Giro Stage 10 Preview

Tuesday, 15 May 2018

A break or a bunch sprint? There’s a good chance the breakaway riders stay away on this stage, the longest of the race.

The Route: the longest stage of the race at 239km, now increased to 244km one of several stages to see the distance bumped up since the maps were published. What’s an extra five kilometres? Either way it’s almost enough for a one day Monument or the Worlds. It starts in Penne which is also what many riders could be eating for breakfast as they fuel for the day. But not too much and not too late otherwise they’ll be tasting it again for the opening climb, a serious ascent up the flanks of the Gran Sasso, 10km at 6% on a twisting, wooded road into the mountains but with steeper sections. It’s ideal for the breakaway to go clear.

The last climb of the day to Annifo is a a short bump over up to the hilltop village, a descent and then a brief unmarked climb up to Nocera Umbra.

The Finish: it’s flat and there’s a sharp right chased by a sharp left just before the 1km to go point but the road is wide as they tour the town’s industrial quarter before wide finishing straight.

The Contenders: a sprint or breakaway? There could be a tug of war, the flat finish is suitable for a bunch sprint but who will chase? Quick Step, EF Education First-Drapac and Bora-Hansgrohe but few others will want to join them and there could be a stand off between these three or they might try to place a rider into the day’s move.

Otherwise this is a stage that many will have marked for themselves, especially the heavier rouleurs who are at a disadvantage in the mountains. Tony Martin (Katusha-Alpecin) comes to mind but seems less dominant and so a harder pick. Lars Bak (Lotto-FixAll), often a worker, could take his chance and Jürgen Roelandts and Alessandro de Marchi (BMC Racing) come to mind and Max Schachmann (Quick Step) is out of the white jersey but does he have room to ride for himself? There are many more contenders. Otherwise Elia Viviani is the obvious choice for the sprint.

Elia Viviani
Bennett, Modolo, De Marchi, Bak, Martin, Roelandts

Weather: rain and a top temperature of 19°C.

TV: Host broadcaster RAI offers the best coverage, Eurosport has the rights for many countries across Europe and Australia and it’s streamed via Fubo and Flobikes in the US and Dazn in Japan. The finish is forecast for 5.15pm.

Augie March May 15, 2018 at 6:31 am

No stage 9 review?

Obviously everyone can consult the tealeaves/internet rumours/team rah rah about Froome and Aru’s form, but one rider I wanted to highlight is Dimension Data’s Ben O’Connor. He not only beat Froome and Aru up the final climb, but also Woods, Betancur, Dennis and even his putative team leader, Louis Meintjes. I think that DD should probably back O’Connor, who now sits 14th in the GC, over Meintjes, as the latter seems to have hit his ceiling as being a guy who can scrape into the top 10 of a GT but never threaten for a stage or the overall. Perhaps Meintjes should switch to stage hunting or reinvent himself as a valuable mountain domestique. Just a thought.

IanPa May 15, 2018 at 6:43 am

Do you think Meintjes can ride fast enough to be a mountain domestique?

Augie March May 15, 2018 at 6:50 am

Probably, but that would involve thrashing himself on the lower slopes rather than trying to make it to the top 30 seconds behind the real GC contenders as he has been doing of late. Look, I’m not being harsh on the guy out of spite, it’s just that you see some riders who in time learn to recognise their own limits and shift roles into something they can excel at. And I know its still early in this Giro, but for Dimension Data it might be a better bet to try and protect O’Connor’s GC position from here on.

Digahole May 15, 2018 at 7:22 am

He’s so young and there’s so far to go… the chances of him having a real terrible day or running outta gas in the last week maybe too high?
Anyway, fine times for Australian cycling with Mitchelton Scott in charge, a good ride from Dennis so far and Haig and O’connor coming through

Augie March May 15, 2018 at 7:24 am

Absolutely, and given the way Froome is riding I’m sure Porte (along with Nibali, Quintana and all the rest) is looking forward to July. The track record of riders attempting the Giro-Tour double has not been amazing of late.

IanPa May 15, 2018 at 7:38 am

Agree, not having a dig either, just think he has a max pace and that’s back of group, rather than comfortable in it and being able to force. He might develop though, only young.

DD and O’Connor though looks the better call for the remainder of the race though.

Great race so far, hope it continues that way.

SLO_cyclist May 15, 2018 at 8:39 am

@Augie March: I don’ t think Froome falls in the regular bucket of riders attempting Giro&Tour double and failing. Such rides win the Giro and lose the Tour. Froome already lost the Giro. So his best excuse can be that he came to the Giro to train for the Tour, even though we all know it’s not true.

Davesta May 15, 2018 at 10:04 am

Unfortunately though, he’s not that young anymore – 26 years old, so no longer a white jersey contender, and only a year younger than Bardet, Pinot, Dumoulin & Aru…

He’s clearly a top climber; one of the best in the world – he’s twice finished top 10 in the TdF – but he’s also clearly lacking compared to the very top guys, and has never really threatened to win a stage, let alone a stage race…and now he appears to have taken a bit of a step backwards at this Giro, unfortunately, and is certainly being out-shon by Ben O’Connor…

I wonder how long Dimension Data will continue to back him. The WT points available from a top-10 Grand Tour finish are substantial and obviously useful to a team, but it presumably comes with a fairly hefty price tag. And at some point surely they decide to invest their money elsewhere…?

David May 15, 2018 at 10:08 am

“it’s just that you see some riders who in time learn to recognise their own limits and shift roles into something they can excel at”…

Something that Teejay desperately needs to realise.

Michael B May 15, 2018 at 9:18 am

Meintjes Is never going to win a GT and he’s hardly the most exciting rider but to be fair to him he’s only 26 and has more top 10 GT finishes than Richie Porte (who’s seven years older!) and Tom Dumoulin (who’s currently on two). Even Bardet and Pinot only have one top 10 more apiece. He’s got the capability to be a super domestique, whether he has the mentality for that is another issue.

Giorgio May 15, 2018 at 7:05 am

+1

The Inner Ring May 15, 2018 at 9:32 am

I wanted to review Stage 9 and the opening part of the race but am travelling and delays, poor/no internet connection got the better of things, just doing this preview took an age. Otherwise it would have said “we ain’t seen nothing yet” and if Yates looks very good we’ve yet to have a proper mountain stage with repeat climbs.

Ben O’Connor is doing great, a rare bit of good news for his team who are having a season to forget so far. I wonder if Meintjes will persist with the Giro or rest and recover in order to salvage something at the Tour, if not a result then some UCI points as the team will start to need these.

Richard S May 15, 2018 at 10:02 am

Yes I mean an Australian being on the edges of the top 15 ahead of his out of form team leader is the big story here, I’d imagine that’s all the Gazzetta Dello Sport is talking about…

DAVE May 15, 2018 at 2:12 pm

Geez people have a lot to say on Froome – ‘So his best excuse can be that he came to the Giro to train for the Tour, even though we all know it’s not true.’ – best excuse? He’s won 4 tours? Who really cares what his best excuse is? Who really cares if he wins or loses here or the Tour, just let him be, he’s competing. Let’s enjoy Yates n’all.

Great comment on Meintjes above – interesting he has more top10s than Porte!
He’s another rider who’s starting to get overly criticised. Things could still happen for him one way or another, at 26 he’s achieved a lot already

I’m already excited for the Zon’ with Dumoulin vs Yates – it’s going to be fascinating!

mabarbie May 15, 2018 at 4:31 pm

Surely it is not only the rider but team management who decides what a cyclist role is in the team, be it team leader, road captain or domestique. If the rider then disagrees he can go find himself another team. Mentjes must be earning enough UCI points to keep him in that position for the moment for the team, or maybe the team need to be more ambitious?!

Giorgio May 15, 2018 at 7:07 am

I’d put my money on Brambilla. He was on the breakaway the other day but didn’t last. Today could be his day.

Andy R May 15, 2018 at 9:32 am

I fancy Mohoric if the break sticks today. He’s climbing well and has the cojones to try a move on one of those ramps towards the end and the power to stay away.

The Inner Ring May 15, 2018 at 9:32 am

Good pick. The trouble today is picking who gets in the break and then with the flat finish who might win from it.

cd May 15, 2018 at 5:12 pm

Nice call!

Andy R May 15, 2018 at 5:57 pm

Cheers! I had an inkling about him today but it was also a bit of wish-fulfillment: he’s in my fantasy team and I’m struggling a bit…

DJS May 15, 2018 at 5:27 pm

Great pick! And a very interesting stage…

Utah May 15, 2018 at 9:34 am

I reckon he’ll be top form for the tour. Perhaps he was told that he could collect his huge appearance fee but had to follow a training regime that meant he would still peak for the tour – hence his current form. I just cant see Sky risking the only thing that really matters to them – winning the TDF.

Richard S May 15, 2018 at 10:08 am

I don’t see the point in anyone chasing a break today, unless it has somebody dangerous in it of course. EF Drapac, Bora and QS would be better served getting someone in the break than wearing out their riders in the longest stage of the race. That doesn’t seem to be how it works these days though and I wouldn’t be surprised if it ends in some sort of bunch finish. For the sake of interest a ‘Fuga Bidone’ getting loads of time and putting someone relatively unheralded in pink would be nice for a change.

Ecky Thump May 15, 2018 at 10:49 am

Interesting that Inner Ring cites Schachmann as a possible breakaway contender.
He’s only 3’37” down on GC.
I think it could be a smart move on Quick Step’s part; everyone expects them to chase for Viviani but they could really sock it to the other GC teams by putting Schachmann out front – 3.37 is at that tantalising distance that you can let go but at some point it starts to get uncomfortable for some one and so a chain reaction is kicked off in the peloton?

Scarabeo May 15, 2018 at 11:38 am

Seriously I think Jarlinson Pantano deserves at least half chain. He’s going to try in more than one stages and tomorrow could be his first chance.

Larry T May 15, 2018 at 12:09 pm

“we ain’t seen nothing yet” is correct. In effect the Giro is only at the start of week 2…way too soon to be contacting any fat ladies about singing.
As everyone knows I’m far from a fan of Il Frullatore but (horrors!) he might even come good and win this thing yet, though I hope the sporting gods keep messing with him.
Vai Aru! Vai Pozzovivo! W Il Giro!

jc May 15, 2018 at 12:31 pm

My first thought on watching Simon Yates win the brilliant stage the other day was “he’s won the Giro” but with a bit more thought am really not sure at all. Nairo Quintana was leading Tom Dumoulin and Thibaut Pinot by 24 seconds last year, all the talk after Blockhaus was he is going to win, we know how that ended. The year before Vincenzo Nibali was nearly 4:30 down and the Italian media was going into frenzy mode dissecting his disastrous Giro, again we know how that ended.

I think Simon Yates is a tougher character than either NQ or Steven Kruiswijk but to lead one of the GTs for the length of time needed here is some achievement, especially with a longish TT to come. Chris Froome cannot be completely written off, he was not in a good place on Sunday but if he can get through the next few days and recover from his injuries then he still is potentially in the mix, we know he has the mental toughness required.

I am going the stick with Tom Dumoulin, he is very likely to gain lots of time on the TT, my doubt is the Zoncolan, if he can come in within 15 seconds of Simon Yates then I think he must be favourite, if he looses 1 minute plus it would be advantage SY. What might tip the balance is if TD can pull off a stage like Oropa last year, the time bonuses might be critical (Simon Yates may come to regret those seconds he gave away on Etna) those not so easy this time I suspect

Gingerflash May 15, 2018 at 2:38 pm

My view of the “ride into form” is that it represents pretty awful hubris, arrogance, overconfidence.
It has also been said by someone in his camp (Portal maybe) that they intend to win the Giro at 90%.
It really does seem that he has underestimated the level of the race, the level of his rivals and the explosive nature of the racing. As he’s said, he’s been shocked at how full-on it is every day. It’s much harder to control. I can’t remember an edition controlled or strangled in the way we’ve seen happen at the Tour, which i guess is why so many of us much prefer it.

AP May 15, 2018 at 3:33 pm

Froome isn’t arrogant, he knows exactly what sacrifice is needed to win a grand tour. (There are however pros out there who’ve never won a grand tour but nonetheless strut like a peacock.)

For some reason he loves the TdF, he has made that clear repeatedly over many years… but he can’t bury himself every day in 4 consecutive tours. Also, he couldn’t know how age and distractions would ruin his plans until he actually started trying to race.

Digahole May 16, 2018 at 6:29 am

To plan to win 4 consecutive GT’s… arrogance or confidence? Even if he’s at the pointy end of both the Giro and the Tour this year it would be remarkable.

Shifting Balance May 16, 2018 at 2:22 pm

Froome’s TdF history shows he began the first couple in top form, took the lead early, and then clung on despite weakening in the last week. Given these experiences, I don’t see how coming slightly off top form with a view to his form rising and peaking in the final week – often, and as in this Giro, the hardest week of racing – can be considered arrogant at all.

His fairly poor showing so far has been amplified by two falls and so is not just low form. So, given his form and falls, his current position isn’t too bad. He has time to make up but his form might well be improving, and – so long as he doesn’t fall off again – he will be healing and beginning to feel better. One can make a pretty good argument that in the next 1.5 weeks he will be on an upward trajectory, whereas people in front of him may well be fighting to maintain their level. If he takes 30 seconds on his rivals – especially TD – before the time trial he will be in with a chance as this will be motivating to him and his team and demoralizing to his opponents. This Giro might be a magnification of those stages in the Vuelta where he’s been dropped multiple times only to claw his way back. In one of those Vuelta stages I recall Valverde, Contador and Quintana (I think) looking back in consternation to see him grinding his way back.

For me, the race is brilliantly poised for a very exciting last week.

Vitus May 16, 2018 at 9:58 pm

His showing isn’t poor cause he has form and fall two times. He just falls cause his form isn’t good. All he showed pre-Giro was mediocre form, and that continues now.

Augie March May 15, 2018 at 9:04 am

I have a feeling that he might replicate Quintana last year by not winning the Giro then not winning the Tour. Of course he could still win both as the future is not yet written but for a guy who has always meticulously prepared himself for a GT this “ride into form in week three” seems like expectation lowering.

Whale Oil Beef Hooked May 15, 2018 at 9:06 pm

Isn’t that sort of what Froome did in the Tour last year, so there was something left for the Vuelta?

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