≡ Menu

Giro Stage 6 Preview

Almost a rest day. Certainly fans and grand tour contenders alike can stand down from full alert and watch a sprint finish.

Stage 5 Wrap: Jan Polanc waited. We’ve seen pacing efforts for the Hour Record where some have taken off too fast too soon and paid the price. The Lampre-Merida rider soaked up the attacks from Sylvain Chavanel and Silvan Dillier before going clear and staying away for the stage win. Polanc (soft “c” when you say his name, think Polanski without “ki”) is Slovenian and like so many of his compatriots has made a career of racing in Italy, the Italian U23 and amateur ranks are packed with riders from this small country and Polanc should be yet more inspiration.

Alberto Contador Abetone

Behind, perspiration as Astana and Tinkoff-Saxo continued their aggressive racing. On the steep section of the final climb Astana started launching riders only Alberto Contador responded in person and only Fabio Aru and Richie Porte could match him. But match him they did and this wasn’t the sizzling Contador who jumps away to never been seen again by his rivals. Aru looked controlled while Porte is right where he needs to be, marking two riders inferior to him in a time trial.

Alberto Contador maglia rosa

Too soon for Contador to take the race lead? Yes, I think yesterday’s aggression was a both a private fitness test and a signal to Astana that he can take them on rather than attempt to establish a lead. If he consents to it the jersey can be lost to a breakaway a lot more easily than it was won. The worry for fans is that we’ve had a wild opening week but already we’re down to just three contenders for the GC as Uran lost more time.

The Route: ignore the climbing mid-stage because this is gradual most of the time with just two sharper spikes to tackle. If any sprinter is struggling here they’ll struggle in the finish too. Otherwise this is a 183km jaunt south across Tuscany.

The Finish: the race sweeps into town with a kilometre long flat finishing straight by the seaside.

The Contenders: a sprint finish seems certain as the teams with sprinters have to make the most of the days available. Lotto picks André Greipel (Lotto-Soudal) and Moreno Hofland (Lotto-Jumbo) are the joint picks for the stage especially give the flat run to the line. But as we saw in Genova, several other names can pounce. Red points jersey wearer Elia Viviani is the obvious choice. Luka Mezgec (Giant-Alpecin) hasn’t been as convincing but only needs one chance to change the story while Michael Matthews (Orica-Greenedge) will fancy a go, his versatility means trading top-end speed for climbing so he’s not the automatic choice today despite his class; the same for Sacha Modolo (Lampre-Merida) who doesn’t seem to have the speed for a dragstrip dash.

A mention of IAM Cycling’s Matteo Pelucchi who is suffering from fatigue and Trek Factory Racing’s Giacomo Nizzolo who is having allergy problems.

André Greipel, Moreno Hofland
Elia Viviani, Luka Mezgec
Modolo, Matthews, Nizzolo, Pelucchi, Petacchi, Lobato

Weather: warm and sunny with the thermometer reaching 27°C and a 20-30km/h crosswind for some of the stage.

TV: the feed is supposed to start around 3.10pm and the finish is forecast for 5.15pm Euro time. Cyclingfans and steephill.tv both have links to pirate feeds and legit broadcast sources.

The Giro is: …barely profitable. It might be Italy’s biggest race and sell TV rights around the world but this is no licence to print money. RCS (say “air-chee-essay”) owns the race and runs it within the RCS Sport division, a small unit within RCS’s “Pubblicità ed eventi” (advertising and events) division, itself a small division set against RCS’s main publishing assets of newspapers and books in Italy and Spain. Buried within the RCS accounts is the table above which lists €48 million in income for all of RCS Sport’s activities from cycling (Tirreno-Adriatico, Lombardia, Dubai Tour etc) but also basketball, Italy’s Serie B football, the Milan marathon and more. So €48 million of revenue from all of this implies the Giro only accounts for a small share of this and by deduction any profit is smaller still. A fuller take on RCS and the money will appear here later today.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Anonymous Thursday, 14 May 2015, 6:27 am

    So relieved to see Porte in form.

    Was dreading waking up this morning and seeing the headline “Porte loses time on the …”

  • hiddenwheel Thursday, 14 May 2015, 6:33 am

    What of Lobato for the sprint? Movistar seems like a team in need of focus and goals (aside from pacing Uran in the mountains…;-)

    • J McClure Thursday, 14 May 2015, 11:28 pm

      It seems like Movistar is playing the role of Europcar in the Tour: Go for everything and whatever happens we’ll roll with it. We’ll probably see the likes of Intxausti or Amador at the pointy end of a breakaway stage sooner or later.

  • Larry T. Thursday, 14 May 2015, 8:03 am

    Might get on my own bike and skip TV until close to the end today? Thanks for pointing out something ignored by those who think TV rights for cycling are some huge cash producer that they’re not getting their fair share of..other than TdF it doesn’t seem to be the case. Certain teams keep claiming they want their fair share, but would THEY share funds with races on shaky financial ground? Back-in-the-day teams used to have to pay entry fees to organizers, presumably used to offset some of the costs of running the race? I assume automatic entry via “Heinie’s Folly” (aka World/Pro/Whatever Tour) did away with this, making things worse instead of better.

  • J Evans Thursday, 14 May 2015, 9:04 am

    It’s getting to the stage where rather than battling for 4th in the Giro, Uran might be better off stepping off and having a go at the Tour – better a top ten in that than in the Giro.
    On the other hand, if the line-up in the Vuelta is weak, he could go well there if he doesn’t tire himself in the Tour.

    • Richard S Thursday, 14 May 2015, 9:14 am

      If I were him I wouldn’t ride the Tour, I’d spend the month trying to sweet talk my way into a team that has some climbers and can offer even a basic level of support on any hill longer than a 500 metre berg.

      • Augie March Thursday, 14 May 2015, 9:26 am

        Agreed. Given that EQS will have Cav, Renshaw and at least another couple of guys for his sprint train, plus Tony Martin who has an excellent chance of scoring the yellow jersey on stage one, as well as most likely Kwiatkowski who will probably be looking for stages, that would leave very little in terms of mountain support and bottle carriers for Uran. It resembles the old 2005-9 Lotto team dilemma where they tried to balance having a top sprinter in Robbie McEwen and a top GC contender in Cadel Evans both at the tour with competing priorities.

        The Vuelta could be another option, Contador is obviously not riding and if Quintana passes then there will only be Purito and Valverde and possibly Froome competing for the win, so providing he stays healthy and alert Uran could be right up there.

        • Sam Thursday, 14 May 2015, 10:37 am

          It is ever thus with Lefevere. He hankers after a GT guy and then doesn’t give him the support. He likes the IDEA but when it comes to the practicalities of supporting him and hiring the necessary domestiques to do that…

          Uran is far from the first to experience this with Lefevere.

          • Anonymous Thursday, 14 May 2015, 2:42 pm

            This is a very simplistic generalization and way off the mark. LeFevere is one of the most successful managers of all time. Uran knows exactly what he signed up for and is playing his part expertly.

          • J McClure Thursday, 14 May 2015, 11:33 pm

            I agree that this is a pretty generalized statement, but being realistic, if EQS will ever be top contenders in a Grand Tour it would almost require a complete redesign of their roster. I can’t see them ever winning a GT the way the team is now, and I hope Uran doesn’t spend too much more time there.

            He’d probably be better off at a team like Lampre or FDJ, one without a definite GC leader, but with enough good climbers to support one.

        • Erlend Thursday, 14 May 2015, 12:22 pm

          I agree that he shouldn’t ride it this year, but it is quite puzzling that Uran seems to favour the giro over the tour every year. The tour typically has less climbing, more ITT kilometres and less steep and more regular climbs. Over the last two years Uran has turned into more of a Cadel Evans type rider rather than your typical columbian climber. And I would think the tour would suit his characteristics better.

          • Augie March Thursday, 14 May 2015, 12:32 pm

            I think rather it’s more likely that the team steers him towards the Giro given their other priorities at the tour. Winning stages with Cavendish and Martin I’m sure means more to Lefevere than a rider like Uran finishing in the top 10. I agree with your Cadel Evans comparison and think it should be taken one step further. As mentioned above, Evans wasn’t getting the support he needed at Lotto when they had other big names on the roster, so moved to a smaller team that could be entirely focused around him and the rest, as the old cliché goes, is history.

          • J Evans Thursday, 14 May 2015, 1:21 pm

            I think perhaps Uran is realistic enough about his own abilities to know that he can’t (yet?) win the Tour, whereas he could possibly win the Giro or Vuelta.
            If I was him I’d focus on the Vuelta this year and hope that everyone else is tired from the Tour (except for Aru perhaps, if he doesn’t do the Tour).
            And E-QS is just not a team for GC hopefuls.

    • Tovarishch Thursday, 14 May 2015, 9:23 am

      I predict he’ll make the podium, taking a bundle out of Aru on the ITT. He would have even less help on the Tour with most of EQS dedicated to Cavendish.

      • Samuel G Thursday, 14 May 2015, 11:03 am

        I agree, discounting him when the first week isn’t even over yet and he is only a minute or so back is too harsh, he can still make the podium as can others further back for that matter, there’s a good chance that at least one of the big three will have a bad day somewhere

        • irungo txuletak Thursday, 14 May 2015, 12:52 pm

          Agreed. Uran proved to be able race consistently over 3 weeks, and is only 1.20 away from Aru, not much when the long TT is taken into account.

          • J Evans Thursday, 14 May 2015, 1:23 pm

            Riders who lose time early in a race usually then lose more time on other hilly stages. But maybe he is ill and can improve.

  • JT Thursday, 14 May 2015, 10:01 am

    Doesn’t Stage 6 have a sprint really early on with points and bonus seconds on offer? I thought I read that somewhere. If so then I can’t see the first 15km being especially leisurely!

    • Dave B Thursday, 14 May 2015, 10:17 am

      Yes, the ‘TV’ markers on the stage profile are the sprint points, so the first is just 14.6km into the stage.

      Not sure if there are bonus seconds for these or not, someone else will know though!

    • The Inner Ring Thursday, 14 May 2015, 10:18 am

      Yes, you can see the “TV” point early in the profile above. It means a fast start but things should shut down again.

  • Dave Thursday, 14 May 2015, 11:10 am

    If a person had not have watched the race yesterday but only read Mr Tinkov’s tweet after the event one would be forgiven for thinking that Contrador had won the race with this small attack. The reality of the situation is thankfully at least two other riders were able to match him.

    For me the three contenders must give thanks to Landa, had he not bridged and then set the pace, it is more than likely the three contenders would have, to some extent, been reeled back in by the tempo pace set in main bunch.
    Those without the ability to twitch on a hill knowingly use pacing as a way to limit losses especially when riders attack and slow attack and slow.
    So the question is; have Astana been training riders to chase down attacks and once the bridge is made set a fierce pace to keep the break away, I look forward to seeing how this might play out in the upcoming races.

  • Anonymous Thursday, 14 May 2015, 11:20 am

    I think Astana are stronger than Saxo, I think they should be doing more attacking than pacemaking to isolate contador and doing the old 1-2 with landa and aru

  • hahostolze Thursday, 14 May 2015, 11:30 am

    Not sure I agree Porte is superior in the TT to Contador…

    • Tovarishch Thursday, 14 May 2015, 12:09 pm

      There is certainly very little evidence of that but it does seem to be the received wisdom. Not sure why.

      • irungo txuletak Thursday, 14 May 2015, 12:49 pm

        Agree with that. Not sure Porte can take much time on Kontador in the TT.

    • Anonymous Thursday, 14 May 2015, 12:27 pm

      Porte = current national TT champ.
      Contador != current national TT champ.

      • Anonymous Thursday, 14 May 2015, 12:27 pm

        So, there’s that.

    • Tovarishch Thursday, 14 May 2015, 12:42 pm

      It depends on whether Contador uses all five or only three motors.

    • Augie March Thursday, 14 May 2015, 12:52 pm

      I think in 2015 Porte is superior to Contador, not only is he national TT champ but he beat future hour record holder Rohan Dennis to get the title, then crushed the field at the final TT in Paris-Nice. Still, all will be revealed on stage 14 though.

    • PM Thursday, 14 May 2015, 12:58 pm

      Looking at their head to head results shows that (in 2013 at least) Porte was coming out on top in TTs, such as stage 11 in the Tour, a 33k flat TT where Porte came in 54 seconds faster than Contador. Similar result at Pais Vasco that year, with a good performance from Porte in the Dauphine as well.

    • noel Thursday, 14 May 2015, 2:23 pm

      seems to me that Bertie and Aru have a little more finishing zip than Porte… so if on the four remaining tough finishes they match each other and finish 1-2-3, Porte potentially loses 4x 6secs to Bertie on time bonuses, so he could need to make up as much as 44secs in total on Contador in the ITT… (granted a lot of assumptions are in here…)

  • TJ Thursday, 14 May 2015, 12:07 pm

    I read that Henao had been suffering from a stomach bug… Porte looks good but does seem to be missing a couple of teammates on the climbs when the other teams up the pace.

  • J Evans Thursday, 14 May 2015, 1:02 pm

    When Contador stops to change his bike, the others should attack. That would end that ‘problem’ – if one sees it as a problem (the polemica about motors is ludicrous).

    • Anonymous Thursday, 14 May 2015, 2:48 pm

      That little wisdom came from the genius himself, Cipollini. As if he could ever be in a position to attack from the lead group in the mountains…

      • J Evans Thursday, 14 May 2015, 8:24 pm

        I’m in good company then… and have as much chance as Cipo in the mountains.
        But it is a point – if he stops to take a bike, attack and at least make it not worth his while.

  • Robbo Thursday, 14 May 2015, 6:29 pm

    Is the RCS financial results table at the bottom of the article showing income or revenue?

    • The Inner Ring Thursday, 14 May 2015, 6:31 pm

      Revenue/income, ie sales not profit.

  • Jordan Muller Thursday, 14 May 2015, 9:06 pm
  • J McClure Thursday, 14 May 2015, 11:22 pm

    At the start of this race I assumed the podium would be pretty well set from early on: Contador, Porte, Aru, barring unfortunate circumstances. Now it seems up in the air, and though people want to count out Uran already he is possibly now one of the best contenders. Personally his time lost in these early stages seems to me like saving energy. As we saw from Hesjedal in last year’s Giro, huge amounts of time can be made up in a 3-week race.

    Right now the favourites for a podium seem to be Porte, Uran and Aru, but in no particular order. Porte, as seems to be the norm in Team Sky, doesn’t have the explosive nature to distance most of his GC rivals, and his biggest gains will likely come in the TT. Aru and Uran have historical successes but their form right now isn’t very clear (less-so for Aru taking 3rd at Abetone).

    I think it might go to Aru, based on the team around him. Uran just doesn’t have anyone to support him in a Grand Tour, and though Team Sky’s lineup seems all-powerful on paper, they’ve been absent so far in helping Porte when the roads go up.