Giro Stage 16 Preview

The time trial stage to reshape the overall classification. That was the idea but Simon Yates has taken more than two minutes already from Tom Dumoulin and beyond today come three more Alpine stages.

Stage 15 review: Time has passed so for a simple look back let’s cite Victor Hugo: “in the Alps you are either an eagle or a cretin”. In a hard stage ridden fast from the start in the rain Simon Yates was the eagle, flying away with 18km to go. In the moment it looked like he might be risking it all, there was some way to the finish and the road ahead was awkward for a lone rider. But he was helped by the cretinous bickering behind with his rivals unable and at times unwilling to chase, the presence of Lopez and Carapaz marking each other for the white jersey competition weighed down Pozzovivo, Pinot and Dumoulin who all had a shared interest to contain Yates and put time into Froome who was floundering.

The Route: mountains, mountains everywhere but hardly a climb, this 34.2km has about ten corners and just over 400m of vertical gain in total. It sits below Monte Bondone, home of a Giro legend or two but this is a flat course south along the Adige valley, downstream and for much of the time parallel to the Autostrada. The second checkpoint in Nogaredo is up a small hill but it’s climbed on a big wide road and the descent is straightforward as it whizzes through the vineyards back down to the valley floor.

The Contenders: there are several races on at the same time. First there’s the battle to win the stage where the specialists have been taking it as easy as possible in the last few days in order to be as fresh as possible for today. Then there’s the “fight for pink” to borrow the Giro’s awkward term with Tom Dumoulin aiming to put as much time into Simon Yates as possible and if the stage win comes his way it’ll be an accidental bonus. Next there’s the podium with five characters in search for three places, a Pirandello knock-off. Then come lesser contests such as the struggle for a top-10 place, the white jersey contest and more. That’s plenty even if more than half the field has no interest today and will aim to complete the course in a satisfactory time to avoid elimination.

Katusha have a trio of picks in Alex Dowsett, Tony Martin and Mads Wurtz Schmidt. Dowsett has won in the Giro before but little else but has been biding his time, Martin has tried an attack or two but should be rested. Trek have Ryan Mullen and Mads Pedersen with Mullen suited to the flat course but there’s little to tell how they’ll fare in the third week of a grand tour.

By contrast Lotto-Jumbo have Jos Van Emden who won in Milan last year on the flat course and should be aiming for a similar result again. Victor Campenaerts (Lotto-FixAll) had a great ride in Jerusalem and is another specialist, he should be close. Finally Sky’s Vasil Kiryienka can do well here although he might prefer a tougher course.

Rohan Dennis and Tom Dumoulin should be fighting for the stage win, never mind the Giro and GC they’re the two best time triallists in the peloton today. But the fight will be costing them, especially Dumoulin who has been working so hard in the last few days. Today might be his stage on his terrain but for all the extrapolations made, how many account for mojo? The problem for Dumoulin is that even if he can take two minutes back on Yates he’s going to be borrowing the maglia rosa until Yates decides to take flight again in the Alps. Sunweb are looking solid but when the race reaches boiling point Dumoulin is quickly isolated and prone to be attacked. Yes the upcoming climbs this week suit him as Prato Nevoso is a long and steady climb, ditto the road to Cervinia but Yates could still hope to take time and the Jafferau is much more the Briton’s climb. Advantage Dennis today who has been pushing hard in the mountains but once dropped riding to his limits.

As for the podium battle Thibaut Pinot ought to pull ahead of Domenico Pozzovivo, they’re separated by nine seconds. But it’s the day after the rest day and he often needs some racing in the legs before a hard effort. Pozzovivo, who counts meteorology among his hobbies, can do a good TT sometimes although when he has done this it’s typically been on a hilly or even mountainous course where climbing and bike handling have trumped power and CX. Still he has a good chance at the podium between now and Rome and hopefully sections of the Italian media get more interested; Fabio Aru’s every move and daily hopes of turning things have got a lot more coverage than Pozzovivo’s performance. One rider with even more media attention Chris Froome, over two minutes down on Pinot and “Pozzo” and in the words of Greg LeMond in late July 1989 “if he has a great day and [they] have a bad day” then a surprise can happen and the podium awaits but Froome is looking all over the place, his win on the Zoncolan was a surprise… but it was based on 40 minute effort which is roughly what today is all about.

Finally what of Simon Yates? Again he hasn’t made a mistake so far this Giro and has been confident, agressive and his attack on the stage to Sappada last Sunday was almost presumptuous. Given the form he’s in it’d be reasonable to expect he ends the day as he started, in the maglia rosa again.

Rohan Dennis, Tom Dumoulin, Victor Campaerts
Jos Van Emden
Tony Martin, Alex Dowsett

Weather: a mild 21°C and a chance of rain for the early starters, reducing for the later riders, in contrast the wind could help the early starters but hinder the later ones, like many big mountain valleys there’s a micro-climate and the wind can blow according to local factors.

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. The finish is forecast for 5.15pm.

142 thoughts on “Giro Stage 16 Preview”

  1. Yes, “cretinous bickering” is exactly what that was, a stunning display of negative, selfish and self-defeating riding, Tom Dumoulin had very strong words for the other 4 in that group after the stage and they were deserved. Pinot and Pozzovivo seem to have given up on going for the overall and are just scrapping over the final podium place, while Carapaz and Lopez are engaged in a two man struggle for the white jersey, ignoring everything else. If that group had formed a proper paceline while they might not have caught Yates they probably could have limited their losses to 10-15 seconds instead of 40.

    • Hmmm, not sure how deserved the words were, I thought that was unfair of TD, he seemed to be sitting on the back relying on others and then the moment he came to the front he was gesturing for the others to work. Although I admit yo don’t see it all as the cameras flick from group to group and rider to rider.

      • Color me delighted at BigTom’s frustration as I can remember back-in-the-day of another “defend in the mountains, mow ’em down in the crono” specialist when poor El Diablo couldn’t beg, borrow or steal any cooperation in distancing BigMig when the chance came. Too often then it was the race for “1st Italian” that thwarted the efforts of Chiappucci, so when nobody wants to help a guy who’s likely to mow ’em down today, I say tough s–t BigTom, you’re the race fave, you do the work and earn the win. Last year you had some unlikely help in your defending, this time if you win it should be all you and your own team.
        Vai Pozzovivo! Go Yates!

        • I fully endorse your words Larry. Tom can’t be expecting the climbers to do him favours only to have them used against them. Tom is the scorpion on their back as they carry him across the river who will sting them on the other side because he can. Pinot and Pozzo are realistic and I’m fine with that. Where are Sunweb in all this anyway? Dumoulin should be demanding a team worthy of his talents. They have been woeful.

    • Well, unfortunate it was everyman for himself and Dumoulin’s mistake was not realizing that. He should have just tried to time trial those 18km by himself.

      • It’s not quite every man for himself, it’s more like the prisoner’s dilemma where cooperation can have benefits but everyone trying to screw over everyone else just ends up with a worse result for all. Plus plenty of bike races have been won via alliances of convenience, this is part of what makes cycling such a captivating sport. Yes Yates and Dumoulin are clearly the strongest but that’s no reason to throw in the towel and just ride for third or a top 5.

        • That’s more what I was thinking, their interests were to work together but the moment one rider wasn’t working together it couldn’t happen. Dumoulin looked too cooked to go into TT mode, Pinot tried some long pulls but wasn’t relayed so he gave up, Pozzovivo didn’t seem too cooperative but he’s not the greatest wheel to be on either and Carapaz and Lopez were interested in each other and if one had jumped with a Pinot or Dumoulin, the other would have joined up with a Dumoulin or Pinot to bring them back.

          • See I saw it the other way in that by helping Dumoulin they were helping him win the GC, especially with the TT coming up. Was it not in their interest overall that he did all the work in the hope Yates falters in the last week?

            Although Tom’s comments after were once again a case of maybe being too honest for his own good. He certainly needs allies in the peloton for situations like that and don’t think his comments will help his cause in the future.

            Even though I do understand his frustrations but probably better for the team bus.

          • I agree with you both.
            To say it was an understandable climbers’ conspiracy against the TT man is to realise that no one out of that group won in the end; they all finished together and gained zero other than to allow Yates to, in all probability, win the race.
            Ultimately pointless.

        • What happened on Friday was exactly the prisioners’s dilemma: each cyclist went for what it was in his best interest and everyone got screwed. If they had considered each others’ interests, they could have reached a Nash equilibrium which is what you are hinting. But remember, the default result is screwing each other and that’s what happened here.

    • My memory isn’t what it was, but I seem to remember something similar in last year’s TdF (Porte’s infamous stage I think) when Aru helped Froome chase Bardet. The line from the pundits then was “Why on earth are they helping Froome?”. As I read it the implication was that the guy who stands to gain chunks of time in the TT needs to be made to systematically knacker himself.

      • Similar but Froome managed to coerce them into co-operation.

        It was a bit different though in that Bardet was both a threat to the overall but more likely the podium places of those behind.

        Still would have been good to see them lean on Froome and then pick him off. I thought if Porte hadn’t taken out Martin on the descent he might have changed the dynamic back bit – with more classics experience seems to have a better tactical awareness and would maybe helped forced Froome to the front.

  2. Dumoulin is not going to have any friends soon at this rate. It’s becoming a thing… Regarding the TT, I am guessing Froome has a good day and leapfrogs a few, Pinot struggles, Dumoulin crushes for the stage win, and Yates just has enough to hold onto Pink. But I am sure Gabrielle will provide enough insight so we can skip the stage. Just kidding, G: you’re always worth a read. I really appreciated the analysis of Aru and kind of feel sorry for him.

    • We could play a game called ‘Guess the Gap’ (i.e. between Dum. and Yates). Winner gets an honorary doctorate from INRNG University.

      My pick is 2mins 27sec.

      • A few days ago I would have gone as much as 3 mins+ but Yates seems much fresher and Dumoulin looked to be suffering on Sunday. I’ll go 2.07 which would be a great result for Yates.

      • My hope is that Yates does a blinder and then stops just short of the line until he can cross it 1 second behind Dumoulin on GC. Sunweb will then have to do all the hard work for the rest of the week.

        • I’m intrigued by the point Daniel Friebe made in the Cycling Podcast, that Stage 18 is pretty much a second time trial (albeit with drafting allowed) up the single climb to Prato Nevoso (+/-35 min effort). I think SY will struggle to keep with TD if the latter pushes it on that day and that may be in TD’s mind too. Accordingly I’m going to give Yates a 1min 45 gap today and look forward to much high jinks on Stages 19 and 20.

          A Great Race from a poor start, No?

          • It’s mainly about it being a monoclimb. On a similar and even easier climb, Foza, Dumoulin risked to lose last Giro being seriously dropped by Zakarin and Pozzovivo while also losing the wheels of Nibali, Pinot and Quintana. But they had faced the Grappa before it, indeed. On the contrary, flat terrain can even be used to put the climbers under pressure, softening them before the finale. However, if the power figures of the first couple of weeks don’t change, it could still be a good stage for Yates. I’m starting to think that Pratonevoso might have more of a proper meaning in relation to what follows. How deep are you ready to go before the Finestre-Sestriére-Jafferau combo?

  3. The race does seem to be Simon Yates to loose, easy to say in retrospect but this has been clear since Gran Sasso. The only but is that this has been an odd race from the start and odd things do tend to happen the day after a rest day (eg Esteban Chaves mysterious Jour Sans).

    • When I read your words I thought of Steven Kruijswijk two years ago. Astana really knew how to put pressure on him. Do we think Sunwev could do that with Yates?

      • I put a post up at the time saying that the moment SY won that stage my initial reaction was “hes won the Giro”, I did think better of it and all the “what if” thoughts occurred. It was the manner of his victory which triggered my response, not just the victory itself. I agree there are plenty of kms to go for a crash or mechanical to happen but SY seems to have that”aura” about him.

        • If Yates wins Sunday’s stage will likely be the moment he won – think that’s when everything shifted towards him – not just time, but people realised how strong he was as well as how hard he was willing to race to put them on the rack – he got time as well as a psychological edge Sunday. See what happens in the next week I guess…

  4. Welcome to bike racing, Tom.

    Please watch Stage 18 of the 2011 Tour de France for the right way to handle a pre-TT mountain stage when aiming to win a Grand Tour.

      • +1 – was going to say the same…. I was a big andy schleck fan, and that was arguably his best day in the saddle… but that ride by evans was the performance of the tour towing contador et al up the hill to limit his losses come what may.

    • +1!
      That stage is on a turbo trainer vid that gets a winter workout at my place. Never gets old watching Cadel gurn and grind up that mountain. How much do you want it Tom?

      • I’ve posted about that Evans performance here before (probably a couple of times) as it seemed everyone was just focusing on Andy’s audacious, long-range attack. Superb limiting of losses, even with a Schleck anchor! Tommy V was pretty good that day too.

        • All true, but where is Cuddles now? Breeding tiny dogs? Snapping at his neighbours? TDM will have Hollywood calling, or at least get offered a spot in Tatort.

  5. I reckon that 2 minutes is the ‘par score’ for the Yates v Dumoulin battle. Less than 2 min is a Yates win, more than 2 min is a Dumoulin win.

    But at the end of the day, Dumoulin MUST be in pink if he is to have any chance of the overall. It will be interesting to see how he goes if he falls short – if Dumoulin’s motivation falls away if he realises he is only fighting for a podium position rather than the win…

  6. Nobody mentions it, but TD needs over 3 minutes today if he wants to win overall. Unless Yates has a bad day of course…

    • Exactly, Yates is in control here. The three consecutive mountain stages suit Dumoulin as two of them feature long and steady ascents (Prato Nevoso, Cervinia) but the Jafferau is short and steep and advantage Yates. In other words should Yates lose time today he’s got three insurance policies up his sleeve including a gold-plated one… assuming he doesn’t pay for all his efforts so far in the Giro, he’s been working a lot in a hard race rather than just striking out on the odd moment so could fall prey to fatigue/illness but we’re into the dreaded realms of “anything can happen”, ie a predictable but still unlikely event.

      • Be interested to see how Yates approaches it today… better to go all out and try to keep the pink so that Dumoulain needs to attack him in the mountains? Or would it be better to ride conservatively making sure that his losses are limited knowing that he has a little left in the tank to take the jersey back in the hills? Would give sunweb a job defending the jersey as well.

        • How Yates approaches it today will also be effected by what He hears on the radio according to T.D.’s TT”ing. Plenty of additional stop watches will be used.

      • Fully agree. Based on everything we’ve seen so far Yates is clearly a level or two above everyone else. He’s been faultless and is dominating in a manner not seen for quite some time. Only something dramatic (illness, technical issues at the wrong moment, crash etc) can stop him from winning this Giro. Today’s ITT won’t change anything in that regard – and Dumoulin has essentially said as much.

        Would like Campenaerts to take the win today, after what happened last year and him just missing out on pink on day 1 and 2.

  7. At the last ITT world championships Chris Froome was the bronze medallist, the third best time trialler in the world (where he finished in the last Olympics too, incidentally). And that was after just winning two grand tours in a row. Yet none of this is good enough to give Froome even a one chainring chance of the win? Now I don’t happen to think he will win either but I’d be surprised if he wasn’t top five which puts him in amongst those named above!

    But to the main GC fight. I really don’t see Dumoulin taking more than about 2.30 here meaning I think Yates might just retain pink or might just lose it. Either way, the advantage for the Dutchman here is not going to be comfortable even if he gets one. Yates is not Chaves in time trials. He won’t be losing 3.30 and more. I am forced to agree with what was reported as Dumoulin’s own analysis of the situation yesterday when he said something extraordinary would need to happen now if he was to win in Rome. I think Yates has more stage wins to come yet and I don’t expect him to fade or crack. He has consistently had another gear on climbs (a consistent ability to change the pace not matched by others) and even if he played it more conservative from now on he’d still be as good as the other main challengers. So Tom to take 2 – 2.30 today (at the outside) but Yates to win the race.

        • As the last pick, just, yes. He made the top-10 in Jerusalem remember so seems to be in decent form and much of his Giro since will have been about waiting for today. As an early starter he might have some help too. As for Froome he should be close, the lack of a chainring doesn’t mean he’ll be out of the top 5-10 places.

          But all these are predictions for the fun of it, to help fellow readers enjoy the stage etc, it’s not betting advice if wrong so be it.

          • I agree, I think Dowsett could have a strong result today. He’s fully motivated at Katusha and seems to have regained his hunger. Also he posts all of his trainingpeaks (you know, if it’s not on strava it didn’t happen style!) from the Giro stages so far, which makes fascinating reading. His tss values look pretty good for the last few stages considering the lumps they’ve been climbing over. If he pops out of the rest day well, a podium could be on the cards.

        • Dowsett noted in his (quite entertaining fyi) social media quotes that him and Tony Martin had sat up yday to get as early a start as possible today, with the weather forecast indicating the wind would pick-up as the day goes on… Dowsett rolls out 2 1/2 hours before the big guns….

        • I suspect it will also be an issue of whether Froome has recovered enough from his crash to maintain his aero position. If he can’t get comfortable, all the legs in the world won’t help him, particularly if the winds are cross/head.

    • FWIW, I’m in to give a chance to Froome for a shot to the daily win. As inrng wrote above, it’s a very similar effort to Zoncolan and something Froome knows how to tackle. Froome has been losing more time than expected or looking on the back foot when the race became fast and complicated away from the line (blame some crazy chase by teams who eventually didn’t even win the day!). Not an issue today. Still, he looked spent on Sunday, not just in energy save mode. But in an interview to him, I sensed that he might just be happy to prove a point against Dumoulin’s TTing. I don’t really know, but I wouldn’t rule him out. Of course, Froome’s performance can vary so much that he’s one of the most unpredictable athletes around, not to speak of current conditions.

      • I wonder with Chris Froome how much of his performance on the Zoncolan was down to very low gearing? He has an unusual ability to spin the wheels at a very high cadence, unlike most climbers he spends almost all of the time sitting in the saddle. That would be a disadvantage on some of the steeper shorter climbs but ideal for the Zoncolan, especially if he can more effectively use a lower gear than the rest of the riders (grip becomes an issue with a very low gear whilst standing on the pedals?) .

        If he isn’t at peak form and fitness, which seems to be the case from the evidence of most of the race, but had an advantage over the rest of the riders because of the way he rides, that would account for the seemingly miraculous ride up the Zoncolan whilst not quite being there the rest of the time? We shall see later but I dont think he will put in a stellar TT performance.

        • Good points, of course.
          I’m not seeing him as an outright favourit, I just wouldn’t rule him out. As well, I wouldn’t rule out a terrible performance! I must simply admit I’m not able to look much into his form…

          Another test of Froome’s distance from his ideal self should be Pratonevoso. There, he wouldn’t have those technical advantages you name, but it should be the perfect climb for him, the LPSM sort of thing.

    • Such a silly comment.

      You’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t as a sportsman?

      I’ve seen Dumoulin be very eloquent, honest and congratulatory in defeat, and so what if he makes a narky comment every so often? It’s the heat of battle, and we definitely don’t want to end up with Froome-like dull interviews across the board?

      In saying that – I like Froome and have seen him multiple times after losing say ‘I just didn’t have the legs’ (even once this Giro) and as soon as he mentioned his crash had affected him a little on the first rest day it seemed like the cycling world and their dog piled in to called him out for whining?

      Both riders seem very sportsmanlike in all their interviews I’ve always thought?

      That’s not to say there isn’t a little gamesmanship – but I don’t blame cyclists for trying to edge a little psychology in interviews occasionally – I reckon Dumoulin did this with his ‘I wouldn’t be here if I were in Froome’s position’ comment, and I think Froome has done similar to Quintana (in very small ways) when commenting pre-Tour – all fair game.

      Think Nibali goes over the limit sometimes but compared to Ferguson and football managers it’s nothing!

      We should celebrate these guys for giving their all and us watching a brilliant race.

  8. I really don’t understand what Dumoulin expected. The final KM’s were flatter, if Pinot and the others worked, Big Tom would just have cruised away at the end, and then put 2 mins plus into them today. What the hell did he think they were, mugs? I really cannot see what any of them had to gain from working for him. I like Tom, he works hard and seemed a fine champion, but he lost a little of my respect during and after Sundays stage. (Although I’m sure that doesn’t worry him in the slightest)

  9. apart from Yates own form, if it’s Haga/Oomen/TenDam vs Chaves/Kreziger/Haig/Nieve I know which side I’d rather be on with 3 hilly stages left.

    oh, and I now know all about an Italian 19th century dramatist…. this blog….

  10. I’d like to see some good performances from Mullen and Pedersen today, for no particular reason other than they are young and it would be nice! I’d also like to see Dowsett go well. For the stage win I’m going to pick Jos van Emden (i haven’t seen him on my screen since the prologue so presumably he’s well rested) to nip in ahead of Dennis, a slightly battle weary Dumoulin, Campenaerts and Froome. I’m also going to predict a 90 second loss for Yates on Dumoulin. Also Pinot something similar so we can put to bed the notion that he is a time trialist.

    • Think Mullen is a good call for Top 10, he’ll have an early start, which should be the best of the weather as well. Ditto Dowsett.

      I think Dumoulin will win, but he wont take the time he needs to get pink, Yates will be just fine (I believe Michelton have been working with both brothers on their TT efforts, I’m amazed no one has picked up that Adam went rather well at ToC the other day in the TT, only lost 1.34 to TJ on a very similar length TT).

      I hope Yates does stay in pink as I think the race would be devalued if the strongest rider cannot win it overall, as much as I like Dumoulin he hasn’t really shown any race-winning panache yet.

        • +1 (TVG was actually way over 1 min down on Dumoulin on both TTs in last year Giro and over 2mins down on Froome in the Vuelta TT – admittedly he was not racing for the win in the Giro, but I assume he was looking to go better in Vuelta as he did finish 10th Overall in the end…)

          • Just highlighting that the Yates boys have improved in TT, TJ was motivated last week, therefore we have to assume he was trying 🙂 which we know is a rare occurrence as he is as flaky as flaky pastry when it comes to cycling to his true ability.

    • It would be nice to see a Trek rider in contention for the win for a change, instead of being in no-hope breaks with Italian wild card chancers-for-life…

      How come nobody discusses the dismal Giro they are having? Not to mention the somewhat lacklustre spring campain before that. Is this the post-Contador blues?

  11. I’m hoping George Bennett can show his ToC ITT form which won him the overall, his Giro has not been great by his admission, 70sec into Lopez and he’s top 5, things haven’t worked out for him so far, look for a strong ride.

  12. (Tactical) eagles or cretins? They played it out pretty well against Dumoulin, as many explained above. He’d crush them in the final 3-4 kms. And even for the final general victory, it was a strategy which could possibly make sense, opting for putting direct pressure on a big rival who’s on the back foot rather than limiting damage by some seconds to another.
    When Tom was dropped, we saw that they were no eagles at all. That was the time when, if they were really being tactically savy, they should have started working together. No, they were just bickering. Pinot and Pozzovivo are clearly thinking about that last podium spot and see each other as the main rival. If they go on like this, they’d both deserve being pipped by Froome ^__^
    (and I say it although I’m rooting for them, even… as well as being a well-known Froome-hater 😛 )

    Hats off to the Dumoulin’s bravery for using Oomen to make it a hard race on S. Antonio, even if it was going to mean taking a huge risk for later. Yet, I’m sure that there’s some quote around about bravey bordering with strategical failure. Dumoulin looks great in managing his own energies, but, despite what many defended in the past, he doesn’t look the best tactician. Anyway, he’s going all-in to win a complicated race, which he probably knew from scratch wasn’t going to be as favourable as last year’s. Great spirit. Complaining is the little stain in a corner of the picture, but I guess that frustration is hard to manage. A good deal of arguments and little details on the subject were pointed out by several comments above, no need to insist further.

    • This is a great note Gabriele, I hadn’t seen the early part of the stage – very surprised to hear Oomen was on the front before I clicked in.

      How hard was he going and how many KMs?

      Just interested to see whether it was Oomen actually setting an easier tempo than it seemed with other team having looked to light it up or whether he really was going all in.

      If the later that is a blunder from Dumo – or maybe it was just a bluff to scare off racing later in the stage?

      Very interesting to hear easier way.

      • Oomen was putting in a killer pace for the group on S. Antonio. A VAM of 1650 for over 20′. After that, you can notice that the “peloton” was down to some 20 guys (at the end, only 20 cyclists lost less than 4:00 and only 25 lost less than 6:00 on Sunday). Oomen was still the best placed gregario, at the end (Nieve and Reichenbach crossed the line with his same time, anyway).
        I don’t know what to think about it, either. Bold move, probably aimed against Froome and Aru, but clearly ar risk of self-destruction.

        • On the face of it you’d think that’s a blunder from Dumolin, either way it definitely back fired.

          But I think we can take it that Dumoulin had a plan and wasn’t that off with his tactics? Feels a bit unfair to assume he’s a dummy! My take is he must have been bluffing and looking to scare off attacks knowing he wasn’t strong and the finale looked to suit him… it definitely went wrong though!

      • It was tongue-in-cheek, “hating” doesn’t belong to the proper cycling fan ^__^
        In a corner of my mind, I’ve been even able to grow a little bonsai of “Symphaty for the Lance”, imagine that.
        And Froome’s use of the language “dove ‘l sì suona” melted my ice-cold feelings about him 😛
        He should only release interviews in Italian.

    • The dreaded Ora del Garda. Usually weaker when weather’s bad (it depends on the effect of the sun warming the lake’s mass of water).

  13. I’m gonna say straight out Dumoulin will win this.

    He performs so well under pressure that I can’t see him dropping off here.

    Whether it’s enough to take pink is harder to say.

    Yates definitely seems the favourite to win overall, and both have been pretty unbelievably impressive – for a big man Dumoulin is incredible, and Yates is step up and strategy have been a marvel.

    Awesome Giro so far.

  14. Re: Dumoulin’s team. It’s not among the top, but it’s not that bad either. Teams are looking generally weaker this Giro (or this season?). You rarely see any team support when things become really hot. Surely, there are several notable exception. However, Oomen’s been often around until the last kms, which is not bad at all. Ten Dam has been under par until now, whether he’s getting older or he’s keeping for the more suited stages at the end of the Giro.

    Other strong teams aren’t playing their second-best card as a support rider: Bora and Astana come to mind. And that’s not necessarily a bad idea, either, given their role in the race, but we can’t say that their leaders took any direct advantage from the team, be it because split support in Bora’s case or because of lacking tactics in Astana’s (not to speak of López’ lacking legs). Even Movistar isn’t using Betancur as a proper gregario to Carapaz, not until now at least.

    Mitchelton Scott’s being clearly superior, no doubt. The very well-played Chaves card before his troubles, a ripping Jack Haig, who was the serious plus in the first part of the Giro, a solid Kreuziger and effective mule Bewley. Nieve looks he’s coming into peak form at the right time.
    Sky’s been way better than Sunweb, too. Not a huge surprise, really. If one focuses on the single guys, it’s hard to say if their ups and downs are about form or their usual policy of gregari crop-rotation. But Froome often had a helper with him until the very finale.

    But I wouldn’t say that Groupama-FDJ is performing hugely better than Sunweb. Reichenbach is playin Oomen’s role with similar results. They’ve shown up as a team to raise pace or to set an intermediate sprint, but it’s the kind of work Sunweb efficiently did, too, when they needed to. Bahrain is doing what they can for Pozzovivo, and Mohoric has been a valuable helper for tricky finales, but some of them obviously think a lot about their own stage wins (Visconti…). They brought Pozzovivo back in Sicily when he had a flat in a bad moment, but it’s not like they’re there for him on the climbs. They lost Siutsou, indeed, but that’s how things are.
    LottoNL-Jumbo are willing and well-intentioned, but I don’t think that neither Gesink or Battaglin are offering Bennett the support they might be able to at their best (think what Battaglin did for Kruijswijk). Need we speak of Education First?
    And BMC? Despite Dennis’ enduring fight, the team did their best to keep the maglia and now are missing in action (they’re now six, and besides Dennis and baby Frankiny the remaining four crossed the line half an hour behind!). O’Connor is another guy who might receive huge support… in a parallel universe. Mentjes, Antón are in awful conditions (the latter’s now gone for good, I think): the rest is coming home a quarter of hour behind their captain.

    All in all, I’d say that as far as GC is concerned, Dumoulin is receiving a decent support. Yates and Froome are being better served and their formations look stronger (we already knew that). Add Astana if you please, although they aren’t at all in their previous form, López included, and they’re not playing all the cards they might, for now at least.
    But, then, Dumoulin is not being supported any worse than the other GC men in the current top 20. Surely, better than most. Which is also notable when you think that many of those other teams had a stronger line-up, on paper, at least for the mountains (Lotto-Jumbo, EF, Movistar, DD…).
    One might argue that as a TT man Dumoulin needed a more climber-heavy team to support him in the mountains. Not a bad point but, again, in the hardest stages there was no actual gregario in sight within a whole minute (!) from the winner – Chaves and Bilbao didn’t race as proper gregari.
    Oomen was actually the best gregario on Etna, Osimo and Sappada, Poels was on Gran Sasso and Zoncolan.
    And, anyway, it’s a bit of the Sagan thing again. If for whatever reason you choose not to sign for one of the very few richest team, you’ll hardly have top support. The good news is that in this Giro it looks that the course is levelling things out, from a team POV.

  15. Lots of interesting and healthy debate in the comments and another great preview thanks,

    The way this stage has fallen couldn’t have been better. Although they were clearly anticipating a TD, Froome showdown.

    Fantastic race and still 6 more stages. Come on Yatesy!

  16. “There is a light headwind, which Tom Dumoulin will be thankful for, though it is expected to slow as the day progresses. ….”

    so says CyclingNews… if so Katusha’s plan for an early advantage may not work for them, and Yates will be relieved…

  17. I can’t condemn TD for his words… He’s done the same kind of speech in the past: It’s part of TD’s persona / character to let the words express exactly what he’s feeling (regardless if he’s right or wrong).

    What a great edition of the Giro. Kudos to the course designers, and specially to the racers for making that happen.

      • I prefer the old fashioned take-it-on-the-chin ‘Well That’s Cycling’ rather than the ‘Telling It Like It Is’ thing that’s all the rage right now, personally.

        • Some people love the dutch for their frankness, others do not.

          I also think his quote isn’t being properly contextualized. The quote I read ended ‘but that’s racing’ or similar,so I’m really struggling to see what the polemica is about his comments.

  18. I fear that Yates has turned himself inside out so many times that it may eventually catch up with him, whereas Dumoulin’s (turbo-) diesel approach seems well-suited to the final week and it takes a lot for him to crack. Yates has been at a great level, but Dumoulin is still climbing as well as (or better than) Lopez, Pinot, Pozzovivo etc. and has a handy little kick to nab bonus seconds.

    Interested to see what Froome does – if he cares about a podium position then this is a great opportunity to gain on Pozzovivo and Pinot.

    • Agreed with most of what you say, although I think that Yates having a hard day in the final stages is a serious possibility, but not something outright probable.

      However, even if you’re right about Tom’s kick, I wouldn’t say that he’s been climbing as well as Pinot and Pozzovivo, let alone better than them: when it was about actual “climbing”, he was consistently behind and even got dropped. Sunday included, obviously.
      Perhaps López, who could even become an ally, who knows…
      A lot will depend on how Tom actually prepared himself for this Giro. Did he work more on series of climbs? Is he going to peak in the third week?

      Anyway, no need to say that the time he’s been losing isn’t comparable to what he’s going to gain over those guys in the ITT, I guess.

      • I must agree with Gabriele and Dave: Dumoulin looks as toasted as anyone. His ITT today was not his best, only 13 seconds better than an iffy Froome and 22 off the win. If he was flying he’d have walked the win today. Dumoulin does seem to lose an edge in ITTs that are deep into races, losing this one and the one at the end of the Giro last year too as well as one at the Tour in 2016 (to Froome) when he even had the luxury of preparing for it as he wasn’t racing for GC. Last year Dumoulin started to fall off the back on a climb or too so my guess is he drops before Yates does. Yates can defend now anyway so no need to attack 18kms from home anymore.

        • And today he lost those 22″ against a man who’s not sparing himself either, since he’s trying hard to punch a little above his weight going for a hard GC in a hard GT (Dennis).

      • In terms of Dumoulin getting dropped, I find it difficult to judge whether he’s suffering or simply riding to his power meter to avoid going into the red with the changes in tempo of the “pure” climbers – he’s really not lost much time to Pinot and Pozzovivo on climbs at all.

        I’m sure the narrative at the start of the race was that Dumoulin was partially “riding into form”, given his lack of his high-end racing this year, but I agree that he’s looking pretty tired now! Will be interesting to see what he and Sunweb will now try to crack Yates.

  19. In the Dutch press Dumoulin talked down his chances, saying he would have like a hillier, more technical course. Jos van Emden on the other hand was ecstatic and think this course suits him even better than last year’s in Milan.

  20. Yates fancies a relatively low cadence while climbing, too, but… 58 x 11 ? o__O
    I guess they’re very confident about a tailwind.

  21. “Next there’s the podium with five characters in search for three places, a Pinarello knock-off.”

    That’s what thought I read, I swear!

  22. TTs have always been the most predictable part of cycling. Dennis, Martin, Dumoulin, Van Emden, Froome and Aru. I have rarely been more surprised in following cycling since De Vlaeminck, Thevent, Gimondi and Merckx. A course made for a big, powerful rouleur and the skinny climber whose morale should be at rock bottom comes in sixth!

  23. Clearly all the couch statisticians (self included) were wasting their time with their calculations. I didn’t read anyone who thought Yates would only lose 1.15 (half of what I said at the outside). Yates has clearly improved and TD was a little shy of his best. Yatesy’s to lose now.

    • Apparently conditions were favorable for a rider like Yates (read: small). Anything but a tail wind, and I suspect the result would have been at least slightly different.

    • It was interesting when I posted Cillian Kelly’s estimates the other day and was assured by certain commentators here that this was totally wrong and TD would take several minutes out of Yates, but if anything Kelly’s prediction was too conservative. If a rider wins a grand tour by managing their fatigue better than their rivals, then Yates is the sure bet to win this Giro as he looks less cooked than his main GC rivals.

      • It’s not that they were wrong, it’s that they made no sense ^__^

        And, as I anticipated above, it’s very typical that you can get a prediction which apparently works through a totally wrong process. In this case, for example (and, again, as I reported above), including two ITTs in which Yates was a junior rider against a superior category – which is pure nonsense – helped to *reduce* the other mistake because they swayed the figures in opposite direction.
        I suppose that you know that octopus which could predict the results of some football World Cup some time ago…

        Crossing the results against other contenders, we can say that Yates had a good ITT (not a monstre one) and Dumoulin a mediocre one (not a terrible one). And the result is totally consistent with that interpretation.

        PS Obviously, Kelly’s approach was totally wrong, but, as I also wrote beforehand, so were those users expecting more 5″/km – or more! – which was sheer nonsense.

  24. An interesting battle for 3rd now. (Will Sky prioritise the team award or the 3rd podium spot?)

    Yates needs to just stay on his bike and not be goaded into meaningless reckless descents in the rain.

    Dumoulin hasn’t done a Grand Tour in a full year and I think that’s starting to show… no TT domination suggests he’s feeling it now.

    (Bernal in the TdF? Surely not, Geraint Thomas needs experience around him, given smaller teams and doubly so if Froome’s banned.)

    • The sprinting talent in the Tour of California might have been thick but the climbing talent was very thin. Bernal is an exciting prospect, but overcoming TVG isn’t the greatest of achievements in pro cycling. Plus Sky might prefer Thomas as he’s both properly British and not currently the subject of any ongoing legal issues.

      • A GT will be too much for him, I’d agree. But overcoming TVG is not the greatest achievement by Bernal. He overcame the likes of much better riders in Oro yPaz or Romandie….like Quintana, Uran, Henao or Porte.

      • I disagree. Bernal should be given a chance. Granted he has years ahead of him and will surely be a serial grand tour challenger in time but, as the saying goes, if you’re good enough, you’re old enough. He wouldn’t be going as the GC guy in any case and if he ends up doing well, what’s the downside of that?

        We should note that Bernal hasn’t just beaten (better, destroyed) Tejay either. In Colombia Oro y Paz he beat Quintana (Nairo and Dayer), Uran, Sergio Henao and Alaphilippe. In Catalunya he was about to beat Quintana (Nairo again), Yates (the one about to win the Giro), Soler, George Bennett, Kruisjwijk and Pinot before he crashed shortly before the line. In the Tour de Romandie he beat Porte, Fuglsang, Costa, Kruijswijk, Dennis, Dan Martin and Ion Izaguirre. That’s not a bad list of people to beat and includes grand tour winners and possibly soon to be grand tour winners. Not a bad resume.

  25. Here’s something I’ve been wondering: it’s become part of our discourse that small people are shit at time trialling, in the same way as big [in mass] people are shit at climbing. [I say this as a shortarse who could easily do with losing a few kg, so am shit at both…].

    How are these affected by the UCI bike rules? For example, the weight rule means that Yates has to carry ~10% of his total weight in a bike up a hill, but for TD it’s maybe 8-9%. So the short guy is punished in this sense. For time trialling it’s more subtle, sort of surface area/kg. But if you look at Yates’ position on the bike, he just can’t get as low in a head relative to ass sense as some of the TT guys — who are bigger and can get their elbows lower. What’s the fixed point in this? It’s a fixed wheel size, and presumably some rule about how low the handlebars can go relative to this. In the days when smaller front wheel size was allowed was this fairer?

    Why are short people so persecuted?? 🙂

    • And helmets. That extraweight is also more punishing for lighter riders! 😛
      It’s a whole conspiration we need to fight against.

    • weeclarky,

      I can relate… My bike is over somewhere around 11% – 12% of My body weight and it’s illegal at 14.92lbs. I’m about 135.8 coming out of winter at 9,000’+ above sea level. Fighting weight 133lbs. but I’m not a fighter.

      They absolutely have to lower the minimum weight limit. It’s horrid. From antiquated days of steel.

      Because of that crime, We have bikes with disc brakes etc. which is controversial on top of it. Not limited to disc’s either.

      It’s further proof that those in positions of trust aren’t doing their due diligence. This issue has been put off for so long it should be the 1st order of business, tomorrow.

      I need to calm down.

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