Giro d’Italia Stage 8 Preview

Saturday, 13 May 2017

After a coastal procession the second half of the stage is much harder with its climbs, some categorised and some not, as well as twisting roads and all before a tricky uphill finish.

Stage 7 Wrap: they rode past Sibari, once a place famous for being so wealthy everyone lazed around enjoying themselves but the race had to ride on for 200km. Initially there were three riders in the break but Simone Ponzi (CCC Sprandi) had a mechanical and lost contact leaving Giuseppe Fonzi (Willier-Selle Italia) and Dmitry Kozonchuk (Gazprom-Rusvelo) to ride on. The stage used a long section of an express road which meant no crowds and made the spectacle even more languid. The race came to life in the finish and Caleb Ewan had the support of his team mates and jumped just at the right time to take a straight line through the curving finish road.

The Route: a coastal procession for the first 85km and then the climb into the Gargano park via Monte Sant’Angelo, a 10km climb at 6% average but often 7%, it’s a regular road with many engineered hairpins. The descent isn’t as steep but it’s on a much narrower road with more irregular bends. They then follow the coast but this time via hillier route on a road that constantly rises and falls as they cross from cape to cape.

With 12km to go the head inland and climb the cape of Coppa del Fornaro, it’s not a categorised climb but it’s certainly a real ascent. The road goes up in two parts and it’s steep to start with 10% before a false flat and then a brief descent and then a kilometre at 8% before another false flat across the top and the descent into Peschici, first via a small road. Being well place here already is crucial.

The Finish: the profile above makes the finish look easy, as if it’s just a run down into town and then a short climb up. However the road through Peschici is awkward with a tight hairpin just after the 1km go to arch and then another tight hairpin around the 500m point, a sharp corner at 250m to go and then it’s uphill to the line, the roadbook says it maxes at 12% but it’s more 6-7%.

The Contenders: a good day for the breakaway. The sprinters have no chance for the finish so they won’t chase and with tomorrow’s Blockhaus summit finish looming none of the big teams will want to chase.

Among the breakaway picks we need to think of those who can win an uphill sprint but the field isn’t packed with proven uphill sprinters and stage snipers, let alone these kind of riders who are down on GC and we also need to think of tomorrow’s summit finish too which implies that some helpers will be required to save their energy so the likes of Enrico Gasparotto (Bahrein-Merida), José Herrada (Movistar) and Ben Hermans (BMC Racing) probably don’t get a ticket to ride. Among the riders think Matteo Montaguti and Ben Gastauer (Ag2r La Mondiale), Patrick Konrad (Bora-Hansgrohe). BMC Racing have shown their willing to use riders in breakaways so Silvan Dillier is a good pick again with Dylan Theuns a possibility too.

If it’s a bunch sprint then Geraint Thomas has shown he’s hunting for every second possible. Michael Woods won the bunch sprint in Terme Luigiane to show what might have been if his team had been able to pull the break back although since nobody was sprinting for the stage win or even time bonuses the result should be taken with some salt. Adam Yates, Thibaut Pinot and Bob Jungels are all candidates too.

Thomas, Dillier, Woods, Pinot, Konrad

Weather: sunny and mild with a top temperature of 23°C inland. A gentle breeze of 10km/h will blow from the north-east.

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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{ 22 comments… read them below or add one }

Ecky Thump May 13, 2017 at 6:52 am

@Inrng – I’ll see your ‘Ticket to Ride’, and raise you a ‘(I can’t get no) Satisfaction’, after this first week 🙂

In other news, I have learned a little of the Roman Wind Gods (The Venti).
Today we have Aquilo, the winged old man, but thankfully he’s in a benign mood.
Light a candle @Inrng and ask that they spare us all on Blockhaus?

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Rooto May 13, 2017 at 7:33 am

In the back of Geraint Thomas’s head is probably a little voice telling him that winning a bunch sprint would probably put him in pink – and what better way to guarantee Landa’s support on tomorrow’s climb?

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Tom May 13, 2017 at 7:52 am

Pretty sure the tactics for tomorrow is Landa following Quintana and Nibali and maybe even attacking on his own. That won’t change with Thomas having the jersey…

Thomas will of course do the sprint if it comes to that, but Sky won’t work for it…

Only thing I can see where a break doesn’t make it, is with Cannondale, willier and possibly dimension data all working together…
That would mean, that Haas needs to be better, and none of them get riders in the break. So it’s a tough ask!

If cannondale decide to bring it back, they will have a better chance today though. With the long ascent, they can really do some damage to the break with their strong mountain riders! And with the break probably going clear on the flat it may not contain a lot of mountain legs…

Busato is a pick I fancy, and stuyven must be eager! Also Fraile and possibly foliforov or Poland might want to go for mountain points, since tomorrow might be for the GC…

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Tom May 13, 2017 at 7:54 am

Astana might fit in there somewhere as well…

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J Evans May 13, 2017 at 7:44 am

Accidentally posted this onto Stage 6’s preview:
For a man who apparently doesn’t read the road book, Ewan got that sprint spot on tactically – Gaviria had to come from a mile back and still came close. (I think Ewan owes me debt of gratitude – the moment I shot my mouth off about him he was bound to win, such is my talent for predicting bike races.)
More finishes like that – much more exciting than a long straight and means the rides need tactics and skill as well as brute strength. Perhaps fewer long flat stages like that, though.
Should be another good finish today – and might even be interesting beforehand. It’s a shame Gilbert got injured, with the paucity of opposition he could have won a bundle of stages at this Giro. (Then again, same could be said of Sagan who, as ever, is doing the race for his sponsors.)

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Panda May 13, 2017 at 8:07 am

The backstage pass before the stage had Ewan holding up the road book. Maybe he read your post! And they announced the team’s aim was to get him first to the last corner, which they did.

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jerome May 13, 2017 at 8:54 am

Cannondale should just put someone in the break rather than trying to keep it together all day.

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Speckled Jim May 13, 2017 at 9:29 am

Chances that today’s break will have a rider from each of Wilier, CCC and Rusvelo?

Credit to the smaller teams for getting out in front, but it is becoming a bit repetitive and suggests the big teams are being extremely (disappointingly?) conservative. Good publicity for Colnago though….

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The Inner Ring May 13, 2017 at 10:15 am

Those C60s do look nice especially as the Rusvelo team are often very solid riders with hardly any upper body movement as they pedal.

We can see the gulf between the top teams in the World Tour and the second tier, the invitations are there largely to provide cannon fodder for the TV cameras with few exceptions, maybe Mareckzo can get a stage and Dimension Data in the absence of Cavendish are having to get in most moves.

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J Evans May 13, 2017 at 12:01 pm

If those teams have so little to add to the race they could at least have chosen Italian teams. OK, Rusvelo did OK last time, but CCC were a joke.
No doubt money spoke.
I’m hoping for some actual racing today, as I suspect tomorrow’s monoclimb will only be contested in the last 10 minutes.

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Larry T May 13, 2017 at 6:35 pm

I think Gazprom uses the V1-r model while UAE has the C60? The former, a one piece molded frame is made-somewhere-else while the latter is a tube and lug design claimed to be Made-in-Italy.
I have to laugh every time a Gazprom rider is shown on TV as my wife says, “Geez, those guys look horrible on those bikes!” Meanwhile the UAE guys look just fine – wonder how many of the UAE C60’s are made-to-measure?

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Nick May 14, 2017 at 1:17 am

The C60 seems to have about 18 different stock sizes, so made to measure or not, most of the UAE riders should be covered. Shame that they seem to be priced for oil barons too.

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Stewart May 13, 2017 at 10:07 am

If I were a betting man I’d have my money on Fraile from a breakway.

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The Inner Ring May 13, 2017 at 10:15 am

A good pick but you’d want long odds, no?

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Lee May 13, 2017 at 10:25 am

It’s about time Adam Hansen had a win, long overdue. Hope he gets the chance to “go long”, I think it looks like his kind of stage today.

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RonDe May 13, 2017 at 11:22 am

Anyone but Cannondale? I’m really warming to the idea of seeing just how winless they need to be before Vaughters quits in embarrassment. Two years at WT level and counting…..

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Oracle May 13, 2017 at 12:12 pm

Breakaway Busato, Paterski, Villella.
GC guys filling top 10.

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Anonymous May 13, 2017 at 1:49 pm

Fast and furious start to todays stage, fantastic.

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gabriele May 13, 2017 at 2:30 pm

Finally! And a great show in itself, worth the live.

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J Evans May 13, 2017 at 2:07 pm

Eurosport UK has the chance to show the whole stage, everyone knows it’s likely to be a stage where the break has to battle to get away and they don’t show most of it, instead choosing to show people talking (vacuously in the main – at least have them talking whilst showing the race).
Wilier and Gazprom spent all their energy in pointless breaks and being ‘punished’ – missing the one where they might have actually won something.

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Anonymous May 13, 2017 at 11:51 pm

The “punishment” duties seem totally pointless, (as a tv viewer) and the ambitions of the DS are hardly likely to be fulfilled by wearing out the team!! I agree. some of the talking and such like is detracting from the live action. And cutting off from the final few KM’s so that Rob Hayles can talk to us from a deserted road side bend, what’s the point of that??

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J Evans May 14, 2017 at 2:39 am

Agreed – Eurosport’s coverage seems to be filled with ever increasing amounts of garbage. I wouldn’t mind so much if they showed it wiht 80k to go, but you usually get Flecha babbling in the last 10k and they often continue to have interviews with riders (they don’t say anything – also, during the race, you have inevitably and repeatedly told us ‘what Tom Dumoulin told you) so that the screen you’re watching on is small (same for all the stuff about people’s heart rates, etc. – feel show us on the bottom of the screen, if you must, but don’t take up most of the screen with it).

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