Giro Stage 1 Preview

Jersusalem TT profile

We’ll return to the politics, propaganda, business, appearance fees, anti-doping tribunals and more in the coming days but it’s sometimes important to remember the Giro is a bike race too. It begins with a time trial through the streets of Jerusalem and already the contenders for the overall classification in three weeks’ time face a big test of their form. For others it’s the chance to win big, to take the stage and wear the maglia rosa for several days.

The Route: the profile is instructive, a rolling course with some long uphill drags, the slopes of 3-4% are a test of power for riders as they stay in an aero tuck. There are wide corners and it’s a course for the powerful riders. The finish is up a steep drag, the riders come off a descent but won’t carry much momentum for long as they climb up King Schlomo Street to the line for 250m.

Rohan Dennis

The Contenders: Rohan Dennis (BMC Racing) just missed out in the Tour de Romandie’s technical prologue and here he’ll find a course much more to his liking with long drags rather than the twists and turns. In a strange way it’d almost be better if he lost out today if this meant he’d got his climbing legs and could take a mountain stage later in the race because it would enrich his palmarès that much more… but almost, here’s the chance at a stage win, the maglia rosa and more and he’s perfectly suited at this.

Tom Dumoulin (Team Sunweb) gives his rainbow stripes an outing. Sometimes the worlds are often an oddity, a late-season invitation event but in the last two years the Dutchman has been the best time triallist going, winning Tour de France and Giro stages and often by large margins too. The stage win would be nice but what counts is taking him on his rivals, this is a crucial stage to build a buffer on the climbers and he’d probably prefer to finish second today to a TT specialist if it meant putting a minute into some of his GC rivals. However he’s a real candidate for the stage win.

Chris Froome should find this course a bit too short, perhaps the same for Sky team mate Vasil Kiryienka but both should be close and David de la Cruz can impress too.

Tony Martin hasn’t won a time trial in the World Tour since 2015 but still seems hard to overlook, he might have few wins but he’s often close. Katusha-Alpecin team mate Alex Dowsett made a name for himself winning the Giro’s TT stage in 2013 and is another specialist but has few high level wins to his name.

Among the other specialists Lotto-Jumbo’s Jos van Emden won the final stage into Milan last year but that was pan-flat and he won’t like the hills so much today. Lotto-Fixall’s Victor Campanaerts isn’t a household name but is targeting this stage and should cope better. Trek-Segafredo’s Ryan Mullen is another specialist and his team mate Mads Pedersen has won time trials too.

Rohan Dennis, Tom Dumoulin
Victor Campenaerts, Vasil Kiryienka
van Emden, Martin, Froome, Pedersen, Mullen

Weather: hot and sunny, a top temperature of 32°C and a light wind from the north which should lose itself among the city buildings and crowd barriers.

TV: Host broadcaster RAI offers the best coverage, Eurosport has the rights for many countries across Europe and Australia and it’s streamed via Fubo in the US and Dazn in Japan. Tom Dumoulin is the last rider off and the finish is forecast for 5.00pm Jerusalem time, which is 4.00pm CEST / 3.00pm in the UK / 10am in New York EST / midnight in Melbourne.

38 thoughts on “Giro Stage 1 Preview”

  1. Aside from any political controversies, I was shocked to see how poor Jerusalem’s air quality is – today’s forecast is in excess of 100 ug/m3 for fine particles PM2.5.
    Advice for asthma sufferers is “keep quick-relief medicine handy”.

    Away we go,
    The Battle of the Super TT’ers.
    Very interesting.

  2. Dragging the entire circus to Israel is questionable at best I’d say. As are any discussions of a New York, or Washington DC start.

    Wouldn’t it be funny if the racers well being was a priority, and one that was ranked above the perceived marketing value of having a start somewhere like Jerusalem?

      • Looking at it in comparison to when it started in Belfast in 2014, there doesn’t seem so big a difference in the distance of the transfer from Dublin at the end of stage 3 to I think bari (wherever it was, it was in the south of Italy) and the transfer from Israel to Italy on Monday. Seem roughly similar in length.

        It just seems longer transfer, though the Dublin transfer was long too

  3. I notice this in your twitter feed:
    ‘Giro director: UCI assured us Froome wouldn’t be stripped of Giro win’
    For a long time I’ve been saying that this affair would arranged so that Froome would keep whatever results he achieves – and that will include this Giro.
    The rich and powerful protect each other in all walks of life.
    Wouldn’t be at all surprised if Froome has agreed to ‘sit out’ the Tour and that his ban covers that whilst also suggesting that it wasn’t his fault somehow.
    You’ll excuse my cynicism, but look where today’s race is being held if you want an example of how the rich and powerful protect each other in all walks of life – look how the west protects Israel, despite its abhorrent behaviour.

    • Only Vegni’s words were mistaken which was the point of the tweet. People can see conspiracies but the rules are there in black and white for people to read first although they contain grey areas to explore, something to look at later on today or tomorrow probably.

      • There’s no real conspiracy, it’s just how the world works: I suggest those grey areas are precisely what will be used.

    • You seem to be pre-judging matters J Evans “suggesting that it wasn’t his fault somehow”. Do you know, definitively, incontrovertibly, that it was? (As an outsider to proceeding just like you I have no idea and so trust those charged with judging the case will do so accurately.)

      If you know the medical facts of the case so intimately one wonders why you aren’t in Aigle on a big fee so that you can sort them out.

      Justice is not served in any walk of life by innuendo or prejudice and this applies to ANY rider equally in a case of this nature.

      • I don’t share your trust of authority.
        And the cycling/doping authorities have shown themselves to be flawed on so many occasions (including recent cases, e.g., Impey).
        I don’t even need my degree in human physiology to tell me that the malfunctioning kidneys story is hogwash and I’m not naive enough to believe that Froome is so stupid that he took a massive number of puffs, whilst he presumably knows that extra puffs have no therapeutic effect on asthma and would result in a positive.
        That leaves only one plausible reason – that’s not innuendo or prejudice, it’s just logical reasoning.
        (I love Contador, but the same reasoning means I do not for a second believe his positive was caused by contaminated meat or contaminated supplements.)

  4. As always, nice written preview mate 🙂
    I’ve been waiting in excitement for the first Grand Tour to start after such good start of the season by the danish riders! Hopefully Mads Pedersen and Nicklas Egg can do some “damage” in this Giro.
    Maybe I should play some Pro Cycling Manager again, while the Giro runs in the background 🙂

  5. I do wonder if the heat is going to be an issue, perhaps not so much today but definitely the nest two. We know some riders prefer hot conditions eg Chris Froome but even for those that do they will be used to much cooler ones (even if the European spring has been on the warm side) and suddenly racing in much hotter ones can affect performances.

  6. Based on pre-race comments, I’m going with Campenaerts today, as he seems to have prepared the most thoroughly of all the TT specialists.

    Very curious to see if we’ll get some sizeable GC gaps today already.

  7. I guess it will be Dennis or Campanaerts but find it hard to hide my lack of interest in an Israeli publicity stunt. I’ll be watching from Sicily.

    • I don’t rely on clicks / pageviews so happy to tell readers that they shouldn’t miss much by skipping the opening stages, the terrain in Sicily looks much more interesting for racing. But still the GC will be shaped by today, check the results as much for the stage winner today as for the standings of the contenders.

  8. I must say the Froome inhaler saga is getting depressing. It’s the only coverage in the non-cycling press about cycling at the moment. It’s also not even a real drug story since a) there’s no benefit to overusing salbutamol, and b) he was a dead cert to be tested. ergo, a fuck up. big wow. I haven’t seen anything where this might be deliberate cheating [as in eg contadors case where it could be a masking drug etc.]

    It just goes on and on.

    I’m not a Froome fan btw 😉

  9. So Froome, Lopez and Sitsou have all crashed during recon. Sitsou with a suspected broken collarbone and Froome with a fair amount of roadrash.

  10. Nice write up, again. What is the inrng history?: He seems extremely knowledgeable re pro cycling. Do many pro cyclists still cheat by ‘doping’? It’s just that it seems every week there’s a doping story coming to light. And women’s cycling, also doping? I wonder about XC mountain bike racing too. Be nice to know the truth, seems like a lot of smoke and mirrors in this sport of cycling.

  11. ‘long drags rather than the twists and turns’

    According to riders who have done recon it’s actually super technical with a lot of twists and turns and camber.

  12. Froome hits the deck in warm up and does poorly in the Stage. What are the chances of Sky issuing a statement that Froome is injured and pulling out of the Giro? And if so, would he keep his $2m start fee? Could be a win-win for everyone if he bows out.

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