Giro d’Italia Stage 7 Preview

Friday, 12 May 2017

A long stage that’s likely to end in a sprint finish but beware the crosswinds that are forecast for most of the day.

Stage 6 Wrap: a stage win for Silvan Dillier (BMC Racing) after he, Jasper Stuyven and Mads Petersen of Trek-Segafredo, Lukas Pöstlberger (Bora-Hansgrohe) and Simone Andreeta (Bardiani-CSF) went away early. Behind the fluo tones of Cannondale-Drapac and Willier-Selle Italia seemed to be on a “punishment chase” having missed the move but for all their efforts they never took back much time and if other teams did a turn or two in the final hour it was too little, too late. Stuyven is powerful in a straight sprint or if he can get away solo but Dillier was always the punchiest of riders for an uphill finish. The Swiss rider was further helped when Petersen cracked to make for a cleaner tactics in the finish and then when Stuyven tried an attack, Pöstlberger seemed to struggle only to go straight to the front to donate what energy he had left which made it into a two rider contest and Dillier won.

The Route: not a lot going on but another stage notable for its length at 224km as the ride around the arch of Italy’s boot before heading inland on more crowded roads to head to Alberobello, a town famous for its trulli, houses made of stone without cement.

The Finish: the circle around the town of Alberobello on tight, narrow roads where a strong sprint train will help hold position and pick the safest line. As the profile shows it is up and down at times but these are small gradients. There’s a right-hand turn onto the 600m finishing straight. It’s slightly uphill at 2-3% in its steepest points.

Caleb Ewan

The Contenders: this should be a sprint finish for the simple reason it’s the last chance of the week and several teams have an interest in a bunch sprint. Caleb Ewan is still looking for that win, he appears to have the speed but he and his team have been making mistakes, surely have to make amends this time? Fernando Gaviria is the opposite, perhaps he’s not the fastest in a straight contest Quick Step have taken opportunities and won thanks to team work. André Greipel will like the slight slope to the line, he has won stages in the Giro just like this before.

Among the others Sam Bennett is looking better again and Jakub Mareczko has shown what he can do. Sacha Modolo seems to be struggling a bit, sometimes Roberto Ferrari sprints for UAE Emirates instead.

Caleb Ewan, André Greipel
Fernando Gaviria
Bennett, Mareczko

Weather: (updated 10.00am CET) sunshine and clouds and a warm 26°C. The wind will blow from the south-west at 20-25km/h and could gust more, just enough to exploit or at least raise stress levels for the riders and managers but the latest forecast says it will calm during the day.

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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{ 45 comments… read them below or add one }

Swuzz May 12, 2017 at 6:54 am

Hopefully Caleb has enough confidence in his team to be 100% committed

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Tom May 12, 2017 at 6:56 am

Mads Pedersen told danish media, that he got a flat tyre after he came back to the group, and that’s why he let go so close to the finish…

A technical finale, where u either need a strong team and good positioning and slightly uphill finish. It doesn’t sound like a marezko finish to me…
Gibbons might do well, and maybe bauhaus, but there are really only 4 riders fighting for the win imo…

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Somers May 12, 2017 at 7:12 am

It’s been the most uneventful (almost, boring) first third to a grand tour in a while.

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Larry T May 12, 2017 at 7:50 am

Just curious – who or what would you blame this (almost, boring) first third on? The course, the riders, the wind, race radios, disc brakes, Italian government…? 🙂

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Somers May 12, 2017 at 7:59 am

Definitely disk brakes. (Jokes)

It’s difficult to tell, one would usually blame the course, but two years ago it was some crazy riding from Astana which ignited the race.

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Richard S May 12, 2017 at 8:30 am

Nobody seems to want to take it up this year. The breakaways are allowed to go more or less uncontested and no GC team is interested in running a fast pace. A couple of years ago Astana nearly killed everyone in their attempts to wear Contador out, you’d think someone would want to do the same to Quintana.

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Gareth May 12, 2017 at 8:49 am

I was thinking that. Surely someone like sky would have an interest in making Quintana work for this. I would think that he is very happy with how it has gone so far.

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J Evans May 12, 2017 at 10:47 am

Yes, at the very least I expected Sky to attempt to knacker Quintana for the Tour. Maybe that’s coming. He is very vulnerable on the flat – especially in the wind – so maybe today if there are crosswinds. (They might leave Landa behind doing that too, but Thomas would be fine.) Plenty of other teams you would have thought could try that – not least QS for Jungels, obviously, but also Sunweb for Dumoulin. Maybe even Nibali’s team (I’d rather not mention the name).

Rupert May 12, 2017 at 10:52 am

I think the headwinds have had something to do with it – but also there are 12 or so riders/teams in with a shout of a good GC placing who are all at a similar level (Quintana excepted) – so they’ve been conservative with their tactics

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SilverSurfer8 May 12, 2017 at 7:16 pm

I think you nailed it, Rupert. With so many GC contenders in this Giro, more teams are playing it safe, before the real challenges begin. So we have to be a little more patient this year. From this weekend on, things should get much more interesting.

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Ecky Thump May 12, 2017 at 11:45 am

I mentioned yesterday that the wind has been unkind to the race so far.
It looks like another tailwind today, petering out to leave a sprint finish.
The peloton are rattling along and finishing earlier than schedule, so difficult for anything else to happen.

I would say though, that putting the Blockhaus stage and the long TT stage more or less in the middle of the race together seems to have caused everyone to think ahead more perhaps – the climbers are saving it for Blochkaus and the rest to hang on, then the TT’ers are hoping to put time into everyone else and the climbers to limit their losses.
It’s like Judgement Day(s) hanging over everyone.

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J Evans May 12, 2017 at 8:00 am

It hasn’t been thrilling, but last year’s Tour de France is going to take some beating. But perhaps the first third wasn’t so bad and I’m being swayed by how atrocious the overall competition was.
I thought the crosswinds stage and yesterday’s stage were both good.

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md May 12, 2017 at 9:01 am

If we look at a GT as a 3 course meal, then this year’s Giro has served us soup for starter.
A decent soup too, with several well sourced ingredients; young sprint stars, an older sprint star still winning, a thrilling echelon attack, a desperate breakaway win, a suprise win for a first time rider and classic cliff roads and blue sea. However, the headwind has perhaps brought the temperature of the soup a little cooler than the optimum.

The menu for the main course looks very good, though.

I think tbe starter has done its job of setting us up for the main.

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Nick May 12, 2017 at 10:30 am

Don’t forget Pibernik’s mistaken ‘win’ too. An amuse-bunch, rather than an amuse-bouche, perhaps.

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Ecky Thump May 12, 2017 at 11:24 am

I’m going to make another analogy to your soup.
One for the old timers –
“England reach close of play on day one at 65 for 0, with that doughtiest of defenders Geoffrey Boycott showing his mastery of the forward defensive and use of the pads. Few shots played here but one for the purists”.

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md May 13, 2017 at 7:25 am

That would be dry, day old, bread.

Or in cycling terms, one team controlling every stage for the same result.

There’s lots more going on than that in this year’s Giro.

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frood May 12, 2017 at 9:11 am

It has certainly lacked the daily bun fight to get into the breakaway that we had last year. I think a lot of it is circumstantial and down to the parcours. quite a few flat finishes and apart from stage 2, fewer lumpy stages. also the Etna stage has taken the sting out of the maglia rosa contest.

still, it’s nowhere near as dull as the last few Tours.

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Cilmeri May 12, 2017 at 10:21 am

I disagree. I thought it was a cracking end to yesterday’s stage, and the peloton misjudged the chase. Or the course was perfect. I think Thomas and zakarin have taken small risks so far, but would’ve hoped for a little more from a Pinot on etna. It’s been a good start to a 3 week stage race however.

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StevhanTI May 12, 2017 at 10:29 am

Ah come’on don’t be trollin’. One person’s ‘boring’ is another person’s ‘classic’. Anyway these last few stages were perfect sneaky office-watch fodder. Nothing too exciting except for the final 20-30 minutes, on week/school/office days that’s just about perfect 😉

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RonDe May 12, 2017 at 12:04 pm

It will become unboring by Blockhaus. If not, a lot of riders will be giving Tom Dumoulin a few minutes head start after the first ITT.

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Augie March May 12, 2017 at 7:19 am

Italian fans are probably wishing Viviani was riding.

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The Inner Ring May 12, 2017 at 8:55 am

There are two articles in La Gazzetta Dello Sport this morning asking where the Italian riders are, or rather where their results are. It’s early for this kind of pressure though.

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Mark H May 12, 2017 at 7:23 am

What is the blue line on the map?
(the one which follows the race route and then diverges before Masafra and then joins back up at the finish line)

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Ian Anderson May 12, 2017 at 7:52 am

It’s the Fuori Corsa (the ‘off race’) route. It’s the race controlled route for media and technical support who need to get from the start town to the finish. In less rural areas it will head off some local motorway, but clearly here there aren’t that many options.

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Mark H May 12, 2017 at 9:53 am

Grazie!

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J Evans May 12, 2017 at 7:56 am

I often wonder if DS’s really do “punishment chases”. Are they really likely to needlessly wear out their riders for the coming days, seeing as grand tours are all about conserving energy?
I suspect they were genuinely hoping to bring back the breakaway and hoping that others would join them, which, as you say, they did, but too late.
(And, after all, Cannondale must be desperate for a win.)
I’ll go for Gaviria, especially with crosswinds forecast – let’s hope those happen or it could be a dull day.
Yesterday was an interesting race and really showed how onerous the flat stages can be to watch.

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Dave May 12, 2017 at 10:54 am

Today is two years to the day since Cannondale’s last WT win (Davide Formolo at the Giro) according to more knowledgeable commentators than me (The Cycling Podcast).

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The Inner Ring May 12, 2017 at 11:01 am

This should end soon. They’ve got a strong team in the Giro with candidates for a stage win who are already far down on GC and also because California has been promoted to the World Tour they’ve got increased chances there too.

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The Inner Ring May 12, 2017 at 11:00 am

Scinto said he had his Willier-Selle Italia team doing this, an incentive to get one rider in the breakaway the next time.

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J Evans May 12, 2017 at 11:16 am

Seems like bad management. Apart from the fact that they’ll be more tired I would have thought that this ‘old school’ approach would lead to you having unhappy, resentful riders.
Then again, they do seem to be a very old school team, in that their riders are still commonly getting caught doping. (You can read that whichever way you choose.)

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RonDe May 12, 2017 at 11:52 am

Lucky for Cannondale the World Tour isn’t organised on sporting criteria. Not winning a single WT race for 2 whole years is a disgrace. Vaughters would have been fired by any other team boss but himself.

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Larry May 12, 2017 at 9:33 pm

Lucky for the WorldTour it isn’t run by Vaughters hating internet dudes.

Paul May 12, 2017 at 10:05 am

Nice tweet from the runner up – only in cycling would you get this level of sportsmanship

https://twitter.com/Jasperstuyven/status/862704354167595008

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Joe K. May 12, 2017 at 10:40 am

Yes, this young generation of riders is classy indeed. Still in their mid-20s, they ride hard, and show a good sense of comradery after crossing the line when they congratulate the winner–even if he’s from a different team.

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Fletch May 12, 2017 at 10:50 am

I agree it’s great to see this sportsmanship but it’s very pessimistic to say it’s only seen in cycling. There are plenty of examples in other sports from cricketers walking, rugby players respect for the ref, snooker players calling fouls on themselves, etc.

Maybe this attitude of sport being populated by grumpy losers looking for any opportunity to get one over on the opposition comes because it is rife in football, which is so culturally dominant. However you probably don’t even have to look too far for examples of great sportsmanship in football either.

Just like you don’t have to go far to find the opposite in cycling, see Rosa vs Moreno on the way to Etna.

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The Inner Ring May 12, 2017 at 11:03 am

It’s nice to see everywhere, what makes cycling different is that riders have to work together, eg Stuyven and Dillier are rivals but need to pedal together to make the break work and then they’re going to be in moves in the future, possibly sharing the same hotel in races etc so carrying a grudge is probably self-destructive. Still nice to see the public acknowledgement.

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RonDe May 12, 2017 at 11:53 am

Paper talk says there is a grudge between Nibali and Quintana. Is there any truth to it?

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Gian May 12, 2017 at 12:10 pm

The few things I have read seem to be lifting quotes and trying to make something out of nothing. Nibali said something about not knowing Quintana like he does other riders so they don’t really speak but I can’t see any real grudge there.

StevhanTI May 12, 2017 at 11:21 am

Riders from different teams often train together (when they’re not on team training camps of course) I think this is also pretty unique to cycling.

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ocaz May 12, 2017 at 11:47 am

I was puzzled by Cannondale’s chase which I commented on in yesterday’s post. As it was clear they left it too late but still absolutely hammered it on the front when it was clear others weren’t willing to help with the work to bring the breakaway back. Although it was mentioned they are leading the team classification…

This unwillingness to help is due to the fact that a lot of the teams it seems are keeping their powder dry for their GC contenders which leads to stages without much happening.

It is like a drawn out game of poker where at the minute no one wants to show their hand and are happy to just go with the flow using the least amount of effort as possible. Yates pretty much confirmed this in interview yesterday.

On paper it looked like Etna should have created time gaps in the GC but everyone kept their cards close to their chest. So it is really down to the riders and their tactics, how do you change that mentality? I don’t know but maybe this Giro is a slow burner as time trials mean the mountain goats needs to gain some time at some point. Etna was the first opportunity but that’s gone so it may mean it is even more exciting and explosive on Sunday’s stage.

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RonDe May 12, 2017 at 11:58 am

I’m going to say Caleb Ewan draws a blank. His lead outs haven’t been that great and his team seem in two minds due to their need to protect Yates who must be favourite for the young riders jersey if not the final podium. What’s ironic is Ewan has probably looked the fastest in a straight line. Useless though if you aren’t set up in the armchair and dropped off right.

All this pleases me since I picked Gaviria as the sprinter in my fantasy team!

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Chris May 12, 2017 at 11:08 pm

Well done.

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Anonymous May 12, 2017 at 2:29 pm

No such thing as watching a “boring” Giro stage, beats being at work any day.

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J Evans May 12, 2017 at 2:49 pm

I can’t remember watching so little of the Giro. I’m not at work and I’m still not bothering to turn it on yet.

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Flávio Ferreira May 12, 2017 at 3:20 pm

Agree here, so bad this for Giro standard (people saying its good must be comparing it to the Tour)

The main culprit is the route, it its pretty bland and non italian for a 100 edition, so manny flat finishes, no small hills to spice things up.

But also the team, are riding pretty conservative, I think we are missing Aru (for crazy Astana paces) and Contador to liven up the race. Also a lot of the contender are conservative riders, like Adam, TJV, Thomas. And Quintana is not going to attack this early.

And the wind also helped.

Still doesn’t explain everything, yesterday had a good route, and it had a pretty small breakaway unlike what I was expecting.

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