages. It’s probably now or never in the Giro.

Joe K. May 29, 2014 at 9:24 am

Agree that Ryder H. is the pleasant surprise of this Giro. Good to see the former champ giving it a go despite the huge deficit with the TTT debacle. Go Ryder, go!!! Also, it’s surprising how well the Bardiani Boys are racking up the stage victories. Looks like payday will be around the corner when the victors sign up for Worldtour teams next season. Oh, and a shout-out to my boy Pirazzi for the gesture…it must feel get to get that off his chest!

Anonymous May 29, 2014 at 10:35 am

Those Bardiani Boys ride the best looking bike in the bunch, In my most humble opinion.

GeorgeY May 29, 2014 at 12:00 pm

Tutti pazzi per Pirazzi! But he bought an expensive umbrella at 200 Swiss Francs (fined for the amount).

P.S. Mr Ring a list of fines would be nice to see, I heard Movistar got fined (possibly for feeding after the 20 km mark?)

mm1 May 29, 2014 at 10:07 am

Levico was my Father’s home town, so I will be watching this with interest. The climb to Panarotta was used (with a different finish, lower down at Vetriolo) for the mountain time trial in the 1988 Giro, the section past the Terme (spa) at Vetriolo is very steep, I’m not clear from the graphic if they are using that. The road at the top was icy last week, so I expect is will still be cold. Great place for cycling and walking, the top of the mountain is popular for hang gliding (nuts!)

Tony R. May 29, 2014 at 10:10 am

r.e. Pirazzi’s gesture on the line to the press.

Cav got withdrawn from Romandie in 2010 for doing exactly the same thing. I wonder why the press picked up on Cav that one but not this one? Was Pirrazi’s gesture less controversial?

The Inner Ring May 29, 2014 at 10:28 am

Cavendish was pulled by his team, Highroad were searching for a sponsor and this was the press they didn’t need. Perhaps the Californian owners were more sensitive to this practice too?

Chris May 29, 2014 at 10:55 am

It’s practically a greeting in Italy

Bundle May 29, 2014 at 10:43 am

Great to see Pirazzi win, and how he won. This Giro is actually having a lot of cuore, I’m liking it a lot, now that the first week is completely forgotten. As for today, I don’t see Quintana winning. If I know the Friars (the Movistar directors) well, mountain TTs are of paramount importance, that’s where champions prove their value (all of their champions, Arroyo, Gorospe, Delgado, Induráin, Bernard, Jiménez, Valverde had victories in this specialty). So Quintana will try to spare himself. It’s actually Urán, Evans (who don’t need to defend their podium placings, as they already had them last year), and the rest, who all have a good opportunity (the last one) to try and ambush the leader. I don’t think they are vindicative and gutsy enough, but I hope they surprise me.
Today is more about the numerous climbers who are out of contention in GC: Cataldo (again), Pantano (again), Landa, Pellizotti, Moreno, Niemiec, Arredondo for sure, Zardini… I think we will see many of these in the breakaway, and contesting the stage between themselves. It’s gonna be fun.

Birillo May 29, 2014 at 8:27 pm

Well done!

Cammers May 29, 2014 at 11:55 am

After reading Joe K’s comment I looked at Hesjedal’s race, and it seems like he deserves a mention.
The TTT deficit was 3:26… Let’s assume Garmin would have been in the top 5 at the Dublin TTT at a deficit of around 26 seconds if they didn’t crash.

After stage 17 that would place RH @ 1:16 off Quintana in second place.
I am aware that the race would have been different if Hesjedal was higher up on GC, but I don’t think he has been let go in a break that got to the finish other than on stage 16… He’s just been consistently in the top group (ed. He did steal 17s on stage 14 with Rolland)

He is one strong Canuck.

Augie March May 29, 2014 at 12:24 pm

Hesjedal has been very much the quiet man of the Giro, apart from Garmin’s disastrous TTT he has barely rated a mention amongst all the Colombian hype (this site being a pleasing exception).

Interestingly, despite winning in 2012 he didn’t feature in any of the Giro promotional videos this year, instead they featured the other realistic contenders, (Quintana, Uran, Evans and Rodriguez) plus for reasons of national pride only, Ivan Basso. I wonder if this snubbing of the 2012 Maglia Rosa was due to his sub-par 2013 or because they don’t see him as having sufficient star power?

I may have read this here on INRNG or somewhere else but it’s been suggested that RCS’s dislike of more obscure winners has also been suggested as the reason for the proposed addition of more climbs in Milan San Remo. The organisers want superstars like Nibali and Froome to race and try and win the event, not the Goss/Gerrans/Ciolek types, and then when their plans were scuppered this year they got Kristoff….

Ken Cox May 29, 2014 at 5:49 pm

I’m wondering if the press ignores him because of the scintillating interviews he gives? His interviews are almost as painful as watching him ride and I don’t think he fits the media darling image very well.

I do like his fighting spirit though and have been super impressed with how well he’s done in spite of such a horrific start. I still think he has an outside chance of a podium but it will be extremely difficult. It would be a fantastic Cinderella story if he makes it….. and I hope he does.

Augie March May 30, 2014 at 4:56 am

Possibly, although being a bit dull is also a problem that afflicts Froome, Evans and others who get more attention. Fans are divided on the subject but it’s no wonder the the media loves Wiggo as whether joking or lashing out he’s always good copy.

Nick May 29, 2014 at 7:40 pm

Perhaps RCS don’t like featuring their winners who’ve admitted drug use? You have to keep quiet/say you were only thinking about it if you want to stay on the promos.

spud canuck May 29, 2014 at 8:24 pm

I’m with you Nick. Was I the only Canadian hoping he would crack and let a rider with less history succeed? I might have cheered for him if he spoke up like David Millar about his “mistake” and took a 2 year vacation, but for me, he just another cheater who prospered. Look how well Basso is doing after his 2 years off. Can’t get my head around the pantani whorship in this years giro at all.

Ken Cox May 29, 2014 at 9:38 pm

I think you may have been the only Canadian wishing for that to happen. In all fairness he did speak up (well, as much as he speaks up about anything) by voluntarily appearing before a USADA committee. Or by “speaking up” do you mean profiteering by writing a book about it all?
I definitely wasn’t happy when it was revealed he had use peds but then neither was I surprised. In fact I’m not surprised anymore by any positive tests or admissions in any sport. Tyson Gay for example.

gabriele May 29, 2014 at 10:30 pm

Yeah, Basso just won the most impressive Giro of the last ten years or so, after coming back… Not to mention the fact that the year before (the first year back) he did top 5 both in Giro & Vuelta (and in Tirreno-Adriatico, too). Then he started to be 34 years old or so, and that won’t help unless you’re Chris Horner. Nevertheless, he went on with a 7th place in the Tour and a 5th place in the Giro, which were both considered “disappointing”.
I find it quite incredible how people still struggle to understand cycling with the impressive information that has been disclosed in the last years…

Tom May 29, 2014 at 8:48 pm

Yet the Giro is worshiping Pantani this year.

gabriele May 29, 2014 at 10:37 pm

Don’t worry, they massacred him enough when he was alive… When Armstrong speaks of “witch-hunt” he just hasn’t the slightest idea of what happened to Pantani (or maybe he has, and goes on as *caradura* and *sinvergüenza* as always).

They’re worshipping him now only because it’s about time to turn corpses into gold :-(

Froome Wagon May 29, 2014 at 1:29 pm

Surely the team that needs a stage victory the most is our beloved Team Sky. For such a rich team to come away from a Grand Tour with only the Cima Coppi is a poor showing indeed.

tourdeutah May 29, 2014 at 5:34 pm

Cataldo and Deignan have been giving it their best shot on the climbing days. It’s all about the TdF for them.

George May 29, 2014 at 2:06 pm

Sorry, what does the umbrella thing mean? Is it like giving the middle finger in Italy?

The Inner Ring June 2, 2014 at 8:58 am

Yes

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