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Giro Stage 17 Preview

A stage in the mountains but not the most vertical of days, this is a good day for a breakaway… and an ambush.

Mortirolo reversal: it rained and rained and rained. At least it didn’t snow. Who knows what might have happened on the Gavia but the Mortirolo was enough. Vincenzo Nibali attacked early and Hugh Carthy joined him, pulling all sorts of faces as he tried to hold his wheel. The pair were caught by Mikel Landa, Richard Carapaz and Miguel Angel Lopez. Primož Roglič was dropped. The descent was so wet you could use a canoe.

The valley section showed the importance of team work with Nibali and Lopez picking up team mates to help tow them to the finish, a luxury Roglič couldn’t enjoy even if he had Simon Yates and Bauke Mollema as allies and their cooperation limited the losses to 1m42s on Nibali and Carapaz. Who won the stage? Ciccone was first but Carapaz came out on top, he matched anything Nibali could throw at him and Roglič fell away.

Ahead all day, three riders made it from the breakaway over the Mortirolo until Damiano Caruso was called back to help Nibali leaving two in Jan Hirt and Giulio Ciccone to contest the win. Once the descent ended, Hirt sat on Ciccone’s wheel and the pair were bickering, calling team cars and working their radios. Hirt’s body language almost apologetic, as if on team orders. But Ciccone won the sprint, whether he was stronger or Hirt accepted he shouldn’t win won’t be known for sure – Hirt said he was frozen solid – but it’ll be a popular result and the consecration of a strong Giro, the fastest up the San Luca in Bologna and on the attack ever since.

Finally, just a small thing to note but new RCS owner Urbano Cairo was at the race, as he has been for quite a few days now. He’s a football fanatic, a business tycoon and maybe heading for politics one day but for now he seems fascinated by the Giro, an asset he’s recently acquired.

The Route: 181km and the Passo della Mendola, not even a third category climb for the race – these labels are elective, strategic – but still a climb to tackle. It’s a hard day but not quite a pure mountain stage, 3,500m of vertical gain but gradual rather than sudden as they ride into Italy’s German speaking part.

The Finish: it’s not a summit finish but it’s on a mountain pass, they climb the lower slopes of the Passo Stalle and the last 4km are at 8% before turning off the road, passing underneath it and then and the finishing on the shooting range of the World Cup winter biathlon round.

The Contenders: a great day for the breakaway and the winner will need to manage the final 8% ramps to the line. The likes of Valerio Conti (UAE Emirates), Matteo Cattaneo (Androni-Sidermec) and Ion Izagirre and Dario Cataldo (Astana) come to mind as they weren’t in the action yesterday meaning they could have something for today. Bob Jungels (Deceuninck-Quickstep) needs to salvage something for himself and his team, Thomas De Gendt (Lotto-Soudal) is a prototype pick for a day like today and Gianluca Brambilla (Trek-Segafredo) could try too.

Conti, De Gendt, Cattaneo
Cataldo, Izagirre, Brambilla, Jungels

Weather: cloudy and damp, 11°C as if it’s early April rather than late May.

TV: the finish is forecast for 5.15pm CEST / Euro time. It’s on RAI in Italy, Eurosport across most of Europe and Australia, L’Equipe TV in France and Flobikes and Fubo.tv in the US.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Digahole Wednesday, 29 May 2019, 6:59 am

    After his rain jacket debacle and teeth-chattering his way along the valley, I want believe that Ciccone won that fair and square running on anger and adrenaline. Then that celebration… fantastic!

    Btw… you have 1m42s that Roglič etc lost to Carapaz etc, think it was actually 1m22s

    • Chris_SK Wednesday, 29 May 2019, 7:19 am

      I’d like to believe the celebration showed a raw emotion that nothing had been agreed there.

      Hirt not taking turns because Lopez was “coming” (albeit 4 mins back) was a convenient ploy from the team car – it was good to see he restarted taking turns once MAL/Bilbao had been absorbed by the Carapaz/Nibali group.

      • Ecky Thump Wednesday, 29 May 2019, 8:50 am

        I got the vague impression that Hirt had ceded that sprint, though he did a decent job of not making it too obvious.

        • Paul Wednesday, 29 May 2019, 9:12 am

          Yes I agree, he would have been more hated than LA if he hadn’t.

          What a great stage so many character pieces

        • Souln Wednesday, 29 May 2019, 12:37 pm

          According to Czech Eurosport commentators Hirt just can’t Sprint.

        • Larry T Wednesday, 29 May 2019, 3:08 pm

          It was pretty obvious -but there was a hint of plausible deniability for sure.

        • Paul Wednesday, 29 May 2019, 5:19 pm

          Even on a day like today Primoz is isolated! Why did they start with such a weak team? Did thy think they could breeze it on TT’s?

    • SLO_cyclist Wednesday, 29 May 2019, 1:14 pm

      Riders like Ciccone make best climbers jersey meaningful. Of course we know he is not the best climber in the race. But he is a god damn good one, not just one rolling through 1st category climbs to gather sufficient number of points to keep the jersey till the end and dropping off when serious roads show up ahead. That’s the way to win this jersey!

  • DJW Wednesday, 29 May 2019, 8:00 am

    Carthy, heaving on the bars, always seems to be fighting too big a gear to maintain pace on a long climb (maybe the consequence of forays into the Lakes and Trough of Bowland as a Preston amateur where climbs were short and sharp). I was wrong for yesterday (chapeau Hugh), but could he adapt to a slightly higher cadence and lower gear and be more efficient?

    • Digahole Wednesday, 29 May 2019, 8:17 am

      If I remember correctly from a few years ago, he already has! Used to be grinding even harder.

    • Jovelo Wednesday, 29 May 2019, 9:10 am

      If I was Nibali this guy on my baggage rack never doing any work in front would have made me mad.
      But I’m not Nibali or Carthy I’m a guy watching Giro from his couch, and I admire the resilience, Carthy did HIS race, to the maximum of his ability… That’s sport.

      • Pilgrim Wednesday, 29 May 2019, 9:48 am

        I think there was more of a touch of faux outrage from Nibali in that one. What did he expect? I thought it showed more Carthy’s developing experience.

        • ocaz Wednesday, 29 May 2019, 9:54 am

          I love the unassuming tone of Carthy in interviews. He is developing well and having a good Giro

      • Greasy Wheel Wednesday, 29 May 2019, 12:05 pm

        I wouldn’t be getting that upset if I was Nibali at that point – they must have been going about 13kph; drafting probably worth less than 1% at that point.

  • Somers Wednesday, 29 May 2019, 8:23 am

    Would like to see what the odds were 3 weeks ago of Carapaz winning the giro

    • noel Wednesday, 29 May 2019, 10:20 am

      well he was 4th last year, only 45secs behind Lopez, so it’s not all that shocking.
      The Roglic/Nibali rivalry has really played into his hands though.

      • Somers Wednesday, 29 May 2019, 10:41 am

        Plus at the time, TD and Bernal were in contention

  • Ecky Thump Wednesday, 29 May 2019, 9:07 am

    Roglic’s Giro has echoes of Dumoulin’s Vuelta in 2015, that same feeling of dreaded inevitability as rivals attack on the mountains and ride away in the valleys?
    It looks very much like his prospects of winning were washed away yesterday.
    But how does Nibali take back almost two minutes on Carapaz, whose team is probably the strongest in the race?

    • Allegedly Anthony Wednesday, 29 May 2019, 9:31 am

      Yup, Nibs has a problem – he needs to deliver something big and unexpected to overtake Carapaz. If you take likely final TT times into account, Nibali is third and needs to take a minute and a half on the other two to be sure of a likelihood of winning. Movistar are looking better and better. Maybe Van’s best shot is to offer Landa a contract for next year as undisputed team leader in the Vuelta!

      • Allegedly Anthony Wednesday, 29 May 2019, 9:33 am

        Sorry, “Van” should have read “VN”. Flippin’ autocorrect!

        • oldDAVE Wednesday, 29 May 2019, 11:58 am

          Slight problem with this – VN is leaving and Landa is his replacement… so VN can’t offer anything…

          I think leaving Landa to his own devices is more likely to give Nibali an opening than getting involved… as Landa is currently in the position of helping a junior rider win a GT for a team he is leaving, you’d think he would attack anyway given his history.

          I find the Landa situation fascinating… he should have beaten Contador to the Giro at Astana but was with held by team rules, he then almost won the Vuelta for Aru later that year. Since then bad luck and poor decisions have left him serving as 2nd fiddle again and again when it seems he feels he could have gone against them and won more. Now it’s happening again… what must he be thinking? Why would you not attack this time if you were him?

          The only issue is this time he does currently look the weaker rider to Carapaz and it’s doubtful his attacks would do anything aside from let Nibali back in. I’m not sure that would stop me though! It would be a burning issue still if I were him knowing I’d given up a Giro previously for a weaker rider who didn’t even win it himself…

          • SLO_cyclist Wednesday, 29 May 2019, 1:17 pm

            I said already back then that Landa should simply go to town. Screw the reliability, be controversial! Leaders don’t need to be loyal! Others need to be loyal to them!

      • Larry T Wednesday, 29 May 2019, 3:10 pm

        Can we see a miracle like 2016 for Nibali? He was pretty well written off around this point in the race back then if memory serves me, only to be in pink at the end in Torino. Vai Squalo!

  • Wayne Wednesday, 29 May 2019, 9:21 am

    If Carapaz wins this giro as is looking likely it will make things quite interesting at Movistar. Trying to balance 4 riders with GC ambitions won’t be easy! Will it mean the certain departure of Landa?

    • Pilgrim Wednesday, 29 May 2019, 9:49 am

      The Cycling Podcast dropped a very heavy hint that Carapaz might well be on his way to Team INEOS, to the extent that a deal may already have been signed. Whether that’s agentspeak to hurry Carapaz into signing an extension with Movistar or not I don’t know.

      • Digahole Wednesday, 29 May 2019, 12:16 pm

        I really hope that isn’t so. Finally Movistar seem to be getting their tactics together with a team of talent capable of taking it to the INEOS A squad… that would be a real shame for mine.

      • OldDAVE Wednesday, 29 May 2019, 5:57 pm

        Wow. Big news, thanks Pilgrim. I wait for the announcement.

    • StevhanTI Wednesday, 29 May 2019, 10:56 am

      Currently on the Movistar roster: Carapaz, Landa, Quintana, Soler, Valverde That makes at least 5 serious GC contenders or are you discounting Valverde already?

      • Dave Wednesday, 29 May 2019, 12:08 pm

        Valverde is 39 , not exactly a rider for the future . Out of all those riders the one I wouldn’t want to lose is Carapaz .

        • Richard S Wednesday, 29 May 2019, 12:28 pm

          Plus Valverde isn’t really a GC rider, or GC winner any road. He’s an all round mega talent, a jack of all trades who is also the master of the Ardennes classics. Or was. But he won one Vuelta when it was more or less the Spanish National Stage Race Championships. Also he was physically better then, if you know what I mean.

          • Wayne Wednesday, 29 May 2019, 12:36 pm

            I had originally counted Valverde as one of my original 4 as I think Soler still has a bit to go before he’s a “serious” contender but yeah you’re right his ambitions are going to be pretty high too! Like someone said I hope they keep their team together would be great to see someone actually take it to Ineos in the Tour this year

          • gabriele Wednesday, 29 May 2019, 2:34 pm

            @Richard S
            You need to get your timeline re Valverde straight. In 2008 “if I get what you mean”, he was as “physically better” as he’s been from 2006 to 2018. Now old age caught up with him, apparently, but I think you weren’t referring to that anyway. As for the Vuelta he won, you look confuse, too, given that he beat Evans (3), Basso (4) and Gesink (6), all in nice form. More than half of Valverde’s rivals who made the top ten weren’t Spaniards. It must also be said that a Spanish national GT with the likes of Purito, Valverde and Samuel Sánchez plus various figures like Zubeldia or Cobo would still be more competitive than the Giro in the first half of the 2000s (perhaps even more than some recent TdF).
            His “special period” which had him sanctioned was 2002-2004, when indeed the Vuelta was a local affair (8/10 Spaniards making the top ten, 10/10 in 2004), but Valverde’s results were DNF, 4th and 3rd.
            That said, I agree with you that Valverde is an excepcional stage racer but has significant limits un GTs (altitudes, third week recovery). Even so, I wouldn’t discard him as a contender if it wasn’t for old age: he podiumed in the three GTs, after all, and in the 18 GTs he finished (8 TdFs) he didn’t make the TOP-TEN only three times. He *always* made the top-20 in GC. Hard to say he isn’t a GC rider, even of you refer to GTs only (GC in general includes shorter stage races, and Valverde is probably the strongest around in that sense).

          • Richard S Wednesday, 29 May 2019, 7:48 pm

            You have to allow people a little bit of leeway for exaggeration Gabriele. My point was he’s not really a top drawer Grand Tour GC man, a serial winner. Or even someone who specialises in them and doesn’t win them, like say Mollema or Zakarin, or even Landa. His real specialities lie elsewhere. I did look at the results for that year and I did see Basso and Evans, but saying he won a GT against a pretty good field including some very good Spaniards and a couple of other GT winners wouldn’t have sounded as good.

      • SLO_cyclist Wednesday, 29 May 2019, 1:20 pm

        I’d rather discount Quintana. Every time he is a captain, Movistar ends empty-handed…well, except for the team standings.

        • Wayne Wednesday, 29 May 2019, 1:36 pm

          Yeah true, such a frustrating cyclist to watch at times! Just wheel sucks until he cracks

        • Pilgrim Wednesday, 29 May 2019, 1:37 pm

          Is it conceivable that Movistar could be left at the end of this year with Carapaz, Landa, Valverde and Quintana all going? Would they look at Enric Mas?

        • noel Wednesday, 29 May 2019, 2:09 pm

          well, except for the 2 GTs he’s actually won, plus quite a few podiums plus a bunch of week long victories…. anyway, I refer back to about 100 Gabriele comments on Quintana and his record.
          I guess it’s a key year for him though as his last 3 GTs have been disappointing since his Giro 2nd to TD in 2017. He’s only 29 after all – but I think his record has earned him a second chance. Maybe without Valverde hovering in the background he’ll come out of his shell?

          • Dave Wednesday, 29 May 2019, 2:34 pm

            Interesting to look back a few years and remember how people were speculating only about how many times Quintana would win the TdF , the idea that he would never win it seemed a bit ridiculous .

          • SLO_cyclist Wednesday, 29 May 2019, 2:34 pm

            Well, that sounds a bit like artists blaming general public for lack of appreciation of their artwork instead of asking themselves whether their artwork is simply maybe not good enough to catch an average eye or ear. You can’t push someone’s partially undoubtful success down other people’s throats just because on paper it looks good and is already few years old. Quintana achieved what he did, years have passed since and please excuse me if I put more importance to GTs than Tirreno-Adriatico or Tour de Romandie. Ever heard of Ivan Gotti? Maybe yes, maybe not. Ever heard of Marco Pantani? For sure and not only due to doping. Ivan Gotti won 2 Giros, one before and one after that single Giro Pantani won. Yet Pantani is a legend, while Gotti is yet another very decent rider who got forgotten in history. It’s not all about results on paper, WT, PT points etc. It’s about perception. The perception majority of cycling followers have of him.

          • noel Wednesday, 29 May 2019, 3:30 pm

            alright SLO, calm down, no one is suggesting that Quintana is a legend, just that he’s earned a right to not be chucked overboard at the age of 29. Out of the 5 names above sure Carapaz has a lot of promise (but he’s never even ridden the Tour yet), Landa seems to flatter to deceive, Valverde is ydays man and Soler – well who knows… so as a Movistar Team Manager I think I’d be holding on to Quintana for a couple of years more.

          • SLO_cyclist Wednesday, 29 May 2019, 3:48 pm

            With that at the end, I agree. But more for commercial reasons. Movistar currently has 25% share on mobile phone market in Colombia. A million USD a year spent on Quintana might not be that huge of a number when you put everything in perspective.

          • gabriele Thursday, 30 May 2019, 12:38 am

            Thanks noel, SLO_cyclist point is so weak that you just need to give a random look at *Twitter* to tear it to shreds:
            https://twitter.com/ammattipyoraily/status/1133851102829535232

            It’s also extremely funny how the guy identify its own ignorance with the *supposed* general public’s POV, while at the same time Dave is telling us that a few years ago “people” were tipping Quintana as a potential multiple TdF winner. A gross mistake, IMHO (now and back then), but that’s not precisely failing to catch the eye.

            Of course, people were impressed by Quintana’s riding style, although it was later hampered by multiple factors (his team’s attitude, consequent lack of motivation, precocious athlete hitting a plateau, shift of TdF and Vuelta course away from high mountain and “fondisti” stages etc.).

            However, the main problem is the serious lack of short to middle term memory in some commenters (Quintana’s 2016 season was less than three years ago and it was quite impressive, probably the best stage racer that year) beside the TdF-centrism of those who actually watch just a handful of races.

            That said, I never personally believed that Quintana could win multiple TdFs: I’d consider a true feat if he’d win one. He got his huge occasion in 2015, which he’d probably deserve to win, but the following editions never offered a clear chance.
            Just scroll through the TdF winners and count how many winners <60kg you've got… three in fifty tears.
            Unless a very peculiar route is designed, Quintana's options lie elsewhere. And the current (very questionable) ITT kms reduction at the TdF isn't a key factor, either, if, as it's actually happening, selective series of mountain stages are taken away at the same time.

  • hoh Wednesday, 29 May 2019, 9:21 am

    You got to admire Nibali for his darling racing. On the other hand, his whining is becoming ever more annoying day by day.

    Truth is he is frustrated that the race didn’t go his way, and he is just looking for an outlet. The bickering with Roglic is particularly bad, acting as if he own the race and others should do his bidding.

    • Ronytominger Wednesday, 29 May 2019, 9:57 am

      Nibali chose the wrong wheel to follow, shouldnt have let carapaz slip away twice. If he could have stayed with him is another story. Carapaz is now hard to unseat.

      • oldDAVE Wednesday, 29 May 2019, 11:48 am

        Nibali was great yesterday. He does just get better and better, and aside from Froome, Gilbert and Valverde it’s hard think of another rider who has maxed his ability more so than Nibali. A great champion for sure. Like all four of those contemporaries.

        I too find his moaning and abrasive personality off putting though!!!!!

        I wrestle with whether this is because as an Italian at the Giro he is forced to speak more and we’re being unfair on him?? (Plus things might be lost in translation). Or whether we should say that his mental games are as much a part of him getting the most out of himself (in how he uses them to get to opponents) as everything else, and so should be praised????

        Then I remember the crash with Tony Martin and Froome where I think we saw the worst of Nibali – and credit to Froome we saw his mental resilience. That reminds me that I think Nibali is a scoundrel who in sport I love to hate but in reality I’d probably prefer to hang out with than Chris The-Most-Boring-Man-Alive *(Who I actually love!) Froome.

        That may all be very very stupid though.

        • SLO_cyclist Wednesday, 29 May 2019, 3:01 pm

          Come on guys, it’s much more simple than that…he is a champion who is slowly coming of the pick of his career, however didn’t win a GT since 2016. And he is an ego. One of those guys, who feel entitiled, show their temperament and don’t feel bad about it. That’s why he’s moaning and bullying an ex ski jumper who fell into cycling world from nowhere in his mid-20s and can compete with him.

        • Larry T Wednesday, 29 May 2019, 3:02 pm

          Seems (like last year) I’m watching a different race than folks like oldDAVE. Where does this animosity towards Nibali come from? My Italian is only good enough for me to get about 50-60% of what he says on Italian TV with the rest filled in by various translations on cycling websites, but I can’t figure out where the hatred comes from. What am I missing? I’ve tried to tie it to racism, xenophobia and stuff like that only to be flamed big time…can someone explain what is behind attitudes like this?

          • Dave Wednesday, 29 May 2019, 3:23 pm

            Perhaps you missed the bit at the end of his comment . Personally I like Nibali as a rider and his comments don’t bother me in the slightest , I have to say though that some of his fans are a bit over the top . Perhaps I should stop reading cyclingnews though.

          • oldDAVE Wednesday, 29 May 2019, 6:01 pm

            Er, yeah think you missed the rest of the comment… no racism, xenophobia, thought I was pretty balanced saying things might all be lost in translation and the fog of sporting combat…

          • Larry T Wednesday, 29 May 2019, 6:09 pm

            OK, thanks. I agree that the real extremists post all kinds of crap on that other site and I’m always (almost anyway) grateful that Mr. Inrng has been able to avoid that here 🙂

    • motormouth Wednesday, 29 May 2019, 3:32 pm

      It’s great that you can read his mind! Finally, I don’t have to watch any more interviews with the cyclists themselves.

      Oh also if you didn’t notice.. it worked? He cracked Roglic. I sort of trust the guy with so many GT wins and years of experience that he maaaaaybe knows what he is doing – just my feeling (since I, unlike you, can’t read minds).

      • SLO_cyclist Wednesday, 29 May 2019, 3:51 pm

        I agree that yesterday Nibali did exactly what he should and probably everything that he could. Carapaz &co. are simply too strong at the moment but he gained time on Roglic.

  • jc Wednesday, 29 May 2019, 9:28 am

    It is increasingly difficult to see how Vincenzo Nibali can plot a route to the top step. Of course there is plenty of road left for an accident or incident and a long range raid on stage 20 is always possible (but Richard Carapaz was second to Chris Froome on “that” stage last year) but it is becoming less and less likely.

    On the basis that Primoz Roglic can win the final TT, lets assume VN comes in 30 seconds down, RC 60 seconds back and Mikel Landa 90 seconds (round figures and ignores fatigue). To win Vincenzo needs to take around 1:20 before Verona, difficult to see but he wont stop trying. For Primoz Roglic its a similar task but he needs to take time on both VN and RC. That seems very unlikely, I thought he looked unsurprisingly fatigued in his media stuff last night maybe he will continue to go backwards.

    A GC truce of sorts seems possible for the next 3 days, even if Vincenzo Nibali might be thinking about an ambush of sorts and others thinking about their placings in the top 10, is Rafal Majka vulnerable? So another victory from the break looks likely today.

    • The Inner Ring Wednesday, 29 May 2019, 9:35 am

      I think the gaps for the TT are narrowing, Roglič’s form seems to be fading away and his Giro is as much saving the podium, ie holding off Landa in the mountain stages to come, as it is hoping to pass Nibali on GC in Verona.

    • Davesta Wednesday, 29 May 2019, 10:25 am

      I think the severity of yesterday’s stage won’t be completely felt until later this week – this final week really is a long, long slog, with altitude, hard climbs & bad weather…and we saw last year what that kind of week can do to people (Yates losing 25mins on stage 19; Pinot falling off the podium and into hospital)…

      The cold and wet yesterday was clearly affecting a lot of riders, and it will have also made it harder to fuel & hydrate properly, and may have increased the likelihood of illness…I have a feeling that this Giro is still wide open, and that the small fissures between contenders could well open up into yawning chasms over the next few days…

      • Simmers Wednesday, 29 May 2019, 11:24 am

        Agree with this; the severity of yesterday’s stage could have unpredictable consequences in the coming days. Ciccone for one looked frozen.

        That said, it will require something special to unsettle Carapaz. I think it was always inevitable that Roglic’ form would drop in the 3rd week; he simply peaked just a bit too early. Nibali’s gamble to focus solely on him was a mistake. Now he needs to find a way to get Carapaz to crack, which is far harder to do with Movistar being the strongest team. To be honest, I don’t see it happening unless Carapaz takes a hit from the cold or runs into mechanical trouble/crashes.

  • Richard S Wednesday, 29 May 2019, 9:28 am

    Excellent stage yesterday. Fair play to Nibali for having the balls to go that early. As a proper champion he certainly isn’t short of confidence in himself. He’s going to make this last week a good one but I think his success may depend on Carapaz crumbling under the pressure and doing a Kruiswijk/Chaves.
    Where does Ciccone’s future lie? Could he become Italy’s Bardet, or will he be more like Italy’s Barguil (I.e. a TT averse GC contender or a mountain jersey animator)?

    • The Inner Ring Wednesday, 29 May 2019, 9:33 am

      I think Ciccone’s a pure climber and attacker, he’ll be a stage hunter ahead of trying to win the GC but team mate Brambilla (also ex-Bardiani too) is a good reminder that you can have a great Giro one year and then not match it the next.

      • Richard S Wednesday, 29 May 2019, 10:27 am

        That would definitely make him a Barguil then!

  • SamA Wednesday, 29 May 2019, 9:43 am

    With wet, treacherous descents like that I wonder why riders wouldn’t swap to a ‘downhill’ bike – disc brakes, big tyres, wide bars.

    • JeroenK Wednesday, 29 May 2019, 10:50 am

      Because the race is not won on the downhill. With a lot of risk you could eek out a few seconds, maybe half a minute, only to be caught in the valley by the group behind you. F.e. it made no sense for Nibali to risk everything and try to escape in the Mortirolo downhill with 3 Movistar riders chasing him.

      When the race ends on a downhill, it might be a different story, but it’s unlikely you’ll see a bike swap. I’d add a dropper seat post to your list. Once you know how to make full use of one by applying the proper body language in turns, that would be next on my list after disc brakes.

    • SLO_cyclist Wednesday, 29 May 2019, 1:23 pm

      For the discs I was wondering the same. When the forecast is as it is and descents are steep as they were, then discs can finally come into good use. But we know how obsessed some guys are with weight…who was spraying 100 grams of liquid out of the bottle on the Lombardia stage?

  • Joe K. Wednesday, 29 May 2019, 10:09 am

    Nibali’s looking as cool as a cucumber. And poor Primoz–give the man a sandwich, . . . and a rain jacket, for cryin’ out loud! He looks to have the least team support of any GC contender out there. Carapaz looks good in the high mountains with his awesome team, but put him on a TT bike on the last stage, and who knows? Can anyone pull a Froomey out of the hat, like last year’s Stage 19? Maybe this year’s Stage 20 . . . ? Cara Italia (as in Giro, that is)!

  • Irungo txuletak Wednesday, 29 May 2019, 10:24 am

    I thought Movistar would use the tactic of letting Landa go in front in order to leave roglic and nibali do the work behind with carapaz sitting on wheels, but with the current time gaps it does not appear necessary to take more time. They just have to follow now.
    I still expect some fireworks tough, mainly from Nibali. For Roglic, I think the best he can do is to secure the podium. But I am afraid even that can prove difficult.

  • ocaz Wednesday, 29 May 2019, 10:41 am

    It’s great to see Niabli going for it and is very exciting to watch but ultimately it just helped Movistar in gaining more time on Roglic. I mean what else is he to do as it is his only chance to make up time.

    It just shows that while riders are already at the upper limit on the climb his attacks must see him go deep into the red while Carapaz and Landa continued to ride at tempo while slowly reeling him back in as Nibali attempts to recover from this effort whilst also trying to ride at least at the equivalent of their tempo. Who knows Carapaz could have a spectacular collapse like Simon Yates.

    I saw Ventoso from CCC immediately pass Nibali a bottle after he had attacked – what is story here? I do enjoy these little moments in cycling but like to understand background to why he would do that? It appears to have been offered as opposed to Nibali asking for it.

    • plurien Wednesday, 29 May 2019, 11:21 am

      RAI commentators just said they are good friends

  • Terence McMahon Wednesday, 29 May 2019, 11:19 am

    Once again a great write up!

    Hirt was put in an awkward position but thought he managed it as best he could, Astana should have told him to ride immediately as there was no way it was coming together, that should have been clear. Even if he did ride through immediately though the sprint would have probably ended up the same, just a little less anger from Ciccone 🙂

  • plurien Wednesday, 29 May 2019, 11:19 am

    RAI commentary always favours ‘nostro Vicenzo’ but to call Roglic ‘il Robot’ is harsh. Guess everyone is just enjoying a GT where riding on the numbers just hasn’t worked and passion wins through.
    Trek Segafredo are having a great Giro, even though Mollema hasn’t backed up what Ciccone has achieved. His ride to the finish from such an early attack had grinta. Mollema did too but it came too late and he was stuck with the company he was in.
    This could be the GT where all the other teams learn not to get railroaded. We’ve had some unexpected riders in rosa who’ve honoured the jersey and it’s been all the better for that.

    • Dan Wednesday, 29 May 2019, 2:30 pm

      Harsh on Mollema?

      5th on GC, ahead of Yates and Lopez – At the start of the Giro, where did you think he would be at this stage?

    • SLO_cyclist Wednesday, 29 May 2019, 2:46 pm

      Mollema is one of those riders who IMO should have realized already a few years ago that it’s better to focus on stage wins than GC. Yet Mollema’s problem is that he is often relatively close to the podium. Kinda like trying to catch that carrot on the stick attached to his head. TJvGardener is a better representative of this bucket, for instance. Check Mollema on wikipedia and see how condensed his major wins section is. That’s what I’m talking about. Nobody remembers from the top of his head who was 6th in TdF in 2016. And no sponsor will pay much money for such an ambition. These were my 5 cents on Mollema type of riders.

      • Davesta Wednesday, 29 May 2019, 4:29 pm

        But a sponsor might pay rather handsomely for the UCI ranking points a top5 GT finish brings…

        I do agree with the point though – I’d love for Mollema to consistently reach the form he showed in the 2016 TdF and compete for GT podiums, and I love watching him race as he always looks like he’s simply trying so hard! But his list of wins is most definitely on the short side…

      • Dan Wednesday, 29 May 2019, 4:45 pm

        I get what you mean, but isn’t that just a bit narrow minded? A bit armchair fan? (with the greatest respect – I mean in general, not you)

        I mean, why would anybody race, ever, unless they were going to win? Realistically, in all sports, there are only 3 or 4 team or players that can win any given tournament. Sport is more than just the winner though… Especially cycling.

        What would a grand tour be if there weren’t 15 men riding GC? Those 15 men each have 7 team mates riding with/for them. The races would just be a bunch of squabbling lone wolves fighting in breakaways every day. There would be no structure or racing as we know it.

        For everyone other than 5 people on the planet – 6th place on the TdF is absolutely freaking awesome! Well, 5 people and all the pop and crisp fans.

        If you can’t remember 6th place from TdF 2106, that is fine… But it’s not very nice to belittle it.

        • SLO_cyclist Wednesday, 29 May 2019, 5:03 pm

          I didn’t say he wouldn’t race to win. He would just race to win stages instead of GC. Like sprinters, just not flat but mountain stages. Indeed, I’m an armchair commentator, I hope Mollema knows what’s best for him but I personally might prefer to win one stage at TdF and be 17th in GC instead of not winning any and be 6th. And contrary to your comment, exactly cycling is a sport which consists also of riders which are paid to help the team instead of trying to win. For some, it’s simply really just a job. But that’s another bucket, didn’t put Mollema in that one.

        • David Thursday, 30 May 2019, 12:13 am

          If you can remember 6th place from TdF 2106, can you let me know this weekend’s lottery numbers?

        • Vitus Thursday, 30 May 2019, 2:27 am

          I guess you’re speaking about 2016. Only Mollema was 11th back then in TdF. 6th was Valverde…
          His 6th TdF place was 2013. 4th at Vuelta 2011. A while ago. All his GT results after that were worse.

          • SLO_cyclist Friday, 31 May 2019, 10:52 am

            That’s exactly my point. I picked 6th and 2016 completely randomly. No clue who was 6th back then and also no clue which one was Mollema. After checking the standings I realized 6th was indeed Valverde. For Mollema, I didn’t even bother to look further…and exactly that would bother me, should I be the shareholder of Trek.

  • oldDAVE Wednesday, 29 May 2019, 11:37 am

    I’m loving this Max Scandri story reRoglic’s bike.

    I wrote yesterday quickly about how nice I thought it was that Movistar gave Tolhoek a bike.
    Whatever the rules, part of the reason I love cycling more than other sports is because it feels less antagonistic (although I suspect that’s just because it’s a smaller sport). I hope Scandri gets the Pedale D’Charm t-shirt!!!

    But this story also seems to be the one that keeps on giving – Scandri’s final quote that the Jumbo-V driver was driving erratically before they stopped is the sort of insight you rarely get into the convoy. I love the thought that a team car might give away the current mindset of team and influence how you decide to attack them that day…

    *(I realise I am stretching that quote as obviously he was driving erratically because he needed a toilet break, but Wiggins the day before noted the questionable mindset of the J-V DS and the jumpiness of the team over the last few weeks does belie a management that has been less the adequate to deal with the pressures of racing for a grand tour. I rarely think moving sideways to another team helps a settled rider, but in Roglic’s case if I were him I would leave in the coming season as Jumbo-V backroom feel a long way off making the right decisions to win a Grand Tour and he is ready to win one right now. Even not splitting their resources between the TDF and Giro feels like a very poor decision in hindsight. I like the thought of this management riding with the most fragile rider one day: Porte! That would be a catastrophe to enjoy watching!)

    • Simmers Wednesday, 29 May 2019, 11:55 am

      To be fair to Jumbo-Visma, their original line-up was far stronger. Had Robert Gesink and Laurens De Plus been fit, this Giro might well have looked very different. Roglic would then have had a team of comparable strength to Bahrein-Merida and would have been far better able to conserve energy and keep his losses limited. Not enough to win, perhaps, but he’d probably still be in contention.

      • oldDAVE Wednesday, 29 May 2019, 12:03 pm

        True… good point… but they could have still switched across riders from the TDF to help…

        And I’m sure the obvious reply is the importance of the TDF to sponsors… but maybe this shows the big mistake in the first place of sending Roglic to the Giro… (especially as you’d expect his strengths would better suit less jagged climbs of the TDF). If this was the strength of the team, and the had a rider of Roglic’s calibre decisions at the start of the year should have been better.

        • oldDAVE Wednesday, 29 May 2019, 12:06 pm

          Although, I wouldn’t for a second pretend I would have done better!! I’m no where near capable of foreseeing this without the benefit of hindsight.

          And given Sky’s strength, I think it’s very fair they would send an inexperienced rider to the Giro before taking on Sky with their prize rider… I just think now (learning from this race) if you’re not a team as strong as Movistar, Sky and few others, but you have a rider who is a genuine GT contender, you have to back them fully, as half measures will get you found out, as J-V have been.

  • escarabajo Wednesday, 29 May 2019, 12:30 pm

    Ciccone – on a stage with one of the hardest climbs in cycling – road disc brakes.

    I know that’s because of sponsor obligations, but still a pretty good advert to dispel the weight naysayers.

    Watching them all descend in the rain made me appreciate our wild and wonderful sport, that no Health & Safety officials would allow if it was dreamed up today!

    • escarabajo Wednesday, 29 May 2019, 12:48 pm

      Also, someone on here asked yesterday what Antonio Nibali is doing in the race.

      His long pull for his brother on the Mortirolo, in the third week of a grand tour, is your answer. Not many can do that. Roglic certainly didn’t have anyone …

    • Larry T Wednesday, 29 May 2019, 2:54 pm

      OK, he RODE a bike equipped with disk brakes. But despite the claims of superior performance, he arrived at the bottom of the wet, steep and twisty descent at the same time as the guy riding a bike with conventional rim brakes. And let’s remember that Ciccone (like most of the pros unless they’re really, really big stars) rides what he’s told to ride and unless he’s insane, is not going to complain about any of the equipment supplied by the team. It’s only when they guy’s retired (and rarely even then) do we get to hear the “Oh, and product X was total crap, but we were forced to use it.”

    • SLO_cyclist Wednesday, 29 May 2019, 3:07 pm

      The difference between disc and conventional brakes is about half a kilo. Or one full bottle of water. IMO it’s more about placebo effect of a rider feeling lighter without water and disc brakes on his bikes than the actual weight. And that goes the other way around as well…damn, I have disc brakes, I’m heavier, I need to push harder. And you manage to scrap that additional 1% out of yourself which otherwise you wouldn’t. Or your competitor (Hirt in this example) looks at you and says…damn…he has disc brakes and he is as fast uphil than myself….and Hirt gets demotivated. +100 other factors are at stake.

      • John Irvine Wednesday, 29 May 2019, 3:53 pm

        Are pro bikes with disc brakes really heavier? I thought modern carbon frames were so light that bikes had to have weight added to be over the UCI minimum? My bikes are mostly steel with centerpulls, so I’m pretty ignorant on this score.

        • The Inner Ring Wednesday, 29 May 2019, 3:59 pm

          Yes, they’re heavier. Some team bikes with rim brakes need added weights like a chain cut to the right length dropped inside, especially for the smaller frame sizes. But discs add >400g to a bike roughly as SLO_cyclist points out.

          Teams like Ineos are worth watching because they have the choice rather than the obligation, it’s likely they use rim brakes for mountain stages but could go to discs in the wet and probably have a truck full of choices, but as ever what works in a pro race isn’t ideal for most people buying their own bikes, the choices are different.

          • Strictly Amateur / The GCW Thursday, 30 May 2019, 2:21 am

            It’s not just disc brakes. -Which ARE heavier along with the additional weight frames require to incorporate them…
            Once You accept that HEAVIER / COSTLIER unneeded baggage, You’re more likely to also have bought into wider tires, deeper dish rims, tubeless tires, electric gearing and all that.

            Fine for many, but for Me, at 135 lbs, in the middle of the Colorado Rocky Mountains, seldom below 9,ooo’, where every ride is deciding on which climb / climbs to do, that’s all to the climbers detriment.

            -But it is to the bike industries benefit.

            We are addicts, agreed, Our minds want to spend money because money makes Us faster. Climbing up a pass is done better without discs etc.

            So, claims of superior performance, regarding disc brakes is nonsense. Superior performance comes WITHOUT DISC BRAKES.

            Lower the minimum weight limit and disc brakes along with much of that other list of items and bike manufacturers will have trouble selling them and they will be about gone!

            Please, lower the weight limit, for all of Our sakes.

  • motormouth Wednesday, 29 May 2019, 3:43 pm

    It always frustrates me to see commenters led around by their noses week to week with their proclamations — first it was obvious that Yates, Dumoulin and Roglic would crush everyone (whoops!), then Roglic was obviously unbeatable and why even bother racing. Now it’s that obviously Movistar are going to win and how dumb of everyone to ‘let’ them ride away with it.

    It’s revisionist, and not what happened, nor is it obvious what is going to happen. Everyone needs to stop going overboard… there are tons of miles, lots of strong riders and the gaps (this IS the Giro afterall) are in play up and down the GC so there should be some great racing to come and I for one have no idea what the final step is going to look like.

    Movistar are not secure yet against the TT, nor are they safe against raids. Roglic isn’t KO’d, Nibali and his team still looks good enough to cause chaos, and Astana showed their massive strength yesterday and definitely will keep fighting. the calculations for allies have changed and there is the chance for people to work over Movistar – who in the past have been shown to be more than fallible – and create gaps.

    I’m curious if Nibali really did throttle back yesterday or not, how much he’s got left… because at the end of the day it really does come down to the legs. I think his final ITT will be strong enough not to lose the race for him, but I don’t know that he will be able to gain time on the main actors. He’s had great TT performances and the others have had disasters so it’s all possible after three weeks.

    Exciting race and thanks again for all the effort INRNG!

    • The Inner Ring Wednesday, 29 May 2019, 4:01 pm

      I think Nibali threw everything he could yesterday – Caruso was called back to help – but it wasn’t enough to drop Carapaz and Landa on a long climb; maybe he could have stayed with them and tried to force things on the descent and then collect Caruso but this might have only gained 20-30s, it seemed he was looking for a minute or more yesterday.

      • motormouth Wednesday, 29 May 2019, 5:05 pm

        That was my thought too, but my impression of Nibali is that he tends to pull the plug if it’s not working and bide his time to try again, rather than expend energy without the intended gain. He always shows patience in his tactics (see: Roglic duel). hopefully he’s got legs!

        • HT Wednesday, 29 May 2019, 5:57 pm

          I don’t think Nibali has much in his legs right now. He couldn’t follow Landa, Carapas etc… today and needed Pozzovivo to pull for him. So it’s not necessarily a case of watching Roglic too much but keeping within himself.

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