Giro Stage 16 Preview

The racing resumes with a monster of a mountain stage with the fearsome Mortirolo climb the highlight of the day.

Rest Day Wrap: did anything happen? Katusha announced the contract extension of Luca Paolini and former Giro boss Carmine Castellano has brought ought a book (in Italian) which sounds promising. The paradox of a rest day is that it’s all relative. Many riders opted for a hard ride in order to keep the legs turning well for today’s stage, spend all day lounging around the muscles will feel sluggish today. Similarly it’s important not to eat too much, to eat well with plenty of nutrients but not to excess.

The Route: The stage starts on the rollers with riders needing a warm-up before they ride uphill and the attacks will fly. They cover most of Sunday’s summit to Madonna di Campiglio as the opening ramp followed by the high speed descent.

The Passo del Tonale will take its toll later on, it rolls well with 15km at 6% but there’s over one thousand metres of vertical gain to pay on a large road that usually roars with revs of motorbikers who enjoy the wide road. After the reciprocal descent the road enters a giant finishing circuit at Edolo.The road rises to Corteno Golgi via some nasty 15% sections before the race crosses the finish line in Aprica to taunt heavy riders who might fancy their hotel.

Mortirolo profile

The Passo del Mortirolo rates as one of the hardest climbs in Italy with regular 12% slopes with added ramps at 18%, all via a series of switchbacks. It is a very tough climb. It’s not the Zoncolan which reduces everyone to private W/kg contest, it’s just a bit easier to mean riders have follow their rivals, to respond to moves. The descent to Monno isn’t as tricky as the climb but still rates as awkward. Then it’s Corteno Golgi again with its leg-sapping 15% slopes before the road eases in Aprica.

The Finish: the easiest part of the day with the gradient softening the closer the finish line gets.

The Contenders: two races for the price of one? A breakaway could contest the stage while behind the contenders for the top-10 race each other. In fact there’s more at play with both the points and mountains jerseys still in play. Team Steamroller, aka Astana, are likely to drive a hard pace to the Mortirolo and claw back any advantage a breakaway might enjoy.

Alberto Contador has never packed much of a sprint. He’s got the edge on Fabio Aru on GC but if the two arrive in Aprica together maybe Aru is the quicker? Normally Aru is better but he’s beginning to look like a drained battery.

It all depends who else is there, we’re likely to see the same names as Sunday and Yuri Trofimov is going surprisingly well and he’s got a decent kick. If he can cope with the Mortirolo then Carlos Betancur packs a powerful sprint, he is looking leaner and meaner by the day but will he go for the stage finish or try to bag mountains points. His rival for the mountains jersey Beñat Intxausti is increasingly focussed on the jersey, a better bet for a points raid than the jersey, Movistar team mate Igor Anton is better suited to the Mortirolo but if he goes here can he stay clear?

BMC stealth rider Damiano Caruso has promised to attack but he’s probably more interested in sitting tight. Sky have options with Leopold König and Vasil Kiryienka, one can sight tight and the other might fancy a long range glory bid. Ilnur Zakarin is saving himself for a mountain stage? Today’s irregular Mortirolo doesn’t suit him so well, I think Friday’s stage to Cervinia is more advantageous to his long lever-like legs but many will be targeting the same day. The same for the human coathanger Steven Kruijswijk who almost deserves a stage so far for his efforts.

Fabio Aru, Alberto Contador, Carlos Betancur
Trofimov, Landa, Inxausti, Visconti, Anton, Atapuma

Weather: cool and cloudy with the chance of a rain show, the thermometer will struggle to beat 15°C.

TV: there’s been talk the stage will be live on TV from start to finish but scanning the RAI and Eurosport schedules it doesn’t seem to be the case. For a change the finish is forecast for 5.00pm Euro time, 15 minutes earlier. Cyclingfans and have the streaming links.

The Giro is: lacking foreign stars. Scan the start list before the race and it didn’t have many big name foreign entrants and now the collapse of Richie Porte and Rigoberto Uran means the field isn’t very deep. If Fabio Aru can stay on track he’ll become a bona fide GC star but glancing at the rest of the field a lot of names are a surprise in the top-10. What to do? The Giro can pay stars to ride but perhaps the key lies in Alberto Contador, if he succeeds in the Giro-Tour double then the doppio could become fashionable again just as it was in the past. That said the Giro doesn’t need to change much, this has been an exciting race all along and there’s no need to clone the Tour de France.

30 thoughts on “Giro Stage 16 Preview”

  1. Glad to see Carlos Betancur relevant again. I hope he bags a stage before the Giro’s end.

    So, it looks like the Giro showed Richie the Porta.

  2. “That said the Giro doesn’t need to change much, this has been an exciting race all along and there’s no need to clone the Tour de France.” is correct. Thank you. Too bad they couldn’t take a right turn at the bottom of the Tonale and go over the Gavia before looping back to the Mortirolo. I hope to be wrong but I don’t see the Aprica loop as adding much to the show today.

    • I do agree with this as well.
      My personnal opinion on this is that the Tour de France is in fact the most boring of the GT. The GC sometimes results interesting but most often it doesn’t. The most exciting in it are the stage wins.
      In terms of route, I do prefer the Giro. The Vuelta has crazy sloped finishes but most often landscapes are not so beautiful nor are the roads (they are often riding on highways).
      Again, this is personnal opinion…

      • It’s not the routes that make races; it’s fate & fitness.

        Over the decades, we’ve seen glorious-looking stages through picturesque landscapes, medieval hilltops and challenging terrain, only to see a cease-fire finish. And we’ve seen boring, barely-lumpy, transfer stages through suburbs and industrial landscapes where daring risk, heroic efforts, frightful mishap, and disasters (as well as internal team politics) make that day spectacularly entertaining.

        But as a spectator, I prefer Italia. That country adds a bit of … how you say … chaos … that is sanitized in France.

  3. Where did the riders stay for the rest day? Madonna di Campiglio is at 1500m.
    I was always told it took about 2 weeks for the body to adjust to altitude. Day 1 being the day the body functioned the best and day 3 the worst. After day 3 the body gets a little better every day..

    Could just taking the motorhome down the road to Tione be more than a “marginal gain”? How to the riders usually deal with situations like this? Surely sleeping at altitude is silly when you are going down to Lugano tomorrow.

      • It used to be but many riders use altitude tents to simulate this. What they do now is train at altitude now too because it conditions the body to the altitude and to perform better in a stage race when racing at altitude. A lot of work and expense when you consider that a stage race will only spend a few minutes at high altitude, ie the Colle Finestre on Saturday might a big climb but a fragment is >2000m, but these are often the most crucial moments.

  4. I’m sure there’s many a reason why they won’t but I’d is love to see Astana let Landa go early. If they wait till the final climb as they did on Sunday, we’re likely to see the same result which might mean a stage win but favours Contador on the whole. However, if they can get the support of a couple of teams and make it hard from the start, Landa could go early on the Mortirolo. If TSB have been worked over before then, it would be hard to pace AC to stick with Landa for the whole climb. AC then has to follow or risk losing a lot of time.

    The only issue is it doesn’t help Aru but I they want to win the race then I think it’s their best chance as AC isn’t letting Aru go anywhere on his own.

    • I think the reason is that Aru is Italian. Also, Landa is 4.46 behind Contador and has almost no chance of gaining that time on him.
      It would be great for us to watch, but I think Astana would gain nothing – Aru would still have to (at least) follow Contador.

      • Not only would Aru have to follow Contador but he’d be isolated without a wheel to follow and at the risk of a puncture etc. If Landa plays his cards right he can be joint leader in the Vuelta later this year.

        • As I said, lots of reasons why they won’t do it and I probably should have put more stress on the need for help from other teams a là Sky being worked over when Froome was isolated in the 2013 TdF. Big ‘but’, but if they got the help and Landa went early enough, firstly Aru could still have Tangert and Cataldo or Tiralongo left to help and of course they wouldn’t be riding on the front and 2, to J Evans point about the time difference, two minutes + could easily be made and suddenly there’s a couple more MTF’s to put the pressure on.

          If they didn’t get the help and TSB were still stacked then there’d be no point but still you never know if you don’t try though it’s probable just my wishful thinking for a tight GC finale.

          • To launch Landa on the Mortirolo seems a good tactic to put pressure on the maglia rosa.
            In this case, I think Kontador would have to react and maybe try an attack in order to clear Astana. Not sure Aru would be able to follow then.
            In any case, this tactic would result good to watch. Much better than a high paced mortirolo driven by Astana.

  5. I love the way you write this INRNG – today’s classics are “Aru looking like a drained battery”, and the winner is “the human coat hanger Stefan Kruijswijk”
    Always informative and often spit-your-coffee-over-the-iPad funny.

    PS really good arm warmers, quite disappointed no one commented on them on my last audax. Let’s see if the TT crowd tonight are a bit more discerning!

  6. @ Mr Ring “if he succeeds in the Giro-Tour double then the doppio could become fashionable again just as it was in the past”

    My Italian is very limited but I believe it is called la doppietta

  7. Another exciting mountain stage in the Giro.

    God, I love Ryder. He has become one of the least graceful cyclists I have witnessed. He looks like he is going to fall off the bike half the time. But, give him credit, he keeps plugging away, getting into breaks, driving the break on, engaging in suicide attacks and the finish line seems to always be 500m to far for him.

    W Il Giro !

    • Being a Canuck I’ve followed Ryder’s career all the way from his teenage mountain bike days (yes, I am a “newbie fanboy”). Watching him ride a bike is indeed painful but it makes me appreciate him even more. Same goes for his interviews. I think he represents the lunch box blue collar work ethic that many of us can identify with even though it doesn’t pay off very often. I hope he keeps on plugging away.

  8. W il Giro. Super stage today. Love to see Amador fighting for a podium place. Great attitude climbing, no fear in the descent. It seems that 1 and 2 place are definitive. 3 place is up for grabs between Aru and Amador. I wonder whether Unzue regrets having sent this line-up for the Giro instead of a more dedicated unit around Amador. Seems he is a surprise even for Movistar. Anyway I am super happy for him.

  9. Shame on Ochowicz – proposing wild card free grand tours, the former head of 7-11 no less. The book Geoff Drake wrote with Ochowicz’s help falls all over itself reminding you how wild, how unorthodox, how irreverent, the team was, etc, etc, etc, ad nauseum – and how they were unfairly blamed for crashes and other misfortunes.

    No doubt the one article I read on the topic wildly misrepresented his views/statements, but still, sheesh.

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