Giro Stage 21 Preview

The final stage promises to be a procession followed by a city criterium. If the “fight for pink” is over there’s still a fight for the red jersey and the stage win.

Stage 20 Wrap
The breakaway stayed away with Movistar deciding not to chase and other teams content to sit back. The break was whittled down to two riders, Manuel Bongiorno (Bardiani-CSF) and Michael Rogers (Tinkoff-Saxo) until a roadside fan gave Bongiorno a push which sent his front wheel into Michael Rogers’ bike, forcing the Italian to unclip and stop briefly. Ironically he was left to restart by himself, nobody around to push him as Rogers rode away for his second stage win. Remember he was a late call-up following visa woes affecting others on the Tinkoff team. With Enrico Pellizotti finishing second you wonder what Michele Ferrari will have made of the stage given the 1-2 for two of his old clients.

It’s speculation but I think Rogers would have won anyway but that doesn’t matter: we were denied the contest. Having a clear race unimpeded is essential and the number of “fans” interfering with the race was a disgrace, if it continues we’ll see crash barriers and a more sterile atmosphere. Hopefully some good comes of this and fans around the world see the idiocy of interfering with the race. By all means dress up, wave banners and scream your head off but just give the riders some room to do their job. If you want to push someone, save your energy for the 75kg sprinters.

Elsewhere there was no GC battle with only Wilco Kelderman leapfrogging Cadel Evans to move into seventh place overall. As suggested on here recently the Zoncolan is so hard that the climb is reduced to a W/kg contest as riders leg-press their way to the top, a big attack is out of the question, even a small ambush is hard to effect.

The Route: 172km which seems long given there’s little to ride for but the race starts in the Friuli region and has ground to cover to get to Trieste. It’s unremarkable.

The Finish: eight laps of a 7.2km circuit in Trieste. The profile shows a climb and it could annoy the sprinters but the rest of the circuit is on wide roads. The repeated laps will help the bunch learn the finish where they’ll see the more narrow section with 700m to go.
The Scenario: the battle for the red jersey is not over. There’s 26 points difference between Nacer Bouhanni and Giacomo Nizzolo in the points competition. As things stand should Nizzolo win the stage Bouhanni needs to finish in the top-5 to retain the jersey given there are points for the first 20: 50, 40, 34, 28, 25, 22, 20, 18, 16, 14, 12, 10, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1. To complicate the maths there’s also an intermediate traguardo volante sprint with 20, 16, 12, 9, 7, 6, 4, 3, 2, 1 points for the first 10. But for all the big numbers, there are few sprinters left in the race (see “contenders” below) and so the chances of Bouhanni being outside the top-5.

It all points to a stage win. Cannondale have had a quiet race and need to bet the ranch on Elia Viviani who is third on the points classification, he cannot take the jersey but needs a stag win.

The Contenders: Nacer Bouhanni is the pick but let’s see how he’s coped with the Alps. A near-certainty for the sprint two weeks ago things might be very different in Trieste. Giacomo Nizzolo is the second pick with the same reservations and Elia Viviani third.

There’s also reduced cast of characters. Francesco Chicchi, Nicola Ruffoni, Manuel Belletti, Kenny Dehaes, Kenny Dehaes, Michael Matthews, Marcel Kittel, Edvald Boasson Hagen all sprinters who have quit the race along the way. Which leaves only Ben Swift, Tyler Farrar, Roberto Ferrari and Luka Mezgec as the other sprinters in the race. This quartet has yet to prove themselves faster in a straight line than Bouhanni but it only takes one open door at 60km/h to fix that.

Nacer Bouhanni
Giacomo Nizzolo, Elia Vivani
Swift, Farrar, Mezgec, Ferrari

Weather: it feels like the weather forecast has been a copy and paste for two weeks: cloudy with a chance of rain in the afternoon.

TV: the race is on a variety of TV channels according to where you are in the world. Eurosport is covering the race across most of Europe. beIN SPORT has the rights in the US and France. There’s and for TV schedules and pirate feeds and more.

As ever the finish is expected around 5.10pm.

Moveable Feast: this year’s finish is in Trieste. The city is so far to the east of Italy and it sits next to Slovenia. Its location matters and especially to the Giro. John Foot’s excellent Pedalare! Pedalare! recounts the race history and how the Giro’s visit to this former city of the Austro-Hungarian empire was part of the establishment of Italy as a nation and built on the Italians annexation of the city in 1918. It’s similar to the way the Tour de France was instrumental in defining the French borders. We’ve come a long way when the Giro can be used as a peaceful trade export to Ireland.

The Giro often hops from city to city for the last stage. It’s a way to take the race around the country but does mean the finish isn’t famous like the Tour de France and its Champs Elysées, the end of the Giro doesn’t have this conclusive aspect. But nevermind the finish we still don’t know where the 2015 Giro will start. There’s talk about Venice with a prologue using pontoons to cross the canals.

29 thoughts on “Giro Stage 21 Preview”

  1. It is rather sad that Dr Ferrari was so pervasive that I think it was in fact another of his clients, Pelizotti, that finished second?

    Has anyone tracked down the world champion [fool] that pushed the poor young rider yet? If that had happened to, say, Froome or Wiggins, you can imagine the British press media hounding him down and subjecting him to absurd levels of vitriol. Hopefully he will learn from this. The incident certainly detracted from Rogers’ victory for me although he was looking to have the young Italian under pressure anyway.

    In a separate incident what caused Poels to rip the glasses off that fan’s head and throw them away?

      • The idiot needs to learn one thing, NEVER go watch a bike race again just stay home and watch it on tv. The complete pillock.

    • The world champ idiot was at it again only 5 minutes later when the GC riders passed by. Somehow I don’t think he learned anything.

      The sunglasses spectator had interfered with Rolland et al who were riding just in front of Poels, who decided to make a statement to the offending dick by ditching his specs.

      In sports on fields here in Australia, there is a strict policy by broadcasters to record idiot crowd behaviour (e.g. streakers) but NOT to publicly broadcast it. They deliberately revert to a camera not showing the offending action. This is to remove the incentive such idiots have to “get on TV”, but by recording it they are able to provide police with the footage.

      To me it’s a symptom of the ever growing narcissistic behaviour, combined with an alcohol-fuelled atmosphere which needs more discretion to be shown by the TV producers to refrain from broadcasting those particular fools onto our screens. We really don’t need to give air time to the idiot streaker runner types, whereas we were treated to an extended vision helicopter shot of one such creature. Why?

      It’s possible to show the fun side of the fans as that’s all part of the spectacle but do so without encouraging the idiots by giving them what they want – to be on TV.

      • I agree with not televising the idiots. That’s the policy in the US as well.
        More importantly, why was a police presence not targeted to the potential trouble spots? There appeared to be groups of rowdies, probably fueled by alcohol. And, as mentioned above, they bothered the breakaway, then the maglia rosa group 5 minutes later. I’d almost bet an experienced police official could have ridden up the mountain on a motorcycle and better positioned the forces.

  2. One has to assume that the idiots that insist in running alongside riders, with all the risks that such action entails, know little about cycling or function on less than one brain cell. They sometimes appear more intent in getting their ugly faces or bodies on the TV than watching a sporting contest. The sad idiot who gave Bongiorno the push – and he was only one of many, was wearing a world champions jersey. That probably tells you all you need to know. It is unfortunately becoming an increasing problem, as the sport attracts a wider audience and will be a feature organizers will find difficult to combat. Some of the morons shouting in riders faces and risking knocking them over were a disgrace to the sport, show little appreciation of the effort and concentration of the riders and spoilt what was otherwise a classic cycling day.

    Can someone ask them to go and support soccer, where their idiotic behaviour will not be quiet so obvious !

    • yes thanks from my side too. there are many interesting cycling sites, but this here is a unique combination of knowledge, wit, interesting topics & not least discussions in the the comment section. im not an native english speaker, but even i can tell, that inrng masters the language so well that its aöways a joy to read. (and i dont mean the grammar of course)

  3. I think big fines are a solution. It works for cricket/football. E.g. The official cars drive up the course beforehand announcing $10000 fines for interference. They are on TV so will get caught. They can still have their fun as long as they don’t get in the way.

    • The Tour de France sees the riders led by “Republican Guard” police motorbikes and this seems to add to the security, although as we saw last year Alpe d’Huez was wild too. The wider the motorbike the better.

      • I’ve made this comment before, in similar terms, but I think it bears repeating. Surely there are plenty of cycle club members who would willingly act as marshals along such a route. If possible, like on the Manx rally, make them special constables or similar and give them the right of arrest. Plus a very loud whistle.

    • Cricket/football take place in a stadium, though, so on somebody else’s private property where you can be done for trespassing if you invade the pitch. The great thing about cycling is that it takes place in public property, on the roads. But that means that an action would have to be criminal, not just criminally idiotic, for it to be punished in that way.

  4. Don’t touch the riders bar none! Not even the bulky sprinters! Help them only with your encouragement!! (and a difficult thing it is to encourage effectively next to the road). As for yesterday’s stage… a total downer. Someone didn’t ride as hard as he could, because the difference in level between the big shots is surely bigger than what we saw yesterday. OPQS didn’t even try their luck anywhere… And Movistar entering the final climb made me think “from the creators of US Postal in Plateau de Beille and UK Postal in La Planche des Belles Filles, now their new creation: Spain Postal in the Zoncolan”. 🙁

    • I’m very, very far from thinking that Movistar is especially “clean” (LOL), but it didn’t show anything special during this stage or this Giro, apart from good riders well-known as such riding a steady race, and one (“potential” or already “actual”, depending on your definition of the word) champion.

      The characteristic of USPS (I won’t say anything about Sky) is that they could have like three or four men in a reduced group of a dozen men in hard stages, or that they could ride an impressive tempo along various mountain passes… often without being properly “climbers”. Not to speak of TTTs, which (just as TT in general, or even more) can turn up to be an effective doping “thermometer” (IMHO), if analysed *cum grano salis*.

      It’s quite different from giving a strong pull on the front, and then come home 3 minutes and some twenty riders down on a climb you won not so many years ago like Antón did (and he was the best Movistar domestic on the finish line, yesterday).

      I’m a big fan of trying to have a critical sensibility, giving an hard look to races, but we should be careful with these *strong* associations of ideas: if not, whatever will work to say someone is doping (or not), mainly according to our personal fondness for one rider/team or the other.
      Note that a team may have a “green light” on doping, but not necessarily be going around overdoped in any race they’re riding. USPS history tells us also that.

  5. I actually thought it was very fit that Quintana led Uran over the line. The best riders of the Giro together at the end of a long journey.

  6. I would also like to say thanks for the previews. They are excellent in content and reading. Other sites with a more betting slant have charged for their content. Some of the postins are excellent also!

  7. Thank you Inrng for the excellent coverage. I have been unable, frustratingly! to watch most of the Giro so have got the daily info here as always. For the work you put into this site many would want a huge salary plus benefits plus etc. etc. Cheers.

  8. Just another to add my vote of thanks for the previews and reviews for the Giro. Inrng is always the first place to go to for thought-provoking and insightful comment, primarily from our host but also those that comment (there is so little of the ill-informed speculation, bad blood and infantile trolling that you see on some other cycling websites).

  9. I have to say I was impressed by BMC’s Brent Bookwalter’s unheralded performance:5th on that stage while working for Evans as a Domestique (until he blew up)…. Nothing short of amazing. Chapeau bas!

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