Giro Stage 19 Review

Friday, 27 May 2016

Mountain stages have their ups and downs. The profile shows us that. Today brought a different kind, the tables were turned after Steven Kruijswijk crashed and cracked, Esteban Chaves took over the race lead and after weeks of feeling the pressure Vincenzo Nibali let it all out on the road to Risoul, won the stage and sobbed under the podium. And there’s still a giant mountain stage to go.

A fast start saw the peloton unable to let a group go, no sooner did one move try then it got reeled back and it took until the Agnello for a move to go clear including one from Orica-Greenedge, two from Astana and three from Movistar. Plans were being executed. Michele Scarponi went over the top to claim the Cima Coppi prize and the Torriani trophy.

Colle dell'Agnello

Behind the big names thinned the group until at the summit it was just Nibali, Chaves and Kruijswijk, proof perhaps that Valverde does struggle with altitude. Then on the descent Kruijswijk crashed, suddenly running out of road and riding into a wall of snow. Unfortunate but what if the snow hadn’t been there and he want off the edge of the road? Enough with the “what if” though, Kruijswijk will be replaying all this and as of pixel time he’s on his way to hospital for an X-ray (the Giro’s X-ray truck has stayed behind in Italy), hopefully he can continue. Ilnur Zakarin meanwhile is out of the race, he crashed as well and could not get going again but his performance so far seems to have convinced Russian backers to keep Katusha on the road, possibly via a merger with Gazprom-Rusvelo.

Kruijswijk was left with one of those Richard III moments, “a bike, a bike, my kingdom for a bike” as it took an age to get him a replacement ride and he had no help. Should the others have waited? The problem with unwritten rules is that they’re unwritten. There’s no PDF to refer to and the case law isn’t that strong either. Should they have waited for Kruijswijk? Normally the convention is to wait if someone has a mechanical that’s not their fault and often in a soft moment of the race, for example if the race leader has a problem during the middle of a sprint stage then everyone is happy to wait and regroup. But Kruijswijk fell because of a handling error and then had to change his bike, this was what’s termed as a racing incident. Another factor in this is Kruijswijk himself, he’s been riding strongly but hasn’t imposed himself on the peloton psychologically, he is not senior to Nibali or Valverde in the peloton pecking order. In other words the unwritten rule is applied subjectively, it depends who is involved.

Kruijswijk was further undone by the lack of a team mate or two. Lotto-Jumbo didn’t send anyone up the road in a relay move and they couldn’t have anyone alongside him on the Agnello so when trouble came he was lacking this insurance policy. It’s another cruelty, he rides for a smaller budget team so can’t expect the kind of support that Astana, Movistar or Sky can supply. Still Kruijswijk would have needed some major help, two team mates at least to staff the chase in order to leave him  finish where he could have limited his losses.

On the long chase Maxime Monfort got away, the lieutenant prefers service rather than leadership but deserves a big win sometime but it wasn’t to be today as Astana led the chase and caught him. Nibali was out to gain as much time on everyone with Alejandro Valverde chasing.

Steven Kruijswijk’s shoulders told the story, they sagged and his head bowed. He’s from Nuenen, the same town as Vincent Van Gogh. It’s said that when he was depressed Van Gogh would paint his shoes, now Kruijswijk’s head was bowed and he seemed to be looking at his shoes as he pedalled up to Risoul.

Ahead Nibali attacked twice and cracked Chaves. The pedal stroke still looked heavy, this was not the fluent Nibali Risoul had seen in 2014 but it was good enough for the stage win.

Vincenzo Nibali Risoul Giro 2016

Chaves perhaps let reason get the better of him and paced himself to the line knowing the maglia rosa was waiting. Chaves is now the seventh rider to lead the race. Will there be an eighth leader tomorrow? Astana are in with a shot now given Chaves only leads by 44 seconds and he too cannot count on the same team support. The Agnello is huge but tomorrow’s stage is arguably harder, it climbs a severe mountain pass right from the start.

Dylan May 27, 2016 at 7:30 pm

A great write up and a gripping last couple of days of a Grand Tour.

OGE will have their work cut out for them tomorrow, that’s certain. If they can pull it together, though, and deliver Chaves to the line still in pink then, man, that’s going to be one for the books. For what is a mid-budget team they will have pulled off a start to the season that they could have only dreamed about. Sure, the Tour Down Under is a hometown race, but throw in a monument at Paris-Roubaix, Albasini’s second place at LBL, and a Grand Tour in Italy and that’s a hell of a performance for OGE.

Maybe if they can pull this off they’ll finally find themselves a co-sponsor and get the money they need to keep the likes of Matthews, Chaves, and the Yates brothers for a couple more seasons?

RT May 27, 2016 at 7:30 pm

Amazing you get such a good review out so quickly!

Excuse my ignorance, but did Kruijswijk’s standing in the peloton really influence the other riders’ behaviour on this stage? Would they have pulled up if it had been Nibali? The thought seems incredible to this relative newcomer to watching grand tours.

The Inner Ring May 27, 2016 at 7:37 pm

It’s the idea of the “patron”, a senior figure in the peloton able to call the shots and rule by respect or fear. Kruijswijk isn’t one of these so it’s an idea to reflect on.

Netserk May 27, 2016 at 8:12 pm

Didn’t seem to help Contador stop Astana last year 😉

That was a more classical example as none of the GC riders have attacked before and it was a mechanical, not a racing incident.

RonDe May 27, 2016 at 8:49 pm

I fear the respect has gone these days. Which rider would have sat up and waited? Nibali, of course, has form for disrespecting jerseys. Cough, cough, Froome’s mechanical, cough cough.

Lucio May 29, 2016 at 5:28 pm

Has Froome waited for Nibali in the Flanders? I fear intellectual honesty has gone these days.

RT May 27, 2016 at 9:15 pm

Interesting to ponder on the “patron” tradition. The only figure that appears to fit the bill these days is Contador, no?

Sad for Kruijswijk, but this Giro has just been fantastic. Was hoping Chaves would do well before it started (after his exploits in the Vuelta, which I imagine won him quite a few fans), so pleased to see him in the pink. But also can’t help feeling a bit misty eyed about Nibali’s resurgence here – for me he’s definitely a love/hate figure but you’ve got to admire his strength and the script is just being perfectly written!

morten Reippuert May 28, 2016 at 1:15 am

‘Patron’s – Contador is the only stage race rider with the suitable palmeras and Cancelara, Boonen among one day riders with the palemeras, respect and reputation. Gilbert and Nibali would be second in line among active riders.
The keynian freakshow… he may have won two GT’s but he still needs to show that he can handle a bicycle and master a race himself without a ridiculous expensive team and a sportdirectors instructions.

Kinnibari May 28, 2016 at 3:17 am

Earlier in the race when Dumolin was in pink, Chad Haga, one of the GA riders, said Cancellara intervened to stop the peloton from attacking while Dumolin was having a nature break, and he was listened to while the GA riders were ignored.

hoh May 28, 2016 at 9:26 am

That’s strong language. Shows your “impartiality”, no?

The freak you mentioned was much stronger than Nibali on the cobble stage last year and went on to track him perfectly on descents dry or wet. Which part of this shows that he can’t handle a bike?

Froome was an ex-mountain bike rider, and twice held on his advantage gained in climbs with decents in soaking wet conditions to win Romandie. He was being modest and self-reflective when saying his bike handling needs improvement, yet couch potatoes just couldn’t quit the gig.

RonDe May 28, 2016 at 9:39 am

Yes Morton, its not like Nibali or Contador have ever received “sport directors instructions” or had big teams built around them.

SMH…

Anonymous May 28, 2016 at 1:15 pm

@hoh, I don’t think anyone can honestly believe that CF is a normal, Natural athlete. Just read about Schistosomiasis and then read Froome’s own version. He can’t be gone soon enough.

Cepphus Grylle May 27, 2016 at 10:23 pm

Just on your point about what might have happened if the snow bank weren’t there: it seems to me his right shifter/drop hit the bank and turned the wheel into the snow, stopping the bike dead and flipping SK. If there were no snow perhaps he might have avoided crashing altogether. Impossible to say, I suppose.

AK May 27, 2016 at 10:57 pm

It hurts but I have to admit (like Kruijswijk did) that it was his own fault, a steering error. You don’t have to wait for that no matter who it is. A flat tire could have sparked a polemica but this was just a badly timed mistake.
Still only one minute though. I really hope he bounces back mentally and takes back that time tomorrow. If the x-rays don’t show too bad things, that is.

Cepphus Grylle May 27, 2016 at 11:29 pm

Agree it was his error, not the fault of the snow! Just a response to the hypothetical suggested in the article

morten Reippuert May 28, 2016 at 1:31 am

On danish eurosport guest commentator Dan Frost (ex. CSC/Saxo & Sky) has repeatily noticed that Kruijswijk is a week decender who’s going down too fast, not because of his skills but because of pure luck – in the way that he doesn’t look like he have any crontrol when following the wheels of Nibali and Valverde downhill – D.Frost has been impressed by Chaves decenting skills though.

First signs where on the decent from Alpe di Poti – at one point he used the body of another rider to slow down as he overshot a tight corner (can’t remember who – Majka? ) – in a different corner his line was way off and he forced a rider to an emergancy stop.

On the decent down from Valparola he decented fast following Chaves but it didn’t look safe and when ever he was in front his chosen lines where less than optimal.

Sam May 28, 2016 at 2:33 am

Agreed, Kruijswijk and Zakarin both look fully uncomfortable down hill, but Chavez is holding his own: better than expected in the TTs and a fast descender. I’m really stoked my impressions of his from the last couple years are turning out true .

Eskorrik Asko May 28, 2016 at 6:59 am

Zakarin is a tallish lanky rider and it is my impression that, well, bad descenders are more common among riders of that kind of physiology. Based upon how Kruijswijk looks and how he descended I have asssumed that he must be 187 cm or taller but it turns out that he is just 178 cm!

IMHO without the snoww bank he could either have avoided the crash or hurt himself more badly. It is difficult to say whether his handlebar hit the wall first or whether the wall simply stopped him from veering even wider off the road.

All I know I have just seen one of the most “epic” mountain stages in my relatively short career as a TV viewing cycling fan and I will probably “relive” the stage several times during next winter’s indoor sessions!

The Inner Ring May 28, 2016 at 9:31 am

Pretty sure Zakarin is not 1m78, more like 1m85

Eskorrik Asko May 30, 2016 at 7:42 am

A late and probably unnecessary reply but:

Zakarin is tallish and lanky(if the info is correct) 187 cm (and 68 kg). Kruijswijk – to my eyes; probably something about those shoulders and stereotypes about the Dutch and their average height – looked as tallish and lanky as Zakarin but he is actually only 178 cm (and 66 kg).

Nikisthirdwheel May 27, 2016 at 7:30 pm

I am sad for the coat hanger. While I except that its a racing incident etc it is hard to take the emotion out of it, loving the underdog as many english do. Seeing the big teams always have the budget/capacity to have men up the road can’t help but pose the question to me on days like this; “is it fair”?

One sincerely hopes that cycling does not become like football where a conglomerate of 10 or so clubs snap up all players every transfer window and push out any chance of the lower budget teams, and effectively have a monopoly in the market, bulldozing there way through every GC.

Perhaps its just the emotion speaking for me! Fingers and toes all crossed for Lotto/Kruijswijk tomorrow but I think Nibali will bag the giro now 🙁

Gabriel May 28, 2016 at 12:10 am

Lotto have other, better riders that are now trainig instead of working for K (I be they call him the coat hanger because it’s easier than spelling his name, I’ll just use K). So, no, it’s not fair to not get the support needed and deserved from your team. I hope they come out empty handed at TDF, perfectly plausible, and learn their lesson.

NickV May 28, 2016 at 3:02 am

To follow you’re footballing analogy, let’s hope OGE does a Leicester City and holds on for the win as they’re in a similarly funding bracket to Lotto NL!

Anonymous May 28, 2016 at 4:14 am

Just because Astana have more money than LottoNL doesn’t stop them from sending Battaglin, Roglic or someone in the breakaway.

channel_zero May 27, 2016 at 7:42 pm

What a show today! I think tomorrow will end up being a pretty soft-pedaled affair. Riders who have one more hilly day in them will do well, riders who don’t will suffer. No matter what, they will be spread out all over.

Hopefully everyone who crashed is okay-enough to complete the race in good-enough form.

Shawn May 27, 2016 at 8:51 pm

I have to disagree. Nibali at only 44s down will certainly attack (though it could backfire). Would love to see Kruijswijk feel well enough to fight for a higher placing but I have to doubt he will be able to. Only Chaves has a good reason to not attack

DJ May 27, 2016 at 7:49 pm

Gutted for Kruijswijk – a very realistic chance for the first Dutch GT victory since 1980 going to pieces because of a handling error and, indeed importantly, the lack of teammates. The real damage was done in the valley when predominantly Plaza but also Scarponi were emptying themselves for their leaders whereas Kruijswijk was towing a group which offered no help whatsoever. A tiny part of me is hoping for a Landis-style resurrection, but as we later learned that was fueled by more than just a few drinks in the evening so maybe not. Let’s hope he can ride tomorrow and finish on the podium.

PT May 28, 2016 at 1:09 pm

I found Nibbles resurgence a little too Landis-like if we’re going to raise that topic.

Anonymous May 28, 2016 at 1:20 pm

Not Landis like; sneaky, like a shark. I think he’s been sandbagging with these last couple of stages in mind.

Anonymous May 28, 2016 at 1:23 pm

And to add to that, I think Nibali is relatively clean.

I think that’s the cause of the internal problems at Astana; Vino is pissed that he’s spending all this money on Nibali who is unwilling to “do whatever is necessary” to win.

gabriele May 28, 2016 at 1:35 pm

o__O
Did you watch *that* stage?
(not implying that Nibali is clean, nor the contrary)

Jason May 27, 2016 at 7:51 pm

Unfortunate for Kruijswijk, hope he isn’t too badly banged up and can try to continue to the end here. This just shows the amount of luck that does come into winning Grand Tours and it’s sad that the rider who has been the best throughout this Tour of Italy had his moment of bad luck at such a crucial moment.

Chaves is a worthy winner if he can hold on, been an excellent performance from him and it was indeed nice to see Nibali in the (slightly) more swashbuckling style that most fans tend to enjoy, although I do feel it will be a case of ‘we wuz robbed’ for both Kruijswijk and Chaves if the Shark goes on to win the overall.

Anonymous May 27, 2016 at 9:18 pm

Bad luck? Lapse of concentration, he was cracking I think. If he didn’t go down in that crash I think he would have still got distanced.

Cepphus Grylle May 27, 2016 at 10:17 pm

He has said he was on the limit and wanted to get something to eat; so a lapse in concentration due to that. But even if he were dropped by Nibali and Chavez, he would surely have stuck with the Valverde group and saved the Jersey.

Eskorrik Asko May 28, 2016 at 7:06 am

At what point did the Valverde group pass Kruijswijk? Was it when the Dutchman had stopped to change his bike?

Sometimes when a rider crashes, he gets up and begins a chase in a sort of mad rush of adrenaline. Now this took place in a fast and long downhill,which made things more complicated tactically (as stopping put you way behind) but I wonder if there could have been a way to somehow control the chase better and to limit the damages?

Vitus May 28, 2016 at 8:25 pm

At the top of the climb you saw Nibali took something to eat, a jacket and put his glasses on. That’s what an experienced rider does in such a situation. Kruiswijk did neither. With this weather conditions, you put on your glasses, you need a good view while descending. These are the little things that separates a champ from others, who then may make errors. That happened.

Twelvetrees May 27, 2016 at 8:02 pm

As ever, a great succinct review of a fascinating stage. Desperate for Kruijswijk but it was a racing error, so Nibali and Chaves (neither of whom may have seen the incident themselves) were well within their rights to continue racing. However, (opens can of worms) given Nibali’s attack on the Croix-de-Fer last year at the precise moment Froome suffered a mechanical, maybe the days of the patron are numbered anyway?

I have to say that the way Chaves was distanced by Nieve at the very end – with bonus seconds at stake – doesn’t bode well for his chances despite the fact that Nibali looks like he’s running on pride and adrenaline alone. Whatever, a fascinating day’s racing lies ahead – and I hope that Kruijswijk manages to keep his hold on a podium place, if not better.

Shawn May 27, 2016 at 8:54 pm

Chaves was paying for his earlier attacks which he will not be making tomorrow. I’m not reading too much into his time loss today.

Tovarishch May 27, 2016 at 8:54 pm

Nieve had done virtually nothing all day whereas Chaves had probably done the majority of the work up Agnello, to try and gain time on Kruiswijk. If he sits on Nibali’s wheel tomorrow (and stays awake) he can still do it.

Anonymous May 28, 2016 at 1:28 pm

Has anybody ever stopped for Froome? That’s a genuine question, but I think the answer is no, and that’s telling.

RonDe May 27, 2016 at 8:35 pm

Nibali is going to win this isn’t he? The guy who a few days ago could not explain his bad performances amid speculations (some from his own team) about illness is going to prevail. Chaves looked a bit wobbly up to Risoul there. All the encouragement the Nibbler needs.

RonDe May 27, 2016 at 10:02 pm

Kruijswijk is now reported to have a small rib fracture and is complaining of pains in his foot and side (reported by LottoNL-Jumbo Twitter feed). A shame.

Richard S May 27, 2016 at 10:09 pm

Wouldn’t be surprised to see him get dropped early tomorrow and abandon. A shame as you say.

AK May 27, 2016 at 11:05 pm

That is bad news. Would have been great to see him fight tomorrow but it probably is not going to happen.

Richard S May 27, 2016 at 10:08 pm

Nibali has been putting constant pressure on his rivals for getting on 3 weeks due to his superior descending skills, today it paid off. Kruiswijk hadn’t looked comfortable and Zakarin looked like an accident waiting to happen. The Giro rewards an all round rider. Nibali shouldn’t have stopped no more than anyone should have stopped for him going uphill. He’s worked for that moment. Chaves has stuck with Nibali on descents but he may have used more energy having to do so, hence he slipped away on the last climb. Tomorrow should be epic, I imagine the Italian fans by the round will be a site to behold. Vai Vincenzo!!!

Larry T May 27, 2016 at 10:08 pm

If Nibali would have been the one crashing the comments would have been “See, he’s not a very good descender either!” followed by all kinds of reasons his competitors should not have waited.
Thank gawd in bike races it’s (contrary to what Andy Schleck would like) important to be good going down the hills as well as up. And let’s not forget how lucky the Dutchman was to just hit the snowbank rather than end up like the Katusha guy.
One thing I found interesting was the lack of interest in helping the Maglia Rosa get back up there. Back-in-the-day everyone hated Chiappucci, so even Italians would tow the likes of BigMig in pursuit of El Diablo, something Mig fans downplay whether it was the Tour or Giro.
One of my wishes has now come true, a close race..all that’s left is for The Shark to erase 44 more seconds over the guy so new to the victory celebration the poor kid almost put his eye out with the bubbly cork! There will be other Giri for him. VAI NIBALI!

Beth May 27, 2016 at 10:30 pm

I’ve searched for a even a small shred of human sympathy for ‘the Dutchman’ in your post and been unable to find it.

Monochrome May 27, 2016 at 11:07 pm

Indeed. That was a particularly odious post from someone who has railed in the past against ‘fanboys’ but would appear to be nothing more than that.

Despite being disappointed for Kruijswijk, it was a relief that ‘the Dutchman’ and ‘Katusha guy’ (how disrespectful) emerged, relatively speaking, in one piece.

RonDe May 27, 2016 at 11:12 pm

Nibali is Marmite, love or hate. Never both. And which way you fall on that question determines the rest. Personally, I find Nibali hard to like. His racing style is offset by his personality and often ungentlemanly actions on the bike. Not to mention his current choice of team.

Razorback May 28, 2016 at 5:06 am

+1, but today was a classy ride… lead most of the first climb and also went clear from Chaves in the last one…
I cant understand why didnt lotto didnt have 1 or 2 riders in the break.

gabriele May 28, 2016 at 11:50 am

Building up the break is one of the key moments of any stage, and it has been especially hard for everyone in this Giro.
We saw several times the first hour of race being sped over at an average superior to 50 km/h. Yesterday was one of those cases, 52 km/h of average speed along the first hour with a slightly rising terrain.
When a team sees they don’t make it, they become aware that they’re risking to burn out their men just trying to enter the break, and thus they would be useless anyway afterwards (particularly if they aren’t top riders used to long mountain marathons).
Hence the team decides, more or less willingly, to stick to plan B and “hold everyone back around the leader”… which many times simply doesn’t work.
When Contador was praising his team last year and many didn’t understand why or thought it was just rutinary PR, since he was left alone when they were watching TV… well, maybe now that’s a little more clear by contrast with this year, isn’t it?

Ronin May 28, 2016 at 12:11 am

Why would you even be looking for it in that post? Are all posts now supposed to show some perfunctory empathy?

Larry T May 28, 2016 at 9:05 am

Beth – you are correct, there is none. The guy was not knocked off by another rider, not a victim of an Italian conspiracy, wasn’t blown off course by the Italian TV helicopter – he just screwed up….and was lucky he was not more severely injured I might add.
As I wrote at the start of my post (rant?) if this had been Nibali, all those who have been going on here for weeks about how Nibali is overweight, has cracked mentally, etc. would have added things like, “Well, I guess he’s not as good going downhill as all the hype would have us believe.”
When this Giro’s over I hope someone puts a video montage together of all the attacks in this race. Not the responses to attacks, but the instigation of moves out of the GC contenders. I think The Green Bullet might appear in a few, but I think the vast majority of them will feature NIBALI.
I’ve admitted being a fan of The Shark..and explained why…against the overwhelming tone on this blog since the Giro began that Nibali’s a pretender, is just lucky, a beneficiary of a strong, expensive team (though you wouldn’t read that here about Mr. Froome), just not that good, etc.
If defending the guy against this is someone’s definition of “fanboy” (though it’s not mine) then I’m guilty-as-charged.

MattF May 28, 2016 at 9:58 am

Maybe just some acknowledgement Larry that the strongest, most consistent performer in the race has undone all his good work with one mistake. That probably warrants a modicum of sympathy. And, by the way, Nibali is a sook.

Cepphus Grylle May 27, 2016 at 10:35 pm

Not sure who could have helped him. Jungels and his teammate took pulls but didn’t seem able to do more. The others in that mini group had teammates ahead and weren’t going to help.

My question would be: where was his team car? He’s in the lead group of the big favourites so why wasn’t it right behind or close by. ONE quick bike change would have helped him stay with the next group on the road at least, maybe even helping those bridge to the lead. Though if reports of his injuries are correct then maybe that’s immaterial.

Nibali road a great race today; didn’t panic or overreach when distanced by the early attacks on the Agnello, worked with Chavez to distance Valverde later on that climb and pushed early on the descent when SK was recovering/fussing about nutrition.

AK May 27, 2016 at 11:01 pm

About the team car: They weren’t allowed to be close behind on the climb, so it took a long time to get back to him.

Cepphus Grylle May 27, 2016 at 11:32 pm

Ah! Narrow roads (snow canyons!) I suppose

KubaWinter May 27, 2016 at 11:31 pm

Ah, the recovery like in a good old times… Illusions.

Anonymous May 28, 2016 at 12:10 am

Vintage 07 Vino is the trick.

Anonymous May 28, 2016 at 1:34 pm

stop

He’s not riding for Vino and Vino can’t wait to stop signing his checks. Aru is more Vino’s style.

STS May 28, 2016 at 1:05 am

“The pedal stroke still looked heavy, this was not the fluent Nibali Risoul had seen in 2014 but it was good enough for the stage win.”

Really? I found him to be by far the most fluent rider on the Risoul climb today. He looked impressive, almost effortless.

This Giro has told me to better not make any predicitions for tomorrow based on what happened today. But now Nibali looks like to have an edge on Chaves. And the rest is out of the race for rosa barring disaster for Nibali AND Chaves. Stage 20 will become a very hard fought battle and I agree that its course is even more difficult than no. 19.

Scarponi is an incredibly valuable helper. Expect to see him play a pivotal role again tomorrow.

Neuron1 May 28, 2016 at 12:50 pm

I just got back from the Giro and was standing at the 15K to go banner on Stage 16. I was close enough to the riders to get sweat on. Nibali looked leaden on that stage, his peddling style was labored and his head was somewhat down. When he is climbing strongly he is looking up the road like in many of the pictures from Stage 19 and his legs are very fluid (See Tour 2014 climbs). On the other hand, SK, IZ (too long to spell their names) and Valverde all had that forward/up the hill look. Even Chaves, who was chasing Nibali had that look. The mark of great Grand Tour riders is the ability to survive for 21 days despite the ups and downs. None of us know what is going to happen, but at the least the race got even more exciting. If Nibali cannot overcome his time deficit to Chavas today, I think the proverb that comes best explains the outcome is; “because of a chain, the bike was lost, because of the bike the time was lost, because of the time, the race was lost”.

Nozinho Schwitau May 28, 2016 at 2:19 am

Should not forget that Chaves has earned his luck by working hard for over two years after his own horrible (possible career ending) accident. You win some, you lose some. So yes, he got somewhat of a gift …. but in the longer sense of a career, he is just getting back some luck that he didn’t have last time When he nearly ended his career and was told he would never compete again (I.E not a slight clavicle crack).

gabriele May 28, 2016 at 4:41 am

Uhmmm… little time to write, but let me just say… yeah, the fact that people who indeed *love* cycling have some reason to find the Giro more exciting “is just commonplace”. That’s no more than another petty “narrative”, come on, a fashion trend, isn’t it? 😛
I liked last Tour, but last Giro was one of the most incredible stage races in years… and the present edition, well, what can I say? We were writing that last Saturday’s Dolomite stage was probably in the top-ten or thereabouts of the best GT stages in the last 5-6 years. Now we’ve got another lovely piece of art (even better, I’d say) and in the same race.
Having had meanwhile the short and crazy Andalo stage, or, previously, interesting stuff like Praia or Arezzo or Asolo and Pinerolo wasn’t bad, either (nice ITTs, too). And much more.
More than half of the stage offered very interesting and compelling action along the last 45′ – or well beyond. I’m not sure if everyone gets how great is that, in a sport where last “exciting” Vuelta systematically offered about 10′ of action (or less) along 18 out of 21 stages or so…

Razorback May 28, 2016 at 5:22 am

+1
First week was kind of boring, although multiple changes in Maglia Rosa, but limited actions on GC… if they could add last year TdF first week to this Giro would be amazing

gabriele May 28, 2016 at 1:21 pm

The couple of flat Dutch stages were quite boring, indeed, but it wasn’t that different from last year’s TdF if you speak of “first week” and not of “first days”.
We’ve got more GC action – and crucially, well further from the finish line – in Praia and Aremogna, much more than in the Huy or Mûr de Bretagne stages. And the Arezzo stage wasn’t that worse than the best “French” one, that is, the Zeeland one (perhaps better, but that’s very personal). Amiens, Le Havre or Fougères didn’t offer very much more emotion than the stages won by Greipel.
With hindsight, it’s easy to forget early stories like Hesjedal’s, Landa’s, or Dumoulin’s, and not to ake into account what happened to riders like Amador whom you might have not included in GC men, but who’s finally there. More or less what happened with Keuijswijk last year, whose time loss during the first week didn’t appear relevant… until we saw it was!

Ecky Thump May 28, 2016 at 7:26 am

+1 also.
You like your art painted in blood. sweat and tears Gabriele.
😉

Irungo txuletak May 28, 2016 at 9:53 am

Last year Giro’s was for me one of the best GT I have ever seen. This one is not bad neither, but does not go to this level of excitment. Yesterday’s stage was for me the best so far, without any doubt.
With respect to the Vueltas, I don’t think last year’s was better than the one from the year before, where we had Froome, Quintana and Kontador.
The Tour is normally more boring. Last year was not bad however, but I have to say that Sky and Movistar are not the teams with the most exciting tactics…

ronytominger May 28, 2016 at 11:19 am

i wouldnt have wanted to miss a Minute of the 2h30 i saw yesterday. it started with Pictures of riders in the mist and got ever better with every turn that this drama unfolded. great tv.

Gazelle CM May 28, 2016 at 7:21 am

The lack of teammates is Steven’s undoing. Isolated in a climb, no problem if you are strong, isolated in a descent no problem, anyone can go reasonably fast, but being isolated in the flat is a killer, that is where your strength is sucked away.
All in all Steven limîted the damage. An heroic effort, to be talked about for years to come.

Mischa May 28, 2016 at 8:04 am

After Dumoulin’s late loss of the leader’s jersey in last year’s Vuelta, now we Dutch have faced another big, big dissapointment. Not feeling very excited to watch today’s stage actually, had a very tough time enjoying the epic stage that it was yesterday. Hopefully, Steven will be able to race today and maintain his podium spot. That’s the least the guy deserves..

Michael May 28, 2016 at 8:13 am

What a stage! This is why we watch Grand Tour cycling: so much drama played out over a majestic backdrop. I feel bad for Kruiswijk, but as many people have observed, descending is a critical skill that is as much mental as anything. Having ridden the Agnello myself (albeit at a rather slower pace) I can say that the thin air up there is a real issue. I usually stop at the top of giant climbs to eat a bit, put on a windbreaker and prepare for the descent. At race pace, I can well imagine that concentration could be a problem. On TV, it also looked foggy at the top and visibility may also have been a bit of a problem.

Maxime Monfort seems to have an affinity for this climb: if I recall correctly, he led Andy Schleck over and down it in 2011!

Alejandro May 28, 2016 at 8:49 am

Hard to say, but you could see that even there may have been some glare from the snow, I think the sun appeared just as they crested. Thems the breaks – Kruiswijk will be back and perhaps at the Tour with a stronger team next year. Great race.

Alexander Sazonov May 28, 2016 at 9:46 am

“Ilnur Zakarin meanwhile is out of the race, he crashed as well and could not get going again but his performance so far seems to have convinced Russian backers to keep Katusha on the road, possibly via a merger with Gazprom-Rusvelo.”

Hello, where did you get this info?

Thanks for your reviews, it’s a pleasure to read them.

dave May 28, 2016 at 11:31 am

When it comes to polarising Nibali I’m in the “hate” camp, but have to agree with the consensus that it didn’t even occur to me that he or anyone else should have stopped when K crashed, it was a pure racing incident where K was desperately racing beyond his limits against someone who was riding to their strengths.

Made the “patron” observation myself last night, not in the lack of stopping as much as the total lack of support K had when chasing back on. Not a sufficiently well established rider or from a significant enough GT team to have already banked favours or goodwill with other teams, whereas a Contador/Nibali/Valverde/Froome could probably rely on some previous loyalty or affinity.

Glad to hear Zakarin is relatively unscathed, seeing him motionless where he lay some distance from his bike and surrounded by rocks made my heart sink and stomach turn. K’s crash and somersaulting bike was comedy animated GIF material by comparison.

As a K win seems fantasy I’m rooting for Chavez, who’s hard not to like, and hoping K can hold off Movistar and my other least favourite rider Valverde and hang on for a podium.

Been a brilliant GT though and well worth re-subscribing to Eurosport for!

Neuron1 May 28, 2016 at 1:03 pm

I’m glad you finally came out and declared your hatred for Nibali. Always could sense it from your posts, but can’t quite understand it. There is nobody in the pro peloton that I hate. I dislike Froome, but overall have great respect for Sky as an organization and several of their riders, despite their nonsensical, “we have never had doping on our team” screeds. Every post I make doesn’t begin with the premise of my dislike for the guy, but it seems yours do. Regarding Chavez, did you read his cold hearted quotes from after the stage yesterday. Had that been Nibali saying the crashing and losing the jersey is just part of the game, due to bad descending skills, you would have been apoplectic!

Jon Wood May 28, 2016 at 2:10 pm

Difficult to quote an unwritten rule – IIRC there’s a slight distinction between waiting and not attacking as well as different classifications of delay – mechanicals and other random delays, self-inflicted issues, call of nature etc. Would prefer that Kruiswijk was still in pink defending a much reduced lead, will be rooting for him to remain on the podium to receive his due plaudits on Sunday.

hoh May 28, 2016 at 9:32 am

Looks like the post I was replying to was destructed. Please destruct this one as well.

Thanks, Mr Inrng.

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