Giro Stage 11 Preview

An uphill finish but one that avoids many of the tough climbs in the region. Today’s stage will almost feel flat after yesterday, at least there are two regular climbs to roll up rather than winch up.

With the climbers having their chance yesterday and tomorrow looking like a sprint finish, here’s a chance for the breakaway raiders to win.

Yesterday’s Stage: a pure mountain finish. I said yesterday would there’d be three tests

  • Astana: it’s too harsh to say they failed but Nibali did end up alone. But his climbing compensates, he took third place meaning if he’s running out of rivals, he’s also eliminating his rivals
  • Wiggins descending: he passed this test but his problem was being passed by rivals going uphill. Uran’s attack probably suited him as it calmed the stop/start nature of the Nibali group meaning Wiggins could pace himself for a little longer
  • Overall climbing: the ramp to the finish was so steep riders needed special gears and many had mechanical troubles shifting gears. It showed us who will be climbing well. Nibali and Evans are the day’s big winners along with Uran. As forecast Ag2r – it still feels odd to type this – are looking very strong. Pozzovivo did played a duet on the Altopiano with Betancur. Hesjedal’s Giro ambitions are over, or at least restricted to finishing or perhaps a stage win

The Route: the profile makes this look like a mountain stage but it’s not so bad. It gets two stars in the Giro handbook, meaning a steady day. The Sella Ciampigotto pass is hard but rolls well for most of the way, averaging 4-5% most of the way. It starts in the town of Ovaro… infamous as the start of Monte Zoncolan but the riders will left instead of right, avoiding one of the most feared climbs in the sport. Over the Sella Ciampigotto and a fast descent awaits, the kind where riders have to pedal fast rather than hold a tight tuck. The descent is the steeper side and there are a few hairpins on the way down too.

Vajont profile

The Finish: a 7km climb with no wild gradients. Obviously long enough to run out of momentum but still fast. Mechanics will have removed the compact chainsets used yesterday because bigger gears are needed here. The road is wide – two large vehicles can pass – although slightly narrower in the tunnel sections near the finish. It’s well-engineered. The 7% section around the flamme rouge could be decisive.

The Scenario: a day for a breakaway. The early descent and then rise to Camporosso looks ideal for a move to go away. The clock is beginning to tick now for teams without stage wins, the can’t count on the high altitude mountain days as these are probably reserved for general classification riders. So watch (or read) the pressure mount on teams to make something of this.

The main climb of the day is fast meaning it pays to sit in a group, none of the big contenders should try anything here although the descent has moments but there’s plenty of time to chase on the valley roads before the final climb.

Given so many riders and teams will want to get in a move, take your pick. I’ll name Tobias Ludvigsson (Argos-Shimano) who impressed as an amateur and is coming on well in the Giro although he might be tired now. Danilo Di Luca (Vini Fantini) perhaps tried too yesterday but the finish is better for him today.

Weather: the cool weather continues, temperatures will be around 15°C (59°F) with little wind. The sun might appear but it’s forecast to be cloudy with the chance of a shower at altitude.

TV: if a breakaway is away then the non-climbers will try to escape before the climb at the end so don’t just tune in for the last 10 minutes but – surprises do happen in the Giro -this probably isn’t a day to watch for hours. As ever the finish is planned for around 5.15pm Euro time. If you can’t find it on TV, and will cater for your internet feed.

Vajont Tragedy: The finish will mark the 50th anniversary of the Vajont disaster. The Vajont dam is one of the world’s tallest. In 1963 a landslide from the mountains into the laek provoked a huge wave which crashed over the dam and caused about 2,000 people to die in the flooding below. The disaster became highly politicised with different sides accusing each other, a topic that is still relevant in today’s Italy with the L’Aquila earthquake.

Word of the Day: Carniche or Carnic. The race has been in the Carnic Alps for the last two days and not, despite claims, in the Dolomites. The Alps are such a big place that different ranges have different names, often thanks to their geology. The Dolomites are close by but are not a synonym for every mountain in northern Italy.

Top-20 overall
1 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana Pro Team 38:57:32
2 Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC Racing Team 0:00:41
3 Rigoberto Uran Uran (Col) Sky Procycling 0:02:04
4 Bradley Wiggins (GBr) Sky Procycling 0:02:05
5 Robert Gesink (Ned) Blanco Pro Cycling Team 0:02:12
6 Michele Scarponi (Ita) Lampre-Merida 0:02:13
7 Mauro Santambrogio (Ita) Vini Fantini-Selle Italia 0:02:55
8 Przemyslaw Niemiec (Pol) Lampre-Merida 0:03:35
9 Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) Ag2R La Mondiale 0:04:17
10 Rafal Majka (Pol) Team Saxo-Tinkoff 0:04:21
11 Benat Intxausti Elorriaga (Spa) Movistar Team 0:04:23
12 Sergio Luis Henao Montoya (Col) Sky Procycling 0:05:06
13 Tanel Kangert (Est) Astana Pro Team 0:05:08
14 Carlos Alberto Betancur Gomez (Col) AG2R La Mondiale 0:05:26
15 Robert Kiserlovski (Cro) RadioShack Leopard 0:05:57
16 Yury Trofimov (Rus) Katusha 0:06:08
17 Franco Pellizotti (Ita) Androni Giocattoli 0:06:55
18 Samuel Sanchez Gonzalez (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi 0:07:46
19 Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) Blanco Pro Cycling Team 0:08:06
20 Rafael Valls Ferri (Spa) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team 0:08:41

37 thoughts on “Giro Stage 11 Preview”

  1. The quality of a race can also be measured by it’s unpredictability and the Giro hasn’t disappointed. Nobody could have predicted that Cadel will be in second place after Stage 10. Hesjedal was on the verge of breaking after losing time on Stage 8 and 9. Yesterday put an end to his Giro dream and he will probably try to redeem his pride with a stage win. Although, given his legs, it will be mighty difficult.

    Today’s stage looks to be a favorite for the fuga. Team Colombia riders were conspicuously absent at the Montasio climb. I hope they can put in a candidate today – whatever happened to Duarte, he used to be good. Vini-Fantini must be chomping at the bit to win a stage. I have failed to come up with a justification to send Gatto in the break yesterday because today seems a much better chance for him. I would wager that the break will have almost same riders as yesterday.

  2. Wondering if Wiggo still is the Sky-leader, and if Uran’s attack yesterday was just meant to help him or a vote of no-confidence from Sir Brasfield.

    • I think they knew yesterdays climb was going to be a tough one for Wiggins – probably the toughest of all the summit finishes for him. It was meant to be for days like this with some anticipated time loss that the hope was to bank time via the first TT. But that didnt work out.

      I think Sky will play both Wiggins and Uran. Other teams would be happy with 2 guys a second apart on 3rd and 4th, 2 mins back. They can afford to decide strategy day by day. They have the strongest climbing team in the race, they’ll try to set things up with the other Sky riders as they did yesterday for both Wiggins and Uran – and the road will decide.

  3. I sort of expected Wiggins and Gesink to get into trouble yesterday, as the very steep climbs are not their favourites. For exactly that reason I was a bit surprised that they chose the Giro over the Tour, because the French Alps are more up their alley than the Apennines. Today looks a bit too easy for them to try to counter attack, but I guess they will as soon as a nice long col with a steady gradient of about 10% will turn up.

  4. It looks like the third week will be quite easy for Nibali.. at this rate going into the last three stages he will have at least 2 to 3 minutes advantage to the second rider and if that is Evans then he is ok (no team to help him attack)!

    If I was Evans or Uran I would try to attack today to get some bonus seconds and attack early in tomorrow’s stage in order to get the intermediate seconds.. Every stage you leave behind without doing something go into Nibali’s favour.

    Today Sky should keep at bay the breakaway on the long climb and try to bring them back on the flat before the summit finish and try to attack in the in order to take the seconds. The only problem with this strategy is that there are many more riders around which are more explosive and they might just help others gain the bonus instead.

    • Wouldn’t it also be a collosal waste of energy to control the break and/or bring it back, just for the sake of a couple of bonus seconds? If others choose to do that, by all means nip in and try to pinch them, but I can’t see any logical reason why Sky would choose to target the minimal intermediate bonus seconds, given the fact they need to make up 2 minutes.

  5. Wiggins actually did better than I expected yesterday – and far from Uran’s win posing problems for him, I actually see it as strengthening his position.

    Talk of Sky riding solely for Uran is ludicrously premature. Far better to keep both the options wide open and leave the opposition guessing and having to cover both Uran and Wiggins for as long as possible. Of course, Wiggins and Sky haters will disagree .. but then they would, because it would help their preferred choices if they knew who to focus on.

    Kind of lost what to make of today. Hadn’t expected a Hesjedal win today, but sort of thought this might have been a day when Garmin stamped their authority on the peloton if they were really here to defend Ryder’s crown, but that unravelled in spectacular fashion yesterday. In the ideal world they’d try to bolster morale with a stage win; but don’t see that happening either. Actually, the more I think about it, the more I wonder whether there was more to yesterday and whether Sky might not try to mix expectations up a bit more today.

  6. I was surprised that the commentators (well Eurosport and Cycling News) failed to notice Sky’s tactics yesterday, which, I think worked largely to plan and will be repeated. Wiggins kept out of the train, trailing Henao when available and Evans when not. The plan looked to be to try and burn Nibali and Evans off with the train (including Uran’s break) and then Henao to bring Wiggins up on tempo. It failed partly becuase Henao couldn’t keep up and the slope was too much for Wiggins on his own. A repeat in the high Alps could work with slightly less testing slopes and Cataldo being Wiggins wing man rather than Henao, particulalry with Uran being even more of a threat. I don’t think it is over yet

    • +1

      As you say I don’t think it worked 100% but the attempt to burn the diminished Astana train was evident. If Uran had really attacked for himself I think he could have taken more time, instead he moves up and saves his legs for the next tactical play.

      Interesting to see it played out. I am no Sky fan but I prefer them varying their usual funicular approach to the longer climbs.

      • I think Sky and Wiggins himself knew yesterdays stage was one he’d be likely to lose time to Nibali on – he just does not cope well with the really steep stuff.
        Anyone else think he looked slightly over-geared for the really steep section?
        The Sky tactics worked out well – Astana were down to one (Agnoli) who then turned himself inside out without really making any impact on Urans gap. Astana may have trouble doing that day in, day out.
        Nibali does look super strong and I’m sure can cope with whatever Sky throw at him, but it sure will be good to watch.

        • Totally agree. It looks like its going to be an fasinating battle between the seemingly strongest rider in the race and the strongest team in the race. I thought Nibali managed the siuation well yesterday by limiting Uran’s time gain without going too deep (although it got much easier once Wiggins was dropped). And for the time being he has an ally in Evans, although it’ll be interesting to what Evans’ tactics are to overhaul Nibali (probably to wait and hope that Sky manage to crack Nibali).

    • Oh yeah, they must really be regretting protecting a leader who is still 4th in GC, with an intact team, riding against two admittedly strong riders who are now basically fending for themselves (one because his team has been ripped to shreds and the other because he didn’t have a team to speak of in the first place) whilst the media showboating darling and defending champion is languishing 24 minutes off the pace and showing less signs of life than a brick.

  7. Sky executed perfectly yesterday completely burning up the Astana team and getting the stage win and bonus. Wiggins was as good on that terrain as anyone could have expected him to be – Nibbles would always have fancied that he’d be nicking time back on that stage. The only surprise is that he was already well in front on the GC.

  8. Well, it’s all very entertaining indeed. I think Sky tactics were quite good. On a 20% slope, drafting becomes pretty irrelevant anyway, and Wiggins was unlikely to be able to keep up with Nibali on this finish. So letting Astana burn up some energy that they will need in days to come, denying Nibali some bonus seconds and increasing the double threat of Uran and Wiggins was a good idea if you ask me.
    For Wiggins, Gesink (and maybe a Hesjedal stage win), there’s a few things still in the pipeline to get some time back with the longer and more gradual ascents in the Stelvio and Galibier stages. Vicenzo and Cadel wil be hard to drop if they keep this form though. Nevertheless, anyone can lose 5 minutes on the Lavaredo stage if they run out of reserves, so the suspense will keep up for a while.
    Today is definitely breakaway time, pretty hard to predict.

  9. It’s certainly good to see Sky varying tactics rather than just ride brutal. I wonder if this could be the tactics they are going to play in TDF. If Wiggo can hang onto Evans/AC etc., there would be no need to limit Froome.

    David probably would have to make some tough call come July. Picking between Froome and Wiggo won’t be easy. Though if UK newspaper can be believed, Wiggo is more likely to forgo TDF if he’d had Giro in his bag by then (thought the opposite argument would be if he’d won Giro, he’d want to do a double).

  10. What happened to Henao yesterday? Dropped on the first climb, looked like he was coming back through the cars with Sanchez in the valley, but either never made it or dropped straight out the back door again when the road went up again.

    • Finished 19th, 3:14 behind Urán. I was surprised to see him get dropped too. Figured he would have been the one launching the Sky attack in the final climb instead of Urán, as Henao posed a bigger threat in the GC. He did put that massive effort in ITT. Maybe he hasn’t recovered yet?

      • Riders respond in different ways first day post-rest day. Some feel that the break in racing does them more harm than good, and they struggle to get back into the rhythm. Just speculating.

Comments are closed.