Giro d’Italia Stage 16 Preview

D-Day as in Dumoulin’s day in the high mountains and a huge stage awaits with three hard climbs spread over a gruelling 222km, or six and half hours.

The Route: 10km downhill and then the race tracks the Val Camonica north to Monno at 72km where the Mortirolo begins.

The Mortirolo enjoys a terrifying reputation but this is the easy eastern side, not the infamous ascent with consistent 12-13% gradients exploited by the likes of Marco Pantani and Alberto Contador. As such it’s a wider road and more gentle but it’s all relative, there’s plenty of 8% and it tightens up more after the village of San Giacomo. Points are doubled on the Mortirolo climb in commemoration of Michele Scarponi, a first category climb normally means 35-18-12-9-6-4-2-1 so it’s 70-36-24-18-12-8-4-2 for the first eight riders. This is more than arithmetic, it’s huge carrot for the early breakaway because the first rider over the top will collect molto points. The descent is steep at the top and steep at the bottom but again it’s not the infamous road either as they take the main road down to Grosio via a series of hairpins instead. Then it’s 25km up the main valley road to Bormio.

The Stelvio is a giant of a pass, Europe’s second highest paved pass in fact and with a relentless feel. The start at Bormio sits at 1209m above sea level and there’s 1.5km of vertical gain coming up. This side is 21km long and averages 7% but is often steeper. It’s a big wide road with an engineered feel, whether wide hairpins or the series of illuminated tunnels all leading to altitude above 2,000m where oxygen debt comes with a usury interest rate and the profile curiously omits the 12% ramps near the top where the snow banks await. Then comes the descent to Prato with 48 hairpins including the Trafoi section. The race loops into Switzerland and takes the uphill valley road to Glorenza.

The Umbrail Pass is the sister of the Stelvio, it joins the road Stelvio road just below the top of the pass. To get there it’s 13km at a hard 8.4%. If you’ve ridden up in the past you might have done the gravel section… but it’s got asphalt since the summer of 2015. This is a long grinding climb and they’ll start with 190km in the legs already.

The Finish: they descend the Stelvio via the road they climbed earlier, a skilful rider can exploit the road in places but there are lots of long straight sections where a group can see a rider ahead and where the tuck is more important than cornering and braking, it’s not the obvious place for a daredevil descender but in 1980 Bernard Hinault and Jean-René Bernaudeau exploited the then unlit tunnels to ride away for the stage win and eventually Hinault’s overall win. They reach Bormio with 2km to go and the final kilometre flattens out as it snakes around town, several tight turns end with a crucial left-hander with 100m to go on a slight rise.

The Contenders: the breakaway can go but surely Movistar are going to set a tough pace today so that Nairo Quintana can launch on the Umbrailpass. As we saw on the Blockhaus Quintana can soar and he might find the added altitude even more to his advantage. Yet he’s not coming across as so assured, as if El Condor’s wings have been clipped a little.

Mikel Landa has the freedom to attack. He was hanging with the best on the climb to Oropa but sits 44 minutes down on GC so he can attack without worrying the GC favourites, although the likes of Vincenzo Nibali and Thibaut Pinot both sorely want a stage win.

Adam Yates is a similar story, he’s unlikely to find Tom Dumoulin hunting him down in person because he’s 11th overall and seven minutes down but could find others watch him. He paid the price for trying to match Dumoulin on the climb to Oropa but should find his lighter build more advantageous today.

A descent to the finish? Once upon a time Vincenzo Nibali would be the top pick and he’s still got a good chance but hasn’t got much freedom to move and hasn’t been climbing so well so he may not be in position to launch that late attack and nor does the descent suit, it’s fast but not the most technical toboggan run so this isn’t the shoe-in stage for him even if he’s still an obvious pick.

Thibaut Pinot wants a stage win and this could be a good stage for him, he sprints well and as we saw in the Tour of the Alps, knows how to fight for position to come out of the final corner well. But how did his rest day go, he’s still more an artist than a machine and riskier for it.

What about Tom Dumoulin? Finishing within a minute of the names above would be good for him but the Umbrailpass is his finish line, make it there with his rivals and he can surely match them on the descent to Bormio… and if he can repeat his vertical speed from Oropa again then he could seal the deal here.

As mentioned earlier the chances of the breakaway sticking seem slim, some will aim for the double points on the Mortirolo and Stelvio and see this as the goal rather than the finish line but L-L Sanchez is riding strong, Pierre Rolland finds terrain more suited to his energetic attacks and Omar Fraile was so strong last week he could have a go again but the high mountains may be too much for the Basque.

Nairo Quintana, Adam Yates, Thibaut Pinot
Landa, Nibali, L-L Sanchez, Rolland, Dumoulin, Fraile

Weather: never mind all the scare stories – a little hype sometimes goes a long way – it’s a great day to ride in the mountains as it’ll be sunny with a few clouds and a temperature of 24°C in the valleys, 4-6°C at the top of the Stelvio and Umbrail passes.

TV: the stage starts at 10.40am and live images should begin at 12.20pm CET. The finish is forecast for 5.15pm CET. There’s live coverage on home broadcaster RAI in Italy and Eurosport for much of Europe and beyond. Otherwise and are the go-to sites for schedules and pirata feeds.

229 thoughts on “Giro d’Italia Stage 16 Preview”

  1. The height makes it hard to see past Quintana. Probably be eating my words tomorrow. Personally I prefer to ski here rather than cycle.

  2. 6.5 hours in the saddle, going to be one intense day, that kind of an effort after a rest day is surely going to create some interesting scenarios. Can’t wait! Thanks for the excellent write up again 🙂

  3. This is a stage where it is a shame that there are no TV pictures from the beginning. The fight to get in the breakaway is likely to be an important moment, not so much to see a potential stage winner but who Movistar, Bahrein-Merida & Sunweb send “up the road”. With 70 KOM points up for grabs on the first pass there will also be a bunch of riders hoping to grab the blue jersey.

    I wonder if Sky will ride for Mikel Landa. I know he has no hope in the GC but victory today would be some small recompense for their Giro. A rider or two in the break then strike out at the top of the Mortirolo? If he gets away he will be very difficult to bring back.

    From what he said yesterday TD seems to know these climbs well, a certain local knowledge is certainly no bad thing. The long descent to the finish does seem to play into his hands. Even if he has a deficit at the top of the Umbrail he will have a chance to bring it back at bit before the finish. The experts might correct me but I would guess a heavier rider will go a bit faster on long straight descents?

    The most eagerly anticipated stages are often a bit of a damp squib hopefully it is not like that today.

    • Keep an eye on RAI because it was said the mountain stages will be live from start to finish but having checked RAI’s online TV guide coverage didn’t appear to start then, perhaps the day is simply too long?

      • Steephill suggests first pictures at 11:30 CET, Eurosport pictures seem scheduled for 13:05 CET though the various preview stuff kicks off before then.

    • “The experts might correct me but I would guess a heavier rider will go a bit faster on long straight descents?”

      Good question. I wonder what the perfect height/build would be for this – mass vs drag.

  4. Huge stage. If Quintana (or anyone else) wants to win this Giro he will have to take a big chunk of time here. Really curious to see how it plays out!

  5. Well done Mr. Inrng. While I wish they’d properly honor Fausto Coppi by going up the Stelvio in the traditional direction (same for Mortirolo, but that’s impossible on this route) I hope today’s tappone delivers some excitement going up or down. VAI NIBALI!

    • Agreed the other side from Ponte di Stelvio via the Trafoi hairpins is the better one to climb for anyone wanting to have a go but all sides are majestic.

      The descent into Bormio is part of the legend too with Charly Gaul winning in Bormio, the same for Bernard Hinault who exploited the unlit tunnels on the descent down to Bormio to take the race lead off Wladimiro Panizza and which he kept to the end.

      • Just checked and RAI TV starts at 11:30 AM here in Italy. My guess is they’ll show recorded highlights as the riders slog up to Edolo where the big action should start?
        I’ve ridden Passo Stelvio (many times) in the traditional direction and once (when the traditional route was closed – in JULY!) up the Umbrail but never from Bormio. The unlit tunnels appeared brightly lit during the TV bit where Saligari (or was it Garzelli?) rode up there. Didn’t look like just TV lights so perhaps they’ve improved this very recently? I won’t know first-hand until we get there in July as usual. VAI NIBALI!

      • The descent is legendary, and Bormio paid the bills, but they could keep the same final descent and arrival town just doing the same loop counter-clockwise!
        Most leaks months before the course was revealed hinted at the Trafoi Stelvio as the final climb, it also makes for a shorter penultimate descent and the terrain between S. Maria and Trafoi favours the attackers if faced in the opposite direction than today.
        This is one of the examples, along with Bergamo, the ITT and others, of a course which was unnaturally *sweetened* during the design process itself. Just compare a 25 kms long final ascent and a *13 kms* one (like the Blockhaus), on top of that preceeded by *20 kms of valley road* (don’t get confused by the profile) where you can reduce any previous gap…
        Sure, a great strategy can make all of that hurt even more, but in normal conditions it’s just a worse option – for the spectators, I mean. We’re lucky since the great cronoman hasn’t got an all star team, because in 20 kms of teamwork you could kill most moves.

  6. I count 5300m+ of climbing. A huge day – beyond anything they have had in the Tour in recent years, for example.

    If I was Quintana – I’d use the team to create havoc. Send men off the front early, and think about starting to attack even as early as the first time up the Mortirolo (but more likely up the Stelvio) if you can get 3 man in the breakaway, use these to get you to the bottom of the final climb and go from there. At least, isolate Dumoulin and make the whole stage as hard as possible, both to increase time gaps today and increase the chance of bigger time gaps through this week. It might not work, but better to try than be left wondering…

    • “If I was Quintana – I’d use the team to create havoc. Send men off the front early, and think about starting to attack even as early as the first time up the Mortirolo (but more likely up the Stelvio) if you can get 3 man in the breakaway, use these to get you to the bottom of the final climb and go from there.”

      Sadly, most Julys Movistar are about as Conservative as Jacob Rees-Mogg* so I just can’t see it happening. Personally, I want madcap excitement with a TD win. It’s going to be exciting whatever happens this week.

      *For those of you outside the UK – think of the poshest man you’ve ever seen, then double that.

    • You say that, but other recent grand tour stages that were billed as can’t miss spectaculars turned out to be fizzers where all the GC contenders (or “heads of state” if you’re a TV cycling commentator) just watched each other until the line while an non-threatening attacker took the stage, such as the detente on the slopes of Eta. On the other hand there have also been stages where little was expected that have produced far more exciting racing, because it’s the riders who make the race, not the parcours.

      • Well, It took a while to get there, but the final hour was full of unexpected surprises and suspense.

        Greg Lemond suffered similar problems to Tom Dumoulin in a TdF stage and dealt with it in a different way. Robert Miller said the sight stink was unbearable.

  7. Movistar aren’t known as the most cavalier team in cycling and one wonders if they will fight their natural inclinations today. The fight back starts here… assuming it starts at all.

    • Inner Ring is suggesting an attack on the Umbrail Pass.
      There’s enough indicators in the ‘feel’ of the article (wide road and gentle…big wide road with an engineered feel…13km at a hard 8.4%…but it’s got asphalt) to suggest that Dumoulin may not have a disastrous day.

      I’m curious to see Dumoilin’s approach and how far his team can assist.
      Should he reign in a bit and keep a teammate or two, before the final effort?
      Does he have to race Movistar’s race?
      Race radios can keep him updated on time gaps, is it possible to manage his effort and ride the ultimate TT-like day?
      What we’ve seen on climbs so far is that Pinot and Nobali have acted as carrots for Dumoulin to hunt down; they’re not on a level above Dumoulin, that is for sure.

  8. Should be a great stage to watch, if only for the scenery should the racing not live up to expectations. There are enough people who need to have a go for us to have hope of a great stage. I have a feeling based purely on the Tours of the last few years that Quintana will probably wait, if not for the last climb up the Stelvio then for a later stage. People I’d look out for to go off from way out who Dumoulin/Sunweb may not wish to chase would be any of Polanc, Cataldo, Formolo, Yates, Kruijswijk, and Amador. With a bit of look Bahrain/Nibali will be up for something creative too. I’d definitely have money on either Landa or Rosa from Sky to be up the road early doors for the KOM points too.

  9. Hinault after decending to Bormio in 1980: “I rode down with Jean- René Bernaudeau in the tunnels, but he didn’t brake once, the fool!”

    Hope to see Nibali, in similar fashion, relocating his inner daredevil and take the win today. If he is close to the lead at the top of Umbrail I think he will; Quintana to light, Pinot too jittery and Dumoulin too risk averse.

    Then again, would be great to watch a Movistar onslaught as well. Don’t think anybody can keep Quintana’s wheel if puts the hammer down above 2200 masl.

    • Nibali’s “inner daredevil” may well still be intact but has he got the form? On two mountain top finishes, the second of which wasn’t that hard, he dropped both times. To date, he’s climbing worse than Dumoulin. This is a different test to be sure but it seems to me that Nibali is riding more on pride than form.

      • True, but Nibali was huge in the final week last year and in 2013 he won 2 stages and was completely untouchable while in pink in the final week.

        • Thomas, please file every occasion in which Nibali ever won everything under “quality of the opposition”. The fact that he clearly was the absolute best GT rider around in 2013 and 2014, both results-wise and beating Froome *every time they met in any race* but in Oman – is just not relevant. Rememeber the magic words: “quality of the opposition”. And if the quality opposition is there and falls back or down, it’s to be filed under “luck”.

          • Haha – I love you Gabriele – but pull the other one…

            Nibali is a great great rider but best GT rider in 2013/4… You’re analysis/knowledge of all things cycling etc is brilliant but occasionally you’re as blinded as anyone by fandom – Nibali absolutely deserves his place amongst the great riders of this decade, but it’s delusional to pretend even for that period of time he was a better grand tour racer than Froome… not just that he lost the Vuelta to Horner and please note I wouldn’t for a second file all Nibali’s wins under luck or quality of the opposition (I rate Cadel Evans were drugs taken out of the equation as the best GT rider of the 00’s – presuming he was clean) – but whatever arguments you pull out (racecraft, stage 2&roubaiux stages at TDF’14, four stages in that TDF) you’re never going to persuade the majority that on their best days – even in 13/14 (in fact more so, especially looking back to ’12) Froome would not out climb Nibali and out TT Nibali and likely in a grand tour setting (obviously there’s a million variables) use those qualities to beat Nibali more times than not.

            It’s absolutely reasonable of people to suggest based on all they’d seen of Froome pre’14 – bearing in mind he rode away from Nibali on multiple occasions even back in ’11, but also as a domestique in ’12, and his pretty astounding performance in ’13TDF (given his team was far weaker than nowerdays and he was even forced to go solo on stage9), that he would have, without the crash in CdD & stage 5 – have given Nibali a serious run for his money in TDF’14.

            We’ll never know of course and this debate may rage for years, or maybe the results will do the talking in years to come?

            I think Nibali much vaunted superior racing nouse can only count for so much. Despite this I think it’s absolutely fair enough to say currently he’s the second best GT rider of this decade. I absolutely love watching him, but let’s not get carried away… however much we all hate Sky.

          • @Jesus
            I could enter in further details, but I’m speaking of results, you’re speaking of what you, and supposedly “people”, can *imagine*. I’d stick with results. 2013-2014 results. Extrapolation is a wild beast. I don’t know if Froome “might have been” the best GT rider in 2013-2014 – he simply *wasn’t*.

            With Froome you shouldn’t imagine that much. Even if he’s usually a killer in his Dauphiné-TdF double (you might had Oman), he’s a *surprising rider*, both for ill and good, in a lot of races – his ups and downs prevent any serious commenter to take anything for granted.

            But let’s phantasise, if you please…
            Everyone got impressed by Froome 2013, and rightly so: his perfomances were notable in number terms – but not more notable than what Nibali did in 2014.
            The impression became huge because Contador was there – the only problem is that, with hindsight, we can say that Contador was having his *worst* season as a pro, including neopro years.
            Speaking of neopros, a neopro like Quintana, albeit a champion, could best Froome climbing in the last week. I’d dare to say that Nibali would have lost way less than Quintana in the ITTs and, figures at hand, Nibali 2013 would have fared better on climbs, too, than Quintana 2013 (and that would be just obvious even without figures).
            Nibali would have given Froome a good run for his money in 2013 than the other way around in 2014. If you want to *imagine* things, I mean – at least, I’m imagining on the basis of some facts, not *people intuition*.

            I’d add that if you speak of Evans and clean cycling, you’d better avoid to name 2011 and Froome in the same sentence.
            Besides, you stress that Nibali lost a Vuelta from Horner (whose climbing power figures outnumbered most of what Froome ever produced, during that Vuelta), forgetting that it was Nibali’s 2nd GT that year. As a GT rider, he got one 1st and one 2nd, even if the Tour remains the top race. I’d add that if losing against a “weak” rider is a flaw, well, Froome lost the 2011 Vuelta from Cobo (and Nibali had already podiumed in the Giro, that year, while Froome, oooops).

            Personal opinion: Froome wouldn’t have made even a podium in the 2014 TdF. Luck was his for falling down (luck or the team not protecting him, why that?) so that the fans’ imagination can fly. And he can thank the modest “quality of opposition”, besides the irregular energy bars on the Alpe 😉 , for his 2013 “easy” triumph, ah ah ah ah (this is tongue in cheek: to my long-term main criterion – that is, results – that TdF is a fully valid result).

          • @gabriele
            really “The fact that he clearly was the absolute best GT rider around in 2013 and 2014, both results-wise and beating Froome *every time they met in any race* but in Oman”
            2013 Froome won: Oman, Criterium, Romandie, Dauphine and the Tour. + Second to Nibali at Adriatico (only race
            2014 Froome beat Nibali at Oman, Romandie, lost Dauphine (after the crash) and DNF the tour.
            Nibali got 5th in Romandie, 7 Dauphine, 21 Paris Nice… Froome has only two results that were not top 2: Dauphine and Catalunia…
            indeed Nibali won the Giro, Tirreno, Trentino, but only at tirreno he face any of the top ones (Froome, Quintana, Contator)
            And last remember his Vuelta loss to Horner…
            i really dont uderstand why is so hard to give the guy the credits for his palmares

      • I’ve got a bit of déjà vu to last year there. After that I’m never writing Nibali off again

        Having said that the competition looks tougher this year. Dumoulin needs to watch out for those snow banks.

      • I agree, it’s a big “if” whether he can actually be there 20 k from the finish. He’ll be hoping that Quintana sees that dropping Dumoulin big time is not going to happen today, and that the pair then rides fast but somewhat conservatively watching each other toward the top. If Nibali can tag along, say with Pinot, Landa et al., he’ll try something on the decent. The stage win is a big prize for him, especially considering that he’ll be the one to put Italian cycling out of the “no-stage-win-in-Giro” misery.

      • Nibali *looks like* to be more or less in the same form as 2016 and 2015, which was worse than 2014 and 2013… His prime was obviously around 28-30 years of age, then he started declining. Which doesn’t mean he can’t have an Indian Summer season where he gets a bit stronger again, neither does that mean that he won’t necessarily be able to win big again out of pure classe without being physically the best (Boonen’s career after his prime – and Boonen is obviously way more of an all-time best than Nibali in its speciality).
        Nibali’s performance are going to decline while the ’90 generation becomes stronger.

        However, he never was a 15′ effort rider, and, besides, in both main climbs he paid his attempts to keep the wheels of riders who had more watt/kg on the day. I wouldn’t have been surprised by him crossing the line with Dumoulin on the Blockhaus hadn’t he followed Quintana (which doesn’t mean that it was necessarily a bad idea to give it a try), just as on Oropa he really cracked in the last few hundreds metres after trying to keep his distance with the little group which was being pulled by locomotive Dumoulin.
        He’s got less watt than most others, but he’s always been more about keeping those watts when others lose them than outwatting the field (when the wattage must stay high for a long time or when it’s being raised a lot several times before the finale).

        I’d agree that he’s riding a lot on pride, and that may as well save or undo him…

          • Let’s quit with the history debate and focus on today 🙂
            I have a feeling that you Nibali fans (actually I’m one as well, but I can see that his form is not there) are going to be disappointed today.
            Dumoulin may not be too far away from Nibali at the end, and I’m not sure if that’s behind or ahead 😉

          • Ecky – agreed. Today I want to see “DID” or “DIDN’T” rather than any coulda/shoulda/woulda no matter who wins or loses…. and the same all the way to Milano.

          • @Ecky, agreed about everything. Well, I think that Nibali could actually be far away from Dumoulin, far away behind, I mean! … who knows? This is like weather forecast in too complex a scenario, Oropa could be predicted, this is beyond reasonable estimation.

  10. Huge day for the Blue Jersey today as well. Double points on the Mortirolo plus the Cima Coppi will be a huge incentive for guys like Rolland and LL Sanchez to go for it. Maybe Kruijswijk too, since he has a disappointing Giro so far. He is usually at his best in the final week though, so maybe he’ll try to get himself into the top-5 by staying with the GC guys.

    • Several reasons… generally speaking, it’s complicated to design the course as a whole, especially if you want to reduce transfers between stages. Then, there’s the roadside public question: the roadside crowds are important and that’s why sometimes weekend arrivals are chosen with that in mind. If very trafficked cities are involved, like Cagliari or Bergamo, you’d place them – if possible – on a weekend to reduce car jam woes. In terms of audience, it may mean that you prefer a steady high average than the peaks.
      For once, and I hope it’s really *once*, the Giro is copying the Tour, that is, its middle-term trend to have a “weak” (in sporting terms) second weekend. The Giro always had a hell of a second weekend, it’s the first time it’s so soft in years and years… perhaps 2004, which was a transtion edition between the mountainous style which prevailed from then on and the previous formula with an ITT and a mountain stage in the 2nd weekend, which was a hard combination, indeed, but an audience fail.

    • And why wouldn’t anyone lend a hand to Kiry? He doesn’t need it, we know that 🙂 , but a couple of short shifts from teams which have got a “captain” and one or more “support riders” on the front would raise the pace and give more margin to the break.
      Movistar, depending on their plan (if they’ve got any), *might* be fine with a 2′-3′ margin, but for the rest, those who are there for the stage, it would be paramount to be far enough if any firework starts behind, on whatever climb.
      And Movistar, too, should consider the advantage a bigger buffer could grant.
      I’m not speaking of burning out your men, just the undeniable advantage of some shorter shifts.
      They’re riding as if the break was the Tour’s whole peloton and Sky was… Sky.

      • Most people seem to have only one way of riding these days, it seems – behind others until the last possible moment.

        And I never expected Quintana to actually do anything.

  11. 78 kms to the line. 45 kms are descents. 2o kms are false flats. Just one 13 kms climb remaining. I’m officially perplexed by many things.

        • 2015 for NQ; maybe 2016 for everyone else – yet another grand tour where people queue politely for sixth? God, we’re going to miss Contador.

        • Exactly.

          Official explanation: Movistar decided that to beat sport science you need witchcraft.

          Giro 2017 = Tour 2016, hence Tour 2017…
          Movistar’s objectives: Dumoulin must win as a proxy for Froome. Pinot shall get the final 2nd place in GC, possibly attacking on Piancavallo (he’d be Bardet).
          Quintana must be no worse and no better than 3rd.

          The key which would unlock the magical powers is obviously *the twin*, whose significance is “duplication”, triggering a duplicate double GT: and that’s the complicated part, since Adam Yates must rise to 4th place in final GC.

          Not an easy path, and most uninitiated minds might even criticise an apparently crazy strategy and throwing away the chance to win a GT once you had set all the pieces in the opportune positions… FOOLS!
          Come July and everything will be crystal clear.

    • I think Movistar made a mistake letting Steven Kruijswijk go in the break, it means others have to chase. TD can sit back and watch

        • No it doesnt but it does mean that Sunweb dont have to chase, others do it for them. It makes no odds to TD who is 4th, 5th, 6th etc all he has to do it stick in NQ’s wheel. NQ is going to have to attack on the Umbrail otherwise TD is going to fly past him.

          • But Pinot and Nibali might have gone with Quintana, hoping to take advantage of his men, then collaborating to the success of the action. Nibali openly showed a certain disappointment on the Stelvio’s hilltop (he couldn’t be the first to attack, obviously, it would have been to evident a bluff, without front support). If Dumoulin hadn’t been able to stay with them, not many riders would have been left behind to help him reduce the damage.
            Quintana didn’t feel like attacking – or at least *trying to attack* (and see what happens next) – in the better conditions, for whatever reason.

  12. Mikel Landa with 2’30” is looking very good for the stage win. NQ is really going to have to pull off something spectacular to win the stage from here

    • I don’t think NQ is interested in the stage as such. And if he didn’t attack on the Stelvio with the race situation they had set, maybe he’ll have other problems from here on.

      Personally, I’m rooting for Landa or Luisle or Kruijswijk for the stage win (or whoever deserves it except Movistar 😛 ).

      … Anacona yo-yoing before, and now Amador attacking the break? Izagirre totally stopped on the descent? What are they planning?
      I thought that Anacona would have been stopped to support an attack by Quintana with 4-5 kms to go, maybe that was the plan but Nairo told that he didn’t feel like that.

      • It looked to me like Anacona was slowing down as per a plan but was then told the plan had changed. It was interesting how easily he got back up to the front.

  13. Dreadful.
    And you can’t blame the parcours this time.
    Quintana – how many races is he going to lose through cowardice?
    What use is 2nd for him? Try something.

    Tuned in for hours of that dross – won’t be making that mistake again.
    Haven’t been this bored by a GT since the 2012 Tour. At least the 2016 Tour had some good stages, even if not in the GC.

    I’ve said it before: Quintana is the new Schleck.

    • Update: maybe diarrhoea will decide this race.

      Will Quintana not attack?

      He’s back on – he couldn’t have wiped very well.

      Will his gentlemanliness of the other day pay off?

      No, it seems.

      If NQ takes this it could be one of the least deserved GT victories ever. I’d struggle to give a…

      • “Will his gentlemanliness of the other day pay off? No, it seems”.

        They waited for him – and they shouldn’t have to, IMHO. Apparently, this is not an accident, not even a race accident. It’s a race element. Ask Basso or Pantani.

        In fact, Movistar called Zakarin, who was pulling, to stop, until news came about Dumoulin’s not being a single, casual episode, more something along the lines of those who I named above. Even if while I’m writing this lines it looks like that after his visit to the ambulance he’s going better. We’ll see.

    • Well, *possible* (we don’t have all the information) strategic mistakes – which I myself would consider such things as they look like – don’t take anything away from a course which is far from perfect (euphemism), even in its *best* stage.
      Did you see the effect of that valley road? To have as much climbing road as descending or flattish one, the Stelvio should have been 50 kms long and the attack should have started at its very feet…
      I wrote about the third week general situation and this stage in particular several times before seeing it happen.

  14. No no no.
    A race without honour.
    If the lead group won’t knock it off, I have.
    Got better things to do than watch that.

    • What are you guys talking about? While I’m on a blurry pirated feed in a language I don’t understand, seemed clear that after Zakarin was pulled back, that group sat up. They were spread across the entire road soft-pedaling. If anything, they seemed caught between a rock and a hard spot, not knowing what to do when TD wasn’t able to bridge back. Paralyzed a bit by TD’s outward show of sportsmanship the other day perhaps?

        • Fair enough. I just looked back at the cycling news text updates. Seems a mix. “MS and B-M come to the front and slow the pace down somewhat.” Then a minute later, “B-M take up the pace setting.” Then “To be fair to Q he’s not putting his men on the front but not asking B-M to wait either.” I probably just caught the slowing. Peeking at the coverage from the office.

          • I also saw the same as fuddsker.
            Maybe just watching the coverage instead of constantly reading and writing comments would help to catch things.

  15. You never wait for this kind of things, unless you’re asked to. If Dumoulin asked it and wasn’t respected, it’s serious.
    If he didn’t ask, which I couldn’t understand, waiting doesn’t make sense.
    If he really *didn’t* say anything (“if”), the main reason everybody imagines is that he’s got a stomach bug, and that’s totally part of the race.
    Now he’s going well, which would suggest he isn’t that ill (for what we can see until now): in that sense, you can be waited for, surely, but you should ask anyway! Which maybe he did, and in that case it would be a serious fault by the rest.

    • They’ve all got radios – they all knew what was happening.
      ‘In the valley they’d have waited’.

      That’s a lot of excuses – and they’re the sort of garbage the winner of the 2017 Giro d’Italia might be telling his grandchildren.

      You wait till he’s finished crapping then see if he’s ill.

  16. It looked to me like they did wait, or at least kind of sheepishly hung about a bit not knowing what to do. You could see at one point the whole group looking right over a drop to see what was going on. Then Zakarin attacked. Its not like they all sped up as soon as he dropped his trousers. Once Zakarin went the rest had to follow. Dumoulin has to take some blame, I mean he couldn’t have timed that worse. Obviously when he dropped back to the car that is what they were talking about, he should have stopped then. In the valley they would have definitely waited.

  17. Good of Landa to lead Nibali out for he last km or so – Nibali needs the time, let him lead out. And then Landa lets him take the inside on the last corner.
    A fitting finish.

    Nibali, Quintana, Zakarin, Bahrain-Merida, Movistar – you win like that, you are worthless and gutless.
    (And it’s not like NQ and VN rode well – Pozzovivo and Zakarin stayed with them on the last hill. The time they gained was ‘achieved’ when TD was off the road or once they were in a group and he was riding alone.)

      • I’m not sure, indeed. But I think he made a gesture with his head, like: “ok, pull and you’ll get the stage”. And I believe that’s what Landa understood. But it wasn’t super clear, that’s sure.

        • he had the first Italian stage win finally in reach, what should he do, let Landa win and then take the shit of home media?
          He bridged to Landa by attacking on the climb and the descent. worth winning the stage as much as Landa.

      • You might be right. It’s being reported that the riders were told from the team car that it was paramount to lead through the final chicane, and that could be the reason why Landa forced the pace. In fact, Nibali said that he could make it only because he tackled better the last corner, and even so he doubted he’d make it.
        No, I guess you *are* right. While I am writing I’m listening to Landa, he’s already got a smiling face on. He doesn’t complain about anything. He said: “this is racing, sometimes you win, sometimes… you learn. Yes, what a pity that last corner”. I don’t know if he was hinting at anything indirectly, but I probably imagined a non existing agreement.

    • jajajaja,
      Nice cover story gabriele.

      The stage victory had nothing to do with a lack of sportsmanship – you probably realized that even as you typed – the certain lack of sportsmanship had already been shown on the other side of the mountain.

  18. I don’t know which race some of you were watching, but no one ramped up the pace until Dumoulin was well back on his bike. Bahrein Merida then put Pozatto on the front. Moviestar didn’t do anything, Quintana was the only rider in that pack at that time as Amador had not dropped back yet. They certainly are not going to slow down to 6 km/hr and wait for the pink.

    From the point Dumoulin got back on his bike, it was race on. Frankly, he should have shit himself and kept on going a la Greg Lemond.

    That said, what a ride from Dumoulin to hold the pink given the circumstances, and what a masterclass in descending and finishing opportunism from Nibali!

    It’s going to be an exciting stage on Thursday!

    • Indeed, TD should have followed GL’s precedent, though with much more video coverage, we’d all know about it immediately rather than waiting 5+ years for a book about doping to come out (I believe this Lemond story is only known because of A Rough Ride, but perhaps I’m mistaken).

  19. From the rest day post it appears that Thierry mtl was incorrect in his prediction that Quintana would take 2 minutes on everyone. He did on Dumoulin, but that difference was made while one of them was squatting in a ditch rather than going man to man on the road.

  20. SORRY.

    Quintana attacked a neutralised race in his first Giro win.
    Dumoulin waited for him a few days ago and now he has the chance to return the favour and fails.
    Not to mention the dodginess of not knocking off the pace with the Kelderman crash earlier.

    —-You can make any excuse you like but either he’s happy to win by whatever means or doesn’t have the strength of character to do what is right.—-

    Once they brought Zakharin it was for him to let Dumoulin get back in the bunch.

    Before he was young and excuses earlier in the race seemed fair but this is the weight on multiple occasions now starting to look very bad. I do not believe that if Quintana said wait they would not have waited. I’ve lost a huge amount of respect for him today.

    Not cool.

    Did he do anything re Froome on the Ventoux last year? Cannot say how bad I think this was – and I blame Quintana. Nibali not much better – but that’s no surprise.

    • Yes, Quintana is earning a lousy reputation. Although he didn’t attack, he also did absolutely nothing. He needs to start acting like a leader.

        • +1 and a Big TY gabriele, for pointing out the disjointed, over-the-top level of vitriol I’ve been reading here and elsewhere against NQ. When the hate is this contrived you have to read between the lines.
          Maybe if the criticism included the instigator of the mid-dump surge, the Russian (and convicted doper) I’d feel there was a real sportsmanship issue here. But it’s decidedly heaped on the South American.
          The real loss of sportsmanship is the very bigoted comments I’m reading these past 12 hours.

    • The Giro’s a race, not a group ride and a grand tour is a test of health as much of fitness. If a rider suffers a misfortune you can wait, but if they’re ill? Then you race on. Nobody waits if someone has a tickly cough, a temperature, sore knee etc

      Dumoulin did very well to limit his losses today, it suggests his legs are ok and that what ever he’s got is limited to his stomach rather than feeling feverish etc.

      • Disagree – natural break in the race lead is surely a valid reason to expect a group at the start of a climb to wait.

        Yes it’s a test of health – but you’re allowed a natural break especially in the race lead.

        • If you need a break then you have to pick the moment, ideally get others to stop too. At the foot of the final mountain pass of the day is the worst moment, it’s unlikely others will stop or wait. I’m not sure there’s much precedent for it. Poor Dumoulin, he was probably trying to hide it for as long as possible, there’s simply no good moment.

          • Well I think if there’s not much precedent then it’s the perfect opportunity for someone who owes Dumoulin one to think this might be a good moment to repay the favour.

            It was definitely as good an opportunity as any for Quintana to buck the trend and show he’s not a bit dubious when a question like this arises.

            I guess we agree to disagree. Please don’t think me disagreeing here in anyway lowers my huge appreciation for you writing this fantastic blog. Been reading for years and love what you do.

            Just think you have this one wrong!

            *((although please note I am saying this in reference to other occasions I feel Quintana has been less than gentlemanly and were it just the first, I would agree with you it was a nuanced and difficult issue. It’s just Quintana has been on the wrong side of nuanced and difficult multiple times now. Dumoulin showed him the way. Wiggins reacted as he should have with a similarly unprecedented occasion with the pins. It was a moment for some class)

          • I am changing my tune on this issue – initially I thought that Quintana and all should have waited.

            But, think about it this way. Dumolin clearly was struggling with this for many kilometres (at least 20-30 minutes when he went back to the car). Plus, Quintana was at the back of the group as well. Dumolin should have called a nature break then.

            Because he held on to this for at least 30 minutes, then finally asking his competitors to stop at the bottom of the climb with GC contenders up the road in the break was asking too much. He was asking his competitors to stop when it suited HIM, and some of his GC contenders would have lost serious time on GC to guys up the road.

            Quintana et al had been waiting all day for this climb and had done their work to isolate him purely for this.

            Anyways, that’s the only clarity I can come up with for this situation. It’s hardly decisive, but it makes me feel better about the time Dumolin lost today.

      • Inrng – Interesting take on this, and to be honest, I don’t think either side handled it well. Dumolin should have called nature break right after going to his team car and even though he didn’t, Nibali and Quintana should have grown up and held the group back.

        Either way, once again we have a really unsatisfactory finale to a stage that hopefully will not lead to a debatable result. Not going to lie, I’m getting really tired of this.

        • (this is VERY ANGRY) I think the above is a great comment CA.

          I agree in this one situation you can definitely make this case – and I agree with every word you say.

          I just think Quintana does have a mounting track record on this and if it’s only another notch in the wrong direction then for me it’s the final nail in the coffin, I think given that D had waited for him when he made a mistake and there was no need to wait for him, despite D making a mistake and being slightly to blame on timing (which seems quite reasonable he’d try and hold it) Q could have stood up and showed us all he’s not a rider who gains from other misfortune. Yes it would have cost Nibali this stage but it was the right thing to do.

          • Hi Very Angry – thanks for the response and yes, Quintana and Nibali definitely have poor track records for sportsmanship.

            Please do note that my opinion on this matter has changed – Dumolin had a window of 20-30 minutes (if not more, as he stated after the stage he was feeling bad coming down climb 2) where he could have called nature break and everyone would have had to wait. Plus, if he really was eating multiple gels all day, then come on, that’s as bad as bonking (seriously, it’s commonly known that gels and gatorade will destroy your stomach) and is his own fault.

            However, I think we can both agree that this is a very frustrating result.

      • The Giro is also a test of how good you are at riding a bike, and that involves the having ability to not crash on a descent. So why would one be expected to wait for a rider because they failed to take a corner properly any more than if they had stomach problems?

        One could argue TD’s predicament was more a product of bad luck than NQ’s the other other day.

    • Did froome wait when Quintana was sick last tour due to allergies. I see you know nothing about cycling. You wait if the race is not on and if if there is an external element to you (puncture, mechanical, fall caused by external elements, etc). You do not wait if someone is stomach sick that can’t wait to shit.

  21. *(And sheepish half waiting does not count as waiting. You either wait or you do not. And whether Dumoulin asked or not – he’s the Pink Jersey, and he was man enough to call for other to wait for Quintana. There is absolute no excuse here)

    • So they are going to lose the giro against important GC contenders at the front just waiting and waiting for ever, just because you say there is not half waiting? Or do you expect NQ allowing Nibali and Zakarin to go and he waiting alone for TD?

  22. First Schleck’s chaingate, then Brady’s deflategate and now Dumoulin’s DEFECATEGATE. Shameful shit.

    Told you guys about Nibali though.

  23. Perhaps more relevant than all the polemica that will go on for days is that NQ simply did not have the legs at the top of the climb. He could not drop Vincenzo Nibali. Neither did he make use of all the plotting and planning his DS’s were up to, calling riders hither and thither to absolutely no effect. Maybe he isnt as good as he is made out to be?

    I can sort of see what happened, there was a serious group up the road and they were clearly not going to stop, which made it very difficult for anyone in the main GC group to stop. The folk up the road were rivals both for the stage win and GC.

    • he has not yet shown to be as strong in this giro as is expected of him based on his former gt-results which are actually very impressive.

      • Quintana seems to have 2016 Tour form – mediocre – rather than 2015 Tour form.
        He doesn’t have the ability, it seems, to attack riders (unless they’re off their bike for some reason) – didn’t look like he would put any time in to Dumoulin yesterday. A shifty, gutless excuse of a man.

  24. I’m trying to understand what was expected of the group, now that there appears to be some consensus about the NQ -VN lack of sportive spirit.

    Were they expected to go backwards (yes, you go backwards when you are climbing and stop pedaling)? The group allowed him to get within 1 minute. look at the tape, TD was making a lot of time on the group. He lost 40+ seconds IN THE DOWNHILL! Was the group expected to wait for him on the downhill too?

    I’m at a loss here.

      • For what it’s worth, according to RCS, Dumoulin lost 7 seconds to Nibali on the descent, and gained time on all of the other GC riders.

        Winner of the Pirelli competition that wasn’t, for fastest descent of the Stelvio, apparently went to Francois Bidard, who averaged over 57k/h for the descent, which is pretty impressive given all those hairpins.

        And, funnily enough, while all the attention was on Dumoulin’s public pit stop, both Pinot and Zakarin were fined for “unseemly behaviour (in front of public)”, which usually means an inappropriate comfort break too, doesn’t it?

    • It’s quite simple actually – you ride slower till someone riding slightly faster can get back in the group.

      There was a good example a few days when Tom Dumoulin waited for a rider who crashed. Maybe youtube it a have a look?

      Oh, and no no-one is suggesting they ride slower on the downhill.

      It’s a shame if you cannot understand peoples questioning here of what happened – but we’re going to be upping schooling standards in the next parliament so hopefully this’ll happen less often.


      • should they have called landa and his pals to stop at the front as well? on the final climb of the queen stage of the race lots of guys of lots of teams all eager to exactly use this mountain for their glory? dumoulins timing was very bad. wouldnt even have worked with reversed roles in that situation.

        • Quintan and Nibali have shown that they have very little to offer in this race – without TD going off for a turd they’d have made no time, after all that hype about Quintana.

  25. If you eat a lot of gels, as Tom was doing significantly more than others all day long (as noted by TV commenters live, well before anything of the rest happened), the probability of this kind of troubles is higher. All the ex pro are saying the same.

    It’s your body, it’s even more relevant than a mechanical – which is also relevant because the bike is relevant.
    Of course, you can *ask* the others *the favour* to stop (it’s a favour, no “fair play” of sort). Or you can avoid stopping (as others did in the past).
    If you don’t ask, whatever the reason, it’s your problem.

    Cramps, hunger knocks, why don’t we stop for that, then? It’s precisely the same.

    They waited even too much.
    And on such a stage, a stage win matters – it remained barely reachable. Why should anyone give that away because Tom’s bowels woes?

    • +1 though I fear you’re pi__ing into the wind here Gabriele. This comments section is (sadly) headed into the toilet like so many others. Can’t someone say, “I don’t understand why rider X did Y” when something happens rather than resort to name-calling?
      Cyclingnooze is the place for no-nothings to demonstrate their ignorance and xenophobia, not INRNG. 🙁

      • Sorry Larry T- but aren’t you the one who the other day came here looking for confrontation following the Kelderman crash with a bit of Sky bashing?

        Gabriele is fantastic and contributes hugely to this brilliant forum.

        I think though you can safely assume all here know a little about cycling and their opinions should be respected in healthy debate not fobbed off with a casual ‘if you really loved cycling’ etc as you usually pull. Let’s respect people and disagree without the insult or accusations of ignorance or xenophobia.

        I think personally you have a lot to learn about a good natured conversation.

      • Ironic considering your comments basically consist of the following:

        1. I was at X race on Y date!

        2. Everything in cycling was better before 1986!

        3. I hate Sky and all Anglo teams and riders!

        If you want to talk about poor standards of comments make sure you start with your own.

        • HAHAHA… everyone, please stop the name calling, accusations of xenophobia, etc.

          Let’s get these comments back to sports and or being funny.

          Larry T – you have to admit, this comment is pretty funny. Haha. Your lifestyle makes me very jealous that you constantly get to see these races because at all the dates you mention, I’m sitting in an office or at the playground with my kids pushing them on the swings.

          • I think I tried a reasoned msg to Larry T once before – it’s so odd, likewise jealous of his lifestyle but for someone who has a life that appears to be pure bliss to an outsider, he seems very angry? Happy to criticise anybody and everything in the most ridiculously hypocritical way? Maybe he’s just used to everyone agreeing with him all the time?

            Good comment from Augie March.

            I also think the phrase ‘for those who love cycling’ or ‘for those of us who understand cycling’ should be banned from INRNG… you can almost stop reading a comment whenever you hear that as you know the blinkers have come down.

    • Agreed on the gels – they destroy your stomach and are really hard to digest (the same with gatorade). I didn’t watch the stage so didn’t hear that’s what he was actually doing. If that’s the case, then this was one awful rookie mistake and in a way it’s his own fault.

  26. I think you are wrong. Natural break is not a hunger knock or a cramp.
    This is not a slippery slope.

    The fact is Dumoulin waited for Quintana, whatever the difference in their issues.
    Quintana did not wait for Yates/Thomas/Landa, which was nuanced yes but.
    Now he didn’t wait for Dumoulin also.

    Bad sportsmanship on multiple occasions anyway you look at it.
    You sound like Fox News looking for any excuse when Trump goes off.

    But there’s no way to spin this with past events taken into account.

    • It wasn’t a “normal” natural break, or he himself could have waited for that kind of necessity, I guess. And it’s not a Sunday ride. It’s always been part of the sport, GTs have been won and lost because of that.

      Of course, if interpretation of past events is systematically biased, a pattern will soon form. Look at how the Stelviogate is cited.
      I’m every time more convinced that it’s just racism.
      When Nibali and Basso fell and Evans went on to win the Strade Bianche stage nobody was calling for more fair play… there are a lot of examples.
      This fair play thing is mainly football BS, used by victimists.

      (For instance, comparing the fact of the last two Sundays is simply laughable).

      Another example that comes to mind since it involved Dumoulin and I recently cited it: when Aru was accused to having received a slingshot shift by Luisle Sánchez, all the world was crying about the Astana cheaters. But when tv footage proved that Dumoulin’s teammate had declared something clearly false, trying to have Aru sanctioned for something that never happened, nobody of the previous commenters came back to call that “cheating”.

      • It’s *racism* now?
        People aren’t annoyed with Quintana because of his lack of sportsmanship, it’s because of his race?
        I’m no expert – what race is he?
        And what race is Nibali that he is attracting the same opprobrium?

        • Good to see the Inner Ring, Gabrielle and people who really knows about cycling are saying, you do not normally stop for this situations, even more considering people up in the front, they waited too much with TD failing to ask so everybody in similar need could have taken advantage of the moment. Your body has to be able to resist long hour on the bike without abusing of gels, without eating, same than other riders did. Maybe he knew that if he didn’t eat such amount of gels, he would be left without energy? Why he didn’t ask so that everybody could get a break, not only him.

          • I think Quintana did nothing wrong in ‘Stelviogate’ – what I wouldn’t do is accuse those who disagree with me of being racists.

      • “Of course, if interpretation of past events is systematically biased, a pattern will soon form. …
        I’m every time more convinced that it’s just racism.”

        You do see the irony here, right?

        Physician, heal thyself.

    • quintana wasnt actually alone in that group his other main rivals (except dumoulin) were also there. why should they have listened to him. or why didnt comment-section favourite yates stop to lead dumoulin back, or mollema they could have had a nice chat in dutch on the ride back?

    • Maybe you should suspect that I might be having this right 😉

      (Obviously, if Tom asked for a pause and that wasn’t conceded – even if not conceding that was licit – it would be a different affair).

    • Jacob – I very often disagree with Gabriele, but in this case, I think he is right about a really tough issue.

      Eating too many gels and getting sick is the same as bonking so if that’s what Dumolin did, it’s his own fault. Plus Dumolin had 20+ minutes to call a pink jersey forced nature break but waited until the climb started… that’s ridiculous.

      • As Noel says below:

        1. NQ (and t’others) absolutely didn’t have to wait for TD today, but boy he’d have won some admirers if he had. Particularly after TDs classy move in the reverse situation this week.

        • I agree – he didn’t have to wait, but would have gained some huge respect if he did.

          Feel awful for Dumolin, huge mistake today, assumed the others would wait too after his sportsmanship before.

          Really hope Dumolin can crush people in the next few days.

    • I guess you are some kind of judge who decides who is right and who is wrong? If the experts (few people indeed but experts) are saying something but the bulk is saying the contrary, it means that the bulk is right and the experts are wrong?

  27. Count me with those who lost a ton of respect for Q today (didn’t really have it to lose for Nibs in the first place, at least in the context of sportsmanship). It’s the leader’s jersey. You wait. If you don’t, accept that many, many people will forever regard your victory, should it happen, as lesser. It’s that simple. I doubt further debate will change anyone’s mind on this, and it’s cycling, so there will always be unresolved polemica. It’s unfortunate that it seems largely drawn up along national/language lines, but that too is cycling. Q is still a fantastic rider, just think it was bush league and beneath him. Others may disagree.

    Before would’ve equally happy for any of the top guys to win, now really hoping for Doom to somehow hang on and then obliterate the all in the final ITT.

      • No, but Nibs and especially Q bear the lions’ share of the responsibility as the only ones w/multiple GT wins on their palmares, closest on GC, etc. Q was even then at the very least the co-favorite with Doom. C’mon dude, you know how this works. You want to be the patron, act like it. Again, it’s whatever. Doom is being politic about it, we all move on, it’s just a bike race.

  28. Well, everyone else is chiming in with their two pence worth, so here’s mine:

    1) Disappointed with the straightforward Movistar tactics in the end… waiting ’til the last climb again.
    2) Dumoulin’s chat with the car suggested he needed to go before the foot of the climb… this is not an ok place to go IMO – given this was longer than your average nature stop (2 1/2-3 mins?) then we’d have probably lost the first 1.5-2km of a 13km climb waiting for him to catch up – on the Queen Stage. That said, I still like Dumoulin and feel bad for him and the race that this happened.
    3) Looked to me like the pattern of events was Bahrain temporarily at the front, knocked it off, Zakarin attacking, Movistar neutralising, a bit of slow riding, then Bahrain picking it up again and then finally Movistar joining in.
    4) Given Zakarin isn’t really in the running for the Pink, really Bahrain/Movistar could be argued to be at fault *if you think they should stop*
    5) I think Quintana owed Dumoulin for stopping – seeing as that was rider error and therefore didn’t warrant stopping
    6) Defecategate aside, I thought Nibali rode a great race, even looking the strongest at the top of the Stelvio, and backed up everything Gabriele has written about multiple ascents in a single stage.
    7) I still think Dumoulin will win the Giro – only just over a minute lost from when the main group started to ride again, up and down the Stelvio – impressive.
    8) I’d ban power meters (nothing to do with this stage, I just don’t like them).
    9) One of the reasons I watch less football (soccer) is the endless controversy seems to overtake the actual game… it sometimes feels like cycling is heading that way. But perhaps it’s just the ‘recency’ effect and it’s always been that way.

    • +1
      (not because of 6 – and a bit of 9 might be allowed, come on 😉 ).
      Just a sidepoint about 4… Nibali looked like he was *really* going hard for the stage: considering the general context, it would have been really unfair to have him losing his chances, he won’t have many of these. They waited as much they could afford to without throwing the stage in the bin.

    • Some excellent points here and an attempt at capturing a situation that was a lot more complex than some of those rushing to take up stances of indignation have maybe allowed. This was not one-on-one racing and nor was it a gruppo compatto, where it is probably easier to identify who is gaining and losing from a situation. Here we had a situation where hard racing meant that groups were scattered across the course and there is a domino effect of people wanting to defend their position. You can point a finger at Zakarin for being the first one to really charge off but, as you say, he is not really in the running for the Pink and was off to try and catch Pinot on GC, put time into Mollema, Jungels, so are we expecting the whole race to be effectively neutralised and days racing undermined?

  29. Felt for Mikel Landa so wanted a Basque win today, but it was eneviatable with Nibbles 8-10 seconds back. The game was up long before the last few corners. But that was criminal going into the final corner. If you know you can’t Out sprint the feckers, either brake check your opponent or at least disrupt there sprint to the line, you give me the inside line I garantie you’ll be lucky to to finish second. That’s straight out of the Bob Hannah colouring book of bike racing

  30. – Why Landa is the best ever –

    Journo: “Who do you think are the favourites for the final GC victory, now?”

    Mikel: “Nibali and Aru”.

    You must love him.
    (he then correct himself after a couple of embarassing seconds: “Nibali and Quintana, I mean”).

    • I’m sure you’ve considered this, but the twin brother doesn’t have to ride a bike, just handling PR is a major contribution.

  31. Really complex stage but having seen how disappointed Dumoulin was during his post-race interview and on the podium, I feel the responsibility was with his rivals to wait.

    I really hope he is in pink on Sunday but if not, TD has proved himself this Giro and surely its a case of when not if he will win a grand tour.

    • The Guardian should stick to his excellent political journaism and better let cycling do others who have some clue. Headlines saying that Movistar attacked are just as big pile of dump as the one which caused the stop.

      • Sorry, can’t stop laughing at ‘excellent political journalism’ – it’s not the 90s. Perhaps you meant Blairite cheerleading?

      • “Headlines saying that Movistar attacked”
        The headline doesn’t say that, it says they “opt to join attack”, which is very different and factually accurate.

    • Strange statement from the Guardian article: “He felt he should have been given an opportunity to close back on the peleton once he was able to continue after his unplanned toilet stop.”

      That statement does not correspond in any way with what Dumoulin told a Dutch reporter in an interview after the race (from 1.18min):

      Quick translation:
      Reporter: “Are you disappointed that the others did not wait? […]”
      Tom Dumoulin: “They were already racing hard. It was different then when Quintana punctured [sic], no, felt of course. They were already racing. Kruijswijk was in the front group, a number of GC riders were concerned about that. I can hardly expect… I can just not expect that they wait… It sucks, it’s my problem. It’s unfortunate, but the race continues.”

      I believe it’s good to share TD’s take on this here, besides that that Guardian statement seems false.

      • Nah, how should this Dumoulin guy know better than the hateranting internet mob? He didn’t watched the race on tv like the “experts”

      • That’s simply because Dooms comments changed as the day went on. Straight after the stage he thought that the others had been “shit” in relation to not letting him get back on. By the time he was tweeting he didn’t have a problem at all. That’s normal to be disappointed in the heat of the moment.

        It does mean the Guardian were correct though.

    • The report has an agency byline so not Will Fotheringham. Plus that is simply the line in the first reports in the various cycling news sites. The quotes were exactly as per the post race Eurosport interviews.

      The quote from dutch media noted above seems much more grown up and sensible. The race goes on….

  32. 1. NQ (and t’others) absolutely didn’t have to wait for TD today, but boy he’d have won some admirers if he had. Particularly after TDs classy move in the reverse situation this week .
    2. Nibbles didn’t have to wave Landa through today, but couldn’t he have done a deal with Sky, for a bit of help if required at a later stage , and looked like a classy champion at the same time?
    3. If TDs tummy trouble is temporary, he now wins. I thought NQ and VN had the measure of him but I’m not so sure now…

    • Don’t see that happen. Too many old feud between Nibali & Sky out of the 2015 Tour. Though that would have made it even more grander a gesture from Nibali should he have done it.

  33. I am Dutch. In my opinion you have to race, always.
    Some people say that it’s good to neutralize, but in my opinion that’s impossible.
    If they had waited for Dumoulin, then they had to wait for 2 minutes and Kruijswijk would ride 4 (!) minutes in front of them, towards podium.
    And if you wait for Dumoulin and Quintana, do you also wait for Pozzovivo, or Yates?
    Yates definitely not. Remember Blockhaus.

  34. what Dumoulin just tweeted

    “A day to quickly forget! Good legs, but very dissapointed that I lost 2 min because nature called… ”
    “Also very dissapointed that they cancelled the downhill prize. I think I won it today going down Stelvio…”
    ” Oh, and I’m not angry or dissapointed that other teams didn’t really wait!”
    “It was not the moment or the time in the race anymore to come to a complete shutdown because nature called me.”

    So can we all clam down a notch now?

    • Very pro of Dumoulin. I think the anger from folk is that it was all set up for a duke out on the slopes and we didn’t get it. Race is still on and all to play for. I also wonder whether Quintana felt a bit conflicted and ended up pleasing nobody, not really attacking but shadowing Nibali, because in his head he was already reading the hate mob headlines…

      More good stages await, on with the race

    • I am having a hard time finding anything to dislike about Tom D!

      I think many of us want NQ to come good and win this Giro, largely because we want a sign that the long-hoped-for rival to Froome in the TdF will finally come through in July and give us a genuine contest in the Tour. The expectations are put on NQ’s shoulders, precisely because we want *someone* to challenge Froome and make the Tour exciting, and NQ appears to be the best shot there is. (Sorry, Alberto…)

      But, based on his performance in this Giro, it appears to me that TD is now at least as likely to knock off CF as NQ is: without having an encyclopedic knowledge (I’ve only been following the sport for two years…), it appears to me that TD’s skills both in the mountains and against the clock are not far off CF’s. TD’s weakness may be in the strength of his team.

      I, for one, welcome TD’s arrival on the top step of GT riders. Even if he comes undone in the next few days and loses the maglia rosa, I am confident that he’ll be sticking around for years to come.

      • Yep. Doesn’t mean that he truly means it. It wouldn’t be a surprise if he was still a bit pissed. Maybe the truth is somewhere between his initial post race comments and his tweets.

  35. Many viewers uttering their opinion that the others should have waited for TD, but what about asking the competitors? At the end they are the ones who could feel cheated or treated badly by their competitors.
    IF as Gabriele already wrote TD asked for a nature break and the others did not comply to his request then that’s a serious blow to sportsmanship and the unwritten rules. But if he did not ask then you’ll find at most only a very few pros considering that the competition should have waited for him.
    You might of course have a different understanding or expectation of fair play in sports but you’re not a competitor in professional cycling, are you? If you don’t like what you see you may of course criticize it but blaming riders for doing what is within the rules, written or unwritten, of this sport actually means you don’t understand enough of how this sport has been run but made up your own image of it.
    We have already come a long way in making this sport more “fair” compared to those famous times many people rave about but that doesn’t mean that it’s your small and somewhat artificial perfect world. Being a former racer I feel for TD and his mishap (or rather failure in nutrition, happened to me once, too) today but I don’t blame his competitors for not waiting for him. As INRNG wrote this is not a bike ride amongst friends, it’s a race. And it’s one of the most important ones. Anyone in the race with a chance to win it will do what he can to win it while obeying the rules (or not).
    And imagine it would be considered to wait in cases like this. Why shouldn’t the next GC leader in a similar situation fake the need to have a toilet break when he finds that he would benefit from a little respite?
    It’s all part of bike racing as crashes like Kelderman’s last year are. You don’t like that crashes on a downhill section can decide a bike race? Then go invent a new sport which neutralizes the descents and where only the times recorded in the uphill sections count. But then don’t call it professional cycling because that name is already assigned to a sport which for many, many fans is so fascinating because it’s so bloody hard and incorporates all sorts of drama. It’s a circus invented and run to attract viewers, it’s not a kindergarten conceived to teach children how to behave properly. It obviously needs rules and it needs judges but that doesn’t mean there needs to be a rule for every possible situation which would likely make the sport less attractive at least for many of its long-term fans.

    • Hear hear. At last a sensible comment. If some of the commentators on this forum had their way then we may as well reduce road racing to a competition on Zwift. An inability to control your bowels at a critical point of a race is rider error or embarrassing bad luck, but either way it does not deserve the other riders to cease racing and would have made a mockery of the effort of the riders over the preceding part of the stage. Tom Dumoulin messed up (literally!!) and has the good grace to admit it. Its the Giro, not a sportive.

  36. Given that the sportsmanship (or lack thereof) is widely being debated above, can we all at least agree that is a superb gesture for Omar Fraile to allow LL Sanchez to cross over the Mortirolo (dubbed the Cima Scarponi for the day) ahead of him when, who knows, it might even be a gesture which costs Fraile the KOM title?

  37. FWIW, I’d like to add, “well said Gabriele”. TD showed class the other day, but today was not a lack of sportsmanship by others. Waiting for so long – even without taking into account the riders up the road – would have been an abuse of the patron’s role. He felt bad, and that’s a physical weakness, not a racing mishap. I hope TD wins in Milan to put all this to bed though.

  38. Pretty much undecided on the ‘to wait or not to wait’ – however I am sure all these ‘grey areas’ and ‘unwritten rules’ have long passed their sell by date. Modern day sport is a cut throat business, that you really can’t expect the participants to play the role of the ‘referee/ umpire’. However, there is a Race Director in a car; it should be him making decisions on what happens with incidents. Which is why these ‘grey areas’ need clarifying and put in black & white in rule book. Then everybody knows were they stand. Just because something has worked for 100 years is no reason to look if it can’t be improved.

  39. What it comes down to,

    is that the climbing contenders needed to UNSEAT Tom.

    Tom, got unseated

    & Tom is STILL winning.

    With a time trial in hand…

  40. Seriously. I’ve been following this blog since it’s inception and Larry T had got to be one of the most obsessed obnoxious posters on here. He acted like he’s above cyclingnews commenters yet he’s the most obtuse and self righteous of the bunch. Please, STFU and let others have their say without you condescending platitudes. You’re one of the main reasons I rarely check the comments.

  41. No-one is saying they had to stop. What people are saying is that it would have been sporting if they didn’t use that opportunity to attack, having not attacked for the whole day. (Even if they hadn’t slowed down, but maintained their pace, that would have been something.)
    The idea that this was the final climb and they had to attack: did either Quintana or Nibali really look like they were going to attack near the bottom of that climb? (Or, indeed, at all – they certainly only gained time on Dumoulin because he was either off the bike or riding alone, sometimes into a headwind.)
    Does anyone honestly believe that had Dumoulin remained on his bike, either Quintana or Nibali would have attacked when they did? Highly doubtful. At best, they’d have waited for the final few km, as per usual.
    (As for Zakarin protecting his position, did he attack at all to protect that position before Dumoulin got off his bike? Genuine question: I don’t recall him doing so, but I’m not certain.)

    • Agree with what you say.

      On Zak, Orica and Katusha had been working before, during and just after Doom stopped. Once Plaza and Goncalves were finished we had a slow down. Zak took the pace up and then supposedly was told to slow down by his DS, according to his DS. They looked at each other for a bit and then Pellozotti took up the pace.

      I don’t agree that they waited or slowed for any other reason than the normal ‘who’s going to take on the pacing’ that happens all the time.

    • J Evans, in fact they *slowed down* for about 4’30”, the first 1.5 kms of the climb (more than 10% of the total, FWIW).
      Despite the manifest slowing down, Dumoulin wasn’t coming nearer. When Pellizotti raised the pace Tom had the exact difference he had lost with his stop. Whether he was still feeling not ok or he was thinking to take his time for a slow comeback, when you go slowly for five minutes and the guy doesn’t come close, you just can’t let the race slip away.
      Must they wait ten minutes? With no guarantees about that having any effect since in the first four it was useless? Come on.
      Allowing the weaker riders to take a breath, making it harder to have a selection, losing the stage win option…
      Dumoulin probably overrated the superpowers of being the leader. To be a leader you mustn’t abuse of your powers. You can call for a stop, not order it when it’s more suited to you. You can be waited, but you must come back reasonably fast, if in the first 5′ you’re taking your time the rest is frankly authorised to think that you won’t come back or you’ll need to much time.
      Nibali attacked 5 kms to the top (I think, I didn’t check this), this is along the lines of what he usually does when he feels ok and less or equal to what Quintana normally does.
      The final parenthesis is absurd, he obviously went when he started to feel the pressure of the climb going on and the rest being waiting… he went 1 km into the climb, reasonably early, once he became aware that the rest of guys weren’t moving. He wouldn’t have gone himself if the others hadn’t sow down that much because as every rider he’d have preferred the hard work to be made by, say, Pellizotti, but when he saw that it was a slow procession he needed to move.

  42. Gabriele, I think Quintana did nothing wrong in ‘Stelviogate’ – what I wouldn’t do is accuse those who disagree with me of racism.

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