Giro Stage 10 Preview

A time trial to reshape the overall classification. Tom Dumoulin can ride in the race lead and we’ll see how Nairo Quintana can limit the damage.

The Route: 39.8km. This might not sound like much but it’s the longest time trial in all the grand tours this year (hat tip the Hors Delai podcast). It’s on flat, regular roads through the first time check and on to 12.7km where it heads uphill. The road rises at a steady 4-5% for much of the way, in places it levels off and then picks up again at the same gentle gradient.

Think vineyards and you might think wine but for the cyclist vines mean exposed terrain. If the course is billed as the wine time trial there are vines but it’s more a tour of Italian agriculture with a course lined with fruit trees, olive groves and cereal fields. The course twists and turns without too many traps, a test for how long riders can stay tucked low for the whole course. Note the second time check at Bastardo, named after an old coaching inn apparently and apparently a draw for tourists today and maybe what some riders say as they suffer on their way through?

The final part turns into the wind, six kilometres into a headwind. It rises up to the line in Montefalco, a walled town and there are some tight corners to the finish line. Overall this is a fast course, it’s not flat but over gently rolling hills.

Tom Dumoulin

The Contenders: Tom Dumoulin the obvious pick. He was an easy winner of the Ardèche time trial stage of the Tour de France last summer but this was when he was in full time trial mode with an eye on the Rio Olympics. Only as sharp as this focus was he still picked up a mountain stage along the way: the lesson is that he was climbing and time trialling well. So his ride up Blockhaus needn’t mean he’s lost much against the clock, especially as today’s course suits him and the maglia rosa awaits.

Who is Team Sky’s best rider? Geraint Thomas normally but Vasil Kiryienka has been world champion and won the 2015 Valdobianne time trial stage of the Giro. This course could be too short for the Belarussian so Thomas could be the revenge pick if he’s over his injuries and any stiffness.

Bob Jungels enjoyed a good spell in the race lead but found the Blockhaus’s irregular slopes too much which seems to confirm that as promising as he may be he’s a rouleur. Now he’s back on much better terrain and if he’s yet to win a time trial at this level he’s come close and the course is just right for someone of his power.

Pinot Sion

Thibaut Pinot says he wants to win the stage. He’s won time trials before, he’s even won and beaten Tom Dumoulin. But that was on a sharper course and if Pinot is in great form now, today’s course is much more test of brute force. The stage win seems improbable but he’ll look to make substantial gains on Quintana and Nibali.

Andrey Amador is a powerful rider and if he’s got to work for Nairo Quintana, look to him to set a good reference time and possibly finish among the highest places.

Tanel Kangert isn’t a big name but the Astana rider is excellent against the clock and in good form as his top-10 on the Blockhaus shows. Another outsider is Victor Campenaerts of Lotto-Jumbo. The Dutch team may have had a knock with Steven Kruijswijk’s performance on the Blockhaus road but Campenaerts is an emerging time trial talent with a win in the Ruta Del Sol to his name. Finally Tejay van Garderen needs a result more than ever otherwise he’s going to be presented on a wet February morning as Wanty-Groupe Gobert’s new signing. BMC may well already be shopping for a new leader but the American can still deliver, a stage win seems unlikely but he could feature.

Tom Dumoulin
Geraint Thomas, Andrey Amador, Vasil Kiryienka
Jungels, Kangert, Campenaerts, Pinot

Weather: warm and sunny with 25°C. The wind will below from the north-east at 15-20km/h meaning it becomes a tactical factor, a headwind early on, then a tailwind and then a crosswind.

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.

132 thoughts on “Giro Stage 10 Preview”

  1. Hate to sound harsh but isn’t Cannondale the current retirement home for once promising grand tour hopefuls now reduced to stage hunting?

  2. For the sake of the race, I’d like to see Dumoulin and Pinot on good days today.
    If the chainrings are quite predictable, any potential time gaps on Quintana are less so.
    I’ve seen a predictions spectrum of Quintana retaining the pink jersey at one end through to a 3′ loss at the other.

    Quintana can surprise. He rode excellently in the 39 km Burgos TT at the Vuelta 2015.
    This is as good a reference point as I can find. It was Stage 17, Quintana had been ill but was recovering and the pressure was off him. The course was quite technical in parts, particularly the circuit in Burgos itself.
    But he still lost 1’33” to Dumoulin.

    The wind is going to hurt him today, by the sound of Inner Ring’s preview.
    I’m going for a Quintana deficit of 1’30” – 2′.0″.
    A 2′ loss is about 3″ / km.
    If it’s anymore, he’s had a bad day.
    Anything less than 1’30” down and he’s had a good one.

    • I’d go with those numbers, 1.30 as the base for him. It’s a strange scenario where the bigger his losses the more exciting the race could get as he’ll be forced to attack more, or more early in order to take back time and going on Blockhaus he’ll feel confident in the high mountains.

    • The 3 secs / km thing does seem to be the “considered” opinion though there is another well known preview suggesting NQ will loose around 3′ minutes today. I am guessing the wind will hurt NQ more than some others, having a small frame is ideal for a steep climb less so for a breezy time trial?

      • The poor surface will punish the lighter riders as well, as said before the more Quintana loses the more exciting the Giro will be, I thought he would have of put more time than 30 seconds into the big fellas on a climb like Blockhaus so maybe Quintana does not have so much form?

      • I’ve already posted a number of times about this on previous blogs so I won’t repeat myself except to say that a great day for Dumoulin today is something in the 2.30+ range – and I think its at least a reasonable aim. If he only beat Quintana by 1.30 – 2.00 I think he would feel very disappointed. Of course, If I’m right then I believe he will hold pink deep into week 3 and Quintana will need to be digging deeper than he might want to to hold a big enough gap for the 2nd and final ITT on the last day.

        For the sake of a thrilling race that stays in the balance all the way, come on Tom!

    • Van Garderen should do a good time today, if Blockhaus didn’t work out but he’s still got the form then a top-5 is quite possible. I can’t remember where it is now but there was a recent audio interview with BMC Racing’s Jim Ochowitz and there was an undertone of patience running out, that he didn’t do what was expected in the Vuelta last year and this year they let him train on his own terms (he spent time in Nice with his family).

      • in some press build up to the giro, i was very surprised to hear ochowitz downplaying tvg’s chances. i really had high hopes for him this time around and im not a tvg fan. i figured ochowitz would be excited and hopeful but he didnt seem that way at all.

    • To be fair to TVG in his two top 5s in the Tour de France he has rode himself into contention over the three weeks, so if he can do well in the time trials and hang on in the mountains a good result is still possible. If not I can see him going the way of Rolland and Uran.

      • *(Harsh on Uran… he’s never had the team round him like TVG plus he’s has two podium’s at the Giro… plus multiple one day race results… he’s had a great career, versatile rider not maybe excelling in any one discipline but quite a bit ahead of TVG – defo feel sorry for anyone failing in their dreams, but TVG has admittedly allowed himself to talk a lot without backing it up, so understandable people are enjoying his fall to an extent. And it is quite a big fall, rarely has someone had such a full backing from a big budget team for such an extended period and fallen so far short so regularly… but he’s still a fantastic cyclist and I hope finds a niche, maybe like a Nicholas Roche or a Roman Kreuzinger, or even what Gesink is now doing, a long career awaits TVG as maybe a super domestique, hopefully we all grow to love him in time)

        • I like and respect Uran, but he’s a long way below his 2013-14 levels. Perhaps signing for Quickstep was probably a mistake as that seems to be the team where GC contenders go to die, but I’d love to see a comeback from him.

          If he flops here, I see TVG’s best bet as perhaps following the Michael Rogers path, a quality all rounder who nonetheless maxed out his potential as a top 10 rider in a grand tour, then switched to being a very effective and well-respected road captain, while still being able to sneak in the odd win here and there.

          • I get what I mean, but to follow Rogers’ path, TJ should start winning those petty *three consecutive ITT Worlds*. Then, I guess that the stage wins at the Tour and Giro will just follow naturally…

            I agree about Urán looking as if he’s gone past his best years and opportunities, despite being relatively young.
            As I always say, it depends on the total duration of your top level career, not only on your age: Urán was winning a stage and making a final GC top ten at the Tour de Suisse when he was a 20 years old neopro, imagine that. The following year he was runner up in the Volta Catalunya, 16″ shy from winning, and got his first Monument podium. The guy never was a winning type, but he’s been up there with the very best for the last ten years, and always getting that significant result here and there (last year, a bad one, he was top ten at the Giro and podiumed in Lombardia; he won Quebec in 2015 placing 3rd in Giro and Tour stages).
            In sporting terms, TJ is 3 to 5 years younger, should be in his prime, and doesn’t look even close to Urán’s quality. Not even for a second – until now, at least.
            Urán is a totally no-bulls**t figure (compare that with TJ…) who thinks about cycling as a job he does very professionally to earn a living as long as possible – and he had the “historical” task, glorious but far from easy, to pioneer the Colombian renaissance.

            Rolland GT score (not to speak of his racing attitude) is already quite superior to TJ’s, both in general and just in the TdF, despite that couple of top-5 the American sports. He’s shown he’s way more solid if you want to bet for a fine top ten, he’s won stages, and now goes for other objectives, I think.

            I believe that going to Cannondale hasn’t helped either of them in sporting term (maybe their health and stress level got better, dunno…), while TJ always received top support in every sense by BMC. He just as to work harder if he wants to become as good as those guys – which I suspect will remain out of reach for him, anyway.

          • True about Rogers, he was just the first name I thought of when thinking about guys who became realistic about their skill sets and settled into a role they could excel at.

            People like to talk about Sky’s “Giro curse” given that Wiggins, Porte, Landa and now Thomas all have suffered misfortune along Italian roads, but wearing black and blue didn’t stop Uran enjoying what is probably his best ever GT performance.

            Seeing a comeback for Rolland would also be great as the talent is there, but not sure if the stage hunter thing was his call or management’s – perhaps they are backing Formolo.

          • “Doesn’t look even close to Urán’s quality” sums up the comparison for me. And I’m not convinced Tejay enjoys riding a bike enough to (try to) become a Mick Rogers type. Phinney might be your man for that, if he could manage it. Yes, gabriele we could be talking about an ITT world title for TvG if he succeeded in that direction. But in reality, I don’t expect a thing from him.

            Uran has had a fine career already. I agree with gabriele that he gives the impression of being a “total pro,” focused on making a living and “the big picture” first, then palmares. Sky and QuickStep were sensible places for him to draw a salary (better than BMC!). I hope it’s too soon to be disappointed with his decision to go to Cannondale. I’d be interested to know what Rigo really thinks about Talansky, Dombrowski, Woods….

          • I’d like to know more about the “Colombian renaissance” angle too. No doubt that is a time-consuming “burden” when home (thank God for Quintana!), but hopefully not unpleasant when in Europe. There’s a wealthy Spanish team that Uran has never signed with. There is no longer a Basque team at the top level. Is it true that the Colombian cycling tradition is a Basque one?

          • Uran does stem from Antiquoia, a region of Colombia with a history of Basque immigration, most of it too ancient to be relevant for any cycling tradition, but the more recent influx of Republican refugees after the Spanish civil war could possibly have played a role in the early days.

            There is now some hope of seeing a Basue team at the top level or at the very least in a top level race: Euskadi Basque Country – Murias Team, now in its third year, has the long-term backing of a major construction company and will be a Professional Continental team in 2018 has been promised an invitation to next year’s Vuelta by Javier Guillén, the director/manager.

            PS A “fantasy” or “virtual” Euskaltel-Euskadi has done quite well since the demise of the team. The riders in its final roster have racked up more victories in 2014-2017 than the team did during its four last seasons. (Perhaps not so surprising, considering that many of them were, with the obvious exception, of Samu Sanchez, young riders with their more succesful years still ahead.)

  3. I believe that Dumoulin needs to take 4 minutes (on Quintana) in two ITT to be a P1 contender. Today 2:20 and on the last day 1:40 is realistic.
    For the race it will be positive if Thomas, Zakarin, Mollema and Pinot perform well today.

    • I agree with the 4 minutes assessment over the two time trials and also agree its very doable. This is one reason I think that although the numbers for Quintana’s Blockhaus performance stack up against other recent climbing performances of his, the actual time gap he had over Pinot and Dumoulin perhaps doesn’t. Frankly, I was expecting TD to lose at least 1 minute and the fact he didn’t is all to his credit. I’ve read some saying that even if he did get the 4 minute gap in the ITTs then NQ can easily make this back. Easily? At 24 seconds per mountain top finish? (And some say we’ve just had the hardest one.) I think those who think that have bad mathematics skills. I am cautiously optimistic that NQ is going to have to work for bigger gaps than that on coming mountain days if he wants to win the pink jersey for good.

      • I don’t agree much about the 4′ thing (not impossible, anyway), but you’re totally right about the rest, and even 3′ wouldn’t be easy *at all* to get back unless Tom undoes himself (I mean, for physiological reasons or whatever, not necessarily because he’s making mistakes).

    • Today at 2’20” is indeed within the range of realistic, but 1’40” in the last one would be really surprising.
      More than 3″/km on the last day of a GT after five consecutive days in the mountains, with the last three of them being more or less mountain-top finishes? If it wasn’t because of Quintana cracking, it would be an eyebrow-raising performance by Tom.

      • The last TT is even more power related though, if anything that’s where Dumoulin can win more time with his amazing TT position and his power.

        • Yes and no. The faster the ITT, the less time you gain for marginal power difference. Rolling terrain (like today’s) is the best for rouleurs.
          OTOH, the planimetry might be along the lines of what you say – winding roads today, straight sectors on last stage.
          All the same, we’ve always seen this kind of situations and if Quintana doesn’t crack a huge difference on that last stage would be surprising (supposing that the mountain stages are raced as such, if Dumoulin gets an easy time, he’ll be strong for the final ITT).

          (PS And today the first climb isn’t 4-5% most of the way, those were data from the “old” course, now it’s 3-4% with three short stretches at 6% less than 500 m. long each, preceded by favourable section which will make you enter them top speed)

  4. TJ has focused on winning Grand Tours from the beginning of his career. No small goal. The fact that he hasn’t been successful doesn’t mean he isn’t a huge talent. I hope he finds his niche.
    The never ending bashing from slobs living in their mothers basement is getting old.

    • I agree with this – and I’m sure you are not lumping @inrng in with the general swipe at armchair critics – but TJVG has set himself up a little by talking the talk rather than just learning how to walk the walk. If he was from another nation, there’s no way he’d be as hyped (or as well paid) as he is, and that – in hindsight – would probably have helped him.

      I have no idea what his temperament is like these days but I’m sure he’s grown up a bit and would relish a new challenge. Perhaps he should be happy to re-set himself as a very good 1 week racer who can win big from time to time (and he can) and be an excellent helper the rest of the time. Dimension Data, on a lower package and a free rein, might be excellent for him: target good WT shorter stage races (and get lots of points) as DD don’t really have anyone for that.

      As for tonight, I generally hate watching TTs but really hope for great performances from Dumoulin, Thomas and Pinot and a less good one from Quintana, if only to keep the suspense alive.

    • Oh give over lads. Tejay has been saying “I am a grand tour contender” for years now and he’s been doing it himself and willingly and he has failed time and time and time again. His bluff has been called. Like Peter and the wolf, no one is listening anymore. Pedal strokes on the road are what counts and, put very simply, Tejay does NOT deliver. Its almost becoming an annual holiday to watch him fail, oh so surprising to some credulous fans, over and over again. Its extra amusing when another rider who some doubted, Richie Porte, is imported from Sky and proceeds to usurp him even within his own team, taking stage and race wins along the win. Tejay is only doing the Giro because BMC now rate Porte the better bet. That’s Richie “won’t last for 3 weeks” Porte! Van Garderen needs to lower his sights and refocus his career. If he was going to break through he would have by now. He shot for the moon… and missed.

      • Agreed. As others have remarked, he’s talking the talk but not walking the walk. As an American, I would like to see him do well in GT’s consistently, but that just isn’t happening. I don’t think it’s OK to bash him, but he needs to show some results.

    • Not personally a TJ basher, I just don’t care. Yet I remember him being quite arrogant towards Evans in a TdF and being a magnet for team support in last year’s TdF, again, when Porte was left on his own. He’s a “huge talent” as a good lot of pros, but not a *huge* talent as the guys whom he himself tried to step over. And the Lance thing.

      • +1 to that.
        It was the ‘nails’ event in the TdF. Cadel punctured and shouted at TJ to give up his bike. TJ looked at him then rode off – said he didn’t hear him! But that is youth for you – and people are worth a second chance – look how Cavendish has matured from a super arrogant sprinter to a more humble ‘nice guy’.

  5. According to some Belgian media Campenaerts, unfortunately, has not got permission to go all out. He needs to stay somewhat fresh to support Kruiswijk in the upcoming weeks.

  6. Every now and then a comment or a picture, stops me dead in me tracks, how ruthless this sport is. The observations of Tee Jay. Is one. Seeing Tom Skuijns in the middle of the road is another. Over forty years and still getting thumped in the solar plexus.

  7. Gorgeous scenery out there today and unlike the riders we’ll get to enjoy the view on TV. Harsh on TVG? I think he cashes a paycheck like a GT contender, no? If he’s working for gregario wages, that’s another story.

  8. TVG wont do anything, I saw him at Abu Dhabi Tour earlier in the year, and he was going like a bag of spanners on the only climb, nowhere near what you would expect with his GT target for the year only 8-9 weeks away. When the big boys come to play, he tends to suffer, he either gets stage fright and chokes or its just that his level is not that high, can see why BMC could be losing patience. Maybe they could try him as a domestique de-luxe for Porte? New purpose, less pressure.

    I also think Quintana is not flying, I can imagine he would be disappointed only to take 30secs from Dumoulin on Blockhaus, he did after all attack 6 kms from the top, can imagine he was hoping for 1.30 – 2mins. Great that Dumoulin kept him in range though – will add some spice to the rest of the race if he takes Pink today.

  9. Where is Mollema in all this? He finished 6. on the long 37km hilly ITT in TDF last year and beat Geraint Thomas with a few seconds? Ofc. Dumoulin won that one..

      • I imagine the standings after today will look like this: Dumoulin, Pinot and Mollema. Mollema and Quintana gonna be tight tho..

    • Funny stage that. Thomas wasn’t even near the top 10 and hadn’t been working on his TTing but put in a very good time (Mollema was fighting for the lead). One has to hope (if you’re Welsh!) that Thomas will do better today.

  10. “Tejay van Garderen needs a result more than ever otherwise he’s going to be presented on a wet February morning as Wanty-Groupe Gobert’s new signing.”

    I’m not sure what the next step is for him. He’s been a top five Tour rider twice but seems to be regressing if anything. He had a leader’s attitude which has taken him this far, but it’s also a barrier to him becoming a super domestique. I’d imagine his next step is to a smaller team which he can lead. Maybe Cannondale, if he’s friendly with Vaughters and they give up on Talansky? Or a pro-conti French team who can secure a Tour wildcard.

  11. “The final part turns into the wind, six kilometres into a headwind”
    Genuine question, is that based on the forecast for today or the prevailing wind?

    • The forecast for today, checked last night.

      As it happens, a quick note on the weather forecasts because the quality varies, too often the weather forecast proves wrong. I tend to check and and make a synthesis. For any race near the sea then is a great resource.

      • 3bmeteo is good, less so. The public regional environmental agencies (ARPA) usually have a good weather forecast service, but quality may vary depending on the region. Lombardia, Veneto, Emilia Romagna used to be good (not that the other aren’t, I just wasn’t a user).

        Wind could be harsh on Quintana.

      • A czech website is an expert on coastal wind and weather? I must admit I wouldn’t have thought of that – and I have strong Czech connections. Inner Ring’s breadth of knowledge continues to astound.

          • Now I understand. There is a strong hang-gliding/para-gliding community in central Europe who need similar windreading skills, and lots of mountains with complicated wind patterns in the Czech Republic to provide training up to expert level.

          • while we’re on the weather – what’s the snow check on all those high peaks in week 3?… that could scupper Movistar if we lose a couple of those stages….

          • @ Noel. Stelvio is clear according to the last models. Very very cold though, just above the 0. Huge walls of snow for the last 5 km.

      • for the weather forecast nothing can beat the forum of cicloweb (in Italian, sorry…). The group of fans studying raw data about the evolution of the weather is astonishing. I still remember when 2 days before the Galibier at the Giro, in 2013, they said the race could be clear until the late afternoon, while all the websites were giving snow. Eventually the race could complete, and only the gruppetto got some flakes on their head.

      • windguru is indeed a very good site if you are looking out for wind forecasts, they are not as good on precipitation and temperature though

  12. Really intrigued by today. Quintana’s Blockhaus was astonishing in every way, only Froome would have been able to better that. Which makes it all the more surprising Dumoulin limited it to 24 seconds. Either Dumoulin is in the form of his life, or he’s sacrificed on TT massively. Only in the former case do I give him any hope, still think Movistar crack him on one of the stages with multiple 2000m+ mountains.

    • The Froome we’ve seen until now, even at his best, would struggle to perform for so long a time on that hard a climb. But he could have taken advantage of any tactical hesitation on the front to come back strongly in the last 2-3 kms (Covadonga 2014). On the contrary, we would have seen a Covadonga 2016 replay.

      • Speculating about what Froome would do in Italy is a fun armchair activity but ultimately pointless. I’m sure he will never race there in anger whilst he thinks he can win yellow in Paris in July. Even so, even a Covadonga 2016 may have been good enough but for an Alberto on the road to Formigal.

        • “… even a Covadonga 2016 may have been good enough but for an Alberto on the road to Formigal”.
          Speaking of speculating 😉
          I don’t think so about the Vuelta, yet I think that a top form Froome with a TdF team support would have probably won *this* Giro (as always, unless the others really got a good strategy or he suffered some crisis) – *but* he wouldn’t have been able to stay with Nairo on Sunday (little time loss, anyway).
          Someone raised the point and I answered on the basis of previous data, but I agree that so different a race as the Giro wouldn’t easily produce comparable results.

          • Froome does not always have the best early season form. He seems to dislike racing Catalunya and never does the Basque Country (cold and wet aren’t his favourite things) which are important races in a Giro build up. Perhaps this factors into his thinking too. He much prefers the heat. Africa is quite hot, after all. So I think that a Froome in the Giro might not be one at the top of his game.

          • He does come to Romandy, typically the wettest, coldest, sunless, stage race, every year. And I think he likes Catalonia, also goes there every year. I think he’s just taking it easy this spring, as he wants to stay fit till the Vuelta, a goal he won’t give up after coming close so many times. When he gets his Vuelta, he’ll go to the Giro.

          • As much as I intensely…what’s the word for neither liking or disliking someone but left completely…neutral (which is not always the same as objective, I have to admit…Froome, I’d like to see him both succeed in a Tour-Vuelta double and to follow it with a Giro. From Ferdi’s lips…

  13. I’m very curious about Mollema! Last year’s tour he made 6th, getting ahead of names like Geraint Thomas and Ion. You think he can stay at top 5?

    • Yes. Mollema has been a good rider for a very long time, not sure why everyone is surprised, he was 4th in 2011 Vuelta, 6th 2013 Tdf and seems like last year was the first time people actually noticed him yet the Tdf 7th wasn’t even he best grand tour result?

      I guess that’s the difference between top ten and podium?

      But of course Mollema can stay top 5 – he’s definitely in that calibre of rider – even if he needs a little luck to break top 5 or podium at a grand tour (ie other contenders focusing of Tdf or crashing/issues as maybe Porte had at last years Tdf (even though Mollema’s own crash took him off the podium) and there being few top name contenders at the 2011 Vuelta).

      He’s a good rider though and probably in the top ten of current Grand Tour riders.

      Yates x2

      Oh maybe make that top 15? There’s a lot of good riders at the moment!

      TVG ouch, doesn’t get close – if you were BMC surely they should go all out for Dumoulin – and if not, then (I would say Pinot if he weren’t so attached to his team) the Yates twins or Bardet.

      The market is great for potential Grand Tour winners for big budget teams currently? You can’t see Contador winning much more, nor Nibali, nor even Valverde – and if Froome and Quintana are sorted, then you’d say Dumoulin, Yates, Chavez, Bardet and Pinot all have a great chance of winning something in the next few years should neither Froome or Quintana be at a particular tour, so someone like BMC or even Trek should be all over them this transfer market? Or have Sunweb and Orica got a bigger budget than I realise?

      Fascinating times.

      • I can see BMC cleaning up quite a few Quik-steppers should the team fold. Certainly a lot of the classics guys to provide support to GVA. Maybe they take Gaviria too and focus on GT sprints? I think this will be the big shake up this transfer season, even if QS find new sponsors I can see a lot of riders having already agreed deals elsewhere.

        Chavez- Too similar a rider to Quintana, same age too. Just could never see him winning in a head to head

        Yates’- More interesting, but are they that attracted by the money? Just couldn’t see them at BMC before Sky

        Dumoulin- Has a strong team where he is, well similar to what BMC would be able to provide currently. So why move?

        Bardet & Pinot- I kind of like the romance of them winning on French teams, and I have a feeling (wishful maybe) they do to.

  14. I know that TTs are not fascinating to watch but the only reason this Giro is exciting is thanks to them ! If not, it would already be won for Quintana.
    I hope the TDF is watching and takes note.

  15. It’s interesting that Nibali is that underrated when compared to Pinot. I can understand it and I’ve got the same feeling (the impression of a “trend”, I guess) – yet, it’s curious.

    Nibali has always been a more than decent TTer until the last couple of years. A frequent top-fiver and more often in the top-ten than out of the top-20. In his pro career until 2014 (included) he raced some 43 ITTs and didn’t make the top-20 just eight times. In one out of three (!) ITTs he raced, he was top-5 and he made the top ten more than half of the times. With such big figures stats, it goes without saying that he often had to match a serious field. He had been showing skills since his first pro years (and before). It’s not just that “Pinot is younger and had yet to improve”: Nibali’s placing percentage was consistent throughout his career (until 2014).

    OTOH, Pinot never showed any special TT attitude. He recently got better when he trained more, got a new bike, that sort of things. Until 2014 (included) he had raced 27 ITTs. 19 times he *didn’t even make* the top-20 (!). He had 5 top-tens, none of which a top-5.

    However, Nibali’s performance level dropped in 2015. Since then, he hasn’t got any top-ten in 11 ITTs. His out-of-the-top-20 figures got about 50%. Looking into further detail, he’s riding more ITTs in “training races” and rarely goes full gas, while in the past every occasion was good to hone his skills against top competitors. When he had to push harder – essentially, in *one* race in a two and a half years time: last Giro! – he looked to be struggling.
    Conversely, Pinot got *hugely* better: always in the top-20 in 17 ITTs, about 35% of top-5 and more than 50% top-tens… sounds like “old-style Nibali”.
    But the difference is that Pinot (or his trainer/managent) “choose”, so to say, to race mainly *selected* ITTs with a low-level field or a very suited course, while Nibali similar stats in his golden years came from Tour, Giro, Vuelta, Dauphiné, Tirreno.
    For all the top five Pinot got in the last two seasons, only *one* was in a WT race. And it was that Romandie TT with a climb where Quintana did great, too.

    Hence, the “top TTer Pinot” is a bit of self-built myth – until now, at least.

    As every myth, it’s got a significant part of truth: Pinot and his staff are working on ITTs, they’re trying to race more of them seriously while at the same time building up the rider’s confidence with fine results.
    Nibali, OTOH, has been clearly leaving this basic exercise aside for a couple of seasons, perhaps because his mainly objectives of the last two years didn’t include much of it (it’s sad, but as we’ve seen with Froome et al., many top riders work like that) – or perhaps for other psychological reasons.

    All the same, the “improved Pinot” and the “worse Nibali” crossed swords several times in the last two years and they were exactly on par the four times – it always happened in serious occasions. A 2-2 draw, with a handful of seconds at most separating them. Then, in last Tirreno, just a couple of months ago, on the traditional final ITT which can work well as a benchmark, Pinot produced a normal “Nibali” performance, but Nibali strolled to the line well below every previous standard of him. Is that a turning point or just a coincidence? We’ll discover it this afternoon.

    It remains very interesting how our perception works (and I don’t mean it works “bad”): the “trend” effect, the “most recent race” effect, the overrating effect of the improved Pinot stats (despite their actual consistence in terms of quality).
    We’re probably near to a possible inflection point in the relative strength of Nibali and Pinot in ITTs, hence any result wouldn’t be hugely surprising (well, any *enormous* difference would be).

    • Very interesting post. I wonder if some of the “Nibali bad at TTs” comes from him rocking up to a Tour a few years back not realising there was a TTT? ie, the impression he gives is of someone who doesn’t prepare (when clearly he does).

      I’m extremely interested in what Pinot does today – at it has a bearing on future grand tours as well.

    • Great analysis. Nibali had the “GI bug” which felled Ryder and Landa last year at the Giro and also broke his derailleur on the TT stage. That mechanical alone seems to cost him 45+ seconds. The day before, he had also ridden more than 25km alone after a brief power drop on the last climb. Thus, he did two ITT’s back to back while chasing Chaves and Kruijswijk. That will certainly account for some of his lack of form at the Giro.

    • That’s pretty disappointing, in 2013 at 5.7 W/kg and 65 kg we have 370 W for an hour. Meanwhile Froome is way way above the 400 for the hour…

      • Even if others are even better it’s still almost beyond comprehension. 370w for an hour at 65kg! It’s what I might manage for 3-4 minutes and I’m only 1-2kg lighter.

    • The big question is: when you guys will give some credits to Nairo. This blog and its posts are quite often very sensible and Inrng is the most equanimous writer in the cycling world. However when comes to NQ there is allways an undertone of desaproval in almost every comment. Give him a chance please.

      • There was zero irony or condescendence in my question. If Nairo can drop Tom on the Blockhaus, he can surely do so on the Mortirolo. From then on it’s just a matter of climbing endurance, except for the flat bit between Prato and Müstair, where you can use some drafting. I think the best Nairo can put many, many minutes on Dumoulin on that day, if he needs to (and I hope he does).

      • I dont think anyone doubts his ability, he is probably the best pure climber around. The climb the other day was ideal for him, perhaps Froome or Porte might have been able to compete and maybe one or two of Landa, Thomas or Yates might have been not too far behind. Of course we shall never know.

        The issue is, that he is clearly not the most complete Grand Tour rider around, that is probably Froome but others might dispute that. NQ has ridden fairly conservatively in the past (perhaps the Stelvio descent was an exception), he is never going to be a top time trialist and clearly “classic” type conditions don’t suit him. That means if he is going to win he needs either a very mountainous route with short time trials and not getting caught out with winds or whatever or that the competition is climbers not all rounders (his Giro win was an example, though I can see that might start a “polemica” 🙂 ).

        For this edition of the Giro he has tough competition some of whom will undoubtedly gain lumps of time over the 70km of time trialling. So the question remains was 30 seconds time gain enough on the most difficult uphill finish of the Giro? Maybe he can use the multiple long ascents next week to overcome his TT weakness. That of course is why this race is so fascinating. If NQ does come out on top that will really cement his place at the top of the cycling heap. I have a feeling he wont quite make it (I think either Tom Dumoulin or Thibaut Pinot) but happy to be proved wrong.

        • I think you can’t rush the win on a 3 week competition. It Is an endurance competition, hence that’s why on last sunday’s first touch with a serious climb, everyone had fresh legs and manage to limit their losses.
          The proper time to make conclusions will be in Milano.

        • I get your general point, and I might agree, but a bit of debunking is needed…

          The “exception” for Quintana are the 2016 Tour (form/health issues?) and most of the 2015 one. He tended to ride very aggressively more often than not, albeit he also became generally more prudent in recent years (somewhere else on this blog I gathered a little history of his wins since neopro years and it’s pretty much self-explanatory). Besides long range attacks – alone or in company – which he always liked and suit his qualities, he doesn’t dislike opening fire more than 5-6 or more kms away from the finish line when you’ve got an uphill finale, and that may mean 20-30 minutes of hot action (have to compare that with the breed of ten-minutes-effort champions which modern preps have produced).

          Last Vuelta had some good all rounders among the competition, I’d say, and, well, when Quintana got second or third at the Tour he beat another good list of that kind of athletes. Even leaving that Giro aside (Evans, Urán, Hesejdal, Rolland, Kelderman are pretty much what I’d call “all rounders”), it’s pretty much evident that few riders until now could beat Quintana in any GT, be they all rounders or not. After all, Dumoulin ended 2′ back from Quintana in the final GC of that spectacular 2015 Vuelta of him.

          Finally, when you say “classics condition” it’s too general: he sure isn’t a cobble rider, and he suffers quite much when the wind is up, but he fared decently in some hard one-day races like Lombardia, Emilia, Urkiola… and he was quite good in Liège-like GT stages. He’s got the needed set of technical skills (timing, bike handling, vision, strategy, focus), but I guess that he’ll give less and less priority to one-day racing (what a pity), preferring to add to GTs some short stage races.

      • The Condor’s big “problem” is that he a) doesn’t speak English b) whoever used to do the PR job for BigMig must be retired. Mig was characterized as some sort of gentle giant by the Banesto PR machine. I can still remember being in France at LeTour watching a TV interview with BigMig – in the company of a Spanish-speaker who was aghast at how different what Mig was saying vs what was being translated into English on British TV by the Banesto PR hack .
        I think Nibali suffers a bit from this same thing – a guy who can’t/won’t speak English comes across as kind of a robotic pedaling machine to Anglo-Saxons and what you characterize as disapproval too often is the result. Someone might ask why this doesn’t apply to Pinot? I explain that with the “Phil Liggett effect” where France and LeTour is everything good while Italy’s Giro and Spain’s Vuelta are 2nd rate imitators. As I wrote earlier, I can still remember Liggett’s grumbling about the Giro’s leader jerseys being the “wrong” colors “just to confuse us”.

        • Seems similar to the whole Quintana vs Nibali/Visconti thing going on at the moment, which seems wholly explained by the fact that Quintana speaks Spanish and the Italians speak Italian, so they don’t chat much.

    • A Movistar Bahrain alliance of riders up the road, attack on the climb (Mortirolo), shed TD of his gregarios and finish him off on the subsequent climbs. The thought being, lets beat the biggest threat today and battle it out later. I would say TP and FDJ could join in, but I just don’t see TP descending with those two guys.

  16. Ditch these ridiculous TT drag strip bikes and go back to riding something which resembles a “normal” bike. They don’t belong on technical courses.

    • Well spotted!
      However, 3′ as an upper limit still makes sense, even if I’d have considered 2′-2’30” the most probable gap under “standard” conditions and in case of “on par” performances by everybody.
      Considering the actual wind, it could have been even higher (very heavy men in the top ten spots: the lightest one is Nibali with 64 kg – and he’s the only one reportedly under 65 kg until Polanc’s very good 15th place at 2’35”).
      Quintana isn’t in top shape, but not in mediocre form either – compared to most of the rest bar Dumoulin and a few others, his ITT wasn’t that bad.
      In fact, Dumoulin performed greatly (the 5th rider at two minutes!), even if that could be expected in case he didn’t sacrifice power to climbing skills.

      Apparently, Pinot (who’s lighter than Nibali, anyway) isn’t that huge TTer, yet, while Nibali shows that his decline in ITTs during the last two seasons mainly depended, as I hinted above, on “attitude” factors.

      And the fun isn’t over… Dumoulin could easily increase his advantage over Quintana before the Stelvio stage! 😉

      (I’m thinking about next weekend; and tomorrow is a complete mystery: a lot of different scenarios with any kind of result – including a moot breakaway and a sleepy bunch or a GC revolution, plus everything which lies inbetween)

    • I did wonder watching Tom Dumoulin crossing the line if that was Inrng’s “the moment the race was won”. He looks in top form and given the final TT it really is going to take something special from Nairo Quintana to win the overall.

      With the exception of Geraint Thomas and Bob Jungels everyone else was much the same. Perhaps a missed opportunity for Thibaut Pinot and Bauke Mollema or maybe NQ’s performance was not that bad?

      • Something in the order of 5 minutes is now needed by NQ to cover for the final ITT. He’ll have to work hard to get it. Chris Froome is smiling today as well as Team Sunweb.

  17. Has Dumoulin just won this barring crashing and everything (not saying it will) going as normal? If he takes 2mins on the final stage on a pan flat 29km, that gives him around 4.30mins?

    He can afford to loose more that 30secs on each up hill finish in that case? Madness. What a rider.

    As INRNG says though, better wait for the days with multiple climbs before getting too excited. Very very impressive though. If he manages to stay at a decent level the three weeks and do a good job, even if he ends up losing, of the multiple climb days, I’ll stick my neck out at the end of these next few weeks and say he’s a sure bet for a future TDF. Maybe the next Indurain…

    Poor old TVG. That’s got to be it, sad to see someone fail, maybe he was ill… but 4mins down? Behind Quintana? That is a complete disaster, worse than anyone could forsee… GT career is absolutely over barring a miracle. BMC should be getting their bank ready for some Dumoulin action.

    • Not really much of my neck on the line in the above scenario, beating or coming close to beating Quintana on a hilly course at a young-ish age is a pretty good barometer of a future TDF Champ… Even what Dumoulin has done so far in his career you’d say a bet on him now as a future Tour champ is a decent bet!

    • well the totally excellent news for all of us is that Movistar probably do have to throw caution to the wind and go for a couple of big moves on the big stages rather than leaving it to the last 3-4km each time. This could be some race, such a shame that Sky won’t be making it a 3 horse shake up though.
      Shame for Pinot today also.

      • Well if Thomas was carrying a worrying injury from his crash on the previous stage you couldn’t tell as he was very impressive and is now only a few seconds outside the top 10. A shame about Landa but perhaps it’s a little premature to write Sky off totally.

        • +1
          I’d even suspect that Sky might be more of an action factor this way than with Thomas sitting high on GC (shutting up every move defending Dumoulin’s maglia rosa, hoping they’ll later claw back 20″ a time from him in the uphill sprints…).
          If they don’t buy from an anonymous break an extra rest day, starting from tomorrow it could be “Vuelta venganza” day for Sky.
          Tomorrow, after the first two climbs, it’s a power fest. But anything, really anything, could happen. With any GC riders/teams combination! (yeah, I know, it’s going to be a bore – the Appennini magic again is too good to be true).

          • Although the “what if” scenario might have given us the prospect of Thomas and Quintana in similar positions on GC, so that Sky and Movistar would actually be working together to unseat Dumoulin.

            I think this way will now be more exciting.

          • @Nick: I think I am more inline with Gabriele’s prediction that Sky in their current form is less Dumoulin friendly than if Thomas is sitting on 2nd place.

            As Thomas and Dumoulin are quite similar in style, with Thomas in high GC placings, Sky are more likely to ride Tempo which would suit Dumoulin better. Now Sky would need to break the race.

            That said, should Thomas and Dumoulin somehow found each other off in the front together (Thomas is quite capable of doing so judging from his early performance this year whilst Dumoulin’s road stage win in last year’s Tour was in similar style), they would work with each other really well.

    • The Indurain thing inevitably came to mind with those magnificent Banesto colours 😀
      Totally thumbs up for that NC kit!

      (footnote: time to keep them as an all around kit, Sunweb guys, B&W is a bit boring and you should pay homage to the Dutch component, besides recalling the Skil-Shimano days…)

    • Do you remember the 2016 Giro? I can remember reading pretty much the same comments last year. On the other hand, I think Dumoulin might be the next Merckx! I’d love to see someone photoshop some big sideburns on him along with a powder-blue leisure suit right out of “A Sunday in Hell”. Franco Chioccioli was “Coppino” awhile back, Dumoulin could be “Merckxino”

    • The same for the odds of him winning the Giro. I don’t see him winning the Tour this year so this is his best shot to win a GT. That being said there is a lot of racing left to decide this year’s race. Dumoulin looked great the past couple of stages, but has still never put it together for a whole 3 week race. Being able to follow Quintana on a one climb day 9 stages in is a lot different from following him on a multiclimb day in the final week. One bad day and the likes of Quintana and Nibali will mercilessly tear you to pieces. Really looking forward to the final week when this race will be decided. Can Dumoulin hold on or will the climbers have their revenge?

  18. After this Time Trial I’m officially starting feeling the Giro. Am I the only one seeing Visconti and Amador pushing hard on the Stelvio as head of a bridge for an attack of their captains?

    Bike on the car, buddies summoned, rooms booked. Who’s gonna be on the Stelvio with me next week? Don’t forget hot tea, Gazzetta’s sheets to offer for the descent, and something more than just a raincoat for the wait…

  19. Mr. Inrng: Did you or any of the other commenters here notice Geraint Thomas’s skin suit. In particular the shoulders seemed to have small spike like protrusions. You can see them just after he finished the TT and he is being shepherded by the officials. Nike developed something similar for their running gear that debuted at the Olympics on the US female marathoners. You can see them at 26 seconds into this youtube video. /watch?v=QkP8pK0gbXg

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