Giro d’Italia Stage 12 Preview

Thursday, 18 May 2017

A long day and a likely sprint finish await.

Stage 11 Wrap: a full day’s racing with a fast start that split the race apart and left Tom Dumoulin with only two team mates by his side until things calmed down and regrouped. Up ahead a 25 rider went clear including Movistar’s Andrey Amador and from this two riders went clear, Mikel Landa and Omar Fraile. Eventually the pair were caught but when Pierre Rolland attacked on the final slopes of Monte Fumaiolo, Fraile had the energy to get across even took the mountains points ahead of him. The two started the descent to the finish together but were joined by Rui Costa and it looked like a three-up sprint only for Tanel Kangert to bridge across to make it four. Fraile had been out all day but still finished off the sprint. Behind Thibaut Pinot tried an uphill attack, more to test the legs after his disappointment in the time trial and Vincenzo Nibali had a go too. But it all came to nothing. Amador’s infiltration of the break allowed him to gain time and move up to sixth overall. Dumoulin survived the day and his Sunweb team rode well but the next test is replicating this in the high mountains.

Team Sunweb

The Route: 229km, a long day. A start in Forlì and then onto Faenza and up the Lamone valley to the Colla di Casaglia, high at 913m but the road is tracked by a railway line for most of the way, a clue to the gentle gradient but it gets harder near the top amid dense chestnut forest. A good descent to the Mugello and then the novelty of the day, the race rides along the A1 Autostrada for just over 30km including the Valico Appennino, a climb as gentle as the autostrada implies. Then it’s a gourmet delight as the race drops back down the plains via Parmigiano cheese country, through the vinegar city of Modena and then they approach Reggio Emilia.

The Finish: flat and fast as they reach the city of Reggio and take the main road around town. The bends you see in the map are gentle. The danger comes in the street furniture with islands, bollards and more.

The Contenders: it’s today and tomorrow only for the sprinters so several teams will want to make this count. Perhaps a “commercial break” will go for the airtime but otherwise it’s back to Caleb Ewan, André Greipel and Fernando Gaviria as the three top picks with Sam Bennett next. Jakub Mareczko and Sacha Modolo could feature too although the former could be rinsed from his efforts to stay in the race yesterday, he was dropped and needed several team mates to rally to his side.

Caleb Ewan, Fernando Gaviria, André Greipel
Sam Bennett
Mareczko, Modolo

Weather: warm and sunny for the most part with a top temperature of 28°C when the reach the plains later on, where they’ll enjoy a 15km/h tailwind to the finish.

TV: the finish is forecast for 5.15pm CET. There’s live coverage on home broadcaster RAI in Italy and Eurosport for much of Europe and beyond. Otherwise cyclingfans.com and steephill.tv are the go-to sites for schedules and pirata feeds.

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Ian Anderson May 18, 2017 at 7:49 am

Even though he had been working hard all day out in the break Fraile’s management of his effort in the final run in was masterful. A great example of ‘being prepared to lose a race in order to win it’

I’m hoping that Lotto have got them selves together today and I expect the simpler run in will be a gimme for the Gorrilla

Eskerrik Asko May 18, 2017 at 10:23 am

I was distracted at a crucial moment but didn’t Fraile drop slightly behind at one point after the second group had caught him and (almost) Landa? I erroneously thought he was cooked – like Landa was a little bit later after trying in vain to hold his slight lead – but he took me completely by surprise when he was the one who went after and caught Rolland!
And I must admit that during the last kilometers I would’ve bet my shirt on Rui Costa if I were a betting man. I did see how Fraile put him to work but I still believed Costa would have the legs.

Ian Anderson May 18, 2017 at 10:47 am

Head bobbing, shoulders rolling, short turns 😉 ‘oh dear my legs are tired, goodness I’m not sure I can finish this race…’ bang! Back from the dead, I’ll have that thank you… great to watch

Simon May 18, 2017 at 2:57 pm

I haven’t seen it but it sounds like he won a la Voeckler

Michael B May 18, 2017 at 6:14 pm

Yeah, it was very Tommy V. Even when he was in the break (again) with Rolland he was the one driving it on, but gurning away and rolling his shoulders. Don’t know if it’s an act, his style, to entertain, or a bit of all three. I like him.

Michael B May 18, 2017 at 7:54 am

I thought it was a good day yesterday, even if there were no GC fireworks. Omar Fraile looked spectacularly strong in Yorkshire last month, but I wasn’t sure he could translate that to World Tour stage wins. He was great yesterday though, very impressive, and he’s still fairly young.

Augie March May 18, 2017 at 8:05 am

BMC must be really proud….of Ben Hermans, he’s riding very well.

PaddyDunne May 18, 2017 at 8:14 am

Got everything crossed for SammyB today. Although I’d concede Greips and Gaviria are just that stronger at the sharp end. Caleb to, obs.

Ecky Thump May 18, 2017 at 8:22 am

The first shot across the bows yesterday, with Amador’s move, although in a way this does lessen Movistar’s flexibility a little.
Amador has become the nuclear option now.
If he moves, pandemonium ensues. Perhaps a last resort?

Will Jungels and Quick Step wonder about a surprise today?
Unlikely but you never know.

There are so many possibilities and scenarios. All the contenders have their weak points to exploit.
In considering them all, however, I see Dumoulin’s support stripped away almost as quickly as the time taken for David Rose’s famous theme to play out.

Dumoulin may have a de facto 3″ to play with.
Talk about a tease. Take it away Mr Rose…. 🙂

jc May 18, 2017 at 11:31 am

For all the excitement from the Eurosport folk not sure there was any issue for TD. What does it matter to him if someone moves from 10th to 6th? Unless either NQ or VN had gone up the road surely all he had to do was sit tight and take it steady, which is exactly what he did. He certainly had to be alert for any moves on the final climb but in the end no great stress.

There might be stages ahead where he could do with more team mates around him but for the rest of this week probably not.

I was a little surprised Quick Step didnt put more work in yesterday Amador was a threat to Bob Jungel’s position, perhaps they wanted to save energy for the next couple of days sprint stages

Ronan May 18, 2017 at 12:01 pm

Quickstep had Laurence De Plus up the road, so didn’t ‘have’ to work.

They also have been very busy in the race and have an eye on today and tomorrow’s stages for Gaviria. They can’t afford to spread themselves too thin.

sam May 18, 2017 at 11:56 pm

if Amador moves, then Nibali follows, and Pinot will likely want to keep up. pretty soon the pace is forced and dumoulin may end up isolated.

paul May 18, 2017 at 9:23 am

Super Strong Omar Fraile was a pleasure to watch what an engine that Guy has. Quintana takes a crafty rest day and Dumoulin was cool as a cucumber

Anonymous May 18, 2017 at 9:38 am

I didn’t quite get – something happened with the commissaires and Mareczko to do with being outside the time limit? Anyone see that?

The Inner Ring May 18, 2017 at 9:51 am

He made it in the last group within the time limit. Wilier DS Scinto ordered the whole team to sit up and wait for him.

One Man Grupetto May 18, 2017 at 10:03 am

Scinto asked most of the team to fall back. Julen Amezqueta intially refused to do so, leading to Scinto giving him the full-hairdryer treatment. Only Cristian Rodriguez (who is putting together a very nice under-the-radar performance), Busato and Pozzato (who did his usual trick of leading a grupetto over the line) were spared.

Eskerrik Asko May 18, 2017 at 10:17 am

Is it only in road cycling that Scinto’s kind of old-skool, 70s, management by negative feedback, threats and punishments authoritarian in a completely ass backwards understood manner leadership has survived and is tolerated today?

The Inner Ring May 18, 2017 at 10:44 am

It’s all he can do. Mareczko is their best hope of a result today and tomorrow so the more help he can get, the better. Any riders trying to save their own legs because of personal ambitions about making it to Milan aren’t doing what Scinto wants. Also the notion of the “punishment chase” is harsh but if ought to encourage riders to get in the break knowing that if they sit still when a move goes then they’ll still have to work on the front for two hours in a chase, and their team mates will too, so better to get in that move.

Eskerrik Asko May 18, 2017 at 11:18 am

I don’t have an argument with Scinto’s tactical acumen or the particular orders he has given to his riders. It is the manner in which he gives them or, more to the point, in which he gets his riders to do what he wants them to do I consider outdated and, in the end, counterproductive and even ineffective. I mean, even in the military today they understand better. Understanding the mission and the objective, self-motivation and all that “soft stuff”…
That said, it is of course too late to change one’s management style mid-race, it would only baffle the riders – who are probably used to seeing non-listening (until they can no longer take it or until Scinto threatens to stop paying their salary )as their only escape.

JT May 18, 2017 at 9:52 am

It will be interesting to see how Gaviria fares today after yesterday’s hard stage. Will his lack of experience in grand tours count against him ?

J Evans May 18, 2017 at 11:06 am

What a ride by Fraile – in the breakaway, caught, goes again, then wins the sprint. Incredible stuff.
That’s going to have to sate us for the next two days – tomorrow’s stage especially: they couldn’t find one hill? We’ll have to hope for wind.

Salsiccia May 18, 2017 at 11:14 am

You sadist! 😉

Let them have a couple of easier days, they’ve earned it.

Beautiful ride by Fraile. He’s definitely going to want an easier day or two!

J Evans May 18, 2017 at 12:27 pm

I’m only thinking of the poor puncheurs.

J Evans May 18, 2017 at 12:32 pm

Don’t know what it’s like elsewhere, but when are Eurosport UK going to learn to actually show us the exciting first 20km of the race, which they then spend the rest of the day telling us about?
I haven’t watched any of their pre-race chat, but interviews with riders are worthless. At least show the race and have the jibber-jabber on split screen.

RonDe May 18, 2017 at 12:58 pm

Not up to them. Unlike the Tour this year the Giro doesn’t go in for full race coverage. In fact I’m sure I recently read where RCS boss Vegni said he wasn’t in favour of it.

The Inner Ring May 18, 2017 at 1:18 pm

The Giro does have some stages live from start to finish, the mountains stages. But it’s RAI to produce and supply these images and they’re not doing it today so there’s images for Eurosport and others to use. I’m not sure the first 20km would be that interesting though.

gabriele May 18, 2017 at 1:29 pm

RAI is apparently producing images from start to finish but I’m not sure if the “regia internazionale” is on from start (according to contracts, you’ve got to provide to other broadcasters an “assembled” stream, I guess, not just the separate image streams coming in from the different moto/heli channels – in that case, ES at al. should have their own production).
Besides, RAI itself is often sacrificing the early live images (which are available, they’re in a little box or used as the TV studio background) to give room to a very generalist not-fan oriented Giro TV show – terrible, IMHO, but, well, I’m a fan indeed. If at least they didn’t talk about sport… you can make a great show about the Giro without talking about cycling, but I can’t understand why they’d rather try to talk about the sport with nonsense monets which can go way further what we’re already used to see at the Processo.

Generally speaking, I’ve got the sensation that everybody is moving in uncharted territory, hence erratic strategies and experiments which will supposedly take a stabler form in years to come.

gabriele May 18, 2017 at 1:30 pm

nonsense monets = nonsense moments ^__^

Eskerrik Asko May 19, 2017 at 7:55 am

You already had me reaching for my dictionaries…

PS Silly pointless anectode: a cycling buddy of mine is married to a nice girl – well, these days a mother of two multilingual teenagers who can express their feelings and opinions equally well in Swedish, Finnish and Italian – from a small village in Abruzzo. From this follows logically that he is able to watch and enjoy RaiSport via satellite.
The fly in the ointment is that she strongly dislikes cycling and absolutely hates it when he spends hours watching the Giro or the Tour, day in day out, be it on the sofa or on the trainer. Apparently it is a trait that runs on the distaff side in the family…

PPS Totally off-topic and on a totally unfrivolous subject: the news about Nicky Hayden has naturally enough reached these shores, too. Two serious accidents within a fairly short time involving famous and popular sportsmen could and should have some consequences, hopefully beneficial.

gabriele May 19, 2017 at 11:05 am

In Spain, the Otxoa brothers’ crash was enough to enforce the mandatory one and a half meter to overcome any cyclist. Slowly, in a dozen years time, laws became more favourable to cyclists, and practising cycling finally became a mainstream sport (even if many who pedal themselves really aren’t pro sport fans).
In Italy, I’m afraid that not even this horror spell (a top-level thriatlete also had an accident with a truck on the same day as Hayden and she’s in the same ward, a man was killed the following day in Chieti… it’s really non stop) will be enough for the least, however demagogic, improvement. Imagine that Italy’s also got several strong social movement advocating for cycling safety, some of cycling-specific or even cycling-safety-specific. Mass demonstration, lobbying, nothing looks like to be enough.
On the other sides you’ve got even more powerful lobbies, a decade-long car-focussed culture, a total lack of collective cultural elaboration on themes of discrimination (cycling has become one case of discrimination), ignorance, hatred, widespread frustration…
People, being more or less unaware, empathise with the driver, not the victims.
In Italy, that’s a complicated sociocultural phenomenon which, sadly, has gone beyond a safety and public health emergency, which just should be tackled with the technical measures already used in so many other countries.

J Evans May 18, 2017 at 2:41 pm

I meant yesterday – and other days.
I don’t know if they have the pictures or not.

Anonymous May 19, 2017 at 12:19 am

You have missed the great Steve Cummings on the pre stage, chitter chatter. Wish he was riding though rather than training on his Turbo!

RonDe May 18, 2017 at 12:42 pm

Not many sprinters chances left. Gaviria looks to have the points jersey sorted provided he finishes in Milan. Not a bad start to a grand tour career. He seems more reliable then Ewan.

DaveS May 18, 2017 at 1:56 pm

Anybody else getting sick of the UCI using the Giro as a fund raising exercise via rider fines?

The Inner Ring May 18, 2017 at 1:59 pm

The sums are small compared the publicity 😉

Also note the UCI doesn’t get the money, the fines to go the local federation, eg the FCI for the Giro, FFC for the Tour etc.

CA May 18, 2017 at 3:42 pm

A quick note and completely off topic – but unfortunately here’s where cycling’s popularity is in Canada.

Driving in listening to sports radio they made a quick mention of the Italian Open on the radio. I’m thinking, GREAT, FINALLY, they got the name wrong, BUT my favourite sport has hit my mainstream sports station and people will talk about it. Then they said Milos Raonic ….

Cycling is being outshone by minor international events. Obviously Milos Raonic is more popular than Svein Tuft and Michael Woods (the two Canadians at the Giro)… but c’mon

noel May 18, 2017 at 4:34 pm

well CA, if it helps to dull the pain, even in the UK despite the recent successes, unless Cav/Froome/Wiggins/Olympics is involved, or there is some sort possibility of a Sky scandal or whatever, then it never gets a mention outside of the specialist media either, and every minor tennis/golf etc event gets coverage plus endless endless Premiership football of course…

CA May 18, 2017 at 5:27 pm

Well, it doesn’t dull the pain, but it spreads it out a bit… although is that the same thing?

I understand and wish this wasn’t the case. Cycling is much more interesting than people give it credit for… it’s way better than NFL and NBA (NBA playoffs are on, and the story is ALWAYS about how much better Lebron is than his entire conference and I’m so tired of hearing it).

Look, Mr. Inrng, do your thing and get your bits onto North American mainstream media, thanks…

Whale Oil Beef Hooked May 18, 2017 at 9:04 pm

I suspect most UK media top-brass and middle management are members of tennis clubs rather than cycling clubs.

CA May 18, 2017 at 5:24 pm

Great work Gaviria, and pretty humble response at the end saying that he isn’t the best sprinter – giving the praise to Greipel. Pretty classy and unexpected.

Foley May 18, 2017 at 8:32 pm

Yes, the false modesty was very well-played, sounded like a seasoned pro 😉

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