Giro d’Italia Stage 19 Preview

A hard stage with the awkward final climb of Monte Cavallo. Hopefully we get two races for the price of one, a breakaway taking time early and then the GC contenders exploiting the final summit finish of the race.

Stage 18 Wrap: the new generation, the next big thing. Pierre Rolland on the previous stage, now Tejay van Garderen. The day before Rolland had said he was encouraged to aim for the GC in grand tours but decided it wasn’t his thing: the pressure, the waiting game, the calculation, the expectation didn’t sit with a rider who preferred to take his chances in a breakaway. Van Garderen might like to compare notes with Rolland. He and Mikel Landa were the two who managed to stay away, dropping their companions on the final descent and beginning the final climb with less than a minute’s lead but managing to extend it during the climb. Near the top of the climb Landa started to look tired, his efforts to secure the maglia blu showing via a few grimaces. Van Garderen tried an attack but shouldn’t shake the Basque so the two sprinted for the line and Landa showed he’s a great climber. Van Garderen finally got a win and the pressure seemed to flood out of his tear ducts.

Behind the GC contenders tried to make a race of it but seemed punch-drunk. Nairo Quintana launched a move with 53km to go but got reeled in fast by Tom Dumoulin and the others. It was the same on the final climb, the main contenders are all climbing on a similar level so that when one rider attacks they get a gap, put themselves in the red, pay the price and get brought back. Except for Thibaut Pinot and Domenico Pozzovivo who clipped away and took a minute in the final kilometres. Neither Tom Dumoulin, Vincenzo Nibali and Nairo Quintana wanted to chase, nor needed to chase. For all the tactical stalemate the simple result is that Tom Dumoulin could match all of his rivals on such a hard mountain stage and he’s another day closer to Milan. Orica-Scott worked hard all day and cracked Jan Polanc and Bob Jungels to put Adam Yates in the white jersey by 28 seconds over Bob Jungels.

The Route: 175km and the summit finish. There’s climbing along the way but it’s not going to be too selective, a chance for the breakaway to take time rather than for Movistar to crush Sunweb.

The Sella Chianzutan climb is 11.8km at 6.1% but with steeper moments but nothing too hard. The descent is arguably more of interest with its stone paving and tunnels. Then comes 60km across the plains to Aviano and the start of the Giro’s last summit finish.

The Finish: a steep start but it’s all on a big open road. The first half is the steepest part with 10% slopes and long ramps between wide hairpin bends. With 5km to go the road stops climbing the flank of Monte Cavallo and rides across a plateau and it’s more gentle, often 5% before tightening up for 7% between 3km to go and 2km, the last chance for the climbers before the road levels out towards the finish line.

The Contenders: there’s a high chance the breakaway stays away so spin the roulette wheel and take your pick, remembering that the final climb is hard and very selective so the eventual winner has to be fresh this late in the race and a competent climber. So Pierre Rolland, Dario Cataldo, Rui Costa and Omar Fraile come to mind as well as Mikel Landa but spin the wheel again and you could pick Michael Woods, Dylan Theuns or Sacha Foliforov.

Does Tom Dumoulin fancy another stage win? He’s already taken two including one in the maglia rosa but the final climb suits him well, a large road that evens out before the line so he can deploy his punchy finish. Nairo Quintana can try but Dumoulin will still be wary about letting him out of his sight, the same for Vincenzo Nibali. Thibaut Pinot can try to hang with the group and take the win in the sprint.

Pierre Rolland, Rui Costa
Faile, Landa, Woods, Dumoulin, Pinot

Weather: warm and sunny and a top temperature of 26°C.

TV: 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.

186 thoughts on “Giro d’Italia Stage 19 Preview”

  1. Rubén Plaza must be the best domestique in this Giro, doing huge turns on the front day after day in the mountains to set up his leader. Great riding and teamwork by ORS, but given Jungels’ superior TT ability I estimate Yates probably needs to take at least another minute-90 seconds on him before Milan if he wants to retain the white jersey.

    • Reichenbach might be a contender for that one as well! Reeling in Quintana yeasterday, and the only domestique to stay with the favorites in the end…

        • I rate Reichenbach as a climber, think he’s a little bit of a suspect decender. Whether the Vuelta is the race that tests those vulnerabilities to the full, I’m not sure.

          • That’s why I love IL Giro.
            There is a premium on descending skills as climbing and time trialing.

            Many riders who are succesful in other styles of racing struggle at the Giro. See Bradley Wiggins, Ritchie Porters and many others.

            The Giro is the most well rounded or complete GT.

  2. Do Movistar need a new tactic? Quintana trying to bridge across to guys in the break isn’t working (or hasn’t yet).

    Wonder if they might keep the team together today and try to set a hard tempo on the final climb for NQ to use as a springboard for an attack.

  3. Yesterday was (finally) a day pretty much without “woulda/shoulda/coulda” but one with DID – Big Tom fending off his attackers very well, despite being without team helpers, while his two rivals DIDN’T get away with much of anything despite a few attempts.
    To me the most interesting thing was the post-race chatter with Big Tom chastising Nibali and Quintana for not helping him chase after a couple of lower-placed rivals. This was a contrast to the last big man “mow ’em down in the chrono and defend in the mountains” strategy of Big Mig. Back then it seemed to work in Mig’s favor when others fought over the lower podium spots and I’d be (even then I guess a curmudgeon) ranting about why the rivals wouldn’t work together to ditch Mig and then fight out the GC themselves? Quintana and Nibali seem uninterested in anything but victory and I say BRAVI…go down swinging even if you fall off the podium rather than end up being a tool of Big Tom. Tom’s bringing this up makes me wonder if he’s getting a little tired and resorting to some mind games? His performance on the bike certainly doesn’t suggest this, so why run his mouth and risk looking less a “gentle giant” now?

    • I think it’s mind games. Dumoulin wants them to think they have to attack him. He’d rather see them attack and blow up on the final stage than sit in his wheel and wait. Which I think he may have achieved.

    • I don’t think Tom is a “gentle giant”. I think he is a gentleman racer. But when others take the **** then he is understandably annoyed. Nibali especially should concentrate on beating some real riders instead of the fodder he usually dispatches.

      • +1 I enjoy the mind games and reminding his rivals they need to win on the road.

        And surely you’re not casting shade on “The best grand tour rider in the world (2013-2014)™” are you?

        • I’m still waiting for the name of the rider with *better GT results* in that couple of years. One who could have the best of Nibali more often than not, at least.
          Here some people have a crush on bullies who master neopros (and a keen eye for guys who binge on gels where they shouldn’t), but all that love shouldn’t make you blind to result charts.

          • Gabriele I sometimes wonder why your love for “results charts” is so strong. Surely even you can see that a string of first places against inferior riders tells you only that a given rider can beat the lesser ones. This is why I place more importance on WHO YOU BEAT and not just THAT YOU WON.

            I invite you to explore the difference between beating Uran and Evans (whilst losing to Horner in the same season) and beating Contador, Quintana and Valverde, to name but three.

          • @RonDe
            What’s in a name? that which we call a rose, by any other name would smell as sweet. And conversely the name of Contador without his legs or the name of Quintana without his further GT experience… it is nor hand, nor foot, nor arm, nor face, nor any other part belonging to a man.

            (And Nibali, too, beat such a Valverde – even a better one, he gets better each year, it seems).

            Froome 2015, who’d have lost that Tour to Quintana with better racing by Movistar (but this is just conjecture), was really above the rest. Not the 2013 one. Not even if he was pedalling with a motor! (joke alert) Too prone to mistakes, among other things.

          • If I’m not mistaken Gabriele this lesser Froome beat Nibali in 2012 whilst still a domestique and Vincenzo a decorated team leader and grand tour winner. He then repeated the feat in 2015 against the defending Tour champion whose own performance was poor to say the least (+8.36). I still remember Nibali dropping back minute after minute on the climb to La Pierre St. Martin. Yet, according to some, this was “the greatest” grand tour rider of the previous two years. I think the truth is rather more fragmented than this and only head to head comparisons can really satisfy such arguments. These are decidedly in Froome’s favour. I only wish Froome’s new found bike skills had materialised in 2014 and this argument might have some resolution 🙂

          • The 2012 farcical Tour, if anything, proved that Nibali was a better rider… leading *Liquigas*, while Froome was putting up a petty show in that Sky-branded Tour.
            But let’s leave it as it is now, I’ll happily concede that Nibali’s superiority wasn’t huge, while it existed, but I’ll always be surprised by anyone thinking that the reverse (any clear superiority by Froome) might have been true in that couple of years, since also the “head to head” comparisons confirm that Nibali was being better. What else would you need.
            I’ll leave it as it is… a *perception* about Froome was carefully built well before he could even get to a proper level, maybe to make people forget the change he went through; I’d be surprised if that had no long-term effects.
            As always, if you’ll follow up the thread I’ll happily read but I’ll try to avoid answering anymore.

          • So in 2012 Froome the domestique beat Nibali the team leader but, somehow, this means that Nibali was better? With arguments like this I feel it best we should just agree to disagree! I shall have to learn from your obvious cycling knowledge in others areas as in this one it seems uncharacteristically lacking 🙂

      • One thing I’ll say about Big Tom is that standing up on the pedals with his large frame, attacking riders much smaller whilst looking over his shoulder toying with them… he does a bloody good impression of Bjarne Riise. All he needed was a Denmark champions jersey and a Deutsche Telekom casquette and he’d have had it absolutely bob on.

          • Or worse, that maybe he’s got 60% of something working for him? I always wonder about these big guys stripped down so they can stay with (or even best) the tiny climbers on the steep slopes. That goes against a lot of, well….history.

      • “Gentle Giant” in the way BigMig was back-in-the-day. Speak softly and let your legs do the talking (or at least have the team PR guy translate for you, softening snarky comments).
        Last time I checked Nibali has beaten all those who showed up at the start of the Vuelta, Tour and Giri when he was on the podium’s top step – how is that less than what the other guys do?

        • Miguelon was not very fond of talking as i remember it, dominant on the road but not at all enjoying the attention this brought him.

    • You’ve just been involved in a heated battle, tension and frustration have been building, angry words have been exchanged, you finish the stage full of adrenalin… and someone sticks a microphone under your nose and asks you “so, what do you make of all that then?” I don’t think we should take anything anyone says in these stage finish interviews too seriously, or imagine that they’re carefully thinking “what impact will this have on the rest of the race / my reputation?” before they answer.

      • +1
        This morning Dumoulin said he felt sorry about what he said yesterday, adding precisely that he was tired and he was less respectful than he’d have liked to be.
        …Nibali said that he was totally fine with that and at least the journalists had something to write about after yesterday’s stage ^__^

  4. Good to see TvG win his first Grand Tour race, and find his way back to shore from the sea of heartbreak. He went from being a “could-a, should-a, would-a” man to a “did-a” man. Hope this will be the first of many more!

    As for Dumoulin’s comments, that’s a prime example of why it’s not a good idea to vent out one’s frustrations to journalists in the heat of the moment right after the stage. There’s something child-like and innocent about his statement–not so much as immature, but in a pure-of-heart way.

    • Thanks Joe K, your quote “There’s something child-like and innocent about his statement–not so much as immature, but in a pure-of-heart way.” fits well into my “Tale of Two Races” theory.

    • Yes, good on TvG.
      I think he could really prosper in a freer role in, say, Dimension Data.
      Contest KoM’s, breakaways etc. without all the other GC stuff on his back.
      Why not, life’s too short. Enjoy his cycling again and he’d come good, I’m sure.

          • Not that good either, until now he’s been very mediocre in that field, too. GC just isn’t is thing. People who showed more than him in short stage races soon became luxury gregari, Kreuziger, Spilak, even Brajkovic… Both gregari on a free week like Henao and short stage race specialists like Rui Costa or (until now) Porte would best him, just as, in persepctive, Izagirre or maybe even D. Martin. Not to speak of the big GT guns, some of whom also show up and fight for GC in one week races, and new generations whose potential is yet unknown.
            I’m with inrng, if he doesn’t want to work as a luxury gregario, TJ should go for a Rolland-style racing: from time to time you can even get interesting GC results in GTs without directly looking for them.
            Maybe the huge difference is that Rolland enjoys it, whereas if TJ doesn’t… he’ll just need to find someboday paying his wages in years to come.

  5. They should have used their strength in numbers differently, rather than focus all on one leader. It seems Winner is almost as strong as his leader. With him still up in the top 10 or thereabouts they could have seriously attacked Dumoulin. It seems Quintana is simply less dominant in the mountains than they thought he was going to be.

    Inrng, any thoughts on Dumoulin’s comments on Nibali and Quintana not working?

    • Good TV from Dumoulin. He might have been frustrated but Nibali and Quintana managed to isolate him. Dumoulin would have been a lot more angry if, say, Nibali, had managed to clip away in the final 2km and take 20 seconds while Quintana marked Dumoulin.

    • “Neither Tom Dumoulin, Vincenzo Nibali and Nairo Quintana wanted to chase, nor needed to chase.” I think this means Dumoulin did not did not manage to persuade anyone that the tactics were unsound.

      • Not sure the need bit apply to Nibali.

        Even if you say he doesn’t care about podium, he just gave FDJ & Katusha more reason to shut him down during his early attack next stage. how does that help him.

        Besides, Tom ended up riding a pretty comfortable pace to the line, so they are not even tiring him down that way. Compared to the comfy pace to the line, a high speed chase/change of pace from (on/off) attacks would tire Tom more.

        • It was not about energies, at that point (3 kms to go or so?), it was about nerves. However, if you attack on a terrain which is so much more favourable to your rival, you tire yourself more than sapping him…

  6. The Movistar riders must be getting pretty tired, they have now spent two day chasing around the mountains to no avail. Both Winner Anacona and Andrey Amador looked cooked when trying to lead up the last climb, so much so that Mikel Landa and TvG were able to pull away, not the normal thing considering they had been in the break all day.

    It wouldnt be the Giro if there wasnt a good dose of “polemica”. I suspect a certain amount of tiredness and building frustrations is making them all a little grumpy.

    Today is another long stage though I guess the Sunweb riders should be able to keep up given the relatively less hard terrain until the foot of the final climb. Maybe they can engineer one of the lesser GC folk going up the road forcing someone else to do the chasing…..

    Thoughts must now also begin to turn to how this all affects the Tour and the Vuelta. The Movistar strategy of announcing that NQ is going for the Giro / Tour double looks more foolish by the day (even if NQ wins), plus many of the key domestiques are hardly going to be fresh. What do Sky do, G for the Tour, Chris Froome and Mikel Landa at the Vuelta? Does TD ride the Vuelta and if so will we see him up against Chris Froome? Will TvG give the GC another go at the Vuelta, joint lead with Richie Porte?
    Plenty more of that sort of speculation.

    • Quintana has said his form is excellent, it’s just that Dumoulin has shown up even stronger. Pinot and his entourage have said something similar, they’re hitting the watts they thought would win the race but Dumoulin can match them on the climb and obliterate them in the TT.

      • I agree, for all the “experts” talking up NQ (Brian Smith was at it again yesterday on Eurosport, but he is not alone). Tom Dumoulin appears to be by far the strongest rider. Maybe this has come as a surprise but we should be talking up the positives not saying how badly this or that rider has done.

      • They probably would say that, though, wouldn’t they?

        That’s PR for you, and also it’s not in a top athlete’s mindset to admit that they’re not as strong as they should be .

        As an observer, Quintana just doesn’t look in the same kinda form as we’ve seen before, regardless of how superbly well Dumoulin is doing.

        Is there anything that collaborates the watts, seeing as they don’t release figures?

        • too many riders finished in the top group yesterday to say they all bridged the gap to quintanas climbing ability, or maybe the stage was just too short?

          tom dumoulin looks very convincing, he will most probably win this

    • Firstly this idea that Quintana could pull of the double is ridiculous talk only seriously indulged by the Phil Liggetts of this world. Alberto Contador, who knows more about winning grand tours than anyone else in the pro peloton pretty much proved this is impossible in the current era, and with talk of the Giro moving a week later in the calendar from next year the task will only become even more unlikely.

      While Sky are maniacally focused on the Tour de France as usual, as we all know Chris Froome still feels he has unfinished business at the Vuelta so might try for that again, maybe this year with Landa as the second option. I believe BMC have Roche penciled in as their leader after he supports Porte at the TFF as he’s ridden to a top 10 in Spain before, and will probably have Sanchez as their plan B. TVG could get a Vuelta ride, but it’s probably too soon to say if he’ll remain a long term prospect at BMC (anyone know when his current contract expires?).

      • I think the Giro-Tour double is possible but just, one of those things were a lot of things need to go right for the winning rider, preferably with rivals falling away. Quintana’s tilt at the Giro was probably needed after getting battered at the Tour last summer and Movistar accommodating Valverde on a Tour course that suits, and maybe encouraged by appearance money paid by the Giro but that’s speculation.

        • I’ll defer to your expertise on this, but I think there’s a reason why, even with Oleg Tinkov’s offer of money on the table, that most big name riders haven’t attempted it.

          • Certainly I can see why riders don’t try it but it could be done. The problem is the chance of pulling it off is small so why bother. But if a Giro winner starts at the Tour anything they do is a bonus.

          • Or everyone just talks about how cooked they are after an exhausting Giro, like Contador last year. Don’t get me wrong, it would be exciting if someone could pull it off, but I just don’t feel that’s very likely.

      • I think the Tour-Vuelta double is likely to be seen first and Froome is the man to do it. Oh so close last year, in a Quintana-less race with a decent time trial stage he will never have a better opportunity. The nature of the French race also sets up the possibility for the Tour’s winner to double up since many argue its the least demanding of the 3 week races.

          • How does that kind of TDF sit with Froome? Because am I right in saying that’s basically why he’s never made a serious tilt at the Giro isn’t it, the gradients not suiting his abilities so much?

          • @BenW
            It’s not the gradient as such, he’s good on steep climbs, it’s more about stages with a complicated profile and the combination of long duration and high effort on a climb or, even more so, a series of them.

            To be fair, I think that it’s correct to add that, as many commenters always said, for Froome the Tour is too important to put his results there at risk racing the Giro, even if this could also mean that he doesn’t feel *that* superior to his rivals (even if he might actually *be*), as many GT champions were feeling in the past.
            This year was perhaps a lost occasion for Froome, but, just as Quintana does with the Tour, maybe he’s got some reasons to think that he’ll get more favourable courses in the future, especially if he’ll ever express his intention to race the Giro, in the case of Froome.
            Was it so, I’d hope he’s way wrong (and Quintana about the Tour, too).

    • Anacona and Amador had been in break groups, too, both working harder than TJ or Landa to set those. Which is why it was a mistake to think that they could help uphill. They had to be reached on the hilltop or, if anything, in the first part of the descent. But the fact that we had a slipstream climb made the team car think otherwise and they preferred to try the uphill relays thing. IMHO, a tactical mess – but, again, it’s not PCM.

  7. Despite not being his biggest fan it was quite nice to see TJVG win yesterday. He’s looked a defeated man in recent years so hats off to him for having the belief to win.

    As an aside to the GC debate I’m not sure what the Watts on screen are meant to add. I’m not opposed to the idea of cycling trying this stuff out – although I doubt 95% of the audience really know what it means – but they are so innacurate at times that the more you know, the less you trust.

    At one point on a steady gradient yesterday the group were doing a consistent 30kmp/h. Dumoulin’s onscreen power was jumping between 200w (which I could keep up with for quite a long time) to 400w+ (which I definitely couldn’t keep up with for quite a long time).

    There was no discernible change in pace or gradient, no freewheeling, and this wasn’t when they were playing cat and mouse. The figures are just all over the place. It almost feels like they’re in a trial period.

      • To me it seems as if these useless data isn’t really “live” and there’s some lag between when they show it and when it was recorded.

        • I like the thought – it isn’t executed perfectly but what is? For my whole like watching cycling all we’ve had to measure the gaps between riders is a clock that fluctuates wildly (when it is there at all), the occasional passing by a team car or the infrequent wide angle shot… Watts might not be perfect but it gives an indicator that a chaser or escapee is pushing on/sitting up etc.

      • His on-screen power spiked past 1,000 watts at one point during that descent. Coming out of a hairpin, admittedly, but still…

        As InRng says, they really need to use smoothed power figures if they’re going to display it at all.

        • I can see how there’d be a huge spike out of a hairpin but I agree some element of smoothing needs to be implemented to help people understand the numbers.

          It reminds me of the Krabbe line in The Rider when the narrator is sneering at the crowd’s lack of understanding: “A man shouts: ‘Faster!’ He probably thinks bicycle racing is about going fast.”

          • He was sprinting out of the hairpin to get back up to speed, but 1,000 watts still seems highly unlikely.

            I don’t feel particularly strongly about power data one way or the other. For some, it may provide a degree of interest and perhaps even a humbling comparison to their own efforts, if they ride with power meters. Those that aren’t interested can simply ignore it.

            Of far more interest to me is accurate, reliable information about the riders involved in any groups and the time gaps between each. I think the Giro had generally done a pretty good job on that front.

          • I’m sure the pros are much smoother in their application but when I first ran a power meter it was immediately obvious that the ‘live’ numbers are simply too erratic to be of any use at all, except perhaps during a flat TT effort. Far more instructive would be 3-, 10- and 30-second averages, and this is what I run on my head unit now.

            Incidentally, I don’t think a 1,000W spike out of a hairpin is unrealistic. I see that relatively frequently and I’m some way from Dumoulin’s power.

        • I suspect it is a case of couldn’t with current hardware setup.

          It’s likely that the device beneath their seat read ant+ straight out of the powermeter, but doesn’t have local processing power/storage to do the average. It is either a device size/weight issue (not likely) or a battery issue (more likely, and again relate back to size/weight).

          On the server end, neither do they have a database infrastructure to store the data. Depending on their network protocol setup, to solve this can either be a “nightmare” or “walk in the park”.

    • I’m glad someone has said this. I find this obsession with “data” moronic, useless and, far from adding to coverage, actually detracting. It is pointless to flash up watts, heart rates or pedal cadences during a stage when riders are on different parts of the course. It tells viewers nothing. Data is for analysis after races if it is for anything at all. And that’s before I mention the hypocrisy of all those who berate Froome for looking at his data and riding to power but then want data on the screen! Unbelievable!

      • Yeah, and as INRNG points out, the data means nothing without weight. Then you get into W/KG and it’s even harder for the mainstream audience to understand, which defeats the objective.

        A few years ago I thought the “ban the power meter” argument was a bit over-the-top but I’ve came to the conclusion I was wrong. I think they probably should be banned from racing now, but it won’t happen as the manufacturers would pull so much revenue from sponsorship that the race organisers wouldn’t countenance it.

    • The one that I found useful was on the Blockhaus stage post crash, when Yates’s HR was much higher than riders in the group, which in retrospect could be seen as foreshadowing his eventual cracking and losing further time.

      That aside, the follow-up emails from Velon – with figures covering a particular section – have been more interesting than the live stuff.

      • But they weren’t especially reliable (the ones I could check like, simply, speeds) nor well-chosen to actually make sense for an analysis, either, which surprised me a bit. Perhaps the old question of avoiding to disclose too much about key performances?

  8. From your description of the final climb it sounds to me more likely that Dumoulin will put time into Q & N than the other way round. They would have preferred the climb to start easy and finish hard I’d imagine. I’m a little disappointed with the climbs so far in this last week other than the Mortirolo/Stelvio day the other day they have all seemed a bit tame by Giro standards.
    I think Zakarin is interestingly poised now. He’s a sort of Dumoulin lite type rider and this finish should suit him and potentially allow him to sneak a few more seconds out of Quintana, Nibali and Pinot. He’s also usually good in time trials, though wasn’t very good in the earlier one in this Giro. If he does manage to sneak off and grab a few more seconds here and there over the next couple of days and then does his usual level in the TT then he could end up pushing his way into 2nd.

    • It feels like the only way that Dumoulin is going to crack here is some kind of unholy alliance between the others. Repetitive attacks – a climbing version of what QS unleashed on Sagan at Roubaix.

      How do readers feel whether Valverde would have made a difference?
      You have to feel that, if he were here, Movistar could have been much more successful.
      A Quintana / Valverde alliance may not have been able to break the Froome and Sky A Team but they would do with Dumoulin and his Sunweb cohorts.

      • Interesting question on Valverde. Given his excellent TT form this year, and slightly fewer high altitude peaks than last year’s Giro, could he have been a contender himself? Especially with the number of uphill finishes at the end of relatively flat days. Plenty of bonus seconds for him to gobble up.

        On the flip side I’d guess he needed a rest period after a monstrous opening to the season and probably didn’t have three weeks in his legs. But with a little recovery maybe he’s more of a GC threat in the Tour than we credit him for? He does always seem to have one off day though…

      • +1 on the Valverde point. He turns into a bit of a grinder at grand tours but he seems to keep Quintana honest by being there almost as if NQ has an extra motive to assert his leadership once Alejandro is around.

      • The Quintana/Valverde alliance broke… Quintana’s only hope to win a TdF in favour of Froome and his A Team! Valverde’s performance at this Giro would have depended mainly on him cracking or not in the Stelvio stage – highly probable he would, but how many mins? He couldn’t have helped Quintana, anyway. And yesterday wasn’t a good day, either, to help the Colombian. He’d have been a good day for him to sit tight silently suffering through the thin air and then kill everybody from the Pinei on, but he couldn’t have made things better for Nairo in any scenario. If anything, Nairo could have worked to try and win the GC with Valverde, but that never worked well until now (much is about Movistar’s long-term mentality).

  9. “Landa showed he’s a great climber” – I like that description of the stage finish!

    PS Even if the racing hasn’t always been as exciting as we could have hoped, the “feel good” aspect about the stage winner has been quite strong several times – and I don’t think that is negligible. (Not to mention that it has brought some welcome relief from the “Motogate” and the “Defegate”…)

  10. I thoroughly enjoyed the stage yesterday. There was a certain arrogance and confidence in Tom after he had managed to contain the attacks and liked how Tom pulled to one side having a good look at his rivals before having a little dig.

    Quite amusing watching him display his frustrations at Nibali and Quintanna refusing to help close down podium rivals which I think is misguided but it is great to add a bit of needle especially when you add in his post-race comments that he hopes they lose their podium spots!!
    Road is running out for Quintanna as he needs to have a decent cushion before the final time trial on Sunday. Dumoulin seems to have strength to mark the moves and Movistar used a lot of energy yesterday

    Although I have been heavily critical of TJVG, I was very happy to see him get the win and it showed how much it meant to him with how emotional he was at the end. Maybe without the pressure and level of expectation he can become a better rider – either way certainly helps his contract negotiations…

  11. It was really good for TJV, I am happy for him, he really needed this. I felt sorry for Landa, though. He, again, took that last curve poorly, lost a lot of momentum & a few meters to his rival, like when he lost out to Nibali.

  12. This seems a bit like a mono climb stage to me so comparable to Blockhaus? Hard to see Quintana getting much here although Nibali should be stronger as its week 3 now. I can’t see that either do much damage to TD now though. He tackled a much harder stage yesterday very well and could even troll them at the end. Imagine that Dumoulin rides this one homes and they get nothing from him. He’ll be on top of the world since there are no more summit finishes after this.

    PS Shame on Movistar. They have all those riders but deploy them so poorly! How many grand tours could Nairo have won if the Movistar hierarchy had any clue about tactics?

    • On Movistar: I tend to agree intuitively but struggle when trying to put into words what they should have done. What could they have done yesterday, for example?

        • Movistar could have hired Giuseppe Martinelli (currently in Astana) as a DS. His excellent tactics should be taught in seminars of the highest level. Nibali owes a great part of last year’s Giro win to Martinelli and to the late Michele Scarponi.

    • Agreed on everything. Dumoulin is proving that sometimes entering a Giro in top form works through the three weeks, the morale keeps you upbeat and grows your form through (Basso 2006, Di Luca 2007, Contador 2011, Nibali 2013, Contador 2015), in other occasions, even the very same riders show that finding form on the road delivers (Contador 2008, Menchov 2009, esp. comparing him to Di Luca that year, Basso 2010, Hesjedal 2012, Quintana 2014, Nibali 2016). Dumoulin this year could well make it a 50% statistics.

      About the PS – he *could* have won one more GT. And perhaps one Tour of San Luis, but that was his call I guess 😉

  13. Froome must have mixed feelings watching this play out…
    ‘great, NQ looks a bit vulnerable and if he only podiums here the pressure will be all the greater come the Tour’ …
    on the other hand… ‘hmm, that TD looks like a younger, stronger version of me!’

    • Froome is also starting to enter an age where in terms of pure statistics, there are much fewer people winning Tour de France (and Grand Tours in general). Of course there are anomalies like Armstrong, Sastre and Evans.

      By next year, we might see a Froome slightly past his prime battling a Tom Dumoulin moving well into his prime.

      Should be fun.

  14. I don’t know why Dumoulin is complaining.
    Firstly, I think Nibali and Quintana are right to only concentrate on winning and they have every right to ride as they did.
    Secondly, it’s to his benefit that they’re all even closer together now – as riders are more likely to mark the attacks of others, saving him the effort.

    • Just “dente avvelenato”, I’d say (Eskerrik Asko, your help is needed here!).

      As a cycling fan, not just a Nibali or Quintana fan 😉 , I’ve been hoping for years that solid GC riders stopped working for the leader and started to understand that for them “everything under heaven is utter chaos; the situation is excellent”. Which doesn’t mean that they’ll win this way, they might indeed be losing their podium spot as Tom said, but they sold out a part of their podium chances in order to buy a little share of winning chances; the latter is very very tiny and the former might be a significant lost percentage?
      Sure, but that’s what cycling is often about, even more so if you’ve tasted the experience of stepping a final GT podium – what? – 8 times? Since 2010 included, when Nibali was one year younger than Tom, he’s climbed up a GT podium once a year (or even twice!) *every single season*, except 2015 (when he was 4th at the Tour). Maybe he’s just tired of going up and down those steps…
      Quintana’s already been there, seen that, done that 5 times (being now the same age as Tom).
      Luckily, they show some (little) sign of not being an Ullrich or a Zoetemelk, attitude-wise.

      • At your service, sir! Isn’t it roughly when you talk about something and you have quite strong, deeply felt, maybe a long standing emotions about it or about a person you bear a grudge against, you cannot help yourself and bottle it up – you get angry and reveal your innermost tought and let slip something nasty – just like a snake that cannot help itself striking and sinking its poison teeth in someone’s skin?

        PS I find to be my friend when it comes to idiomatic expressions.

      • The wonderful – and perfectly aptin this cycling context, I think – quote originally stems from Mao Zedong, but gabriele probably didn’t read it in the little red book but heard it in “Confusione totale” by 99 Posse, the not uninteresting…eh…anarcho-left wing-alternative-hiphop-and-more group.
        (Apparently not completely unknown all the way up north, either, if one happens to move in certain circles or ais one of those people are in the know about these things. I’m neither, but I looked them up a couple of blog entries ago and have been listening, on and off, since then.)

        • I was quoting from Mao, as a widely known sentence (at least in Italy, it’s a favourite one – maybe that says something about the country…); but nicely spot 99 Posse reference! B-)

        • I believe that particular quote is from Chairman Mao’s instruction to Comrade Zhou Enlai (premier, foreign minister at the time) on how to bullshit with Henry Kissinger regarding the topic of American Military presence in East Asian and the political situation in the area.

          Actually there is a 3rd sentence missing in that quote. Mao basically said: “everything under heaven is utter chaos; the situation is excellent. Don’t talk with him about specifics, talk about grand ideas and bullshit with him [Henry Kissinger] instead.”

          The other time Mao used the phrase “everything under heaven is utter chaos” is in a letter to the then Ms Mao No.4 Jiang Qin (who was ultimately blamed for the cultural revolution and sentenced to life in prison). He basically said “let everything under heaven be utter chaos, as that would bring order to the world ultimately. All the goblins (referring to academics and “capitalists” who are enemy to the people) would expose themselves in this chaos and we can round them up.” in that letter.

          Some would say that particular quote is the forebears and “theoretical base” of the Cultural Revolution that is to come. And it brings out nightmares for many Chinese that suffered during the cultural revolution.

          Seems like in both occasion, the quote got a bit of extra meaning attached devote of it’s original context.

    • RAI TV had Nibali in front of the camera and dragged Dumoulin up there so they were face-to-face. The RAI guy basically challenged Big Tom to double-down on his whining from the previous day. Instead Big Tom backed off, saying we should all let our legs do the talking and apologizing for his comments from the previous day. Nibali and Dumoulin shook hands but I noted it was Dumoulin apologizing….not Nibali….yet the English-language stuff I’ve read went on about how Nibali called Dumoulin “cocky”.
      Just more to back up my “Tale of Two Races” theory it seems.

      • More like the tale of one guy banging on trying to convince everyone of how ‘Italian’ he is. You really do believe that people read your posts and think ‘So that’s the truth’.

      • Its not two races its more. In some german speaking media there was even the headline ‘fair play at the stelvio’ noting that the favourites group did not attack and stopped zakarin from doing so(apparently his ds told him to stop as well) while dumoulin was off his bike.

        But should it surprise us that you can make a great deal of different stories out of the same raw material. Cycling Journalism is about storywriting since its beginning. only the naked result sheet is hard to manipulate as gabriele remarked

    • For what I’ve heard it’s a shameful episode that was intended to be just “a scare” (a bullying thing, to use again this word).
      I don’t like it as it looks (what I just described), but I *really* hope it isn’t what you say.

    • No. It went serious, now, with Katusha and FDJ in the mix along with Movistar and Bahrein-Merida. More insights from the race, it was pure back stabbing.
      Fascinating but not even close to acceptable in terms of ethics.

  15. Latest is that Dumoulin was just in the wrong place going into a fast descent, maybe no “ambush” at all, however the internet might make something different out of it.

  16. If – *IF* – riders can’t stop to go to the toilet anymore cycling just won’t work – it’ll be all about the toileting.

    And if – *IF* – they’ve attacked when he was ‘making water’ that would be disgusting.

    • Fully agreed on the second point, I would not be as tragic about the first, it’s not like it would happen every race (it happened to Gaul exactly 60 years ago and cycling wasn’t over for good, I’d say).

      Anyway, was it so, it would be a real shame.

      Yet, I just listened to the RAI moto interviewing the Sunweb team cars which said that it wasn’t that. But perhaps they’re not telling the truth.

      We’ll learn more later, they’re all together now.

      • Ah, British TV has it that either a) There was no toilet break (according to a source of Brian Smith in a team car), or b) They say that Sunweb DS Iwan Spekenbrink says that Dumoulin stopped, Rojas stopped with him and then Rojas radioed Quintana to attack.
        They didn’t show it on British TV because Eurosport insist on not showing us the start, so I’ve no idea.

        • Iwan Spekenbrink has confirmed that TD stopped for a pee-break, which is when Rojas signalled this was an oppertune moment to attack.
          I wonder now how much effort they spent closing the gap.
          Result of this Movistar cowardice (if this is really true): Quintana is now isolated with 85k to go.

          • So “the Internet” knows that “Spekenbrink” confirmed their pee-gate theory, while the Sunweb DS says live on RAI that TD was just caught napping at the back of the peloton. Priceless, all the useless upset . 🙂

          • Spekenbrink is also in a Sunweb car and he confirmed to Dutch tv.

            The truth is normally somewhere in between but Italian TV reported it as well initially.

          • (Gone riding)

            Yes, I myself heard the first version on the Italian TV (attack on pee break with Rojas calling the moment) when I wrote the first lines above, then one moto guy said they were not taking the attack that seriously anymore, then it became very serious again, then a different moto guy went to one Sunweb car and reported (but I didn’t hear the original dialogue live, just the moto guy speaking with the commenters!) that he was told that it wasn’t an attack on a pee break, just Dumoulin caught behind. Several people could be telling lies or just wrong information throughout the whole process. We’ll know later, if ever.

          • Vitus, do you not suspect that all of the information people were relaying here was coming from the TV – just like RAI – rather than ‘the internet’?

          • I’ve just seen the footage… ouch Spekenbrink, big little lies again.

            While Dumoulin is a sincere guy, once more, he just told on TV his version, and it corresponds to what you see on video (not Spekenbrink’s theory).
            Respect for him.
            What have they done… Sunweb itself made the split, it was them who were pulling on the front when the descent started! But when, after just a few seconds, Movistar saw that a split had happened, they went on the front and gave it all.
            And Tom was caught on the back of the bunch – guess what was he doing? 😀
            No physiological needs at all.
            Chatting with TJ… ahahahahah…

            Kudos for Movistar, a good move.

    • If you’re concerned about cycling wanting to be too much like F1, it’s very worrying that all of this action seems to be happening during the pit stops!

    • And the oft-raised complaint that “they want to turn cycling into F1” would be valid for once – it’ll become all about the pit stops.

  17. When Quintana and Nibali are reliant on team mates who have been out in the break all day to try and pace them away from Dumoulin its clear that they don’t have the legs.

  18. GC leader cracks and… trundle.

    Terrible race.

    Been awful throughout. Only the bowels have made it any kind of contest. The GC contenders have barely attacked – other than then – for more than 2km since Blockhaus.

    And the idea that any of these riders could compete with Froome (and I really don’t like saying that as someone who dislikes Sky).

    • Truly a “Tale of Two Races” as I’d say the race has finally shown some signs of life after being less than stellar.
      4 racers within a minute and a 4-star (rated by BS) mountain stage and a flat chrono left to race will have yours truly in front of the TV for sure….well….at least tomorrow!

      • But isn’t that theory of yours predicated on the idea that people are viewing the race differently depending on where they’re watching it? That they are being influenced by ‘their’ commentators.

        Not that I would pay any attention to what commentators say anyways, but I’m watching it on British Eurosport and they’re endlessly telling me how thrilling the race is.

        I, on the other hand, have continually said how boring I’m finding this race, regardless of who is doing well and what nationality they are.

        • But you’re an informed watcher. Not the common casual audience which doesn’t show a lot of cycling knowledge and watches only GTs, jsut rooting for his fav rider.
          Nobody said whoever watches on this or that channel will always just be a dumb repeater of whatever narrative the commentator tells.

        • As annoyances go Rob Hatch is of a far greater magnitude than Carlton “crap gags” Kirby. His endless “this is the most amazing race ever” schtick grates on me so much I turn the sound off and play music as I watch instead.

          • They are both terrible, but I find Kirby to be the worst. The two heavily accented commentators are not ideal either but their wealth of experience is of value. And they don’t talk that much and are more straightforward. I like Magnus B. and Matthew S.

        • J Evans – you are watching different coverage than yours truly and I’ve never used BRITISH and THRILLING in the same sentence. 🙂
          My post opined that the Giro was showing signs of life after being rather dull so far, though I’m not as cynical about it as Gabriele.
          Can Nibali win back-to-back Giri? No Italian has done that since Balmamion in the 1960’s.
          Forza Squalo!

          • A race is by definition thrilling when the leader lays some cable in a ditch

            My goodness, please let’s not let Nibali win another GT.

            I’m really hoping Pinot or Dumolin can blitz the TT and come 1-2 overall (I don’t care which order).

    • I reckon they’re all cooked – Dumoulin losing a minute to those guys is quite a lot given how strong he has looked so far (more to Pinot, Zakarin), and I think he and Nibali/Quintana were paying for the efforts of the previous day, with the Gardena action as well as the last climb. They’ve tried to attack – Quintana a number of times – but the difference between the riders going uphill just isn’t there.

      Personally wouldn’t describe it as a ‘terrible race’… this is no TDF

      • Not sure why it’s terrible?

        Going into the final two stages with less than a minute between top 4? That’s a good race?

        Is it that we’re seeing less almighty attacks as back when everyone was doped to the gills? (Not saying they’re not now – but the racing is different for sure) I like these days where everyone is on their knees, like Vuelta and, in general, recent tours unless Froome comes in spectacular form, or Nibali gets a little lucky with the real competition being taken out.

        The first week was definitely poor, but since then what’s been the issue? Great first climb and big news with the crash, great time trial setting up the last two weeks, very exciting victory that day for Dumoulin, even more excitement with shitgate, and today the Magli Rosa on defence just holding on – why’s it been a bad race?

        Tomorrow Pinot could take Pink, or even with some real madness Zakarin – for the Azzurri Nibali could – and then we have a final day time trial to add to the excitement.

        I cannot get my head around why it’s a terrible race??????????? Grand Tours don’t get that much more exciting than this unless they’re bonafide classics?

        • Not terrible, but quite mediocre. Too little action, not often enough. A short GC before the last two stages usually means it wasn’t selective enough. Just compare it with the previous edition of the 10s. However, unlike last Tour, it wasn’t “the worst in decades”, it’s not that different from, say, 2012 or 2008, and with a great stage tomorrow it could be on par with those.

          • “A short GC before the last two stages usually means it wasn’t selective enough.”

            That might be true if they’d been close the whole way through, but in this case there were much bigger gaps (to the point where many people were declaring the whole thing over) and they’ve now closed up again.

            Besides, would it really be preferable of the gaps were large and there was basically nothing to race for in the final stages except 6th or 7th? That sounds an awful lot like the usual story in the Tour, which is apparently the far inferior GT.

        • Dull might have been less hyperbolic.
          As I say above, no attacking from GC contenders – unless Dumoulin does something bizarre.

    • Its called fattigue – Frome would have experienced it as well if he have dare to ride the Giro (guess he dont). Parcur of the final week is tougher than ever in any GT for the past +15 years. More climbing that an entire TDF, and your team wont be able to soften the ride.

      • But it’s been like this all the way through.
        And yesterday they were out-ridden by their domestiques.
        It’s dull when Sky line up in a train and no-one attacks, it’s dull here.
        And even if there’s a good reason for it, it’s still dull.

  19. If I was Nairo Quintana I would worry. He has the worst ITT of the top 4 and, with the current gap, could conceivably not even make the podium. He has to worry not just about dropping Dumoulin but Nibali and Pinot too. And lately Pinot has been beating them all. Tomorrow will be very interesting but I have a feeling that even though I don’t know who will win this Giro now I doubt he will be Colombian.

  20. ps Froome will be sleeping a little lighter this evening seeing Tom’s not the man monster he was starting to appear!

    Also – just leading on from the above >>>> MR INRNG – did you do a feature recently on decreasing climbing speeds? Is it true climbing speeds are well below the 90’s/00’s? Or given training and tech advancement are they below where we’d have expected them to increase to?

    It does just feel to me that the biological passport has made a huge difference to the sport we watch nowerdays? We actually see people getting tired and holding onto into the final week – even the top contenders… it just feels like it may be because doping is at least less than it was?

    I think a lot of those saying this boring a pining for the days of on man on a doping high destroying the field. I would take today over that any day of the week. I just get the feeling many are disappointed Quintana isn’t showing the race a clean pair of heels, but we should be celebrating that this maybe is showing him to be clean…. *(not to suggest I ever thought otherwise, just nice to see he is human as we have done in the past).

    Or is the disappointment that the excuses have run out for Q and he’s not the cyclist many imagined who kept getting unlucky to Froome rather than being soundly beaten?

    • Quintana was the same (assumedly clean) rider on Alpe d’Huez in 2015 and seemed able to pull away from riders at will. In this Giro, the modest gain on Blockhaus aside, Quintana has not looked the same rider. Rather than making meaningful attacks he has looked to even be hanging on and rolling with the punches, to use a boxing metaphor. Why this is can only be speculated but, as with his muted Tour performance last year, it seems clear that Quintana is not the mountain goat who destroys the field on every climb that some claim him to be. At least, not always.

      • “Quintana is not the mountain goat who destroys the field on every climb that some claim him to be”

        (*some claim*… and you among them, check back the “Who will win the Giro?” post comment section, where you can also find my forecasts about the course; by the way, credit to you for picking Tom as an alternative winner)

        • I think I said you had to pick Quintana as the favourite but that Dumoulin was the one to watch. However, I was wrong. Of the current top 4 I think that Quintana is now the least likely to win. He is not able to dislodge Nibali and has given up time to Pinot on successive days. Both would hope to beat him in the time trial. Quintana finds himself needing to drop three separate riders tomorrow and, on current evidence, you wouldn’t back him to. Indeed, you might favour Pinot to take back even more.

          I’m not sure I’ve ever said that Quintana destroys people on every climb but, pending incriminating comments elsewhere, I’m happy to admit I was wrong if I did, even on evidence prior to this race.

          • Pinot only took back a few seconds from Quintana in the first TT… will need to do a lot better in the final TT, although his form does seem to have improved; Nibali’s gain in the first TT (pro-rata for length difference) also wouldn’t be enough to overtake Quintana by itself.

            Ideal scenario for Sunday is that everyone takes a minute on TD… that would be the height of uncertainty.

      • Sorry…. pull away from riders at will? You mean the same rider beaten on Pierre St Martin? The same rider who only took time on Froome when the later was clearly ill?

        I’m lost on that one. Quintana great for sure – but rarely has he been able to pull away at will from riders for the course of an entire tour.

        I think you’ve agreed with the second part of that statement in the later post – but from what I’ve have seen Quintana has never had the beating of Froome in a tour, whether or not the tactics have been poor and until last year you heard all the time how strong Q was and had just been unlucky vs Froome.

        Anyway – I would love Pinot to win this Giro tomorrow!!
        Or Tom Dumoulin on Sunday.

        A podium with Pinot, Dumoulin would be great. I wish Pozzovivo could get there too but seems unlikely. Zakharin has been great this Giro also, unpopular I know, but he’s constantly trying which is nice.

        • Pull away from riders at will…. in that particular Tour stage Derek. Quintana has never had the beating of Froome at the Tour and I expect that to continue. My point about Quintana here is that he is becoming a curious rider, a mixture of sometimes unstoppable but often seemingly lacking or full of excuses. There was a time some expected him to go on and win everything he entered and he clearly remains a top rider. Just not quite as all-conquering as perhaps he might have been. Piancavallo, on the face of it, should have been a climb where he went away on the lower slopes and then held his lead all the way home. Instead he was hanging with a group that included Bob Jungels who, for all his qualities, might not be expected to be hanging with Quintana on a mountain deep into a grand tour’s third week. They finished in the same time.

        • Derek, you might need to watch some other race besides the Tour de France: only last year Quintana pulled away at will in Catalunya and Romandie, often on “easy”, not very suited climbs; just to quote a couple of races where Froome *was* in the field and not unhealthy (sure, exposing his usual lacking performances when he’s not in top shape, but not ill, for sure…). Besides Vuelta a España, obviously.
          In the last 12 months, he also did the same in other races, where Froome wasn’t competing but the field wasn’t that bad, either, Volta a Valencia and Tirreno (and Route du Sud, but the field was poor). I don’t make a list about his whole career because, even if his career is still quite short, that list would make my post longer than my standard 0__0 (imagine that!).
          The only exception since last May was Abu Dhabi, where he and Nibali marked each other and ended up losing (a preview of this Giro’s finale?).

          Even in a very poor Tour for Quintana like 2016, Froome could make a difference on him just in one uphill finish, the Emosson dam (and it was less than 30″). The rest was descending; on the flat (which is equally deserving, but it’s not about climbing); thanks to the jury’s Ventoux mess; or in the ITTs (albeit Sallanches was partly uphill, that was just about “climbing”, either, even more so if you compare it to a “mountain stage”).

          With a balanced, classical TdF course, Quintana should need a miracle to win it even *once*, as it always has been the rule for the greatest pure climbers in history. He had a chance in 2015 thanks to an unusual course, but the Tour isn’t normally (or didn’t used to be) for riders of his built. Even less so on TdF classical climbs, which favour 65-70 kg riders and are more about watts than W/kg.

          This is just to explain why expectations are placed on Quintana… (a neopro who drops the maillot jaune – not ill at all – two times in the last week of his first ever Tour is notable, too). He’s the same age as Dumoulin, has already won 2 GTs and podiumed in every TdF he raced, even in lacking physical conditions. He’s won a variety and a quantity of top stage races that already places him near to riders with a ten years long career – not exactly thanks to ITT or sprinting skills, you know.

  21. I think Dumoulin could crack big time tomorrow and lose the race.
    Not convinced that anyone else will really be ‘winning’ it, though.

    • Winning is not just streaking ahead on the climb and leaving the others in your dust. It is also holding your form and surviving the best. A different kind of winning but winning all the same.

    • I don’t understand the need to denigrate prospective winners. Dumoulin having one terrible day in the mountains was always a standard angle on what might stand in his way. The others are there just to test the only worthy victor?

          • I don’t think it’s controversial and has nothing to do with their reputations. The rights or wrongs of it are not involved: it’s just a fact – they gained a couple of minutes whilst he was talking to Douglas Hurd.

          • Facts, factoids. alternative facts, legend, fiction, if it fits it’s a fact, it’s a fact if I like it…I’m fairly sure, I’m positive, nay, I’m absolutely certain that in 2019 or quite possibly in September 2017 if not earlier what happend on stage 19 was that Movistar and Bahrain-Merida attacked when the pink jersey was standing at the roadside and answering a call of nature.

            On stage 16 Dumoulin was stationary – even though his bowels were not – for a little over 1 min. The GC group that “attacked” was led by an Orica-Scott rider, Quintana was on the radio in order to find out what was going on and the result of the conversation was that the group slowed down so much that even a quick casual glance at the TV screen with the sound turned muted would have made it obvious.
            This phase went on for about 1.5 min and the pace remained quite slow for further 3 min, almost. It was only then that Pellizotti returned to business as usual.

            But, OK, unless someone beats Dumoulin by at least “a couple of minutes” in the GC, we all know what to think about him, his team and his so-called GT victory…

            Sod it, I’ll get my bike. It’s sunny and suitably warm – if I put on my arm and leg warmers and a wind vest:-)

          • Eskerrik Asko, you’re the one bringing ethics, etc. into it.
            All I’m saying is that if Dumoulin doesn’t stop for a shit that day, they wouldn’t have taken any time on him – hence two minutes.
            No need for histrionics.

          • J Evans: the problem with that SPECULATION is that you aren’t entitled to make it. You have NO WAY of knowing what happens if Dumoulin never takes his dump. You are ASSUMING all is well.

            This is a long way from “facts”.

            All we do know is what actually transpired and, if I understand things correctly, erven Dumoulin himself accepts it.

  22. It was somehow forgotten since it finally came to nothing, at least apparently, and the false news about how the attack was produced overshadowed the action itself (shame on you Spekenbrink!!!) – yet, that second hour of racing was simply great.
    I’m not liking this Giro as a whole, but it’s fair to acknowledge that there were also some compelling moments.

    • The Spekenbrink quote about the toilet break was apparently misinterpreted by Eurosport and subsequently parroted around by RAI and the other media.

      • I’d find it easier to believe if it was RAI who misinterpreted, given their modest international language skills (except perhaps a couple of guys).
        They got it all wrong, with the Rojas spy story details and so? Ok… hence, Spekenbrink may be simply entering the Berlusconi league, the most *misinterpreted* man ever.
        To be fair, when the Sunweb team car (Spekenbrink himself?) was asked by RAI, later, they already told that the pee story wasn’t true.
        And to be fair, I’d also admit that maybe Spekenbrink was just reported a fake story by his own riders trying to justify themselves…

    • After yesterday’s somewhat disappointing stage I did not want to watch any more stages of this Giro. Today I just switched into the broadcast when I was inhaling some porridge before going on a ride. And was really surprised to witness some good old full gas racing mid-stage. I had to postpone my ride for an hour only to find out after coming back that I had missed a great finale. Which I did not expect anymore after the mid-stage battle.

      • The finale was fine but not great. Dumoulin defense was good and one of the most emotional elements around, but the lack of legs – or courage – of most “best men” was disappointing. That hellish second hour sapped their legs, surely, and the fun it provided was probably worth a lesser finale for the spectators, yet…
        A group reduced to some twelve or ten men, not very few, either, essentially through a drop by drop selection from back.

        Pinot being the main exception (but with this sort of flattish finish he was rewarded by less than 15″ – over the slower among the front group; which may prove precious little time, no doubt, but which is hard to call “great action”, in general terms). As main said above, if he gets his ITT legs back (if he ever had those legs) he could be a deserving winner, especially if another daring move tomorrow gets an even better reward.

        With all the criticism about a certain lack of attacks (I’m among the critics), Quintana at least tried on Blockhaus and Oropa and Gardena, even if with little success more often than not, Nibali on the Umbrail and on Gardena, too. Not great attacks, Blockhaus aside, but today we had nothing comparable, which wasn’t much, but it was something, at least.
        Landa’s victory was actually my top moment, even if he made it look it easy – which it probably wasn’t at all.

        (again, the downhill team attack was great, but it wasn’t about the finale).

  23. Final result: Keep in mind that on a rolling TT Dumolin took 4.4seconds per km out of Quintana, therefore on a downhill 30km TT Quintana needs at least 2:12 over dumolin to win. Can he get an extra 1:20 tomorrow? No chance.

    This should still be Dumolin’s GT to lose.

      • haha… yes confident enough to make bold predictions on a blog’s comment section where i’m not required to log-in using any of my actual email account, facebook, etc. and where I hide behind initials that aren’t even close to my actual initials.

        If you ask me to put my money where my mouth is I’ve lost both my money and my mouth.

    • Not a bad prediction, but you’d need to add two more elements: late ITTs in GTs tend to reward form and endurance over technical superiority, and we need to understand if Dumoulin today just had a bad day or if he’s being limited by consecutive hard-fought mountain stages (we hadn’t any before during this Giro). The former possibility would allow him to put in another great ITT, the latter would see him grow even weaker through the weekend, and in that case a huge performance in the ITT as the one he produced before would be surprising to say the least (we’ve seen many surprising things, anyway). We don’t know about Quintana’s form, either, it looks mediocre but more steady. Today he looked obviously worse than on Blockhaus, but not as worse as Dumoulin. Tomorrow might make things clearer in this sense, too.
      The second factor, even harder to predict, is the wind. The first ITT had strong winds, which played heavily against Quintana. We could have the same again – or not.

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