Giro Stage 16 Preview

A race to the ski resort of Andalo on the Paganella plateau and what promises to be a lively stage with just 132km to cover and some fast climbs.

The Route: the race speeds down the Eisack along a large valley road and an awkward place to get away, the big road has few obstacles to encourage the metaphorical elastic to snap.

The Mendola is as it looks on the profile, a steady ascent on a well-engineered climb that rolls well for 15km, the kind of road that roars with the hum of motorbike tourists during the summer. It hugs the cliff-edge in place for stunning views and the ensuing descent which starts at the GPM point is similar, at least at the start. The road eases as it passes by all the apple orchards of the Trento area, home to 1988 World Champion Maurizio Fondriest and the slope from KM70 the next 40km are gently downhill as they lead to the next climb.

The climb to Fai della Paganella stings, it’s 10km with harder gradients and hairpin bends to start with which give way to long straight sections, the kind of terrain where it’s hard to escape but riders can easily be shelled out.

The Finish: an uphill run to the line with some snaking bends and then 2km of false flat roads into Andalo.

The Contenders: who to pick? The brevity of today’s stage suggests it’ll be an action-packed day as groups try to surge clear early on and if that fails then the Mendelpass will be ideal for a move to go clear but given the short distance nobody will take much time.

Look out for two locals: BMC Racing’s Manuel Quinziato gets to ride through his one time town of Bolzano early in the stage even if the hilly finish isn’t suited. Closer to the finish brings us right into the fiefdom of the Moser clan so Moreno Moser is likely to be active and the punchy finish suits him. Team mate Joe Dombrowski is looking strong but I think he might be saving himself for the big Alpine stages to come.

Diego Ulissi isn’t a local but he’s in form with two stage wins and the ability to sniff out a win when others struggle. His regular Giro stage wins tend to come early in the race which suggests he fades but it could equally be a matter of course design here where suitable terrain tends to come in the first ten days. He’s also in with a chance of the red jersey and so will want to score points.

Giovanni Visconti seems to be Movistar’s free radical but the longer the race goes on the better Carlos Betancur looks, if he can hang in during the finish he’s got a shot, he once outsprinted John Degenkolb but gravity will be his biggest problem. Alejandro Valverde‘s been tipped several times for the stage win but yet to deliver. Still he’s in with a chance on this stage, the lack of altitude and the selective climbing still suit him.

Gazprom-Rusvelo are back in the game after Sacha Foliforov’s stage win and Sergey Firsanov is their best bet, a punchy rider with several wins and placings this season including in the Giro del Trentino which borrowed some of the same roads last month.

Now for four who can climb well and finish fast. Katusha’s Rein Taaramäe reemerged from a discreet start to the race to take 12th place in the mountain TT. Team Sky’s Nicolas Roche is an outside pick for a finish like this, to be able to climb well and then finish the job from a small group, ditto Lotto-Soudal’s Tim Wellens and Lotto-Jumbo’s Enrico Battaglin although Battaglin’s personal ambitions could be put aside to support Steven Kruijswijk.

Finally the short nature of the stage means that if a breakaway struggles to go clear it will have to work even harder to take time on the peloton as the big teams lead into the main climbs so we could still the big names duke it out.

Diego Ulissi, Giovanni Visconti, Nicolas Roche
Jungels, Moser, Kruijswijk, Wellens, Taaramäe, Valverde, Firsanov

Weather: sunshine and a top temperature of 22°C

TV: the finish is forecast for 5.15pm Euro time.

Eurosport is covering the race across most of Europe. beIN SPORT has the rights in the US and France while Italian host broadcaster RAI offers the best coverage with experienced commentators as well as roving reporters on motorbikes to add extra coverage. As ever, cyclinghub and are the go-to sites for schedules and pirata feeds.

21 thoughts on “Giro Stage 16 Preview”

  1. I know it’s if buts and maybes would it have suited Sergio Henao today? Any news on the fella? The previews have been storming so makes looking forward to the stages. Many thanks inrng

    • Why not? Among the Sky riders Roche, on paper, looks handy for the flat finish if he can cope with the climb to Fai della Paganella but maybe Henao will like the steep irregular slopes at the top?

      • I wrote Sergio when I meant Seb! Would love for Nicholas to get a result. This has to be one of,if not the best periods for Los Colombianos riding at such high level? So many, and the Irish lads arnt doing to badly, either.

    • Would be fun to see how creative does sky get here to claw the 9 mins deficit on white jersey back. Would be easier if Etixx still got the pink to defend.

  2. Valverde has made the not unreasonable point that these “category 2” climbs look a lot more like cat 1s. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a GC battle on the slopes of the Fai della Paganella,

    • totally agree – i think Astana maybe with help from Movistar will beast the first and beginning of the second climb to put Kruijswijk/Chaves alone and under pressure for the end of the second/third. Nibbles, Valverde and others can ping off the front to see if the first 2 hold their discipline. They’ll either end up chasing or start riding on the front themselves to discourage any attacks but it will be for a long time and being alone for such a long stretch will take a lot from them. I can’t see it working today because i don’t think the attackers have the legs and K/C both look strong and unflappable but it will definitely wear them out for the week ahead

    • My prediction is that Nibali and/or Chaves will try an attack in order to leave Kruijswijk without teammates. At this moment, Movistar will chase (for hypthetic stage win or overall podium).

      • I think Matt White is happy with a podium… he’ll have Chaves sitting on the back of the Movistana train, and following selective attacks rather than being the aggressor at this point.

        • Out of all the interviews with Chaves or the team the rhetoric is he’ll be going for the win rather than riding to defend a podium. It’s Kruijswijk who has to defend the jersey with a weak team, and the powerful squads of Movistar and Astana will look to exploit this. Such a situation could work to Chaves’ advantage, although if he did take pink then the same problem would then apply to his team. OGE have some decent climbing support, better than LottoNL, but not to the standard of Movistar/Astana.

        • After last Tour’s Movisky we now indeed have a Movistana team 🙂 What a nightmare!
          Even if I agree with irungo txuletak about the worst possible while at the same time sadly probable scenario: Movistar closing on attacks and having Kruijswijk’s/Lotto’s work all packed and delivered for him.

  3. May be the Dutch optimist in me, but I think the quartet of Tankin, Roglic, Battaglin and Castelijns (maybe even Tjallingi) should be able to defend well enough here. Especially because a maglia rosa can do wonders for a team, and none did the TT at any real serious pace.
    Another point is, Kruijswijk simply looks to strong to isolate. This isn’t last season’s Vuelta where Dumoulin was hanging on for dear life. This is the strongest guy in the field, and someone who has ridden the past two weeks with incredible intelligence and responsiveness.

    • Could be, but the Maglia Rosa works both ways. Now his team has to defend it against attacks until Sunday. In some ways Kruijswijk’s gotten a free ride so far as nobody paid much attention to him. But now he’s a real threat and I expect his competitors to act accordingly – starting today! W Il Giro!

  4. I don’t think it was a free ride, it looks like Nibali and Valverde are not at their best and they just can’t compete at the moment. I assume they know who Kruijswijk is and I hope they saw what he did in the third week of last year’s Giro.

  5. All I’m hoping for is that Serry is left of the leash for once by EQS. He’s been showing great form ever since the Ardennes and today Jungels’ top 10 standing probably won’t be under pressure so he deserves to have a go at a shred of glory for himself. He seems the kind of rider that’s critically undervalued by everyone but his team leaders.

  6. Another name to throw into the ring – Maxime Monfort. No team duties for the forseeable and far enough behind the top riders not to be seen as a threat to the GC. I do agree that the length of the stage is a problem for any break though.

  7. Until now, a great stage… good luck comparing the entertainment and the technical level of the Giro with other GTs
    (“technical”, which doesn’t mean the athletical one, even if… well, today we saw an average speed of more than 45km/h for the first two hours, with a 15 km climb in-between and an altitude gain of more than 1000 m., not so bad from an athletical POV, either).

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