The Spin: Giro Stage 1

Giro Stage 1 map

For the daily previews I’ve included the stage profile diagrams to illustrate the day’s racing. But Stage 1 is better depicted by the aerial map of the course, especially since the course is quite flat. Riders start at the green point on the map above. The route looks like the path out of a maze.

Technically a prologue has to be less than 8km so this is 8.7km stage is labelled as Stage 1 but it’s just like a prologue: fast and intense. The roads get wider and faster the longer the course goes on. At first riders will be changing gears and braking hard but the closer they get to the finish the more the roads open up and the speed will go up. Remember this when you see the split time taken at about half way because some might fade in the latter half if they’ve wasted too many watts and others can recover time by getting a big gear rolling.

Who will win? I’m tempted to say Taylor Phinney and leave it at that. The American can ride like the wind, he can sprint too and so this seems ideal for him. But there are some good names to rival him. This is course where explosive prologue power specialists will have their day, a “diesel” time trial specialist who can hold a high pace won’t enjoy this, instead is all about accelerating hard, cornering well and then picking up speed again. So look out for Greenedge’s Jack Bobridge. Sky’s Geraint Thomas won the prologue in Romandie. Local rider Alex Rasmussen of Garmin-Barracuda has been training for this day whilst local team Saxo Bank have the powerful Manuele Boaro. Daniele Bennati is an outside pick, often labelled as a sprinter he has more than a fast finish and his Radioshack team mate Jesse Sergent could surprise.  And we’ll also know more about Thor Hushovd’s state of form.

TV and Timing: the first rider is off at 3.40 pm with the last rider expected to arrive at 7.30pm. Eurosport start at 5.00pm and Italian TV goes live from 6.00pm onwards.

Weather: cold and cloudy. A top temperature of 12°C (54°F) with a breeze hitting 20-30km/h. There’s a chance of rain too and a shower late in the afternoon could influence the results.

Local produce: Italy and Denmark are, within Europe at least, opposites. The Italian press pack has been making rude noises about “crap pizza” in Denmark. I’m waiting to see if the Danish media kick up a rude fuss about the poor quality of pickled herring and smoked eel once the race arrives in Italy. Herning is as far as you can get from the sea in Denmark, bang in the middle of Midtjylland. Pork is a big part of the diet and bacon a significant export. But the riders will prefer some bread for their morgenmad or breakfast. The country is famous for its rye bread which, whisper it, is better than 95% of the bread you’ll find in Italy.

28 thoughts on “The Spin: Giro Stage 1”

  1. you are spot on INRNG – rye bread is gorgeous. Piled with some gravlax from the other side of the Oresund bridge and you have a great start to the day.

    • I like to hear about your Italian bread experience to qualify that statement. To me the French make some of the best but Italians are darn close and in some ways, depending on the region, superior. Of course I think if someone is into the Germanic, heavy rye type breads they wouldn’t enjoy the lighter ones. As to the complaints of bad pizza, I still don’t understand why the damn race is in DENMARK in the first place when they’re skipping so much of ITALY…but what do I know?
      But BRAVO to Taylor Phinney, the kid who lived in Italy for awhile and from what they were saying on the TV, got interested in following in Dad’s cycling wheeltracks there.

  2. + 2 for Taylor Phinney!

    Wish Tony Martin were in the Prologue tomorrow…just glad he’s back racing again, taking 4th in Frankfurt after 4 weeks of no racing.

    Thor’s got some weight to “slow and go” around those corners in the first half, but if his form has returned, he should really turn on the jets in the 2nd half! Tejay Van Garderen would also have been great in the mix for this Prologue, but BMC’s split between Europe and California, like several teams.

    Wish the Giro and ATOC didn’t overlap, as it splits teams into rosters that don’t always give the strongest riders for either race. V. Nibali will be using the ATOC as good training/racing for the TDF, though he would have been my pick to win the Giro this year over Basso.

  3. Question: Could DS change the the start order for their riders to coordinate with changing weather? Of course we are not talking last minute action but say a few hours before start when detailed forecast is more adequate?
    Anybody can help with that?

  4. I’m going for the super-fast Welshman Geraint on this one. Explosive power straight from the track should nick it. But I reckon the timings are going to be ridiculously close between the top 5

  5. 8km is long so we could see some riders lose a minute. But a few climbers might be ok as all those corners mean braking and accelerating and their lightweight build is better, at least relatively when compared to doing 60km/h into a headwind on a long straight road.

  6. Re local produce, I am going to give a plug here for a couple of Northern English bikers (of the motorised variety) namely The Hairy Bikers, I have been a fan of these hirsute two wheelers and their zany food program’s for some time, their latest European Bakeation sees them touring Europe Scandinavia-Spain sampling local food mainly of the baked variety BBC i player will have some of the series available to download. Given that cyclist’s are usually very interested in food and travel you may find their series worth a look.

  7. As I’ve already stated at PdC, I’m hoping for Kwiatkowski to spoil things for the big contenders. He won already on a 7km course ahead of Rasmussen and Sergent, although this is a much bigger race than West Vlaanderen. Phinney is super motivated for the Giro, I’m hearing, and he will be looking to make a statement, but I’m leaning towards what IR said: the course is quite technical with lots of braking/accelerating and we saw a smaller rider in Castroviejo win at TdRomandie last year ahead of the juggernaut that is Phinney.

  8. In Denmark travelling by bike is known as going by “ryebread engine”.
    And the pizza IS crap. So is the bacon.
    The herring is marvellous though.

    • About the only thing better could be pane MATERA from Basilicata. Sadly, the whole idea fades away about 50 kms from Materia, kind of like real pizza does the same distance from Napoli.

  9. As far as the food thing goes:

    Was it not said that an army travels on its stomach? Which leads us too, Rome was not conquered in a day.

    BMC needs some results: Taylor or Thor

  10. Good calls Inrng! Phinney, Thomas, Rasmussen, and Boaro. Decent result for Ryder Hesjedal to hold it to a 29 second deficit, especially given that the top 4 had 22 seconds on the rest of the field. Garmin-Barracuda should be able to put some time into the other teams in next week’s TTT. Farrar in pink with a stage win (20 second bonus, right)? Thor rode a slower time than Cav; not really sure how this course suits him, but I wouldn’t have expected that result. Seems a good sign for Cav I guess, maybe Stannard and Hunt won’t have to bury themselves to keep him in touch.

    • Below I’ve taken the Stage 1 results and determined the average of each squad’s 9 riders’ delta from Phinney’s time.

      Looks like Hesjedal, Uran,and F Schleck could put some time into Scarponi, Pozzovivo, and Rujano. Basso and Kreuziger shouldn’t find themselves in too much trouble.

      Garmin 0:32
      Greenedge 0:45
      Sky 0:45
      Radioshack 0:47
      Omega-QS 0:49
      BMC 0:52
      Liqui 0:53
      Astana 0:53
      Vacan 0:54
      Movistar 0:54
      Netapp 0:54
      Rabo 0:55
      Katusha 0:57
      Saxo 0:58
      Lotto 0:58
      Colnago 1:00
      FDJ 1:02
      Lampre 1:06
      Farnese 1:07
      Androni 1:11
      ALM 1:16
      Euskaltel 1:21

      Basso and Scarponi have weak squads and could lose time to

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