Giro Stage 12 Preview

Thursday, 17 May 2018

A stage for the sprinters with familiar roads from recent editions of the Giro including the late climb of Tre Monti before the finish on the Imola motor racing circuit.

Simon Yates, Osimo 2018

Stage 11 review: another hard day, the breakaway was kept on a tight leash and brought back just as they started the final kilometres around the hilltop town of Osimo. Zdeněk Štybar and Tim Wellens jumped away but if they got a gap keeping it was harder, they began to mark each other and in no time what was left of the bunch caught them thanks to a big pull by Mitchelton-Scott’s Jack Haig. Simon Yates jumped clear and stayed away for the stage win, just holding off Tom Dumoulin who, if he lacked the zip on the final climb, kept Yates in sight all the time and presumably had a very similar climbing time given he was a few seconds behind when Yates launched his bid. Behind the gaps opened up and Fabio Aru, George Bennett, Richard Carapaz, Miguel Ángel López and Chris Froome all lost time, just seconds but they’re adding up. So far so good for Yates who hasn’t made a mistake all race and if he’s yet to be tested in the real high mountains he’s not lacking confidence, besides he won atop La Colmiane in March. Dumoulin should be more confident too but the Zoncolan will reveal all.

The Route: 214km into Emilia Romagna along the coast and by the beaches until Rimini and often on long straight roads. There are few secrets to this route.

The Finish: a finishing circuit which includes part of the Imola motor circuit and then climbing up the Tre Monti, 4km at 4% but as the profile shows it’s got steep sections and flat parts. The descent is the same too, in fact the profile doesn’t do it justice because it descends, then rises a little before descending again like some fairground slide and all with some twisting corners which won’t be easy if the forecast rain arrives, in fact read very slippery and aquaplaning. The finishing straight is on the motor circuit. It was used in the 2009 Italian national championships too.

The Contenders: Simon Yates? Just joking he’s winning aplenty but let’s pick a sprinter who can get over small climb. In anything most of the remaining sprinters in the Giro meet the criterion. Elia Viviani can do it and has a strong team to help him, Max Schachman and Zdeněk Štybar can be tasked with following any moves uphill. Sam Bennett is versatile too and has less pressure which means he needn’t be forced to launch his sprint too early. The stress is on for Sacha Modolo (EF Education First-Drapac) and Niccolò Bonifazio (Bahrain-Merida) as they continue to hunt for an opening, a stage win.

A late attack is possible, there’s only 7.5km left from the top of the climb to the finish and the descent is twisty, it’s hard to chase. Matej Mohorič is an obvious pick for his descending skills, Valerio Conti is punchy and Jarlinson Pantano is another pick. Otherwise Ag2r La Mondiale’s Matteo Montaguti is the regional rider.

Elia Viviani
Sam Bennett, Sacha Modolo, Niccolò Bonifazio
Mohorič, Conti, Pantano, Schachman, Štybar

Weather: 21°C at best, rain is likely including a high chance of downpours and thunderstorms.

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 in the US and Dazn in Japan. The finish is forecast for 5.15pm.

{ 71 comments… read them below or add one }

jc May 17, 2018 at 7:49 am

Yesterday confirmed a few things; the winner will be either Simon Yates or Tom Dumoulin with Thibaut Pinot an outside chance in case of double disaster. Will the effort SY is putting in come back to haunt him in the end ? Just how good a time trial can TD deliver? There seems to be a feeling around that we already have “maximum Yates” but that “peak Dumoulin” is yet to come. After a sprinters intermezzo for the next couple of stage across the plains 3 key stages await.

Domenico Pozzovivo has a chance of a podium place , though the TT will be a hurdle in that ambition.

Rohan Dennis must be an outside chance of a podium too but how will he cope with the big mountain stages, an issue for one of the top three might open the way.

Chris Froome’s race is run. What does he do now? He says he intends to stay and given the appearance money it would be difficult to withdraw. It is unlikely he would be given licence to hunt a stage victory unless he looses a bunch more time, something I guess he would be loathe to do. Do Sky try to get a stage win with Sergio Henao? I dont think Wout Poels has the form to do so.

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Lose Police May 17, 2018 at 11:53 am

you did that deliberately….

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Shifting Balance May 17, 2018 at 2:49 pm

People profess that the Giro is the best GT because its unpredictability. It therefore seems odd that many are claiming the race is almost run and the podium decided, with just some switching around of places possible, when we haven’t really started in the mountains yet. If the likes of Froome and Aru can lose three minutes plus up until now, then Dumoulin and Yates and Pinot can lose the same – and more – once the real tests arrive this weekend. Pinot is a notoriously poor descender and earlier in the year lost 30 seconds on a descent. Yates often has a bad day in the high mountains, and Dumoulin too. This is still a wide open race and I suggest boldly that two of the three current podium won’t be there by the end.

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Motormouth May 17, 2018 at 3:05 pm

Unless I’m mistaken, Simon has never even placed on the podium in a grand tour gc. As much as I like him and would love to see him win this, it’s not even assured he’ll be on the final podium at this point. He’s had some disastrous ITT performances and jour sans in the past, and his team is untested as far as I am concerned as a gc defending squad over 3 weeks.

And Froome, as bad as he looks, is a multiple time champion and that counts for a lot. And his team is still stacked and will go the distance.

Fingers crossed for Pozzo, I always liked him even if he’s as ungraceful on a bike as Froome to watch haha.

And I agree about Rohan, I’m curious how far along his mountain legs are. He’s an interesting rider.

Good race so far!

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Morten Reippuert May 17, 2018 at 6:18 pm

Henao has been chaseing stagewin since Gran Sasso. Today it was the 3rd day in row

– he has obviously been given a freepass by the team which indicates they have lost all ambitions of Froome even making the podium.

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AP May 18, 2018 at 2:12 am

Froome should work for Yates if he gets his climbing legs back. Yates rides for an Aussie team and Murdoch’s Aussie, and Adam and Simon will be good allies to have in future races. And best of all, cycling forums will be furious.

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Kit May 17, 2018 at 7:56 am

Some good points.

I think you are right and Yates may have peaked. Hopefully he can hold on and take a minimum of 30 seconds on the Zonc. Ideally he doesn’t want to be chasing TD in the final week and that will be tough for him and the team.

Still all to play for!

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JH May 17, 2018 at 8:03 am

Exciting stuff from Yates and MTS again.

Are we ready to anoint Dumoulin as the winner yet? 20 seconds on the opening 9.7km TT equates to 70+ seconds on a 34.2km, without taking into account the course will favour Dumoulin far more than Yates. It probably means Dennis isn’t that far off a podium if he can minimise losses at the weekend. All those brilliant days from Yates to be wiped out by 20 minutes solo effort from Dumoulin…. not sure if ITTs are going to be flavour of the month… but then again, the was a route for Dumoulin vs. Froome. Not Dumoulin vs. the climbers.

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Watts May 17, 2018 at 9:08 am

Smaller riders have a bigger relative Vo2max than bigger riders, so your calcutation is not going to make sense to stretch out like that. I expect the time difference to be bigger than 70 seconds in the TT. The shorter, the better for Yates but in a 35K TT he cannot hide, he will struggle. If he manages to lose under 2 minutes I will be very surprised. If he loses only 70 seconds it will be a miracle and I will owe you a tip of the hat. We will see!

I was never a fan of the way the Yates brothers racked up their top 10s in the tour the last few years, but I guess following wheels where what they could do at the time. But I am an instant fan after seeing Yates in this Giro. He is a bold rider really. His initiative to attack is what we wanted from the likes of Quintana all these years, which never really happened.

What a giro this is! So many stories to tell already, and so many more to come.

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gabriele May 17, 2018 at 11:52 am

The question is that, although it is perfectly reasonable for him to do so, all of Yates “attacking” has been between -1.5 and -2.0 km to the line.
Quintana 2017 had made more attacks than Yates and had been more kms on the front alone… on Blockhaus only! – obviously, “all these years” we’ve also got from Quintana more attacks from further out, and multiple times each race (every single one of them more significant than what Yates showed until now at the Giro), say, at the TdF 2013, Giro 2014, TdF 2015, Vuelta 2016. Not to speak of minor stage races. But I guess that some people tend to be able to remember just the Tour de France – and two edition at most.
Note that Simon has proven several times in the past that he’s not afraid of attacking from far, not at all, but this Giro, given his route, has been mostly about uphill sprinting. We’re seeing Purito stuff, essentially. Yates is taking the most of it all and racing the best possible way, I’m not blaming him, but that’s the race we’ve had.
It’s like a more serious version of the Vuelta – more serious because when you get to those last kms you’ve endured longer and more complicated efforts than in the Spanish race.
Nonetheless, the only things which broke a Vuelta-like pattern were the two Chaves-related events, for good or ill!
Anyway, the nature of the main contenders makes this extremely exciting, and it’s still the first half of the Giro, after all – more significant and differentiated stages, although not many, are yet to come.

PS You’re absolutely right about the ITT, *special effects* aside (being the in-form man, being less tired, rest day whatever, the maglia rosa superpowers). Besides, there’s a significant chance of a headwind, quite common in that area given the course and the hour of the day, which could mean slaughter time for non-specialists (it was already a factor in last year’s first ITT, this time it could be even more constant and directly against the riders).

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Larry T May 17, 2018 at 12:07 pm

+1 As per usual.
I wonder if those so eager to declare the race “done and dusted” as certain folks like to say, are betting any money on their chosen winner?
Just two years ago Vincenzo Nibali’s chances were written off by plenty of commenters here as I recall.

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Digahole May 17, 2018 at 2:53 pm

Very true about Quintana’s attacks, and agree that Yates will likely ship boatloads of time in the TT.
But, for right now, I’m enjoying watching a race leader throwing everything at it and obviously enjoying himself. Yesterday in his press conference they asked if he was burning too many matches, too early and the response was, basically, yeah maybe, but I’m making them burn theirs too. Maybe he’ll regret it, but I appreciate that attitude in the first half of a GT.
Yeah, so far they’ve been in the last couple of km’s, but the way his confidence is, seems likely he’ll try a Quintana-esque long ranger come the big mountains… maybe he’ll die trying, but either way will make for good watching

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The Inner Ring May 17, 2018 at 9:12 am

It’s a very different course, Jerusalem had hills, corners and riders needed to accelerate a lot. Rovereto is mainly along a large valley, it’s much more about getting into a big gear and holding it. But it is also in the third week of the race and by then being fresh counts too. I wouldn’t do too many extrapolations and calculations before the Zoncolan.

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Richard S May 17, 2018 at 10:26 am

Looking at the profile on your Giro route preview it looks like the first half or so of the TT is gently downhill. This would suit the big guys turning the big gears getting up to terminal velocity I would have thought? I remember a similar one years ago where Zulle, a sort of bespectacled 90s Dumoulin, caught Pantani for 3 minutes at about halfway. It would be more dramatic to have Dumoulin starting after Yates but at this stage its looking likely to be the other way round.

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Michael B May 17, 2018 at 12:09 pm

“It would be more dramatic to have Dumoulin starting after Yates but at this stage its looking likely to be the other way round.”

It wouldn’t be that dramatic as it would mean Dumoulin was already in pink and the TT would be all about him annihilating the opposition, ha! Seriously though, I know what you mean. I hope Yates can limit his losses to a couple of minutes and it’s game on for GC. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Dumoulin put 3 minutes+ into Yates if the course is as predicted though.

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AP May 17, 2018 at 2:55 pm

I can’t see the Zoncolan time gaps between the top 3 being anything like the TT time gaps. The TT is surely why Dumoulin was convinced to come back and defend. To him it is the Giro.

The rest day might help Yates slightly in that he won’t have to hold back over the weekend. On the other hand, the Chaves disaster doesn’t fill me with confidence that they know how to make the rest day count.

Unsettled weather could be around for the TT, maybe that could knock Dumoulin off his stride a bit, Yates will need some piece of divine intervention I think.

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Jerome May 17, 2018 at 8:12 am

Regardless with multiple stage wins, Yates, and by extension the team, have already had a successfull race. If Yates holds on for a podium its an added bonus.

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Utah May 17, 2018 at 8:13 am

In case anyone is interested, I reviewed all the ITT’s Yates has done since the beginning of 2016.

The two comparable TT’s are as follows:

2017 Vuelta al Pais Vasco Stage 6, 28km, relatively flat. Finished 26th, 1.48 down on winner Primoz Roglic. Prior to the start of the stage Yates was 26th on GC, 1.45 minutes down.

2016 Vuelta a España Stage 19, 37km, relatively flat, finished 32nd, 3.45 down on winner Froome.
Prior to the start of the stage Yates was 5th on GC, 6 minutes down.

Make of it what you will.

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Utah May 17, 2018 at 8:19 am

Also, the only relevant ITT in which they have both raced was the Giro prologue. Prior to that was a 2011 under 23 race called Internationale Thüringen-Rundfahrt, which is funny because it sounds like fart.

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AK May 17, 2018 at 10:18 am

With about 7000 languages in the world, there must be at least one in which ‘Utah’ is an offensive word. Think about that. ‘Fahrt’ is something like ‘trip’ in German, ‘rund’ translates to ’round’. ‘Rundfahrt’ is therefore pretty much a translation of ‘Tour’.

But thanks for crunching the numbers. So we could say that we expect Yates to lose anything between 1 and 4 minutes to Dumoulin. That certainly keeps the excitement going.

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Tovarishch May 17, 2018 at 12:05 pm

Fart means luck in Russian. Often used for the name of restaurants.

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Franciso May 18, 2018 at 1:20 am

Being in Cyrillic, English-speaking foreigners will be non the wiser.

Anonymous May 18, 2018 at 4:24 pm

I bet that 10y old kid from Utah is rolling on the floor now.

Sam G May 17, 2018 at 12:57 pm

LOL

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Anonymous May 17, 2018 at 12:58 pm

How old are you, 10 ?

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Anonymous May 18, 2018 at 4:23 pm

Utah is also funny, cause it sounds like deineMudda. Depp.

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Ablindeye May 17, 2018 at 8:18 am

Yesterday was again interesting. LLS, De Marchi and Masnada were so strong that it turned it into another hard day with the two Lotto’s chasing for the stage on the other end of the rope. It ironically made things more selective and meant their stage hunters ended up getting swamped by GC contenders. Suspect we will see more of those 3 in breaks to come, if LLS gets let off the leash occasionally that is.

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Gian May 17, 2018 at 8:32 am

Formolo must really be ruing his performance on Etna. He’s looked in great form since then.

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J Evans May 17, 2018 at 10:00 am

Yes, I’ve thought that.
He had a bike change or problem, didn’t he?
But why did it go so wrong after that?

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Andy R May 17, 2018 at 12:27 pm

I remember him getting held up by a crash, but the CN report suggests he crashed. Maybe he crashed due to a crash in front of him.

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The GCW / Strictly Amateur May 17, 2018 at 1:25 pm

I believe INRING wrote He crashed, as I inquired. Still could top 10 in Rome. His future looks good.

A couple for the sprinters first (I want to say splinters) before Saturday’s explosion. Till then all talk.

How many sprinters will hang it up before things get out of hand Saturday?

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gabriele May 17, 2018 at 1:33 pm

He had actually crashed little before the climb started, then it was a combination of being hurt (not much), nerves, bad management of effort and a broken wheel (missing spoke) which he decided *not* to change. After crashing, he only thought about coming back at high speed when he’d better switch wheels with Benedetti, but then he found himself alone – and with the team car too long a way behind – when he realised that the broken spoke was being a problem… so he went on. Probably, having to come back fast to the front group when the speed was that huge (Astana mode) made him blow, especially when the hard section -10kms to go was tackled full throttle less than 15′ later. We’d need his power data to understand the relevance of the technical problem, but in such a situation (and with reduced team support) I wouldn’t be surprised if it was mainly nerves and desperation.

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J Evans May 17, 2018 at 1:49 pm

Thanks. Seems like a catalogue of calamities.

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gabriele May 17, 2018 at 2:20 pm

To give you a term of comparison, A. Yates’s Blockhaus climb list year, which was billed by some as sort of a triumph, meant him losing 4’39” (Thomas was at 5’08”). Of course, it was a different story, but Adam, unlike the Sky guys, was relatively unscathed and received great team support and correct pacing (unlike Formolo). He hadn’t lost that much because of the crash in itself. And I’d agree that it was a good performance, indeed. It’s just that being distanced when the group goes full gas onto the final climb is awful – and slipstream was also much less relevant on most of the Blockhaus climb, while Etna presented several high speed sections.

Morten Reippuert May 17, 2018 at 6:26 pm

rumor is his electronic gear malfunctioned and he could shift.

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gabriele May 17, 2018 at 6:37 pm

Could be. The sort of things we’ll never be told clearly, for too obvious sponsor reasons.

piwakawaka May 17, 2018 at 8:37 am

The great thing is Yates and MS still have to make the race to win it, even better you can bet they will try to find more time, and Chavez can be an uber-domestique, which could make all the difference.

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Richard S May 17, 2018 at 8:59 am

I think I’m with those who favour Dumoulin for victory despite how impressive Yates has looked so far. Yates has admitted he is scared of the TT and I think we can expect him to lose 2 minutes there. So to give himself a bit of a buffer so that he can’t be ambushed on an innocuous stage he still needs 2 more minutes on Dumoulin to feel at ease. Seems unlikely. But then again if Dumoulin gets in difficulty on Zoncolan or the Finestre he could lose a whole lot more, as could anyone else. It all makes for a good watch.

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AK May 17, 2018 at 9:08 am

As much as everyone loves to extrapolate, I think this Giro is still wide open. Anyone can have a bad day and if that happens on any of the last two mountain stages there will be minutes lost.
Does anyone know how Dumoulin and Yates compare when it comes to descending? This may turn out to be crucial in stages where Yates can take a 20s advantage on a climb that is not the last one of the day. If Tom can take that time back on a descent it will make a big difference for his total losses at the end of the stage.

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MG May 17, 2018 at 9:52 am

This is really boiling up to be a classic grand tour, potentially on a par with the 2010 Giro (my personal high water mark) if it continues in this vein.

A genuine clash of riding strengths, ambitious racing, fabulous scenery (once we got back to Europe) and not a race-killing Skybot train in sight!

I wouldn’t want to pick a winner right now, but I’d be delighted for anyone out of Yates, Dumoulin, Pozzo or Pinot, all of whom I like as bike racers.

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Richard S May 17, 2018 at 10:28 am

Its interesting that its not only Froome that seems to be off colour but the whole Sky team appear to be less dominant and visible than usual. Unless they are just not bothering being on the front as they are not required to chase/defend anything.

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AK May 17, 2018 at 10:36 am

The whole Sky train approach only makes sense if you have the strongest rider in your team. Otherwise the opponents will just thankfully suck your wheels until everyone gets tired and then take off, leaving your leader gasping for air with exhausted team mates as support. If they had put Poels, De La Cruz and Henao max power on the front trying to rip the peleton apart up Etna or Gran Sasso they would probably have lost Froome off the back.

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J Evans May 17, 2018 at 9:59 am

Some almost seem eager to decide/know who is going to win and – pleasingly – it’s still too soon to tell. We’ve no way of knowing how TD and SY will do in the mountains, nor how others might do much better – although a sudden upsurge in form for those who are struggling would be borderline miraculous.

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jc May 17, 2018 at 12:01 pm

Looking at the top 10, which covers every rider within 3 minutes of Simon Yates there really do not appear to be that many realistic options for the podium. Yes you can look back to 2016 when Vincenzo Nibali came from 4:30 or so down but dont think there are riders of his calibre lurking in the top 10 ready to pounce on bad luck for the leader . Here we know a number of the top 10 will struggle in the TT. If Tom Dumoulin crashes or punctures it might offer opportunities for those further back back but they need for both Simon Yates and Thibaut Pinot to have serious bad luck too. You could make a case for Richard Carapaz or George Bennett making the podium but difficult to see more than that.

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J Evans May 17, 2018 at 12:30 pm

However, outside the top 10 are quite a few riders who were considered podium contenders prior to the race and are still within that 4.30 you mention.
As I say, it would see borderline miraculous, but as Froome himself said ‘stranger things have happened’.
And going by their history, obviously Froome would be the man most likely (even though it doesn’t look at all likely).
Froome is doing badly because his form is poor. There could be a number of reasons for this.
It could be just because he’s not properly fit. It could be because he’s timed it so that he peaks in the third week. It could be that he never had any interest in winning this race and is only here for the appearance money, and is only interested in being in proper form for the TdF. It could be that the media stuff has got to him. It could be that he’s no longer taking certain substances if he was taking them before. It could be that he’s just past it. It could be that the crashes injured him.
All of these are possibilities (to discount one, is bias, pure and simple – the same as it would be to insist that one of these reasons is definitely ‘the one’, when we don’t know: it could be one, some, all or none of the above).
I wouldn’t be completely writing off the likes of Froome, Aru and Lopez yet – not completely.

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JT May 17, 2018 at 1:03 pm

I would be tempted to discount the “he is only here for the money” theory. He did a lot of reckon for the key stages, why would he do it if he wasn’t interested in winning ?

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Gargatouf May 17, 2018 at 10:20 am

Would be interesting to see what happens if Pinot has a good TT. Big if I know as I seem to remember him having a couple of bad TT’s last year, bu on his day he’s a good TTer, so he could gain some time on Yates. Not much but maybe enough to make it even more interesting in the final week and make it a 3 horse race instead of the expected duel between Yates and Dumoulin.

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Alpen May 17, 2018 at 11:28 am

Most interestingly, Pinot took 30 sec-1 min from Dumoulin on the hardest stages last year…the big question is whether Yates will crack in the high mountains or not.

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Simmers May 17, 2018 at 12:25 pm

If I recall correctly, Pinot only started taking time on Dumoulin when the latter had incidents or made mistakes. TD matched him on Etna and Blockhaus, beat him on Oropa, and easily kept up with him at Ortisei (where Pinot eventually took time because Dumoulin, Quintana and Nibali only had eyes for each other).

The only stages where Pinot gained time on Dumoulin were the Bormio stage (where Dumoulin’s climbing time on the Stelvio was practically the same), stage 19 where Dumoulin managed to get caught napping, causing him to waste energy in chase of the 1st group, and finally on the penultimate stage (10 seconds at best there).

All in all, I think they were evenly matched on the climbs.

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gabriele May 17, 2018 at 1:17 pm

@Simmers
I see your point and partly agree (Pinot rarely could make a difference against Dumoulin – and when he did, he was often taking advantage of others’ attacks).

Yet, your analysis is quite biased in favour of Dumoulin. Etna was a no contest, nonsense to count it in, and if Blockhaus had been Pinot vs. Dumoulin, without other contenders with strongest climbing abilities whom Pinot felt forced to match, the French would surely have put at least a little time on Dumoulin – given that in worse race condition for Pinot, they arrived together!
Trying to reply to attacks as strong as those who Quintana threw in at the time (or producing them) will cause you much more trouble than pacing yourself up with a regular effort, even more so if the part of the climb where the attacks are made, as was Blockhaus’ case, doesn’t grant much slipstream advantage.
The Ortisei thing? You describe it through pink (or orange?) glasses: feel assured, if Dumoulin could have gone easily with Pinot, he’d have done that. He’d have had all to gain and nothing to lose – but he was afraid of further attacks, which means that he was far from dominant. He tried a bluff (“go and defend your podium”) but the rivals didn’t bite. He was pretty nervous at the end of that stage, indeed. Surely Pinot wouldn’t have gained a minute – but it’s as sure that Dumoulin would have lost some ground on him anyway that day (while Quintana and Nibali were also less fresh because they had tried to attack mid-stage).

The Piancavallo stage floundering isn’t explained by that chase alone. Dumoulin himself didn’t work and the high speed was on flattish terrain. It probably hurt way more Quintana (who was in the first group) than Dumoulin behind.

And the penultimate stage was more serious than you think, because it was an all-in situation. Dumoulin knew that if he had lost wheels, he’d probably lose the Giro. And he’d lose it, if it wasn’t for Jungels’ friendly help. It’s a huge lottery: especially if you’re back, you can’t know what the groups which will form will be like – you might easily find yourself isolated. That meant just be outclimbed however hard you went (note that, on the contrary, neither Nibali or Quintana were going full gas, I don’t know about Pinot).

All in all, come on, Tom went on losing time on every single final climb that week, and to several rivals (except the Stelvio in Pinot’s case – they were actually matched, there). It’s not a “sum of curious circumstances”, it’s more like a pattern. When the road went uphill at the sharp end of a stage, he was on thin ice: he can be grateful that there was so little climbing in the final 30% of each “mountain” stage.

As I said, this is about last edition’s analysis. But I’d agree with you about the general concept. We must add that we need to see how both riders evolved – very same age, but Dumoulin looked liked he grew immensely in 2017, while Pinot had hit a plateau some time before, even if this year it looks like he started to get slightly better again. Then, the question mark about form: Pinot entered the Giro with a very good condition already, I’m not as sure about Dumoulin, despite the opening ITT. The impression is that he really planned to peak later in the race, probably also because of his difficulties in last year’s final week.

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Simmers May 17, 2018 at 2:31 pm

@gabriele

Agree about Etna. I think for all the other climbs we’re mostly talking about hypotheticals, so it’s hard to say anything for sure. Pinot certainly had a strong final week last year (apart from the final time trial).

I do think Ortisei was all down to tactical riding: Pinot at the time was minutes down on Dumoulin, so he decided to play poker with Nibali and Quintana – after the climb proper was already over. As for the other stages, having rewatched some interviews: you’re probably right :).

I’m convinced they both aim to be at their best in the 3rd week this year. For Dumoulin it’s almost a certainty, considering he’s barely raced so far and had an altitude training camp a few weeks before the Giro. But I think the same applies to Pinot as well: he’s had far fewer race days so far than in 2017, so I expect there will be more to come from him as well.

Should make for great racing in week 3!

Bart Van Hoorebeeck May 17, 2018 at 10:43 am

I didn’t see it as Stybar and Wellens eyeing each other. Stybar made it clear he was just wasted. They never got more than a few seconds. The move would have had some chance in a single day race where teammates have been consumed. As Yates had anticipated this suiting finish, MS kept driving it hard here.

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Terence McMahon May 17, 2018 at 11:18 am

Looks like the same finish as in 2015 although a lot flatter than the day Zakarin won from the break. Remember Contador used the last time up the climb that day to have a dig and put pressure on Aru before the descent. Was a sketchy finish in the rain from what I recall.

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J Evans May 17, 2018 at 11:40 am

Seems a shame, just as the race is hotting up, to have two stages in a row like this. I suppose you have to have some sprinter stages, but I can’t really see why you would choose to have two and so numb the excitement.

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charlie May 17, 2018 at 11:56 am

In recent TdFs when they’ve had bonkers mountain stages back to back it often seems to end in at least one of them being effectively neutralised. This should allow all the protagonists to have a full crack on the Zoncolan which is an exciting prospect.

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J Evans May 17, 2018 at 12:22 pm

Very possibly so. I suppose the opposite is also possible: one guy sees the other guy is tired after so much climbing and so attacks more than they otherwise would.
A medium mountain stage for one of them would have been a much more interesting stage to watch (and this race lacks them), if only for a race of non-GC protagonists (although you never know what can happen on such a stage).

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gabriele May 17, 2018 at 12:43 pm

I see your point, but it’s sort of a Sudoku thing… the hilly stages in Central Italy must go together, if possible, to be more effective, but you also want to have a couple of stages for the sprinters. We now know that it wasn’t worth the effort – due to the poor field they’re not that interesting, but they probably didn’t know that months ago. Besides, the Zoncolan is really sort of an uphill ITT, it’s not as much about “attacking”. Which means that, if anything, it’s good to have a tricky stage after it, rather than before – if you place a middle-mountain stage right before the Zoncolan, they’ll keep their powders dry. Hence, the best combination might have been a flat stage after the rest day (but perhaps we wouldn’t have had the Chaves drama, that way! It’s also fine to have a promising stage after the rest day!), then a couple of hilly stages, and finally another one for the sprinters before the Zoncolan. But… You also need to take geography into account, and economy even more so: who’s actually willing to pay?
I’d have chosen to have a flatter and slightly shorter stage on Tuesday, maybe with the same hard start, then two *serious* Appenine stages on Wednesday and Thursday (despite what ended up happening, none of those we had really were), while keeping Friday’s as it it. Yet, if Osimo and Imola were paying, it’s complicated to have more hills in this stage while keeping it under the, dunno, 260 kms mark… (it’s already 214!).
However, I think that these are details; what I really didn’t like were the useless Montevergine thing or the idea of making two clone-finishes at Etna and Gran Sasso.

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gabriele May 17, 2018 at 6:43 pm

Well, J Evans, this morning I thought you could be right, but at the end of the day we had another great final 40′ (!) of racing or so… some 600 m. of altitude gain in the whole stage but an excellent finishing circuit, the weather and some riders’ attitude made it a more than decent show – for a sprinters stage, I mean ^__^
Perhaps I’m biased as I’m a tifoso of both Mohoric and Bananito (and Wellens, too).

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J Evans May 17, 2018 at 11:03 pm

Aye, I watched the ondemand and timed it perfectly to catch the storm.
Mohoric is fantastic, but he and Betancur’s cat-and-mousing at the end was some of the worst I’ve ever seen – perhaps they were caught anyway, who knows, but why start freewheeling? Keep going until you’re caught and you never know they might crash or something. And they still had 3 seconds at 500m so it was surely possible. Good to see Betancur at the front of a race, though. And great stuff by Bennett (seems he can climb a bit – maybe a future in the classics?).

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AK May 17, 2018 at 11:41 pm

Oh yeah, that was some finale to a sprint stage. From QS twice! pulling on the front with Viviani behind, to Wellens going too soon again, to Dennis attacking with Carapaz, to the trackstands of Betancur amd Mohoric at 400 to go while Bennett did a sprint so long it counts as a breakaway, it was some action packed weird and wonderful last half hour.
vv il giro!

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Glib May 17, 2018 at 12:20 pm

Let’s not jump to any conclusions here. If we all remember last year, stage 21 of the 2017 Giro, a 30km ITT. Dumoulin won by 1:24 over Quintana, and that should read as ‘only’ 1:24 – Quintana is NOT a good time-trialist, but I remember clearly he put in a ride of his life there for the pink jersey. It was only when he passed under a 1km-to-go banner when it was clear he will lose, not earlier. My point here being, Yates and Dumoulin will fight for the overall, so Yates, with his now improved TT, will put in a big, big ride next Tuesday.

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jc May 17, 2018 at 12:35 pm

On the longer TT last year he took nearly 3 minutes from NQ. The one next week is about 5 kms longer than the final one last year but about 5 kms shorter than the first one. I think Simon Yates has probably put in a lot of work on his time trialling but it would be a big surprise if he can come in within 2 minutes of Tom Dumoulin who is looking very motivated. The rest day could well add to some riders’ problems. The efforts the riders put in over the weekend on the very testing mountain stages could well have an influence on their performances on Tuesday too, Rohan Dennis could well be a factor . Chris Froome might be looking to salvage something from what has been a pretty unhappy experience.

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Shawn May 17, 2018 at 2:04 pm

Does anyone know what happened to Woods yesterday? It should have been a good course for him. Was he the EF rider held up by a crash?

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Dave May 17, 2018 at 2:17 pm
CA May 17, 2018 at 2:23 pm

I think Dumoulin had the biggest ride of the day yesterday, even bigger than Yates’. If he can produce that type of climbing effort on Zoncolan and other mountain stages, then for sure will make up the gap in the TT.

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gabriele May 17, 2018 at 3:19 pm

He showed he’s improving, that’s the huge news. But as well as I was positively surprised by his surge on a (then short, some 100 m.) hard section, I was equally surprised by the fact that he couldn’t catch Yates – nor distance the chasers – on what followed… the last 1.25 km averaged 3.8% and included cobbles, they reminded me someway Oropa’s finale.
There was no big change compared with the difference produced by the first attack on the steepest ramp: mainly Pozzovivo shifting back and Formolo closing up to the front (plus, Rohan Dennis falling back after he had survived decently until the flamme rouge). Of course, the chasers had the advantage of numbers, but I’d have expected Duomulin’s qualities to have a greater impact, whereas he was moving his shoulders a lot and often watching behind.
I’d dare to say that this was a head-driven performance rather than an impressive demonstration of power. He knew that, also from a psychological POV, he could not let Yates take more time, nor let the rest catch him back, whatever it took.
Anyway, Pinot didn’t give a great impression, either.

No need to say that “this type of climbing effort” has nothing to do with the Zoncolan (which, in itself, is sort of an unicum, very different from usual “climbing”, and someway similar to uphill ITTs) or the rest of mountain stages; maybe Sappada? – if one wants to stretch things.
But it might mean, of course, that Tom is riding into better form – Etna, too, could be good for him, and the Sicilian classics-like stages, too, but as we know he didn’t look brilliant at all. Maybe in his training he had less focus on explosive power and more on pure climbing skills, knowing what was to come?

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CA May 17, 2018 at 4:40 pm

Gabriele – excellent analysis as always. It’ll definitely be interesting to see how Dumolin’s form comes along.

I agree, he likely did not want Yates to appear to blow him out of the water or to show to the others that he wasn’t up to the task. I do wonder how he will perform on much longer and harder climbs.

This really is a very interesting Giro.

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noel May 17, 2018 at 3:17 pm

just love the cycling weekly story about Wellens and Hansen going up the road and hiding on Saturday’s stage….. Svein Tuft didn’t sound so amused tho!

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Motormouth May 17, 2018 at 4:29 pm

So the Chaves thing has me bummed, but then I’m thinking maybe it means he can act like a super domestique in the third week. Like a Scarponi for Nibali, and be allowed in early breaks up the road to allow for chained helpers for a GC long-range attack.

It totally changes the tactics, where they could keep Chaves and Yates tightly grouped to bounce attacks/chases off each other to break the elastic on the group, but there are still possibilities.

Maybe this is a ‘duh’ comment, but it has me a little excited about things to come!

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CA May 17, 2018 at 4:46 pm

Haha, I agree, this is actually a good thing. Michelton-Scott didn’t have an ideal scenario with the two young and inexperienced leaders. I agree with Cipollini that a team needs one leader and everyone else to work to get that leader to win. With two leaders there were scenarios that would prevent Yates from maximising his lead. For example, what if the final gap in Rome is Dumolin winning by 5 seconds… then the stage that Chaves took over Yates will prove to be the decisive one. But if Michelton Scott had only one leader at that stage then Chaves would have buried himself for Yates, perhaps giving Yates a larger gap plus the 10-second time bonus.

Moving forward, Yates needs all the help he can get, Dumolin is a really tough competitor and needs to be isolated from his Sunweb teammates. Chaves can be a huge help to achieving that goal.

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Motormouth May 17, 2018 at 4:57 pm

yes and you gave the perfect example, when Yates gifted the win to Chaves. I also doubt that would’ve happened if he was gc-lead from the getgo (as nice as the gesture was) and he could’ve easily gained another +20s that day (the win time bonus plus time gap).

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