Giro Stage 6 Preview

The first summit finish of the race. This is promising yet the point of the stage is to see the contenders clash without picking a winner.

Andre Greipel

Stage 5 Wrap: a sprint win for André Greipel. Giant-Alpecin set the pace with help from Lotto-Soudal while Etixx-Quickstep were discreet all day. Was Kittel off the pace? Yes was the answer as he was dropped as the race rode into town. A late crash into the final bend by Rein Taaramäe didn’t disturb Greipel and he launched his sprint from afar. It was almost an attack and he surged away from everyone else, a powerful end to what was otherwise a boring stage.

The Route: the Bocca della Selva is 18km long but gentle, an average of 5.6% but the last 7km are at 7%. It’s enough to sap the sprinters but not enough to split the field apart. Similarly the descent is gradual and then the race runs along the valley floor, passing the turning to Campitello Matese (a summit finish last year when Beñat Intxausti dropped Sebastian Reichenbach to win the stage). The undulations on the way to the final climb are on large, well-engineered roads, the kind you can drive a truck at speed on. They’re not selective but they will add to the fatigue.

The Finish: 17km at 4.8% but with staircase-like profile as the gradient changes through different sections making this a collection of slopes rather than one constant climb. It’ll pay to be on a good wheel as the speed will be high and drafting matters.

The final kilometres see the race cross open pastures across a plateau before the road kicks up to the line, the roadbook says the last kilometre is 7.9% but it’s more gentle for most of the way before a final kick up to the line.

Diego Ulissi

The Contenders: this is supposed to be the Diego Ulissi stage but he’s already won. The route is perfect for him with climbing all the way to the line before he can deliver the kind of finishing sprint that’s seen him win stages of the Giro. Lampre-Merida are not a big team but come with solid riders for the finish in order to pace their man and if he can take a time bonus and get a gap then the maglia rosa is a possibility too.

Alejandro Valverde is another obvious pick, he climbs fast and sprints well and has taken many wins from finishes like this, see the Vuelta last year. He will want the time bonus too, if he can place on a few stages it means harvesting valuable seconds which he will lose in the time trials.

Tom Dumoulin is in good shape and suited to punchy finishes like this. He leads the race which is a responsibility but also means its up to the others to take risks while can can any moves in his own time.

Esteban Chaves has a good jump in his legs and is probably the climber you’ve not been thinking about but we’ll quickly see how he’s faring. Mikel Landa is the climber you’re thinking about and he should feature. Today’s finish has a flat run towards the final kilometre so it’s hard for him to test the climbing legs but he can make the last 500m count. Steven Kruijswijk looked sharp the other day as he rode away from the bunch but he’s a most infrequent winner with only one victory celebration to his name.
Can Ilnur Zakarin sprint? He can climb and time trial and outrode Nairo Quintana in Romandie plus he was 12th yesterday and seventh the day before. A high finish is possible but it’s hard to see him getting the better of the names above. Rein Taaramäe could make amends for his crash in the finish yesterday, if he’s just lost a bit of skin then pride might spur him on to the win

Cannondale have Rigoberto Uran, Moreno Moser and Simon Clarke for today. Moser is looking better but still seems nervous, he tried to ride away from the bunch two days ago but it was too much, too soon. So what if Davide Formolo strikes out today, he has the talent but his form is unknown.

Damiano Cunego is having a good Giro. The Little Prince is currently reigning as the king of the mountains and as La Gazzetta pointed it it means he’s been on the podium again for the first time since 2004 when he won the race. He’s now targeting stages not the overall but beating all the names above is a big ask so he might look to get in a move.

Vincenzo Nibali is still the big pick for the overall classification but on the Via Fortino he looked hesitant. It’s hard to see him wining today even if he should place in the top-10 so look to see how at ease he feels and how well Astana do.

Diego Ulissi, Alejandro Valverde
Esteban Chaves, Tom Dumoulin
Cunego, Taaramäe, Formolo, Majka, Preidler, McCarthy

Weather: sunny most of the stage with some clouds and the outside chance of a shower in the hills. Cooler temperatures with 20°C in the valleys and down to 11°C the finish.

TV: the finish is forecast for 5.15pm Euro time. Tune in for the final 45 minutes to watch the approach to the climb and climb itself even if the decisive moment is only likely to happen right at the end. If nothing appears to be happening on the climb look for the details: is Vincenzo Nibali looking comfortable? Which teams have strength in numbers.

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. The timing will vary but the finish is expected for around 5.15pm CET each day.

60 thoughts on “Giro Stage 6 Preview”

    • Too. I think there’s a chance people are screaming “attack” at their TV today while the riders mark each other so instead we might have to look at the teams and clues for later etc… but the weather has taken a turn for the worse and this often encourages more moves and demoralises others.

  1. nice writeup

    Perhaps Jungels is a sleeper as well. If can hang with the group he sure had a kick yesterday. It would be nice to see someone new like Priedler win – and with Domulin as a decoy maybe they could make it happen.

    • Jungels has a good chance too but I thought he’d be marked a lot plus if he’s here in the finish then surely others will be too and they can beat him? We’ll see how well he is climbing, he was a small revelation in the Tour de France last year and if he can find those Alpine legs again he’ll do well.

      • found it surprising to not see Jungel’s name in your ever excellent review up to the comment

        Basically he was the only one pulling and chasing Ulissi and Dumoulin 2days ago, while Landa & Co. dropped out the back long time before and Valverde and others, did the Valverde (as in hide and seek)…

        and the next day he appears in the mass spring beeing on Greipels wheel just a few meters before the line, impressive!

  2. I would’ve liked this stage to be tomorrow, when I’m off work, rather than today, when I’m in work. But I won’t be drafting that letter to RCS just yet.

    Valverde will need this win, I would’ve thought. Taking a stage would automatically make his Giro not-a-failure, and in if he’s to have any chance at all of challenging for GC it’s htis sort of stage he’ll need to win for the bonus seconds.

    Interesting to see McCarthy snuck into the outside picks. If he can hang in the climb, he could certainly place. A win would seem unlikely though, especially if Valvderde, Ulissi or Chaves are in the final selection.

    • Hopefully you’re off work for Saturday’s stage, it’s very promising. McCarthy has a good finish for short uphill arrivals like this if he can hang with the others but maybe he’s either not on form or just on duty for Majka but somehow his name stood out.

  3. Chavito looks knackered. Really hope I’m so wrong. Riding himself into the race? Valverde to haul ass and take those valuable bonifications today. Talking of hauling ass, how quick are they heading out of the south of the country? It’s almost like they’ve snuck out, without paying the bill.

    • Have a listen to the Kilometre 0 podcast, off Inner Ring’s twitter link, on the North / South divide in Italian cycling. It’s very interesting.

    • Well, when you waste 3 days in Holland…..but at least they went down there – about as far south as one can go on the mainland. Without putting in even more silly transfers, a straight shot up the center of the boot, a big right turn to the hit the Dolomites followed by a sweep left to finish in Torino was the best they could do, no? 2017 will have it all in the Bel Paese 🙂

      • 2017 is the 100th edition of the Giro and due to start in Sardinia (I’m wondering if it will be outside Fabio Aru’s mother’s house just so he gets the hint) and then the race is likely to be a “greatest hits” tour of the Giro with all the mythical passes and probably some big cities.

        • Sardinia & Sicily, apparently 🙂 (they say they’d like to touch every Region, which isn’t easy but would be great fun, forcing a course design even more creative than usual).

        • There is surely no way that the Italians wouldn’t want anything but an Italian winner of the 100th edition. Are is bound to be there.
          Speaking as a Brit, we should send Thomas and Froome over. The old Gunboat Diplomacy 😉

          • Don’t be so sure about that… in fact, most fans rooted for Contador in 2008 and 2011, for example, and Purito ended up having as many fans as Basso in 2012.
            Although Gazzetta is always trying to sell off some *national champion* to the occasional reader, even the support for Aru and Nibali – who are both quite likeable characters for their racing style etc. – is *way* far from being unanimous among fans.
            Generally speaking, as soon as some prominent figure steps up and gets a number of fans, a legion of haters (or *critics*) raises to make its voice heard. The good ol’ contentious nature of Italian people…

          • It would be nice to pay homage to the 100th edition though G?
            No British winner of the Giro, so it would be good to send ‘The Boys’ over.
            Froome took the 100th TdF, imagine adding the 100th Giro too?
            That would be some race.

          • I’d be eager to watch that, too, because – unless they distort the Giro’s course style to attract some specific star-rider – truth is that the Giro is quite a different challenge when compared to the Tour, hence to be able to perform in both events has a greater technical meaning than winning your third or even fourth Tour.
            It’s a personal opinion – I mean, no way to measure this – but, even if any Giro has an individual value which is inferior to the Tour’s, yet 3 Tours are clearly less valuable than 2 Tours + 1 Giro.
            That’s why, even leaving aside any doping consideration, Lance was never as good a GT rider as Indurain… not even near. Nor was the American as good as Contador, even if he gets a bit nearer (for one single reason, that is, essentially because Lance usually had stronger opponents).

          • I’m hopeful that if Froome won a third Tour this year he might consider the Giro or Giro/Vuelta double. If Froome wants some credibility once he retires I think he needs to win all 3 Grand Tours. And if Nibali can do it there’s no reason he can’t. However, I fear that Tour-centric Sky may kibosh that idea.

          • The Murdoch boyz have sent Froome, Wiggo and Porte over the recent years and all flamed out one way or another – why will next time be different? Sadly there’s some Anglo-Saxon mentality that values LeTour over pretty much anything and everything. How many teams came to Italy for this Giro with NONE of their Grand Tour GC contenders…saving them all for a tilt at Le Grande Boucle…or a “save my season” effort at La Vuelta if/when that fails? Meanwhile, teams that would jump at a Giro wild-card and send their best riders get left out thanks to the stupid World Tour idea.

      • Soon you’ll be looking back on that time in Holland as halcyon days – once you’re watching 2018’s first few stages at 5am. More likely, like everyone else, you won’t be watching – we’ll all just tune in for an hour at breakfast.

        • Welcome to the life of an Australia, or an American, or anyone else who lives outside of the CET zone…. and we all stay up / get up for the Dutch stages…

    • Speaking of paying the bills… Italian towns find it harder and harder to pay the (relatively cheap, IMHO) bills for a stage start or finish, and even more so in the South, where several host towns left their bills unpaid in past years.
      I suspect that the prices might even be different, with some discount in order to allow bids from Southern towns: still, the Giro goes South… to keep going its image of *national* identity and to avoid abandoning the few-but-perhaps-growing fans and grassroots there, although the economic aspect isn’t easy at all to overcome.

      • The financial situations in the south are certainly different from Milan and the north…or even Rome. I get a rather rude shock when I return to our Northern Italian HQ after spending a winter down in Sicily. It takes awhile to stop going, “The loaf of bread is HOW much?” an “Wow, this pizza costs double what we pay in Sicily..and it’s not nearly as good!”

  4. Script prediction today – Astana and Sky to rocket shuttle up the final climb of the day.
    I am not sure of Nibbali, something tells me he’s going to wobble today.
    Conversely, Landa needs to make a statement.
    Can’t wait for this one!

    • Well you got that right. Nibali’s attack was as fake as they come and he staggered over the line at the rear of the faves and not far behind Landa who is struggling and that worries me as he’s my pick for the win. Right now Tom Dum and Zakarin are looking good.

    • It’s a good day for him too but he’s so aggressive his win rate is low, he attacks a lot but rarely succeeds. Ironically his big win this year in Paris-Nice happened because he attacked but also because he was able to sit on the wheels once Porte and Contador got to him.

      • Delivering a solo win in the Giro is definitely harder than in the Eneco Tour.
        Let us hope he will be in the right group as he always knows how to spice things up.

        • Hi Inner Ring, please forget Wellens as often as you can, it looks like this brings luck to him. 🙂
          Even if the peloton let him ride, I’m very happy with the win of my fellow countryman

          • A great rider who rides great. A low rate win? Perhaps, but he’s winning where nobody with his characteristics would… A lesson for many. Lots of riders in the peloton, very few who can fancy a chance – why don’t they try something different? Hats off (and thanks a lot) to Wellens and Lotto Soudal.

  5. Still not expecting very much t happen on this stage,it seems tailor made for Valverde and Movistar should have a strong enough team to control the race and reel in the escapees.
    But hey… It’s mountains,slopes,gradients … at last!,but not severe enough for a GC shake up.
    But undoubtedly one or two riders expected to do well in the GC,possibly even top 10 contenders will find an early Waterloo today,and hopefully a few promising youngsters can make a leap forward.

  6. Always great to have a stage preview and a coffee to start each morning during the Grand Tours. Great read as usual!

    I think Zakarin could be handy up this one. He seems to go well on the steady climbs, with a few wins and podium positions in the past few years. Usually he does it against a strong field as well.

  7. Thanks for the preview, as usual. Ulissi for me (I’m avoiding updates until the highlights later).

    On the Froome-next-year digression… too cold, shirley. More of a Vuelta man I think.

  8. Woohoo… what a finale did we see. I’m more than happy for Wellens. What a great performance from him. Lotto Soudal have had a beautiful week. I’m waiting for Adam Hansen to show his strength later in the race.

    On the other hand. Nibbles could perhaps not win this edition of Giro. This is a B I G surprise for everyone. Landa looks like he is lacking top form as well.

    OMG. OMG.

    • Based on how much I enjoyed watching him power his way up and down the mountains in week 3 of last year’s Giro, I’d very much enjoy seeing Steven Kruijswijk in pink. The man was like a human metronome on the Mortirolo. He’s evidently learned his lesson of last year and is making a point of not yielding any real time before the high mountains this year.

      I do enjoy watching Nibali ride, but more than anything else I’d like the result to be in doubt right to stage 20. Last year’s TdF being the counter-example.

    • Agreed, Dumoulin looks crazy strong right now. I’m thinking his “I’m not here to win the Giro” is really to deflect pressure from him and his team. He’s riding like Lance in the 1999 TdF – an all-around GC rider who can TT really well and is flying under the radar.

      Zakarin is also really strong, but I suspect he’s a touch off Dumoulin’s overall form and consistency.

    • I wouldn’t extrapolate too much on the back of a short, intense climb. Certainly Nibali took a hit today, pride if nothing else. But Dumoulin repeating this in the high mountains is another thing. We know Zakarin, Majka et al can though.

  9. I don’t know if the teams believe Dumoulin when he says he’s not going for victory (although many people seem to – even though it’s an almost carbon copy of the Vuelta), but he keeps on taking time and there’s the TT. And as we’ve seen this season (and others), the really high mountains could always be cancelled.
    Fair play him for attacking.
    Seems almost daft of Nibali to attack when he had so little to give – attempt at a bluff at showing the others he was strong? A miscalculation of his form seems less likely.
    And Fuglsang clearly has a lot of ambition – pulled all the way to the line to get as much time as possible from quite a long way out (towards the end he could claim he was beating Dumoulin to the bonuses).
    I suspect Nibali and Landa to be stronger later in the race – nothing to panic about just yet, but precious time lost.

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