Giro Stage 15 Preview

Sunday, 22 May 2016

A 10.5km mountain time trial. It sounds easy only the riders have two consecutive days of hard racing in their legs must now produce the most intense effort today.

The Route: a ski station access road. The Giro has visited before but the less said about 2009 the better given Danilo Di Luca won the stage and Denis Menchov went onto win the race.

After a gentle start out of Castelrotto (“Rotten Castle”) the race flicks left to tackle the climb to the Alpe di Siusi ski resort, a solid slog with 8% gradients making it a pure climbing test. I’d like to offer details on the climb but it’s not necessary, this is a big wide road leading up to the ski resort, an access route engineered to take bus loads of tourists up to the slopes. There are one or two secrets along the way though:

  • the gradient:does on the way between 7-9%, the best riders will work their derailleur, click up a gear when the slope eases to pick up speed.
  • the large hairpins: so wide it pays to hug the inside line all the way in order to shorten the distance, especially as their diameter means the slope is gentle.

It’s uphill all the way to the line and the real challenge is not the road but gravity, this is a pure test of Watts per kilo and freshness.

Esteban Chaves Giro 2016

The Contenders: Esteban Chaves is flying. El Chavito looked at ease yesterday whether it was slaying Nibali or on the finishing roads to Corvara where he was working but without excessive contributions. He’s a climber so this suits but has worked with his team a lot to improve his time trialling, part of this is his aero position which won’t matter today as nobody will want a full TT bike but the pacing strategy will count.

Steven Kruijswijk says he hasn’t visited the climb but this isn’t going to be a problem, he can ride it in the morning or check it out by car and discover the route suits. He’s perfect for climbs like this but will need to show discipline and not get carried away by pink fever.

Vincenzo Nibali won the mountain time trial of the 2013 Giro on his way to the overall win. He was clearly the best in the race that year but that day he really hammered his supremacy home. So even if he’s not as strong as he was three years ago he’s still got what it takes and will be roared up, and possibly pushed, by the tifosi.

Rafał Majka was beaten yesterday and didn’t impress in the Chianti time trial but is good in these efforts and an outsider. Rigoberto Urán had a shocker in the Chianti stage too and hasn’t been able to compensate his bad day with superior climbing so far but could feature. Ilnur Zakarin has been struggling with the attacks but otherwise climbing very fast, today’s linear effort suits him more.

Primoz Roglic

What about Primož Roglič? He was supposed to be a climber before storming the two time trials in this race. He has good chance here and even if Lotto-Jumbo need all hands on deck for the coming days to help Kruijswijk surely he gets a chance to give it his all today given the rest day and sprint stage that follow.

Among a few other names, Team Sky’s Sebastian Henao climbs fast and Mikel Nieve is even faster, Ag2r La Mondiale’s Domenico Pozzovivo is strong even if he’s lacking the zip needed to follow attacks and Stefano Pirazzi is an old diesel for an effort like today although is chances of winning are surely between slim and zero.

Otherwise most of the field will have two questions: “what time do I start?” and “what is the time cut?” as they look to ride up the mountain without contesting the stage win.

Esteban Chaves
Steven Kruijswijk, Vincenzo Nibali, Primož Roglič, Rafał Majka
Nieve, Zakarin, Urán, Henao

Weather: a top temperature of 23°C in the valley and it should be dry for all. The wind will pick up in the afternoon from 10km/h to 20km/h from the south, noticeable but not enough to alter the result.

TV: last rider home is Steven Kruijswijk,  is forecast for 5.15pm Euro time. It’s bold of RCS to put a time trial on a Sunday because this is a prime time slot but in reality only 20-30 riders are going to race this hard and among them the TV production will struggle to make it exciting even if this stage is crucial for the overall outcome.

As ever Eurosport is covering the race across most of Europe. beIN SPORT has the rights in the US and France while Italian host broadcaster RAI offers the best coverage with experienced commentators as well as roving reporters on motorbikes to add extra coverage. As ever cyclingfans.com, cyclinghub and steephill.tv are the go-to sites for schedules and pirata feeds.

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Harri May 22, 2016 at 7:23 am

Stage 16 Ain’t gonna be a stage for the “Sprinters”, thinking of Stage 17. For this Stage it’s gonna be all about who has the best recovery after yesterday’s efforts and who doesn’t. Betting On guys Like Kruijswijk & Chaves to try and put some time on their rivals( Nibali will have no where to hide on this stage, he has to prove if he has the form or not to win the Giro. Movistar Duo will look to see if they can claw back a little bit of time before the rest day. Hows Uran’s TTing Going Uphill?). Dark Horses: Roglic and Battaglin?( if 2014 Giro Stage 19 is a good measure to rely on?) are 2 that come to mind

Jones May 22, 2016 at 8:30 am

Roglic vs Battaglin?
Fomolo lost alot time yesterday.. Is he fresh for today?

Harri May 22, 2016 at 8:37 am

Dark Horses to Take the Stage( setting a reference time for the Pink Jersey most likely), More like Chaves and Kruijswijk Vs Nibali Vs Movistar?

Noel May 22, 2016 at 9:14 am

Dombrowski?

Velovibes May 22, 2016 at 10:05 am

I can’t see why Chaves would be more likely to win this mountain time trial than Kruijswijk. I have not seen any moment in this Giro where Chaves seemed stronger uphill than Kruijswijk. In addition, Kruijswijk is renowned for his ability to recover in the third week of a Grand Tour and his track record in the Giro proves this. He is also a better time triallist than Chaves based on previous time trial results. I would reverse the rating.

hahostolze May 22, 2016 at 10:21 am

Me too. This climb TT looks to reward steady, even pace up the mountain, and Chaves is more explosive than Kruijswijk which won’t help him here, and Kruijswijk is a better TTer anyway.

Augie March May 22, 2016 at 10:26 am

Uphill TTs are not really comparable to regular ones, so past results count for practically nothing unless the parcours were the same. Also because it’s a short effort it’s about snap rather than endurance, as well as power to weight, and since Chaves is about 12kg lighter, it is right he gets 3 chainrings.

Harri May 22, 2016 at 10:43 am

Chaves Has put in plenty of “digs” going uphill throughout the giro and even Made sure to follow guys like Valverde and Nibs if they tried to escape going downhill too. Kruijswijk and Chaves have both been equal to each other in the mountains i would say. Plus this isn’t an ordinary Time Trial, this is a Mountain Time Trial( Should be to Chaves Liking as he’s Colombian after all). Depending on how Chaves goes in Week 3, he might be a “tough nut” to crack when the road goes upwards.

RQS May 22, 2016 at 10:35 am

Will Amador make a come back? Things at Moviestar don’t seem to be quite right. I think Amador will see this as his last chance to be in contention and will probably do well (for him) even he doesn’t pull off a win.

I don’t know much about Roglic but it would surprise me if he won this. He looks a bit heavy set for an uphill time trial.

jkeltgv May 22, 2016 at 11:25 am

I would have said it translates more to “Broken Castle” than Rotten Castle and we may see further cracks in the walls of Nibali’s kingdom today. I dare say the Kingdom of Valverde was more rotten at the height of its domination than any other current pro. Rotten to its core….and yet somehow I was feeling a tiny bit sorry for him yesterday.

The course is set up perfectly and apparently the riders are spending three nights in the same hotel – with yesterday and today close by and Tuesday’s start not far away. Excellent planning from RCS.

J Evans May 22, 2016 at 11:44 am

He’s as dominant now as he ever was.
And are you sure about ‘more rotten… than any other current pro’?

jkeltgv May 22, 2016 at 11:54 am

No, I’m not sure…..the “I day say” was kind of a weak conditional. Who knows? But yeah, certainly in the Ardennes he looked dominant. Perhaps just a case of peaking too early or not being able to hold his form across April & May. Cadel was the same in 2010 winning Fleche then fading in the giro if I remember well. Had a reasonable result a year later.

J Evans May 22, 2016 at 1:13 pm

I think – all other things aside – Valverde is just more of a one-day rider: his record in grand tours is all podiums apart from one Vuelta victory – and a lot of that was down to time bonuses.

gabriele May 22, 2016 at 2:49 pm

The Valverde doping woes aren’t at all referred to “the height of his domination”, but to his juvenile years, until 2004, when he was winning Vuelta stages, making top 5 in the Vuelta’s GC and top-tens in the road World Championships, that is, showing a huge talent for a 23-24 years old athlete, but he was normally nowhere to be seen on the international scene (WC aside, obviously).
It’s highly dubious if those facts can be related to 2005, too, when he also won a Tour stage and a Paris-Nice one (but little else) – my personal opinion is that we can’t ignore the change occurred with the team shift. However, no doubt about those facts having nothing to share with his career from 2006 on.
Now.
You can totally be convinced and believe that he didn’t stop doping but simply changed methods or doctors or whatever. I wouldn’t be able to prove the contrary.
But there is the same amount of proof or information about that than we have about any other *innocent* rider. Perhaps we have even *less* clue about him than about other riders who had troubles with medical prescriptions, the BP or the likes.
Hence, you really have no reason to say that his Kingdom was rotten *when he was dominating*… we’ve got some information about his juvenile years, that’s all. The rest is – however reasonable – nothing more than pure conjecture.

noel May 23, 2016 at 11:05 am

thanks Gabriele – I really appreciate your efforts when you throw some actual facts out there for all of us who have either forgotten them or never knew them in the first place.

Ferdi May 22, 2016 at 11:31 am

It’s been said before, but this kind of stages can be great, but cyclo-computers shouldn’t be allowed, so that riders have to use their hearts and self-perception, and make mistakes in pacing.

Ecky Thump May 22, 2016 at 12:24 pm

Talking of which, is it possible that these new-fangled trainer bikes can be programmed to replicate a climb like this?
Kruijswijk (or anyone) may not have recon’d it, but could they have ridden a replica at home and got a target time / effort already worked out?

Goonie May 22, 2016 at 3:19 pm

Yeah, they can, but I doubt the climb is mapped precisely enough for it to be really useful.

On a relatively consistent climb like this it ain’t that hard to pace yourself IMO. You go as hard as you can sustain, and you keep going until you’re almost going to vomit. If you vomit immediately on crossing the line, you know your pacing was about right….

GeorgeY May 23, 2016 at 8:34 am

@Goonie
Haha, the runners say that you haven’t run your absolute best race unless you vomit and pass out at the finish.

J Evans May 22, 2016 at 11:40 am

Let’s hope no-one does push nibali – there should be zero tolerance towards crowd interference (one clown was hit by a motorbike yesterday – not hard enough).
Found it odd that Nieve didn’t save himself for today – was riding with the main contenders for most of yesterday, seemingly without a particularly good reason.

gabriele May 22, 2016 at 2:56 pm

Indeed, I hope nobody is so foolish. They’ll be climbing at more than 20 km/h, the most probable thing is that if you try to push a rider you end up seriously hindering his effort.

Nieve (one of my favourite riders, by the way) is more of a diesel, my understanding is that he wouldn’t be especially good in an ITT, anyway.

J Evans May 22, 2016 at 3:03 pm

I’d have thought today might suit a diesel – or too steep do you think?
For that reason, I think Kruijswijk will do better than Chaves – and I think Nibali will be behind Kruijswijk, but closer to him than he is to Chaves.
I hope – for the sake of a good race – that the exact opposite of what I predict is true. (Fortunately, it usually is.)

gabriele May 22, 2016 at 3:20 pm

25′ single effort.
Nieve’s best quality is the fact that his power output doesn’t goes down when the others’ does out of pure fatigue: here, on the contrary, you need a good – however relatively prolonged – peak.
If there wasn’t the matter of recovery complicating everything, today we could see if Nibali’s problem is the lack of “change of pace” (top 2-5′ power) or a current limit in his, however growing, threshold power.

J Evans May 22, 2016 at 3:45 pm

I see what you mean about Nieve.
I’ve rarely been so interested to see a TT – uphill ones are usually more interesting anyway, but after yesterday it’s particularly intriguing to see how the top 3 go.

Matt May 22, 2016 at 11:49 am

Really enjoying the Giro so far and yesterday was a fantastic day’s racing. One question on the excellent (as ever) article above…
After two really hard day’s racing I’m amazed at the thought Kruijswijk – and presumably lots of other GC guys – would voluntarily ride the climb in the morning. Even at a gentle pace, when rest is so important riders talk of ‘don’t sit when you can lie down’, is an extra 800m of climbing in the legs worth it? Given it seems a fairly regular climb could they not just drive up with their DS?
Ive really enjoyed seeing time trial racing live in person, but the morning routine is one of those bits hidden from view, and it’d be interesting to hear a bit more about it from INRNG or some readers more informed than me. I listened to the cycling podcast piece from the first time trial day and it was interesting there that Chaves rode the whole ITT course with Matt White in the car behind, but that was on a flatter route and without the previous two days worth of climbing. Thanks in advance for any thoughts, and thanks again INRNG for the fantastic Giro coverage.
Matt

hahostolze May 22, 2016 at 12:33 pm

Kruijswijk this morning only drove up it in the passenger’s seat, so I think he’s thinking rest whereas some who will do a recon on the bike will think marginal gains. See which works.

Matt May 22, 2016 at 12:46 pm

Thank you!

cari amici May 22, 2016 at 11:56 am

“Danilo Di Luca won the stage and Denis Menchov went onto win the race”

It was Menchov who won the stage 5 in 2009 and Di Luca was second

http://www.procyclingstats.com/race.php?id=104508

langster espresso May 22, 2016 at 3:38 pm

Anyone know the time limit formula for tho stage? I’m guessing it will be around 5 minutes?

Nick May 23, 2016 at 1:11 am

It’s usually 25% of the winner’s time for a TT, isn’t it? Which would be about 7:10 behind Forfanov. As it happens, Porsev was 7:17 behind in 164th and made the cut. Ershov, on the other hand, was 10:14 behind in 165th, so is out. So the answer seems to be somewhere between 25% and 35%.

UHJ May 23, 2016 at 8:42 am

UCI regulations leave it more or less to the organiser:
Finishing deadline
2.6.032
The finishing deadline shall be set in the specific regulations for each race in accordance
with the characteristics of the stage.
In exceptional cases only, unpredictable and of force majeure, the commissaires panel
may extend the finishing time limits after consultation with the organiser.
In case riders out of the time limit are given a second chance by the president of the
commissaires panel, they shall have confiscated the equivalent points awarded to the
winner of this same stage to their individual general classification by points even if their
points total in this classification becomes negative.

UHJ May 23, 2016 at 8:43 am
Gareth May 22, 2016 at 4:49 pm

Can anyone tell me why Nibabli isn’t using aero bars when he spends so much time with his forearms resting on the tops of his bars? The weight penalty can’t be much surely?

TomH May 23, 2016 at 12:47 am

I think aero bars on a road bike are against the rules.

Nick May 23, 2016 at 1:12 am

Kruiswijk had them.

GeorgeY May 23, 2016 at 8:43 am

Not against the rules in ITT, in the regular race they are prohibited because in a pile-up they are considered dangerous. There is no peloton or drafting in ITT so aero bars are allowed.

gabriele May 23, 2016 at 11:19 am

Short aero bars on K’s Bianchi were around 250 gr. according to CN. It looks like that with a pretty light Specialissima frame weighing some 760 gr., the Shimano setting of both groupset and wheels wasn’t light enough to reach the weight limit, hence they had to change a lot of little details to arrive as near as possible.
I was a bit surprised, I thought that pro bikes with top settings could get well below the weight limits without any problem – that is I couldn’t have imagined that adding 250 gr. was going to imply calculated weight shaving. But it’s apparently like that (and, frankly, I wouldn’t be too happy, presently, to ride an under 700 gr. frame… You’re sacrificing qualities that I value more than a few hundreds of grams. But I must admit that I’ve got some doubts about under 900 gr., frames, too… hence I guess I may be “larrying” a bit, now).

Larry T May 23, 2016 at 11:48 am

But if they’d just taken ballast out and then slapped on the aero bars there wouldn’t have been much of a story for the marketing guys. Much more interesting to go on about super-light paint and stickers, blah, blah, blah to offset the additional 250 grams…while highlighting the fact that the aero bar setup weighs only 250 grams.
Having written this, I am sort of puzzled why so few of the others didn’t mount up a set of these for the earlier, flatter part of the course, especially when (as it was pointed out elsewhere) the guys spend so much time with their forearms resting on the bar tops vs back-in-the-day on the drops to get “aero”. …an aesthetic loss to old farts like me who liked the “race of truth” when it was contested on normal, drop bar bicycles vs the wheeled-insect contraptions used today.

Gazelle CM May 22, 2016 at 5:26 pm

Malfunction of Campagnolo or did Nibali shift to a lower speed that wasn’t there? ( is that possible with electronic shifting?)

Anonymous May 22, 2016 at 5:54 pm

What a shame.

Larry T May 22, 2016 at 7:01 pm

Can’t blame that one on EPS as he switched back to mechanical earlier in the Giro. My guess is the usual with 53/39, or worse, 50/34 compacts. The gap is just too large. Whether it’s Wiggins and Shimano Dura Ace Di2 or Nibali and Campanolo Super Record mechanical, these guys seem to run the big ring and shift over on the cogset to the largest as they need lower gears – until they’re in the worst combination (big-big) and still need a lower ratio — then BAM….they hit the downshift from big ring to small and the chain falls off to the inner side. It’s like jamming your Ferrari into 1st gear at highway speed. Remember Pantani on Oropa back-in-the-day?
Doesn’t seem like any sort of “chain-watcher” will keep this from happening as the pedaling load is too great along with the spring pressure on the chain. When the load is finally released via the chain coming off the big ring, the chain is yanked violently and often ends up on the BB shell rather than the smaller ring. Then the rider tries to “fix” it via the shift lever which usually just makes things worse unless maybe he’s coasting downhill at the time and can gingerly finesse it back up and onto the chainring. More often it’s the “bike throw” and a replacement. No beers for the Astana techs tonight?

CM May 22, 2016 at 7:24 pm

Yes, Nibali uses mechanical Super Record. Looks to me like his rear hanger snapped and his rear mech just came adrift. But your reasoning about cross-chaining under big load may have some merit. Something went badly wrong for him that’s for sure.

CM May 22, 2016 at 7:28 pm

Incidentally, the last Ferrari I drove could go from 20mph to 19omph in 5th gear. Marvellous machines.

Larry T May 22, 2016 at 8:49 pm

RAI ran the video clip over and over on The Processo. Nibali tried to put the chain back on himself before the mechanic arrived and made his own try. I never saw any rear mech snap off even as he tossed the bike aside. Many stories have been written about pro team wrenches replacing the flimsy, aluminum hangers designed to save expensive rear mechs (who cares when you get ’em free?) with steel versions that are much tougher and easier to align (since they don’t snap off) so I’m really doubtful anything went wrong back there that wasn’t caused by issues up front. I remember one issue with this back in Nibali’s 2013 Giro – he dropped the chain on a less steep slope when shifting to the small ring, but stopped and put the chain back on before continuing. When asked about it later he said something like, “Oh yeah, it’s a compact” which reinforced my idea that this happens more frequently than the component makers would like us to believe? We had a client a few years back who seemed to drop his chain every time – he told me he has the same problem back home with his own bike – one equipped with Di2, which causes me to blame it on the large difference in chainring sizes – this rarely happened back in the daze of 52/42!

CM May 22, 2016 at 9:02 pm
Nick May 23, 2016 at 12:23 am

The mech definitely came off, you can see it spin around the hub just after the mechanic gives him a shove. Whether that caused, or was caused by, the chain slipping is harder to say.

TomH May 23, 2016 at 12:34 am

Larry T wrote: “flimsy, aluminum hangers designed to save expensive rear mechs”

The hanger is designed to be the weak point to protect the frame, not the rear derailleur. Else, if rear chain stay or seat stay tubes break, your $3500 frame could be beyond repair.

Larry T May 23, 2016 at 11:21 am

Sorry TomH, I should have included “expensive frames” as well but again “who cares when you get ’em for free?” so it’s the same idea.
I won’t say the racers are stupid, but they’re racers and they’re RACING so they don’t pay much attention to stuff like this, they usually move the levers around until they find a gear they like with little or no attention paid to cross-chaining, but it does seem that today’s large difference in chainring size (53/39, 50/34) vs back-in-the-day (52/42) is a big ask for a device that, despite plenty of innovation and refinement, still pretty much just pushes the chain off the big ring while the hope is gravity and spring tension (from the rear mech) will have it fall onto the smaller ring.
Anyone else old enough to remember (or maybe even ridden) a Browning chainset? Zero chain drop/suck/etc. issues with that design, but sadly it never made it very far into production. Probably too complicated to be successful?

STS May 23, 2016 at 2:07 pm

Larry,
the cause you think is the most probable for Nibali’s accident won’t happen on a properly adjusted Di2 drivetrain no matter if you run 50/34, 53/39 or even 52/34. As the front derailleur doesn’t rely on spring tension to bring the chain down to the small ring but on motor power it doesn’t go to its innermost position immediately as most mechanical front derailleurs have to. The Di2 FD moves the chain to the inner chain ring but rests in an intermediate position for a few seconds to make sure the chain can’t fall off to the inner side even if you don’t use a chain catcher.
I’ve experimented with those things A LOT in order to make sure that this scenario can be excluded for any of our customers including those who have never learned how to properly use their drive train and shift gears.
Even on a mechanical drive train you can entirely avoid it by installing and properly adjusting a chain catcher which Astana does on Vincenzos Tarmac.
So if we suppose that his drive train including the chain catcher was properly adjusted there is another possible cause which I think is more probable. And that is a freshly installed chain. Those are laterally stiffer than a chain which is run in (and therefore typically run noisier when cross-chaining) and they are also stickier because of the lube the chain manufacturer applies. Both conditions increase the probability for a chain suck when shifting between chain rings especially when cross-chaining or under some serious pedal force.
If that happens the chain sticking to the big chain ring will typically hit the front derailleur’s cage and deform it. Most likely one or two chain links will also deform increasing the likelihood that they”ll stick to the teeth of the chain rings. If you don’t pay close attention afterwards and continue to use the bike in a hurry accidents like the one Nibali suffered from yesterday are quite common.
So my advice is when installing a new chain to get off as much of the original lube as you can before you actually install it onto the bike and replace it with some lower viscosity and less sticky chain lube.

Nicktarios May 23, 2016 at 4:22 am

I’ve got to say, if Larry T’s explanation of Nibali’s dropped chain is evenly remotely correct, then these pro’s aren’t nearly as smart as I gave them credit for. I know pro’s like to ride the big ring and cross chain a bit as a consequence – but you’ve got to be smart about it. Sticking in the big ring for a short burst out of the saddle or to avoid a short duration front ring shift is understandable, but to consistently ride fully cross chained is just stupid. It’s inefficient on the drive train and like Larry says, can throw the chain off to the inside violently on front ring downshifts. If that’s the cause of Nibali’s drop it’s unforgiveable. I’m just a punter, but even I know shifting to the little ring under load doesn’t go well, you only need to soft pedal for a half second.

Lanterne Verte May 23, 2016 at 11:16 am

What is the highest gear ratio that would have been used on a course like this? I can’t imagine anyone used 50 x 11 nevermind 53 x 11. Why don’t riders use something like 46/38? Is it simply that manufacturer-sponsors won’t supply them? Seems like an obvious way to gain advantage thrown away…

Pax May 22, 2016 at 5:50 pm

Is Foliforov the next Dennis Menchov?

I can’t find the details but it appears that he was 30-40s faster from the intermediate split to the finish. Pretty darn impressive. I would imagine he will join Katusha next year.

(he was also in the break 2 stages ago)

Gazelle CM May 22, 2016 at 8:09 pm

Folivorov finished a similar TT 2 seconds behind Aru in 2012. Also in 2014 he was 4th in the Tour de l’ Avenir. Not totally an unknown quantity. But his countrymen do have a bad rep, so lets wait a month or two 😉

Anonymous May 22, 2016 at 9:00 pm

His countrymen do have a bad rep in the western media that are not reporting or investigating doping and cheating at home. It’s very trendy to trash Russia right now.

Anonymous May 22, 2016 at 9:27 pm

And for no reason – it’s not like they have a state-sponsored doping culture.
Other countries might have problems, but Russia’s is known and seems far more prevalent.

Anonymous May 23, 2016 at 12:19 am

And the US has a business sponsored doping culture.

gabriele May 23, 2016 at 11:09 am

@Anon 2
Indeed, but don’t forget the state-fostered doping programmes in the USA, too! It’s not like the free market is that used to survive with a significant “invisible help” from the State… and that’s true for doping, too.

gabriele May 23, 2016 at 11:10 am

And I named the USA, but I could as well say “Italy” or “Germany” (both sides).

Vitus May 23, 2016 at 12:31 am

On ES Germany Lequelrc told that Gazprom especially trained uphill TT while on training camp in Mallorca over and over.
But since they’re Russians, I knew the usual cheap shots would be coming.

CM May 22, 2016 at 7:58 pm

May as well say it:
If Gazprom are on the juice with results like today, they’re surely brazen enough about it. I suppose context is very important for such an unexpected result –both Gazprom men in the top 4 today took some half an hour longer to complete yesterday’s stage than the main contenders- maybe they saved a bit in doing this and if so they saved enough zip to be telling on an abnormally short stage today. On the other hand they had to endure for longer yesterday and had to start their runs earlier today but had recovered better than most. I don’t know if there were any changes in wind condition in the course of the stage. Certainly they were impressively powerful riders. Bearing in mind his TdF disqualifications I hope they are not entirely like Menchov.

Nick May 23, 2016 at 12:53 am

Wasn’t Menchov the last to win a Giro stage on this mountain, or did he retrospectively lose that? Coincidentally enough, he was riding for the team Kruiswijk now rides for.

Also hoping that these particular Gazprom riders aren’t linked to their numerous recent positives. I had been expecting Firsanov to do better than he had to date.

anonymous May 22, 2016 at 8:12 pm

Thanks for bringing this up; yes, the Gazprom riders were well off the back yesterday, but their
pace up the Alpi di Siusi (VAM) indicates doping. These guys just rode too fast; their performances,
especially that of Foliforov, were “extraterresterial.” If you look at Foliforov’s palmares, there is little to indicate he could beat many of the best climbers in the world as he did today.

“Eyebrows” Garzelli was babbling on RAI that Foliforov had a tailwind or less wind than the later riders.
Perhaps, but riding the last 6,4km 3.5″ faster per kilometer than Valverde? So why isn’t Foliforov climbing with the best in the mountains? IMHO Very suspicious.

Anonymous May 22, 2016 at 9:02 pm

Yeah; they should probably get ejected based on your comment alone. In fact, All Russians should be sent home or arrested.

Richard S May 22, 2016 at 9:42 pm

Foliforov is a climber who has done well in Italian races this year and was tipped by inrng to do well overall. He’s about 50th overall though and an hour or so down. So how about he had a jour sans a few days back, decided his GC chances were up in smoke and to take a couple of easy days whilst the big men wore each other out and target this TT. In every single Grand Tour ever a rider a long way down the GC has won a mountain stage, it’s not new.

Vitus May 23, 2016 at 12:32 am

Gazprom especially trained uphill TT while on training camp in Mallorca over and over. But go one with biased clinic claims.

John May 23, 2016 at 2:33 am

If you look at his history, it isn’t that unexpected that Foliforov did well. I almost picked him for my Velogames team, expecting him to be a cheap rider who would pick up points on the mountain stages, as he can climb with the best of them and many would overlook him if he got into a breakaway.

I’m more surprised about Kruijswijk suddenly looking like the favorite to win. He’s a consistent rider, but historically has had the kind of consistency that results in finishing in the bottom half of the top 10 in GC. He hasn’t won a stage in five years and his best finish this year prior to the Giro is 5th.

JH May 23, 2016 at 5:29 pm

Based on his showing in, I think, the Giro del Trentino, I _did_ pick him for my Velogames team. Thought he looked very good value for money….

T-72 May 23, 2016 at 8:07 pm

Kruijswijk won the Artic race in 2014 but did not win the stage to Kvænangsfjellet (MTF). However, he finished s.t. as Spilak and that might be good enough if you are riding for the GC.

J Evans May 22, 2016 at 8:16 pm

With Gazprom, we are all wondering, naturally, but there are mitigating circumstances with them having done nothing for much of the rest of the race.
As there are for Nibali’s terrible performance (2’10” behind SK and that bike change didn’t cost him as much as 40 seconds) – after his lone ride in the last ~25km yesterday.
Will be very interesting to see if he can come back – he does have the team for it – is it tiredness from yesterday or a lack of form overall?
Also depends on his psychology: I remember in the 2013 being astonished by how coolly he dealt with moronic runners mobbing him. Today, he seemed much less cool – having said that, I’d have flattened them. That behaviour should have been stamped out years ago.

Steve Potts May 22, 2016 at 11:59 pm

Don’t be too hard on the runners, for many of them it looks like the only exercise they get…

MRJ May 23, 2016 at 1:07 am

Watching the runners track Valverde today, I found myself wondering – are these guys trying to help Alejandro, or hurt him? Because I have to tell you – if their goal was to distract him and break his concentration, I’d have to imagine they succeeded. (I wasn’t able to watch Nibali’s ride as closely, but I’d think the same runners evidenced the same behavior towards him too. Was it the same Pantani Vive gentlemen from last year’s Colle delle Fenestre?) I really don’t see how this clownish behavior could possibly help a rider.

Larry T May 23, 2016 at 9:08 am

Let’s see – colored wigs + IQ’s printed on the backs of their shirts + mugging for the TV cameras = they don’t give a rat’s a__ about the race or the riders in it – it’s all about getting on TV.
In the recent past it seemed the camera operators and director who chose the views we see on TV tried to marginalize these clowns one way or another. Everything I’ve seen suggests the folks in control haven’t changed but clearly something HAS…way too often this year we get commercial breaks, “postcard” shots or cutaways to nothing-much-happening shots during the most critical and exciting moments…not to mention way too many images of morons in various costumes getting in the way of the race.
I cheered the other day when the moto knocked one of these clowns over though I hope he wasn’t badly injured and was relieved he didn’t fall into the path of the racers.
I blame the increase on the social-media driven “look at me!” culture, but that’s for experts to determine as we’ve had these costumed clowns (inspired by #1, the stinky dolt in the devil costume) long before there was anything called social-media.

UHJ May 23, 2016 at 1:37 pm

+1
This is epic: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hFpqauOdGNc
Although it could have created an even more dangerous situation.
They really are a nuisance these nutters. Being in the car behind the rider in a dense crowd towards a mountain top is quite unnerving. The driver has to be extremely alert and responsive; just the slightest wave of the “people-wall” and the repercussions increase through the crowd. It is really not a pleasant experience.
Add to that, that you almost cannot hear radiotour due to the loud noises and screams from the audience when riding (or: In most of my cases; driving) up towards the col.

J Evans May 23, 2016 at 12:37 pm

They’ve no interest in the race: it’s just the – inexplicable (I mean, why?) – urge to be on TV.
You see ‘normal’ people at the side of the road do it too – waving at the camera; not even looking at the race. Can’t see the thrill myself – so Auntie Chiara can see you on TV; so what? She knows what you look like.
But the runners should be stopped – by any means necessary.
I couldn’t go to a race: I wouldn’t trust myself not to hit these people.
(The only thing I like about Carlton Kirby is that he criticises them – Rob Hatch talks about them: at least ignore them. There, an issue that so irks me that I even complimented Kirby.)

noel May 23, 2016 at 12:28 pm

it’s a bit frustrating that we don’t know how a fully fit Landa would have fitted into the current equation…

J Evans May 23, 2016 at 1:33 pm

I don’t think Kruijswijk’s team’s relative weakness is going to be too big a factor. They can take care of him on the flat and Astana’s tactic of riding as a train uphill isn’t going to result in him being dropped, in all probability.
Nibali and Chaves are going to have to attack at every opportunity – especially when going downhill. That possibly means stages 16 and 18, as well as 19 and 20.
Nibali will have to go long and hope to make significant gains on the downhills.

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