A time trial to conclude the 2019 Giro d’Italia and the top-3 should change with Primoz Roglič overtaking Mikel Landa today.
Puncheurs: Astana fired riders forward early on the stage and Miguel Angel Lopez launched an attack on the Passo Manghen and was joined by Richard Carapaz and Mikel Landa. But with so many riders ahead Lopez got stuck in traffic, the breakaways merged and it all came back together. A new breakaway went clear including Pello Bilbao, Tanel Kangert and Mikel Nieve and soon after Giulio Ciccone and Valentin Madouas were among those who bridged across. These five names would get caught on the final climb but managed to hang with Vincenzo Nibali, Richard Carapaz and Mikel Landa, a sign the GC battle was over.
In the finale, Carapaz tried to work for Landa but the Basque took the final bend all wrong leaving space, speed and momentum to Pello Bilbao who took his second stage win. The GC didn’t get shaken up, Primož Roglič lost 54 seconds to Mikel Landa who leapfrogs him on GC, and the Slovenian copped a 10 second time penalty after fans gave him a 20 second push on the early slopes of the Croce d’Aune. Once again Richard Carapaz faced attacks and had no problem responding.
Ultimately it wasn’t the greatest stage and will probably be remembered for a different incident. An
fan spectator idiot running beside the road tangled with Lopez, bringing him down – it’s a been a Giro of misfortune and mechanicals for him – and once Lopez got up he started laying into the prone man, an almost understandable act of road rage but one that risked the wrath of the commissaires and the standard penalty (UCI rule 12.4.001.22.22) is elimination. We don’t know if the UCI officials didn’t see the incident in the moment or on TV; or if they were clement towards him. It ought to go without saying that everyone should go and see a bike race but not stand in the road, let alone get in the way of the race, but people can get carried away. Lopez got going but got stuck and needed a push from a team mate and went from protagonist to losing 1m49s but this at least will be anecdotal as his sixth place looks ok as he should hold off Majka today; and his team mate won.
Finally note that Sho Hatsuyama has a strong lead in the imaginary maglia nera competition, the Giro’s version of the lanterne rouge prize for last place. They did used to award a jersey and there are some great stories of how riders tricked each other to win it; today Hatsuyama has over four minutes on Will Clarke.
The Route: 17km around Verona with the climb of the Via Torricelle, a familiar course as it was used in World Championships in the past, the last time being 2004 and as a TT stage to conclude the Giro in 2010. The Torricelle climb is a long drag up with slopes of 3-5% and irregular in places, riders will be working their derailleurs and standing on the pedals. The descent down the Viale dei Colli is on a wider road but has more corners, riders might take risks but they should be measured as there are only a couple of technical moments. The course flattens out, there are junctions and urban cobbles to cross and they ride into the arena, the Roman amphitheatre.
The Contenders: has Primož Roglič‘s form being deserting him… or did he never really have the legs for the Alpine stages? Perhaps a bit of both so he could win the stage today to complete a triple of TT stage wins but it could be close. Among the other GC contenders Bauke Mollema (Trek-Segafredo) is having his best ever grand tour and Simon Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) could make one last surprise.
Victor Campenaerts (Lotto-Soudal) could have won in San Marino were it not for a dropped change and a bungled bike change. Ever since he’s hauled himself around Italy with one goal in mind, to stay as fresh as possible for today and his strong ride in San Marino makes him a strong pick today.
Other TT specialists include Chad Haga (Team Sunweb) who has also been targeting this stage too while Luke Durbridge (Mitchelton-Scott) has been on team duties but not on big breakaways so could have an eye on this too. Otherwise the likes of Jos Van Emden and Tom Bohli will surely find today’s course too hilly.
|Victor Campenaerts, Primož Roglič|
|Mollema, Jungels, Haga, Izagirrre, Yates, Ludvigsson|
Weather: summer arrives, it’ll be 29°C and a still day
TV: Richard Carapaz rides into the Arena at 5.15pm CEST / Euro time.