Giro d’Italia Stage 18 Preview

It’s Ascension Day and not just the ecumenical celebration, here’s a short stage packed with climbing, descending and next to no valley roads. A fearsome stage? Possibly but for all the 4,000m of climbing packed into such a short space these climbs are all on well-engineered roads, a test of power rather than wild ambush country. It’s on TV from start to finish.

Stage 17 Wrap: a big day for a big breakaway but initially only three riders went clear including Pierre Rolland and they seemed to be dangling in front for a while with 200km to do. It wasn’t until later than a maxi-breakaway bridged across including Jan Polanc who was almost virtual race leader as the group built up a substantial lead. It split too and at one point Rolland was caught behind with others but got back to the front again. In the finale there was a flurry of attacks from the group, Rolland surged clear with just under eight kilometres to go, his legs bench-pressing the pedals to force himself away. It was a triumph of perseverance, Rolland had tried so many times in the race but came up with nothing and he was helped by team mate Michael Woods marking the moves behind. For all the talk of Rolland 2.0 leaving behind the 1970s on his signing with Cannondale this was vintage win, barging clear in the finish after a long break. Also Tom Dumoulin rode well with no sign of illness.

Pierre Rolland

The Route: 137km around the Dolomotes. After the start they ride for 14km up the valley to the intermediate sprint and that’s it for flat roads for the day. They turn for the Passo Pordoi, 11.9km at 6.7% and a steady climb with plenty of hairpin bends amid the ski lifts and with views of the towering Dolomite peaks. A matching descent awaits and then several kilometres of what looks like a valley road to the next pass but actually an awkward section with some slogging gradients.

The Passo Valparola is next, or rather the Falzarego is, a pass climbed on the way to the Valparola and a gem amid the Dolomites as it winds uphill with scenic hairpins and even the engineered parts of the climb have a certain elegance with archways supporting the road and a gentle hairpin bend through a tunnel. The top section to the Valparolo is a long straight ramp with steep gradients.

The Passo Gardena is next and a gentle climb, wide enough for two buses to pass in opposite directions for most of the way and with yet more hairpins. The descent is fast and has fewer hairpins, instead the bends are wider and there’s almost 50km downhill here with a short break as they reach Ortisei – but don’t cross the finish line – and head out for a 33km look.

The Passo Pinei is a steady climb. 15%? Yes says the profile but only if you take the inside line on a hairpin bend but otherwise a regular climb and just 4.25km, a interval during the long descent from the Gardena. It’s followed by a very fast descent down to the Isarco valley and then they climb straight back up. Here it’s 9.3km at 6.8% but gets steeper towards the top, all on a big road but more irregular in gradient along the way. From the top of the climb in Pontives it’s just four kilometres to the finish and gently uphill…

The Finish: uphill into town with a slight gradient. The profile says 13% in the final kilometre but it’s not as steep before a right turn and then a downhill run to the line on a street lined with urban cobbles and with a flatter paved section in the middle of the road.

The Contenders: break or big? An early move can stay away because the likes of Vincenzo Nibali and Nairo Quintana are unlikely to plan long range attacks, they’ll surely prefer to try the final descent and final ascent respectively? If so Mikel Landa is an obvious pick for the breakaway, he can collect more points for his maglia blu.

Tom Dumoulin has plenty to fear on a stage like today, the climbing and the altitude plus his team could be on the rack again but if he can match the others then he’s in with a good chance at the finish, he can match the moves on the final climb and then power away on the false flat to the finish or boss the sprint.

Nairo Quintana can try the final climb as a launchpad, especially if Movistar rip things up during the stage but jumping clear and then using the false flat to the finish to stay away isn’t his kind of terrain. Vincenzo Nibali may try a move on the descent but on the Umbrailpass two days ago he looked frisky and fresh, he might prefer to wait for the final climb. Thibaut Pinot has been fading but in case fortunes change he’s an outside pick for the sprint, he’s been climbing as fast as Bob Jungels who showed consistency and power on the Stelvio and Umbrail and could take the sprint from a group of the big riders.

Mikel Landa, Tom Dumoulin, Nairo Quintana
Jungels, Nibali, Pinot, Yates, Zakarin

Weather: sunshine and a few clouds with a top temperature of 21°C.

TV: the stage starts at 1.00pm CET and 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.

126 thoughts on “Giro d’Italia Stage 18 Preview”

  1. Not even pirate feeds available in Australia. The Sports Foxtel package is required. Eurosport say that they cannot allow access to the player as the agreement with Foxtel is exclusive. Apart from a VPN (internet not fast enough) the only option is twitter and this blog.

  2. I’ve been waiting for Movistar to try something big, looked like it was coming Tuesday before the Dumoulin incident. Maybe something long range from Nairo? He needs lots of time before the final TT, he shouldn’t be passing any chances.

  3. Sounds like it will suit Dumoulin and Jungels, huge watts applied at the right moments and who can live with them? Similar finish to the stage Jungels won?

    • I agree. I don’t think the pink jersey will change torsos today, pending good health of course.

      Nice to see a good news story yesterday amidst all the controversy with Rolland’s win.
      And, personally speaking, it’s good to see TJvG going well.
      Good on the man, I like that. He’s taken some awful hammer but is bouncing back. More please.

        • We’ve heard a lot about the pressure French riders are under due to the 30+ years since the last home TDF victory, but I suppose after the Armstrong debacle there’s also a lot of hopes and money invested in a potential clean American grand tour winner. TVG is a capable rider, just looking at the results sheet after Romandie shows him beating a number of contenders in this Giro, so where could he go? I joked about Cannonade being the retirement home for once promising grand tour hopefuls now reduced to stage hunting, but with so many teams backed by American bike brands I’m sure someone would be interested, especially if he could win a stage and prove he’s still got something resembling a winning edge.

  4. IMHO we can be guaranteed that some of these players are gonna have to reveal their hands today. Will BigTam still be behind on his recovery? Will he eat too much again or over compensate and not take in enough? The Dumoulin of last week would likely have been fine but this is why three week racing is so fascinating.

    I think Quintana CHOSE not to attack and make use of his carefully placed relay team on the Stelvio rather than not attacking because he was not capable (in the end he was able to move up to the sharp end anyway), I think he has more in the bank than we think. Mr Nibbles has overplayed his resources I’m sure for the Italian win and will collapse in a spectacular heap soon. Today is the day for Mr Yates to get stuck in and look to restore his top ten place perhaps.

    Whatever happens this race is still finely poised!

    • I wondered if Quintana was suffering a touch with the warmer weather?
      It’s not broiling hot but still a warm Spring.
      He’ll have been training in cooler temperatures presumably so this warmer weather will be a change?
      But slightly cooler today, perhaps he’ll be on a better one?

    • Ian… I agree on TD and Yates, but see NQ and VN the other way round… but then again I change my mind every day at the moment.. who knows!

      smart move by Rolland to drop back in to the second group when he did yday, and Woods played a blinder when he went clear, so good to see Cannondale getting it right for a change

  5. Despite their time gain the other day road is beginning to run out for TD’s competitors, they probably need to make a move today. Tomorrow has a couple of easyish climbs before a run to a final big climb, this might well suit TD. Leaving everything until Saturday is pretty risky.

    I suspect there will be a big fight to get in the break, if there is one at all. The GC teams will want to make sure they have at least one rider in it and also that no serious contenders sneak in. Plus the KoM folk & stage hunters. A recipe for a very frantic few kilometres.

    It appears there are TV pictures pretty much from the off which is good news.

  6. Where has this ‘Pinot can sprint’ talk come from? Because he timed it right once at the Tour de Romandie? I once dated a good looking girl, I haven’t been sleeping with super models ever since though.

    • You can notice that he’s been working on keeping a final burst, which isn’t exactly sprinting but may serve the same purpose in case of a sprint. À la Valverde, let’s say, on a very minor scale.

      It’s a quality of him he already had, but apparently he sharpened it.
      (Normally when you work on that, you lose a bit in terms of resistance over several longer climbs – but that wasn’t the worst idea, perhaps: not much of them around, this Giro, besides yesterday; maybe only the Grappa).

      On the Blockhaus, Dumoulin had more strength and sheer power than him (once they catch you, it’s not always easy to hold the wheels… and look how Mollema ended that day in comparison), the finale was very favourable to the Dutch with flattish sectors, and yet Pinot had an edge over him.
      Check Oropa, too, impressive.

  7. Essential reading each morning inrng, thank you.
    Glancing through the standings I’ve just noticed that the top 13 riders are all from different teams. In fact if it wasn’t for Amador it would be 15 riders from 15 teams…
    This is not normal is it?
    I like it as it shows that the team leaders are all duking it out against each other without a team being able to play the ‘second or third dangerous rider’ card by panicking everyone when they send them up the road.
    Am enjoying this Giro despite being disappointed that the standings have been effected by police motorbikes and bowels!!

    • It’s an unusual distribution for sure. Perhaps it shows how teams came to the Giro with a sole leader, holding back others for the Tour de France. Team Sky did have plans for two riders but Thomas is out.

  8. For all the talk about well engineered roads, this is a short stage and the only thing I can see about it that makes it less suited for an early move than the roads to Formigal would be that yesterday’s stage was an easy day out for the GC group so they may be able to respond and reel in early attacks better than Sky did in the Vuelta.
    On the other hand, on the similar stage from Firenze last week Movistar was able to decimate Sunweb early in the first climb. Dumoulin’ stomach has been in focus but there are talks that other riders have been struggling since the start.
    Besides, Nairo, if not now, then when?
    Quintana and Movistar are blending a team with the ability to attack forcefully with very conservative tactics, one might sometimes suggest the tactical plan was laid out at a time when Haimar Zubeldia was intended as a future captain of the team. However, when the attacks come, they are often decisive, so they might just have concluded that this is what works for them. By their n ature, 3-week races reward those who conserve their energy best.
    One day, some day, and it’s got to happen this week – he’s got to use it. Why any other day than today?
    (After the tour 2015 I jokingly concluded that Quintana would definetly be the best racer in the 4th week)

  9. I disagree with your take that the Passo di Pinei is insignificant. It has the steepest sections in today’s course and coming right after the descent it really hurts if the pressure was on before. If TD hasn’t cracked before I would try to get away exactly there, it’s the perfect climb for an attack.

    • I hope you’re right, but Pinei barely has a 700 m. hard section…
      It’s less than an Ardennes’ côte. If he isn’t cooked, Dumoulin could do it better than most contenders. Maybe he wasn’t joking when he said that it felt like home in Maastricht (cf. Valkenburg).

      The 500 m by 500 m altimetry doesn’t work well to depict it, it’s just fast flowing false flats until a shorter than 2 kms section which goes steady 7% for a one km to ramp up some 700-800 m. before an intersection, than you breath for some easy secs and in less than a km, not too hard, either, 6% or so, it’s over. The coloured drawing is a bit better, even if I’m left with the feeling that here and elsewhere your nearly-homonymic SDS has been asked to make things look harder on purpose.

      Pontives is quite disappointing, too: a Lago Laceno style climb. Those 3.5 kms before the top are hard, but not much of that before, always gently rising (except for a short ramp 11-12 km from the line).

      Once again, we’re left with 15 km of official climbing in the last 50 kms or more… (I’d say that *true* climbing hardly reaches 8 kms, split in 1-2-3 kms at most short sections!): if you want to attack before the finale, you’re forced to take the huge risk of moving from *very* far away and with a *very* easy terrain ahead.
      Given that the previous climbs in themselves aren’t fit for a big selection, either – unless a great teamwork or alliance is put in place – the most probable thing is that whatever you might gain is taken back sooner or later by the fresher chasers.
      If I’ll have time, I’ll post the comparison of the climbing kms in the last 80 kms or so during this Giro’s third week supposed “tapponi” and the last editions.
      It’s a bet by the organisers: we’re bound to see great, great action, with daring attacks and complex strategies… or very little of it.

      No need to say that I’m praying for the former to happen.

  10. Here I am Justin… luckily, I wasn’t around at 6 am to answer to the “difference from the break” full delirium mode O__o
    … and when I got up inrng already had decided to close that comment section (luckily so).
    Unless I’m further called to do otherwise, I’ll let it go.

    I noticed, too, that when something *big* (or, better said, supposedly “big”: normally, it’s just the kind of things which makes generalist TV) happens, a lot of newbies or lurkers show up here, and they usually don’t improve the quality of the debate.

    • Or maybe a lot of people have grown tired of your ego.
      I’m sure your assessment of that data would have been as thrilling as it would have been objective.

      • Feel sure about the latter, indeed.

        And on the former I’d say that if they were “tired” they wouldn’t be posting comment number 200 or so with a crazy theory at 6 am.

        I won’t insist any further, and, on my part, I wouldn’t be bothered by a later self-destruction of this whole thread. Just cleaning up.

        • Sure, it’s everyone else.

          Different countries have different time zones. (Sorry, I know that this being a British-based bias is all part of your ‘theory’ of racism.)

          ‘Just cleaning up’ or just tediously insisting on having the last word?

          Seriously, do you think it’s all the people who are complaining about you, or do you think it’s you?

          • come on. ease off. dont start this personal discussion (you are this – you are that) again. lets discuss about cycling here not about commenters personality.

          • Let’s go on with the fun here until the stage stays boring… ^__^

            I guessed that it was an European time zone user because the contents of the post suggested a certain lack of sleep, all the worse if the author was well awake!

            Note that I asked to erase all the thread, I don’t mind about last words or whatever. In fact, I hadn’t any *last word* on the subject, others tried to.
            “Cleaning” as in “this thread is rubbish”, including my posts. I hope that the Gardena will offer me something better to watch, as the beginning of the stage did.

          • I was awake and having gone over the video multiple times and hand timed where possible between the two groups I’m more than positive in my assertions.

            That being said, and as I intimated at the start of the first post, I knew it wouldn’t be accepted.

            Anyway Q has just attacked so enjoy the rest of the stage. 😊

          • Hi “Anon who posted yesterday (really him or her I hope)”.
            You’ve been optimist about the attacks, that climb isn’t selective enough. We’ll see in the descent.
            I was joking above because of the tone of the thread.
            What you suggests implies several problems, to start with the fact that there’s no correspondence between the changes in ongoing action and the times you can check with video reference point and a stopwatch (I did that, too). A great deal of extrapolation is involved.
            Besides, if I got that right, comparing the five minutes before *the accident* and the following five, you apparently didn’t take into account the difference between the time you usually claw back from a break on a flat terrain or on a climb. The 5′ previous to Tom’s accident were on flattish terrain, the following five were radically different.
            Moreover, the time gaps TV shows are indeed more or less right, but they are always to be referred to the group which is back.
            For example, the effect of Pellizotti raised pace is evident, when you compare it with the previous relaxed one.
            I’d add that we don’t know how fast Orica was pulling, the impression is that they slow down just when the video shows they’re speaking through the radio, but a significant part of the whole interval we’re considering has passed.
            If you’re interested, we might discuss that in further detail, even if the problem with anonymity (generally fine for me) is that you can’t be sure you’re always speaking with the same person. And somebody might get bored.
            Back to the stage… hoping for the Pinei, but the course hasn’t much to offer for climbers.

          • Same Anon…

            Firstly thanks for misrepresenting what I said. No mention about what would eventuate from the attack by Q, simply that it happened whilst I was typing.

            As for the difference between flat and uphill. 2 things to note. One is Plaza bought back a load of time on the flat before that but was obviously tiring. Secondly Amador today was trying hard but losing time to two guys who had been in the break all day one of whom who had put efforts in for KOM points whilst on a climb.

            My analysis is based on times. Yours still seems to based on ‘feelings’.

            As for your comment previously around comments coming out from people who follow only when something big happens, the first European race I was lucky enough to see, (P-R) albeit on video tape, was in the late 70’s. It made me a fan as a youngster and besides a small gap when I wasn’t that overjoyed with the LA love in, it’s been something I’ve followed close to religiously.

            I’m not trying to change your mind btw, just giving people an opportunity to read another view. That said, there’s not much point debating the point further. We just have differing views.

  11. I’m definitely rooting for TD – I have been since the start, but even more so after poopgate.

    Still, part of me hopes that he loses time today and tomorrow, and goes into the TT with a tough but recoverable deficit. Would make for an exciting final day. (I’d settle for a comfortable TD victory, however!)

  12. I think you may be underestimating Nibali (again), when you have him behind Jungels and Dumoulin for the stage win. Not only is he more likely to try a move before the last climb, which could make the stage win come into play, he is also getting stronger, by now as strong as anyone else.

    • I’d agree with you but his problem today is apparently the team… they tried to set up at least four men (Boaro, Pellizotti, Visconti, Sivtsov) on the front move with a series of joint or separate attacks along the whole first hour, and eventually failed – completely.
      Now Sunweb is massively on the front of the main group, slowly pacing up the bunch over Valparola; if things go on this way, it will be hard to make any selection later, especially if Movistar goes, as it looks, in full TdF mode, with men up the road just to work for the team classification.
      Hope things change soon 🙁
      Nibali should attack hoping that Quintana finds the spirit and the legs to go with him, then they’d use the Movistar potential.

  13. It was really a smart decision to drop back – it was the decisive “move” of the day. Because it was obvious that the peloton wasn’t chasing the second group on the road, and it was again obvious that that group was big, strong and organized enough to catch the leading trio eventually. So Rolland dropped back, saved his energy for his final attack. Well done.

    • That was fun watching! Don’t tell my boss though…

      In the post-race interview, Tom complained about a pact which he assumes Nibbles and NQ made between each other, expressing a desire that they both lose their podium places for it. Very interesting – but how is it unsportsmanlike? Isn’t this how the sport’s been raced for a century? I’m a bit surprised that Tom would let such a comment slip; he must be feeling very confident indeed.

      I hope for the best for TJVG going forward – and hope that today is step #1 in finding a ‘way forward’ for him. Too bad for Landa, almost looked like he made the same mistake as against Nibali two days ago, leaving a small opening in the final curve that TJ got through. That said, Mikel Landa sure knows how to light up a mountain stage.

      • TD was just commenting against the negative racing Nibali & Quintana displayed on that last climb. I’m sure every spectator vented that sort of behaviour at some point. It’s just very rare that Nibali got accused for it.

  14. Am I right in thinking the top ten finishers just now were all their respective team leaders?

    How unusual is that? I haven’t noticed such a result before – this time it wasn’t just TD isolated – if I’m right, there were 9 other leaders isolated in the last few km.

  15. TVG emerges from his time capsule? If this was 7 years ago one might say, “Hmm, this kid might have a bright future.” But at 28 and a pro since 2008, a stage win at the Giro after his GC challenge totally fizzled out doesn’t seem all that much to celebrate, but at least he didn’t give up and go home.
    Meanwhile a bit of snark from Big Tom, saying he hoped Quintana and Nibali lose their GC spots since they refused to work with him in the finale today? He better be careful or his “Mr. Nice Guy” image may take a hit.

    • Maybe a touch of hubris from Dumoulin there. He looked uncharacteristically pleased with himself in the interview I saw.
      I’m enjoying his racing, but I thought he was a bit bold laying into those two, who’ve won so much. Maybe he’s still a bit sore over the Umbrail imcident. He does look like he can back his mouth up with the win though.

  16. Quintana hasn’t looked that good since the 2015 Tour. He won last year’s Vuelta because of Contador and Froome (good and bad). He did not have the beating of Froome in any stage before this.

    Nibali beat Mosquera and Velits (with Anton retiring in the leader’s jersey) to win the 2010 Vuelta, Uran and a nearly retired Evans to win the 2013 Giro, needed Froome and Contador to crash to win the Tour, and Kruijswick to crash in last year’s Giro. He’s a brave rider, but none of his grand tours have been won because he was the strongest person who started the race.

      • What’s your job here other than leaving provocative oneliners againts on gabriele and Larry as an anonym coward? You aren’t as funny as you think. Hope Mr.INRNG closes this troll loophole.

        • Hey Vitus,

          As you pointed out, though you didn’t think it was funny, it was just a joke not a troll. I take your point though.

          On the anon thing I think you’ll find it is multiple people and having a user name can be changed. It’s only people like Larry T who link so you know who they are each time. Also as has been pointed out before, some people feel (not sure what the best word is but maybe) pressured if they say something that isn’t the opinion of the posters that are on here multiple times for every Inrng post.

          Let’s just be thankful we’re not like a CN forum here. Not till the TdF anyway 😊

          • Of course names can be changed easily. But it’s not like multiple persons come here and post as gabriele or Larry T., attacking other regulars.
            I have the feeling as if the anon function is abused to attack regulars undercover. I do often not agree with gabriele and often it’s just tl;dr and I wonder how one can write 3 times as much as the blogger himself everyday adn if he has a life beside writng comments, but it’s his style and his arguments are more fact based than a lot of others here. If someone doesn’t like it, I’m sure there’s a scroll wheel on each mouse. Stalking as anon is childish. To say the least. my2¢

    • Not sure now is the time for picking on folk. TD is leading this race because up to now he has been the strongest rider by far not because the other riders are not up to it. Perhaps some of the others have been over hyped. However Vincenzo Nibali did take a fine win the other day and it is difficult to say that someone who has won all three grand tours has only done this because the opposition wasnt up to much.

      • Nibali won a downhill finish… tailor made for him. Going uphill he hasn’t seemed any better than Dumoulin. That was certainly true today.

    • But I thought that “Vincenzo Nibali was the best grand tour rider of 2013-2014”? At least, I read that on this site in the comments a couple of days ago. Would such a rider fail to beat Chris Horner? He certainly was a better rider then than he appears to be now.

      • Hey, look who’s back 😉 I can’t see the number 2017 anywhere in the sentence you quote. But if you can name me a rider with a better GT palmarés in that couple of years, maybe one who during those two seasons could place better than Nibali in most races where they faced each other (or, say, *any* other race than Oman), I might consider his application.

        This is funny as sort of an ongoing joke between me and RonDe, but the rest is pretty much depressing (like Quintana not having beat Froome in any stage after Tour 2015 or that sort of *free speech*).

        • 2017 is rather proving my point gabriele. Vincenzo is currently behind Quintana who is one of the top two best GC riders right now. This fits exactly with my point that he doesn’t beat the best in grand tours. I did enjoy his win on stage 16 though even if it was the perfect downhill finish that suited him down to the ground! Overall, I find myself agreeing with you that in 16 and 17 he is below the form he showed 3 or 4 years ago. He seems lacking the top end extra horsepower he used to have.

          • Yes, but since then Quintana grew better and Nibali got worse.
            In 2013 and 2014 we’re left with suppositions and a handful of direct face-off: in the latter, Oman are the only occasions when Froome finally prevails, including races which neither of them wins, otherwise Nibali tends to perform always better than the rival when they’re in the same race.
            Froome himself became a noticeably better racer year after year since 2013, improving some basics in which he was evidently lacking.
            At the end of the day, both GT results and direct confrontations speak in favour of Nibali for that couple of years. Not that Nibali was ever as superior as a GT rider over the rest as Froome was last year and probably in 2015, too (or Contador in 2007-2011, with 2012 a moot transition year for me, Purito probably being the best) – yet, he proved more than the rest. Including in the Vuelta he lost to Horner (have a look to Horner’s climbing values during that Vuelta). My take is that Nibali very slightly bested Froome in 2013 and Contador in 2014. However, unlike other questions, this is a matter of personal preference, indeed, you can extrapolate as much as you want and sometimes that even works.

  17. Presumably, TVG is going to be straight onto every cycling website he can find going ‘Yeah, **** you’.

    Landa must be one of the worst bike *racers* in history. Two stages where all he had to do was hold the inside on the last corner: bloke must be thick as Dumoulin doo-doo.

    Speaking of which, Quintana and Nibali can’t do anything unless that happens again.

    Dumoulin to RAI on being marked by Quintana and Nibali: “if they only focus on me it would be nice if they lost their podium spot in Milan”
    – he shows his true feelings about defecate-gate, perhaps.

    • Actually TVG avoids social media, and given what we keep hearing from the self-declared cycling experts that’s probably a smart move.

      I do think you’re being a bit hard on Landa, a lot of great climbers are rubbish even in reduced sprints. Landa is a huge talent that just needs a bit of luck.

      • Its truer to say that Tejay closed his social media accounts because they were full of people telling him he was a loser. Well not today.

      • Landa probably played too much domestique for too long. Though I don’t think he stands much a chance especially in a flat run in. Should have gotten rid of TJ on the climb. If he couldn’t then that’s that.

        Though you have to love Landa for the way he keeps trying. Whilst he seemed quite disappointed, he was happy on the podium to accept the blue jersey and throw the bouquet.

    • I think it’s more likely he is showing his feelings toward today last kilometer,s as he pleaded for help to no avail. St.16 is crap under the bridge
      I’m happy that he’s that kind of guy: nice, but kinda hard in his judgement.

  18. So much for the discussion if Nibali “szole” the win from Landa the other day. Landa just can’t manage a last corner and therefore loses.

    And Quintana just can’t manage to set a real attack. He can’t go a high pace after first acceleration. Even a Reichenbach was enough to bridge the gap. Movi’s relay station burned for nothing.

  19. One thing we can conclude from this stage is that Movistar may have a top list of riders but they are decidedly poor when it comes to strategy. Always so conservative and always afraid to lose. We need to remember that their last grand tour might have had a very different outcome without the actions of a certain Alberto Contador too.

    • I want to be cynical about Movistar’s tactics today, but I also try to remind myself that this isn’t the 1990s, and these guys aren’t (for the most part) doped to the gills. I’m also trying to keep in mind there are still two more mountain stages to go, and perhaps Movistar didn’t want to play all their cards today. Dumoulin was clearly up to the task today (with his Froome-esque catch).

      More curious is Nibali watching Pinot ride up the road. Unless he has one of the other summits circled in his road book, he could end up off the podium with more riding like that.

    • Agreed, not being able to set everything in order to “make contact” with the last gregario (at least one of them) on the top of the Gardena climb was a total mess.
      I believe that Dumoulin would have won the day anyway, but the Quintana-Movistar attacking show was a real disaster, reaching the gregari too soon, sticking with the guys with their inferior uphill pace in order to have them pull in the descent, but losing that way any gained terrain, all of them dead tired and unable to be a factor.
      On the Stelvio I think that the mess was due to Quintana not feeling brave or strong or confident enough to attack as planned, but today it was very poorly executed as a team job – on top of the complicated conditions in terms of course.
      At least, I hope this will show the value of good strategy, good teamwork or being able to take advantage of both. Sometimes the way people race make that look easy, but it isn’t at all (no PCM, as somebody wrote a couple of days ago).

  20. I think Tom Dumoulin would be a good match for Chris Froome in the upcoming Tour de France with that form. Given his poor time trialing abilities, Nairo Quintana probably will be no match for Froome, again.

    • I think that Dumoulin actually has more chance of beating Froome at a TdF than Quintana does. because with Dumoulin Froome couldn’t rely on the ITT.

      • Absolutely so, especially if the TdF finally goes for more balanced courses than in 2015 (and this year is balanced only in the sense that there’s not much ITT nor great mountain stages, either, a bit like the Betancur’s Pa-Ni).
        I didn’t dislike the old formula with the TdF being thought for the “ideal”, balanced, complete, “average” (not as in “mediocre”) rider, a course focussed on a relatively narrow range of body types; and the Giro with its wild courses, often but not always climber oriented, essentially much more unpredictable with a random element.
        After all, Quintana is a pure climber, and the pure climbers of the whole modern era, let’s say “after Bartali” struggled to win even one single Tour, even if they were able to podium several times (I must admit that I’d have to check to be sure, but I think that Gaul, Bahamontes and Van Impe all won just one Tour, like Pantani). That’s the maximum which Quintana could hope within a “classic” Tour de France pattern, winning one edition in a magic year.

        However, the appearance of an odd edition with different specifications from usual used to happen since ever in both GTs, in that sense it’s fine for both races to have a “peculiar” edition from time to time.
        What I’m a bit afraid of, so to say, is that Tour should go and try to favour current best French GT riders with too little ITTs: even if that should mean a favour to Quintana, too, I really wouldn’t appreciate. And I’d be worried if the Giro abandoned the genial course design which granted great racing for the most part of the last decade in order to draw in more linear riders.

  21. Whatever should happen in the last couple of stages, what a poor spectacle of a Giro (except for scenic views).
    Dumoulin would be a great winner, because he’d have been tested on challenging terrain, by top riders, adversities ^__^ and, even more, because he’s riding impressive. It would be a feat and a huge performance, better than other breakthrough GT wins like Nibali’s Vuelta or Contador’s first Tour.
    From a technical POV it wasn’t horrible, either. Maybe quite limited in variety, but essentially fine. In that sense, better than the Vuelta which Aru won and Dumoulin lost, for instance.
    Yet, the Giro has been under par as for the quality (and quantity) of the spectacle it offered through the three weeks.
    Not as tragic as last Tour, but right there fighting with the 2012 Giro. And it still needs at least one *great* stage to match it, or to match several generally dull Vueltas we’ve been having (yes, including the Nibali-Horner one, besides the Aru one).

    What’s sad is that it was already there to be seen when the course was published. The riders make the race, and in some parallel universe they’d invent something to grant us some serious racing, but when the course leaves hardly any option for attacking racing you really need a miracle or so.
    Tomorrow it’s going to be the first time during the whole three weeks that the riders will have to tackle two “hard” stages back to back. Until now, every “mountain” stage was isolated from the others by rest days, flat days, hilly days at most.
    And it’s sort of a monoclimb all over again. I don’t know if tonight they’re forging any alliance to make it explode from scratch, but it would really need sort of a conspiration. Otherwise, a dull day until the last 20′ or so. Once more, a climb which becomes easier on its top. The same pattern again and again – something different would have been good, at least for variety’s sake.

    Not even two final great stages with a final surprise victory from Nibali or a long range attack by Quintana or any Pinot show, or a Dumoulin’s triumph confirmation attacking mid-Grappa and making the finish alone would change that. It would be too little, too late: this Giro can still climb – or drop – a spot or two among the last editions, but its final placement wouldn’t be great, within the last dozen of years or so. For me, the main blame is on the course.

    • Gabriele you keep blaming the course but I cannot for a second imagine that this race would have been the same if a certain Alberto Contador was in it. He would have attacked from the first climb today, something Quintana (very conservative team managers) and Nibali (who knows why) seem unwilling or unable to do. The riders do make the race and the course designers have given us plenty of ups and down if people have an attacking frame of mind.

      I will say that I would have liked to see Monte Zoncolan on stage 20 though!

      • Maybe yes or maybe not, Contador is daring but it’s not like he attacks every day as a fool. I agree that he’d have tried more hard, here or somewhere else. But, besides what I wrote above today (before the stage), I had commented on the subject well before the race started. As any forecast, it was about hazarding a little, yet until now it proved sadly spot on. Something crazy can still happen, yet most of the Giro has gone and it’s been being quite disappointing as a show, not only GC-wise, even if a lot of riders gave it all in the breaks and so. Cycling’s still a wonderful sport and it’s fine to watch, but the bar had been set much higher in recent years. However, one bad year can happen to riders and to races as well; this wasn’t awfully bad either – as far as I’m concerned, it must *not* become a trend, like it happened to Liège, that’s all.

      • It’s been a very dull Giro and some of that is down to the course. A good part of it is also down to Quintana and Nibali not having the legs to attack Dumoulin (when he’s on his bike).

    • Been thinking about Giro 2012 because there was a climbing stalemate, and it drove fans crazy. But also because I thought I remembered Purito being told he had to attack early in the mtns because he was going to lose time in the final ITT. He could/did not attack…and ended up losing much less time than expected in the ITT. Obviously Quintana needs a time advantage going into the ITT, but how much?

  22. Today the road showed the truth. Quintana and Nibali didn’t appear to have the legs to see off an impressive Dumoulin on a multi climb parcours that should have suited their characteristics.

    Two more road days and the Giro and the Dutch might be celebrating a worthy winner !

    • Dumoulin’s performance was huge, both in terms of power and a cold head; he also might have suffered due to the multiple climbs and he didn’t… but the course wasn’t at all especially suited to Quintana or Nibali. Way less than Tuesday. It might have been especially good for Aru, Froome, Contador, Porte and probably even Valverde, despite the presence of over 2000 climbs (the last 52 kms were perfect for him). But Quintana or Nibali needed a monstre performance to do anything here. Just check this kind of stage against those in other recent Giro’s last weeks. I don’t even know if they’d have fared better with a more suitable course, maybe Dumoulin is just too much stronger, but I’m pretty sure that this isn’t a great course for them – they might have done good anyway if they were in a state of grace, but they aren’t and normally wouldn’t.

    • Nibs has 4 grand tour wins and Tom has none. If Tom wins this it will be a greater win than any of Nibali’s grand tours simply because of who he beat. So he will have a right to be cocky.

      • Pambianco beating Anquetil at the Giro was greater than Anquetil’s lousy wins over the useless Poulidor… and Carlesi! And Marcel Janssens! And Planckaert! Why the heck are we celebrating Pambianco less than Anquetil, if the latter won his Tours against people who barely won any GT?

        (PS Yes, Nibali won his GTs over several TdF, Vuelta or Giro winners, but they were old, ugly or unlucky)

      • Maybe (have the right to be cocky, but not so sure anyone ever has that right).

        But from TD’s perspective, he’s looking around, doesn’t have team mates, was alone for the 2nd run at Stelvio and is still comfortable with these guys who don’t seem to have any spark left, notwithstanding their “easier” Giro to date. He definitely has reason to feel self assured.

        Ultimately, there’s no upside from Nibs calling him out, there’s only downside. If Nibs were to win, no one is going to say “oh yea, you totally called him about and looked like a bawws”, but if he doesn’t win……well, doesn’t look gracious.

      • So then what is a TD victory worth if he beats “losers” like Nibali?
        Rhetorical question. I should adjust my ignore function. Cant’ bare this ‘Nibs wins were worth nothing’ crap anymore.

      • Vincenzo Nibali’s four GT wins puts him up amongst the top bike riders ever, it doesnt matter who he beat he won those races, it is no easy feat to win one let alone four.

        Assuming TD does go on to win we could well be watching the emergence of the dominant GT rider of the next few years. He will get a stronger team and he is relatively young, I believe a couple of years younger than Chris Froome was when he won the TdF first time (I am sure some expert will correct me if I am wrong). He has great TT ability, is a very handy climber and has the lowland classics experience which helps in those tricky crosswind stages. He has the potential to be a very formidable opponent for some time to come. Perhaps in time he can win more Grand Tours than Vincenzo Nibali whoever the opposition is 🙂

  23. gabriele. Quintana and Nibali were in their preferred territory but simply didn’t have the legs today to make a difference – a difference they desperately require before the individual TT. They tried several times, and failed. To make the point, Dumoulin showed his strength, confidence and nous in the last 4 km when the road played best to his characteristics.
    The winner is still to be decided, but on today’s evidence, and baring the unexpected – which can be expected, Dumoulin is on course to win the Giro. The road is rapidly running out for his competitors, who may well find themselves fighting to salvage podium positions.

    • Mountain-wise, this was a classic Tour-like stage, look at the gradients, and historically in this sort of stages 65-70 kg riders tended to prevail. Not that it’s bad, it just wasn’t Quintana’s cup of tea. Perhaps Nibali’s, but not as much, having to attack with such a finale (I’m speaking of the last 50 kms, not of the last 5).

      • I’ve got to agree – almost all <7% climbs, that's very gentle for this level, I'm hardly a strong rider but I was tootling around on a 39×25 on these climbs last year. The speed up the Gardena (which is not a Cat 1 climb, Hatch and Kelly – <40% of the climbing of the Stelvio) was 24km/h, meaning drafting probably saves about 7-8%. And it tips the balance towards the stronger TTers amongst the climbers.

        Would have been good to have the Giau or even the Passo delle Erbe (East side) in there.

        Still, Tom D can only beat the riders and the course in front of him, and looks set to be a worthy champion.

        • I really missed the Passo Erbe too yesterday, it would have been perfect instead of stupid Gardena and Pinei, offering hours of good show. RcS set the table for Froome, the Kenyan didn’t want to come anyway, and an amazing Tom Dumoulin took advantage of the weaker stages. Tomorrow I’m really tempted to go on the Grappa

    • I agree with those who say NQ and VN don’t care about podiums. Nibs has 4 grand tours and Quintana two. What does second or third mean? I suspect for Vincenzo not much but for Quintana it will mean that time trialling climbers are his kryptonite.

      • To be honest, it’s not like they’ve got really steep/long climbs ahead and Dumoulin is likely to crack as a result of chasing. Neither was this non-effort likely to sap Dumoulin’s leg for following days.

        And whilst Pino’s time trailing (as with his other performances) goes up & down, he’s likely not a threat to Dumoulin even on his good day. But on his good day, Thibaut can really be a threat to both Nibali and Quintana in a time trial.

        So basically Quintana and Nibali shipped over a minute to Thibaut for no purpose at all apart from sticking blindly to the supposed “wisdom” of letting the race leader ride. The situaition is really getting a bit absurd.

        Quintana at least can look past his pride and see this absurdity. Reportedly he had shook hand with Dumoulin post race and the two has settled their differences.

  24. In the Giro the “polemica” is almost as important as the racing itself 🙂 . Lots of quotes for the media to spend hours talking about

  25. Dumoulin letting the minor placers go was pretty cool and tactically astute. Quintana and Nibs now have to watch their backs as well as attacking him, while TD isn’t threatened by them. For Pinot, attacking again is now obvious. For Zakarin and Pozovivo as well.

  26. I like Dumoulin but everyone supporting should be careful before getting too cocky – there’s every chance he could collapse in the next few days – Quintana probably could have stayed away today and that gap would have been extremely difficult to close in that case – it was just a team miscalculation that let TD back in.

    And don’t forget the Vuelta – his weak team then let him down and there’s every chance that could happen again tomorrow or the day after.

    He was similarly boisterous before the collapse back then, so I don’t think angering Nibali and possibly Quintana also with his post race comments was that clever.

      • This is one of of those one-line comments that can only be (a) ignored completely or (b) met with an answer that will inevitably bring forth complaints of different opinions being not allowed in this forum and of being labelled a racist and so on and so on.
        And one of those comments that are not worth the space they take on the display.

    • What’s this about Quintana giving away a time gap due to a team miscalculation? (A quasi-epic group ride won over the prospect of sitting on the sofa and quite possibly ending up somewhat disappointed with the spectacle or the lack of it – and I’m saving the recording for an afternoon in November.)
      But I have to agree Dumoulin can still snatch defeat out of the jaws of victory, but probably only through the kind of physical collapse that stems from illness or a strike of bad luck that leaves everyone feeling not quite happy about whoever wins the Giro.

  27. A bit frustrated with Quintana, what has happened to him? In the tour, he was Froome’s shadow and in the Giro, he is Dumoulin’s. I am missing Contador, boy will he be missed when he retires.

    • He’s always ready to punish any sign of weakness, but these guys are good. We already know that Froome can endure Quintana’s best on any TdF course they’ve ridden. We might expect a greater margin with Dumoulin, but it wouldn’t be much. Contador is a genius, but I think many of his rides that we might have in mind here were competitive “failures.”

Comments are closed.