The Moment The Giro d’Italia Was Won

Chris Froome attacks on the Colle delle Finestre. Simon Yates has imploded, Domenic Pozzovivo has cracked and Tom Dumoulin and Thibaut Pinot watch as Froome goes solo. They will chase on the road to the Jafferau but slowly Dumoulin loses his virtual lead and Froome takes the overall lead.

Italy can’t form a government and the Giro d’Italia holds a mirror up to the country: beautiful, chaotic, elegant, serious, creative, shambolic. Its these contradictions that enrich the country and the race alike. This time the race started outside of Italy, a nice little earner. They went, we saw, RCS banked the cash and based on quotes from Sylvan Adams, the billionaire behind the Jerusalem start, possibly paid for Chris Froome to start when he otherwise would not have. If so Froome started for the cash and finished with the pink jersey.

The Israel start mixed politics with sport and meant loud conversations about politics dominated the build-up but besides there wasn’t much to write home about during the brief visit. Tom Dumoulin won the opening stage ahead of Rohan Dennis and half the action happened prior to the race with Froome crashing during a practice ride. The following day clever peloton politics saw a conspiracy at an intermediate sprint to get Rohan Dennis in the overall classification. Perfect sense for all given Sunweb had bigger aims and BMC signalled they didn’t. Dennis had a good race, next we’ll see if he can target and take the GC in week long stage races.

It was a race of monopolies with five stage wins for Mitchelton-Scott, five for Quick Step plus the points jersey, the GC and mountains to Team Sky and crumbs for everyone else. But not for the want of trying, stages suitable for breakaways were ridden “full gas” rather than piano piano. Elia Viviani won the two sprint stages in Israel and two more plus the points jersey. The best sprinter in the race. Sam Bennett had a great Giro too, his three wins will count for plenty, he lost in Israel because he seemed nervous and under pressure to win, often launching too early. Once he had a win he became more patient, biding his time and often quicker than Viviani in the final even if he lacked an imposing lead out train.

Tim Wellens took a good stage win and earlier this year had been making noises about targeting the GC in grand tours and the Giro is probably his ideal race given he dislikes the heat but to do this would mean questioning his spring classics campaign and since he’s been winning since January this year going on into May was a big ask and on the subject of Lotto-FixAll a salute to Adam Hansen who has finished his 20th consecutive grand tour. Enrico Battaglin won in Santa Ninfa, a win for Lotto-Jumbo.

Etna was the first summit finish and the day saw fierce racing as a large group pulled away including Esteban Chaves who would win the stage with a little help from Simon Yates. Yates’s move to jump from the group of contenders across to Chaves was strong and bold, he risked towing rivals across to his team mate but he made such a decisive acceleration that nobody could follow and Yates rode into the maglia rosa.

This began a display of dominance from Yates. Richard Carapaz won on Montevergine while Froome crashed going uphill, down but not out, not even losing time but contributing paragraphs to the stories about his misery. The next day on the Gran Sasso Yates won with apparent ease ahead of Thibaut Pinot and Domenico Pozzovivo with Froome losing a minute.

Froome bounced back to win on the Zoncolan. He was the only rider to recon the climb in the spring and if this doesn’t provide much of an advantage it’s still curious just how many big names were targeting the race yet didn’t visit in advance. Froome’s win confounded everyone, he’d looked out of sorts but had now won on an unrelenting climb, this was no sneak attack or lucky break, he had the best VAM, the most W/kg. Could he win? People started to ask the question but in the moment people were left scratching their heads and paying more attention to Yates distancing everyone else, he put thirty seconds into Dumoulin to lead by almost a minute and a half, passing his first Alpine test with ease. The next day Yates was more than two minutes up after going solo in the final 20km to Sappada, it looked almost reckless to attack from so far out on a tricky road but he was determined to exploit the descent and Pinot and Dumoulin were getting their first taste of frustration with Lopez and Carapaz as the pair marked each other for the white jersey competition meaning they struggled to contain Yates and to put more time into the dropped riders behind them including Froome.

Tom Dumoulin, Sappada

The Rovereto time trial saw Dumoulin narrow his deficit to Yates but he was still behind. Dumoulin never had a scintillating day, he was consistent and willing to attack at times but seemed psychologically beaten by Yates, accepting reality that Yates was quicker uphill and banking the time bonuses. Dumoulin never had an “Oropa moment” when last year Nairo Quintana looked back to see a bright pink maglia rosa surging out of the shadows on the wooded climb to Oropa and conceded the stage victory to the Dutchman. It’d be wrong to say Dumoulin lost the race, he never threw the lead away but when Yates was defenestrated on the Finestre things looked perfect for Dumoulin with Pozzovivo dropped and a three minute advantage over Froome on GC, suddenly the aces fell into his lap. So even when Froome attacked on the sterrato section Dumoulin had a cushion of time manage. Only that cushion was like an inflatable one with a puncture and even on the descent of the Finestre the air was hissing out for him. Replay the stage and he probably couldn’t follow Froome up the Finestre nor take back much time on the descent but what if Dumoulin had not waited with Pinot or Reichenbach but set off in solo pursuit of Froome? Maybe he might not have got across but he could have limited the damage and got in the maglia rosa that evening instead. He could have equally blown up and been caught. What was also missing was a team mate, while Froome had used up his team mates like booster rockets trying to place him in orbit Dumoulin lacked lieutenant by his side.

Froome was always hiding in plain sight. The chart above shows the GC standings in seconds relative Chris Froome across the 21 stages. As much as a moment where the race was won he was never out for good. While he was behind on GC he was never eliminated from the contest, he just didn’t look like an eventual winner with Simon Yates so at ease. Once Yates imploded and Pozzovivo cracked the path opened up for Froome. While Yates won the stage to Sappada Pinot and Dumoulin were getting their first taste of frustration as Lopez and Carapaz marked each other for the white jersey competition and this allowed the group behind them which contained Froome to get within 40 seconds of them. The more Yates won and took time the less people talked about Froome, other than to remark he’d lost his mojo, for example losing time in a split on the uphill finish to Osimo was something not normally seen during Froome’s time at the Tour de France.

Miguel Ángel López finishes third overall and as the chart shows he had an even worse start than Chris Froome with crashes, splits and mishaps but he too turned things around on the Zoncolan and had a good third week in the Alps and while the others fell away. He’s still 24 and built on his Vuelta success and once again showed us he has the stamina and recovery for a grand tour.

Yates imploded but you can imagine he’s already making plans for the Vuelta and deciding whether to do the Giro next year or try Tour de France, and which team to sign for too. All these luxurious choices and he’s still 25. His loss this time wasn’t as tragic as Steven Kruijswijk’s crash into the snow atop the Colle d’Agnello, the Dutchman may never get as close again but time is on Yates side. Will he become a star? It’s not just a palmarès, the Italian media were trying to get interesting quotes and stories from him but found it hard at times with his short and direct responses to their questions. What team he rides for remains to be seen and he’ll be a cornerstone up the transfer market, teams building their roster around him and those that try but don’t sign him will be shopping for others.

This has to be Froome’s most memorable GC win. What do you remember of Froome’s Tour de France triumphs? The knock out blows on a summit finish followed by Sky train strangling the race probably and if he attacked in 2016 down the Peyresourde and on the road to Montpellier these moves were anecdotal, earning him seconds when he took minutes in the time trials, a story of defensive racing. The Giro was altogether different and turning the tables late in the Alps was far more inventive. It was audacious but lucky in that Yates imploded so spectacularly. This was a Giro marked by several stars going supernova along the way, first Chaves then Aru, Yates and finally Pinot.

Fabio Aru carried the Italian hopes and dropped them. It’s not easy to perform on demand in a grand tour, especially in your home one when you’ve just changed teams. Only his problem is one of several lean years, two Giro podium places and then winning the Vuelta in 2015 only to regress results wise since. The Italian media tracked his every move and for weeks each morning’s newspaper stories had him pledging to turn things around tomorrow only it didn’t happen. Domenico Pozzovivo took up the mantle but never seemed to attract the media attention. He doesn’t court it either, not for him Pozzato-like laps of the start village or gatecrashing RAI’s Processo Alla Tappa post-stage chat show.

Pinot had a roller coaster race, despondent after the Rovereto time trial which saw him fall off the podium, elated after the Finestre climb and reaching Jafferau to find he could stand on the podium again only to collapse on the penultimate climb of the Giro and finish up in hospital rather than hospitality. What next? Notionally the Tour but will his heart be in it or even will he be healthy and ready?

Richard Carapaz was the revelation of the race. He’s been on the radar ever since second place in the Route du Sud last year coming second to Silvan Dillier in a mountainous race in the Pyrenees was not an obvious reference point. Notable mentions go to Ben O’Connor, a bright spot for Dimension Data but their disaster season continues as he crashed out on Stage 19 and stage winner Max Schachmann.

The Verdict
A gripping race and with some late plot twists. A hard Giro, perhaps the reduction to eight riders is a factor and it’s for those who rode both comparable to the 2015 edition for the way so few stages were piano (there were nine per team then). Simon Yates’s ease across all but the final two mountain stages took much of the suspense out of race, this was not a race where the maglia rosa kept changing shoulders and if the time trial was supposed to rebalance things it just narrowed the gap. Yates’s collapse turned the race upside down on the final weekend and his implosion was only one of several. Froome’s risk-taking made the final more dramatic but it’s countered by the administrative asterisk still hanging over him and will do until the ongoing AAF is settled. The risk is a 22nd stage held behind closed doors in the coming months. Were Froome to lose the Vuelta he should keep the Giro based on the wording of the WADA rules and precedents but this is the best guess, it’s uncertain. Perhaps the Giro shouldn’t have it any other way?


181 thoughts on “The Moment The Giro d’Italia Was Won”

    • Good point to mention him, a headstart after the whole team sat up to try and help Jacub Mareczko get through the Sicilian stages before he abandoned. A quiet race for them otherwise, hit by the absence of Pozzato who left to see his father before he died.

    • Sorry, not even close to Merckx or Hinault my friend. Not even close.
      But it was an entertaining race and Froome and SKY certainly earned this win, no matter how much I dislike them and believe Froome should never have been allowed to start.

      • As a GT rider, Frrome is definitely the match of those names. His wider palmares will never be but it could also be that theirs wouldn’t have been as impressive if they’d raced today.

        • He’s really not their match as a GT rider:

          Merckx 11 GT wins
          Hinault 10 GT wins
          Contador 7/9 GT wins
          Anquetil 8 GT wins
          Coppi 7 GT wins
          Indurain 7 GT wins
          Armstrong 0/7 GT wins
          Froome 4/5/6 GT wins.

          Depending on how many of his wins actually count, he’s either 7th, equal 7th or equal 10th on the list. But he needs at least 4 more wins to be on the same level as Hinault, let alone Merckx.

  1. Another outstanding Giro. I really thought Froome wouldn’t pull it off after that poor start but that stage 19 win was something else. The Landis comparison was inevitable but as Paolo Tiralongo said “No, this is not like Landis’ win. He’s Chris Froome, he’s not a donkey. He did a ride like Alberto Contador used to do.”

    The other outstanding thing of this Giro was the performance of Simon Yates. Between him and his brother I’m sure we will see several GT wins in the coming years (or even this one).

    And thank you Mr Inrng for your insightful and fair coverage; it is much appreciated.

  2. Fine margins in the end.
    *If* Dumoulin hadn’t waited for Reichenbach on the descent of the Finestre and *if* he had tried to TT his way back to Froome.
    Who knows?

    I thought RonDe’s assessment of Dumoulin to be very unfair; it took a perhaps once-in-a-lifetime effort from Froome to beat him.

    All in all, a great race. I think the Froome v Dumoulin ticket is the hottest in town – the gap between them is narrowing with every passing month it seems and it does invite and draw others in.
    I wonder how Quintana would have fared in this Giro, when Yates got so close?

    • I really wonder if Quintana doesn’t win this Tour De France whether he ever will?

      Not that it matters, he’s won a lot already and has come up against a superior rider in TDF so far – but I’d like to see him grab one. Then again, I’d prefer Bardet and few others to nab it ahead of him, then in the coming years, I find it so difficult to see him beating an opposition including the Yates brothers, Dumoulin and quite a few others, including Bernal if he turns out to be as good as he looks!

      • Bardet and Quintana are, to my mind, exactly examples of people who will NEVER win the TDF. This is the age if the chrono-climber. The supreme example is Froome. Dumoulin is in his mold if, as I have argued yesterday, less dynamic. Contador and Nibali are also examples of great climbers who are good against the watch, relatively speaking. Quintana has had FOUR goes now to beat Froome in France and he’s arguably got worse at it and not better. Bardet will never win while the race has a time trial at all. This year’s has a 35kms TTT and a 31kms ITT which means he effectively starts minutes down on the two riders mentioned here if they start the race. So Ecky Thump is right to say that Froome vs Dumoulin is the hottest ticket there is. And we’ve just seen how that goes.

        • I think it’s a bit much to say they never will. When Froome leaves the scene there’ll be a power vacuum for a couple of years until the next dominant rider appears in which the race could be wide open and an unexpected Riis/Pereiro/Sastre fills the gap. I’d imagine the ASO will be pretty keen for that to be Bardet (or Pinot or Barguil).

          • But note, Richard, that my point was not a Froome only point. “This is the age of the chrono-climber.” Dumoulin could easily win 5 more yet.

          • All it takes is a Vuelta-esque route with a short hilly TT and plenty of steep climbs. It can be done. Or for Dumoulin to be sick or injured.

          • RonDe I would argue that to win a GC you’ve always had to be a Chrono-climber as you put it. If you think of most if not all the GC greats they’ve been excellent TTers who are pretty good at climbing. But I agree, I can’t see Quintana, Bardet or any of the great climbers winning the Tour unless it has very little TT in it.

          • Froome vs Pantani would be an interesting grand tour if we were playing a game of “what ifs”. But I certainly take your point.

          • I’d agree to an extent – although there have been years when the routes have been so climber favoured that the TT is irrelevant. I think its true in the modern age due to a combination of power meters and mountain trains which stop the ‘chrono-climber’ from blowing up following the attacks.

        • I’d argue that the emergence of Dumoulin could be the making of Froome. Having an opponent who can outperform him in the TT will force him to be more attacking on the road. Defensive riding won’t work against Dumoulin and may help Froome win over a few of his critics.

        • Hang on – Movistar are great at TTT’s… what are you talking about? The beat Sky last time in TDF (Admittedly they had Castrovejo and Dowsett that time I believe… but they’re usually good – it’s actually a great point thinking over how they deal with Quintana, Valverde and Landa in the TTT?)

          I think Bardet has a win in him actually. As Richard S says, one year there might be a few crashes, a bit of luck and a mega descent attack – it’s possible.

          Quintana you feel deserves one but it’s harder to see. Despite Quintana’s results, I think Porte has a better chance if he can get back to last years form. I’d love to have seen last year if Porte’s form held till the end of the Tour.

          • They didn’t beat Sky last time Dave. The last TTT in the Tour was won by BMC with Sky fractions of a second slower because Froome dropped back to collect Nico Roche who had dropped on the last climb to the line.

          • With Movistar 3secs off that – come on… my point is still valid if Movistar with 3secs behind Sky?? And they finished on the exact same time as Sky in the Vuelta Stage 1 2016?

    • Considering Froome v Dumoulin, I’ve been thinking about what TD needs to focus on now to beat him (aside from his advancing years…).

      Froome has certainly targeted weak areas and developed them over his career. From this showing I think TD has 2 key areas of weakness that he could tackle:

      1) Hard 30s attacks. Yes, he can usually sit in and wind a rider back in, but there are occasions where he simply needs to have the ability to either attack/bridge fast or snap the elastic of a chase. He doesn’t seem to have this in the toolbox at the moment (or if he does he doesn’t use it)

      2) A true superdomestique. Ten Dam is a cool guy, Oomen looks a shout for a few years, but neither of them are at the level TD needs right now. If Sunweb are saving Kelderman for the Tour then fair enough, but maybe they need to make a call if (with their limited budget) they would rather have 2nd at the Giro and top 5 at the Tour (surely that’s his best case scenario?) or go all in for the top spot. Either that or find the cash to bring in someone else.

      • @Chris: agree 100%. Especially regarding 2) I think Sunweb have a decision to make regarding what kind of team they want to be, as Dumoulin is now firmly in a position where he can make demands about the support he gets.

        Sunweb’s budget probably doesn’t allow them to add a real ‘superdomestique’ without letting go someone first, so it’s probably time to let go of someone like Matthews and invest the budget that frees up on a climbing lieutenant. Not many around who are strong enough for that role though.

        • You’re right, re-balancing the roster is more realistic than finding additional funding. Matthews would probably make sense, and allow them to still have riders to contest in the classics.

          I must confess that in writing that post I looked at PCS to see who would be a good suggestion as a lieutenant, and came up a bit short for someone who didn’t have GC ambitions of their own.

          • He can add a lot to the classic squad as well.

            But as you say, provided you can convince him to stop pretending that he can win a GT and help him stay upright.

          • Not sure why G would leave Sky to be be Dumoulin’s lieutenant?

            Sure he’s more likely to be better paid at and he seems to be getting opportunities to do whatever he wants? Plus if you going to play second fiddle on either team you may as well do it at Sky as you’re most likely to be on the winning team? Why would you throw that in the be a domestique on another team?

  3. How will Froome cope against a rested Yates in the Tour? Adam Yates won’t have a Giro in his legs, and as Matt Hayman (I think it was) said after the Yates twins’ first season with the team now known as Mitchelson-Scott “We’re still trying to work out which of the twins is the better.”

  4. I loved seeing Froome ride up the Zoncolan and the Finestre. His mountainbike days were surely a factor in his success there, his high cadence works well at such low speeds. And even if I can understand some people being skeptic to his raid, I don’t think it was unbelieveable. In a cleaner field someone has to be the strongest, and in this case the rider with the upcoming formcurve seems reasonable. He was riding full-on at his own pace in non-draft-friendly terrain against effectively one tired Dumoulin, one Pinot on the verge of his own breakdown and one “old lady”. Not really like the Landis incident at all. On that day everyone in the cycling world knew what was happening and there was a ominous silence about it I recall.

    For me the moment the Giro was won, was when Dumoulin didn’t chase and waited for Reichenbach. I know it could have made sense strategically, but for a Grand tour master I think it was kind of unworthy. A bit embarassing to see the virtual Maglia Rosa wait for help like that. Dumoulin’s cool head has done him good before, but not this time. Yes he might have cracked, but I bet in hindsight he would rather have tried.

    Once again I have to tip my hat to Froome’s fighting spirit. All things aside, call him what you want: But he is the most determined rider in today’s peloton by a big margin.

    • Dumoulin said he waited for Reichenbach because in a 1-on-1 climbing battle with Froome he’d lose for sure, and in a *normal* situation, 5 guys can catch 1 battling headwinds in the valley on his own…

      • Yes you are right about the 5 to 1 guys in the headwind. But there was only up and down apart from perhaps 10k of false flats. And how much did Froome gain on those downhills? 2min?

        • Importantly, there were not 5 guys, but only 3 – or proabably 2.5 (or less!). Carapaz and Lopez did nothing at all and I think Pinot was more than half interested in distancing Dumoulin than helping him catch back to Froome. The evidence being Pinot’s repeated attacks in the early part of the final climb. Importantly, Pinot had another card to play -> Reichenbach – who could contribute on behalf of Pinot, so placating Dumoulin. If I had time I would love to work out the relative contributions of Dumoulin, Reichenback and Pinot.

          I am sure that Pinot – and his DS – may have thought he could have won the Giro too. Pozzovivo was loosing time (Yates totally out of it) so by forcing Dumoulin to do the majority of chasing the scenario of both Froome and Dumoulin cracking on the final climb might come into play. Given this, Froome taking 3 minutes out of a a non-functioning group, which contained two zero contributors and a self-confessed poor descender (Reichenbach) is not that incredible. Furthermore, while Reichenbach is a great rider he is nowhere near the TT capability of Froome (last year’s Giro Reichenbach was 15th in GC – so definitely riding – but lost 3 minutes to Van Emden over 29.3Km). Pinot has also showed poor TT form in the TT a few days earlier.

          In a flight of fancy, if I could run the stage again, I would get Dumoulin to follow Froome alone for a one on one time trial to the end. Both are very good TTers and so are experts at measuring their efforts. It is obviously impossible to say what would have happened, but it was quite telling that Dumoulin lost 20 seconds in the last 100-150 m of stage 19 after Carapaz, Lopez and Pinot had attacked. That’s a huge amount and showed Dumoulin’s fatigue even with the ‘help’ he received. If alone would he have fared better? One to discuss but never to know for sure.

    • Agree that TD wouldn’t do the same thing if he could have his time again, but there is one other factor in play, I feel. Namely that Froome, as a multiple winner was interested in first or nothing. Dumoulin, as a one-time winner, maybe doesn’t – yet – occupy that head space. A little too defensive when the cards had been scattered across the table by an act of folly.

      • Indeed.. Froome was all-in on a nothing to lose raid… even over the Finestre when gap was around 1min waiting for Reichenbach appeared to be the right choice.. more firepower to contain the move (who knows maybe Oomen, who was in the Pozzovivo group could make it across too?).. anyway.. obviously it played out differently.

        Tom did the right thing on Finestre to ride at his own pace and not try to follow that acceleration (a mini gap had already been formed with them strung out by Ellisonde anyway)… Pozzovivo is a good example – of someone who was following until that point, maybe the tempo was above his sustainable power… and then sharply went backwards until over the top, unable to get back onto the wheels of Dumoulin or Pinot… left to drag the third group over the climb.. and then he was stuck.

        Depends on how Tom was feeling after the Finestre… probably if he felt he had it in him, he could try to go on after Froome.. but the danger would indeed be blowing completely and giving an advantage to Pinot, and maybe even Carapaz/Lopez.

  5. Obviously Froome’s attack worked, and the team’s calculations worked perfectly. You also mentioned the luck in Yates’ implosion.

    But .. I’m not sure if I agree that Froome was ‘hiding in plain sight’ throughout the Giro. Yes, the graph might make it seem that way. But he and the team must really have thought his chance was gone mid-way through, when he was shipping seconds here and there. That is not how they’re used to racing, and there were a lot of others to overhaul, not just Yates.

    I reckon that in the moment he attacked, the feeling was more ‘I’ve got nothing to lose’ rather than ‘I need precisely 3 minutes to get a 30sec lead over Dumoulin.’ You can’t plan that.

    But whatever, credit to him I guess for going for it.

    In general, an amazingly exciting grand tour.

    • I agree, the attack on the Finestre was more worth trying rather than a calculation made over breakfast, they would not have known both Yates and Pozzovivo would crack and that Dumoulin could not chase enough.

      • Isn’t that the promised beauty of a further full-on Froome v Dumoulin showdown though, that the TT may never again be so utterly responsible for Froome coming out on top?
        Froome may be forced to attack more, and of course the climbers have to do likewise and, in turn, may profit from Froome’s daring-do?
        Dumoulin’s emergence has given the GT an added dynamic, I feel. Certainly when Froome is in direct opposition.

        If I were Chris Froome, as happy as he must feel right now, I wonder if in a day or two a slight worry may cloud his mind as to how tough this victory was made to achieve?

        • You are right Ecky. Dumoulin’s presence will force Froome to concentrate more on winning climbs and stages rather than merely staying in the elite group and waiting for the chrono. But that’s not good news for the pure climbers who will either crack, as some did here, or end up even further behind overall. But one wonders how many times Dumoulin will want to face Froome now seeing what has happened. It must hurt your confidence to know a guy minutes back so comprehensively shatters the gulf that was between you. There are easier people to beat. and you need the team to do it. If Dumoulin had had even one team mate on stage 19 he might now be the double champion.

          • I’m fascinated to see what happens to Froome next.

            Something I don’t think was highlighted enough during this Giro is his fear factor, looking at Dumoulin massage after Stage 19, you can see the aura Froome comes with.

            And thinking over his attack (completely agree with Anonymous above) – not only was there a lot of luck involved (Mitchelton chasing down the break, waiting for Reichenbach etc), it’s also possible that it being Froome in particular played with people’s heads.

            Now that’s going to get even worse – if he’s 7th on a GC and there’s a short stage, a windy stage etc he’ll always be on people’s mind.

            And yet – I wonder where his body is right now?
            Gabriele highlighted his training regime had hinted at something like this.
            Is that because he knows he’s lost the top-speed/short-burst climbing legs these days – or was it specifically to counter Dumoulin as he saw a weakness over long distance climbs?
            Is he able to follow on the short sharp finishes any more?
            Are his TT legs waning?

            I think all the above can be argued against and for quite easily, maybe he is still superman – it’s just I had been thinking his top level climbing was weakening for a while, and now I’m not so sure but I still expect to see him dropped at times during the tour.

            I’m just not quite sure where his strengths are currently.

      • True, but Portal’s comments suggest that Sky ‘knew’, or at least had a shrewd idea that Yates would explode in the third week.

        • Chuffy.. common sense would make it quite likely, that Yates’ amazing first week would tail off the further into the race we got.

    • Definitely this.. although i’d credit Portal and the SKY tacticians to have come up with the idea of making it such a fine selection until the gravel part that the subsequent 80km would be played out mano-a-mano, with Froome having an advantage for being first over the top. We’ve seen it before with Aru vs. Bertie that the Finestre can really make a difference and reduce the group to leader against leader and it didn’t disappoint, even despite being so far from the finish this year. That’s credit to SKY for blowing it apart.

      It was a nothing-to-lose move, but played out correctly, on the road it would be decided whether to push on and go for Pink or not. It was pretty clear once seeing the chatting Dumoulin and Pinot, that while the gap wasn’t a threat at the time, Froome would be in pink by the stage finish.

      It’s interesting how many races have been decided this year by against-the-odds solo attacks.. Nibali in Sanremo, Sagan at Roubaix, Terpstra’s Flanders, Froome here.. i’m not sure its down to reduced team numbers or just weak tactic/lack of confidence/willingness to work from the chasing groups.. but it seems that this year favours the brave and bold who’re willing to risk everything.

  6. I know it is difficult to argue that the moment Chris Froome powered away from Tom Dumoulin et al on the Finestre was not the “moment the race was won” but I think the moment where Chris Froome accelerated around the GC group on the climb to Prato Nevoso has an equal claim. For the first time in the race Simon Yates showed weakness and the others knew they were in with a chance, I suspect Simon Yates knew it too.

    Despite the all the acclaim, I think CF’s ride on Stage 19 was more about planning, the best option in the circumstances albeit with an element of risk rather than old fashioned daring do. It required great self belief and ability to pull off but he rode within himself, conscious of the need to hold something in reserve for the following day.

    Chris Froome’s achievement in winning three consecutive GTs is a monumental one and not likely to be repeated soon. Team Sky themselves must also be congratulated, yes they have more money than anyone else but the support CF has received from his team mates and back room staff has been outstanding.

    I thought Tom Dumoulin rode an excellent race , he was better in the third week than he was last year, at the end he was more than 4 minutes in front of the rest of the field. He was simply beaten by an exceptional rider. Maybe if he had a team mate or another really strong rider such as Vincenzo Nibali or Mikel Landa with him on the Finestre they might have kept CF within striking distance. I doubt it and also Chris Froome had the chance on the next stage to take more time. There are times when there is nothing you can do, the number of times where you will be faced with a once in a career ride from an exceptional rider will be clearly be very few in number, he will be back to compete in other GTs. He does need a Wout Poels or Geraint Thomas to ride with him though.

    As always the best cycling website around.

    • I really don’t think you can say that.

      You’re talking about the difference between when the opportunity to win the race arose (Yates looking tired, Froome looking good) and the actual race was won. Especially as this was a race which was won rather than lost

      (I see the point below on Stage 15 and the group not putting time into Froome but it would be a shame when a race has had an attack like Froome and really had the leadership wrestled away not to award it to the moment that happened? I also think the counter argument to the Stage15 point that Sky still had the final stage to put the boot into Dumoulin had he had any seconds on that final stage means both are hypothetical and really you can’t escape Finestre as being where the race was won).
      Yes Yates lost time on stage 19 and the race was back on, but it wasn’t won there. It was won during the Finestre stage no doubt.

      You can be specific and say the descent or you can say the moment Froome dropped Dumoulin – either are valid as one is where the elastic probably broke, but the other is where it all began – but it has to be where the race was won.

      • After watching a lot of the GTs over the past 7 or 8 years (possibly far too much time watching the French / Italian / Spanish countryside roll by listening to Sean Kelly and Carlton Kirby burble away inanely…..) one thing that strikes me is that there is almost always a moment when the momentum changes decisively. Often it is only clear in retrospect sometimes not. One example would be Tom Dumoulin’s victory at Oropa last year. Plenty of others eg Chris Froome in the crosswinds into Montpellier, Vincenzo Nibali in Sheffield. In this race I thought initially Simon Yates winning on Gran Sasso was one such moment but had second thoughts. It might not be the actual “winning move” but they are the moment when the eventual winner establishes their hold over the race. Tom Dumoulin’s final TT last year is a good example, it was clear the race was his if he could deliver because of what he had done before, though it technically was the “moment the race was won”.

        Here the momentum was with Simon Yates until that precise moment when Chris Froome rode by and he could not respond. Suddenly everything changed. Not just in the media but in the teams (see the Sunweb video linked below), they had confirmation he was vulnerable, something they had suspected but didnt quite believe. In all probability SY would have still cracked on the lower slopes of the Finestre but would the other teams have had the belief to take advantage in quite the same way?

        The other “moment” was that Sunweb and Tom Dumoulin had assumed in advance that Chris Froome would ride away and that Simon Yates “was gone”. Their belief was that if they could keep his lead to under a minute at the top of the Finestre, all would be under control, he would be bought back / kept in sight and they would be where they wanted to be, in Pink. Clearly the wrong decision, Chris Froome rode away to victory.

  7. I respect the way Froome took this race. If He wins in France w/Skybot style racing it will not be the same.

  8. Terbutaline lost to Salbutamol. When doper Yates was in the pink and still managed to look as if he had just pedaled down to the store to pick up some milk I starting losing interest in watching. When doper Froome took off like that I switched off and that was the last time I will ever watch pro cycling. I have cut my media consumption re cycling races to one single point, that being inrng. When you learn how it’s money and not fair competition that rules this sport then it is no longer a sport. Bike manufacturers take note, consumers are quickly losing their appetite for watching this lie, and that will hurt sales.

    • You say that, anotherdavid, but presumably if Saint Tom had won you’d be championing the idea that clean cycling won over dirty cycling, right? Now let me share something with you. This was, according to my timing source, the fastest Giro on record. Its “proof of cheating”, right? Froome is the fastest winner of the Giro ever (a stat which needs the context that every course is different and in the old days the peloton used to slow ride until they were on TV but bear with me). Yet if Dumoulin is the winner and not Froome then Tom is STILL the fastest winner of the fastest Giro and 46 seconds back is a miniscule percentage of difference overall. But now those who see only cheating don’t have the cheat narrative anymore because Tom is a saint, a member of MPCC, no less.

      So the people who think cycling is black and white need to pony up and rethink their narrative. Some will go down the too easy “they all cheat” route. But that’s not satisfactory either. Even in the darkest days some weren’t. Yet if one guy who some people spit “cheat” at is fractions of a percent better than a guy most seem to think is Mr Wonderful but BOTH are doing outstanding, unprecedented feats the “cheat” narrative simply won’t wash. We are not here seeing guys who don’t pay for their efforts. Every single rider in the race has had a painface and some GC guys were totally cracked by the effort required. So I’m happy if the cynics loudly protest that they are going away. Such inadequate descriptions of events as you would give simply ruin it for those who are less liable to rush to judgment and who seek more nuanced explanations of events than unsubstantiated assumptions and ignorant pronouncements.

      • Why would you assume I would cheer the exploits of a different rider had he won? To assume that is real ignorance. History is an apt source of learning, for those who are not ignorant. Perhaps the true meaning of the word has escaped you, RonDe.

        • Because the statement “When you learn how it’s money and not fair competition that rules this sport” implies that. Sunweb aren’t rich and they are in the MPCC. These seem to be your criteria of fairness. Yet now you imply this doesn’t matter either. You are, as Derrida might have observed, deconstructing yourself.

    • You surprise me on several counts.

      Lack of understanding of the purpose and administration of TUEs.

      Belief that asthma drugs turn riders into supermen (for a while at least).

      Belief that bicycle and component manufacturers, and the consumers of such, care so much about the health of pro cycling.

      The implication that pro cycling is the only tainted corner of the sporting pantheon not worthy of your viewing presence because of perceived or real PED abuse by the top exponents. Which pro sports are more credible?

      That there was once a time when was pro cycling believable.

      I’ll be watching and buying bike related products precisely because of the exploits of Yates, Froome, Dumoulin, Pinot etc. because I know how unimaginably hard it is to perform like they do and appreciate the entertainment they provide.

    • I’m not sure if you’re aware David but cycling has been on a wave of popularity in Britain for several years now. In the UK, at least, bike sales are going up not down. Premium brands like Rapha sell kit at ridiculous prices and people buy it. Eurosport seem to report increased viewing figures of grand tours after every latest edition. So perhaps don’t presume to speak for everyone just yet. It comes off a bit… over the top.

    • If Yates is doping then he’s not very good at it. Blowing up that spectacularly is pretty decent proof that he’s au naturel and by that stage had exhausted his energy stores. But I don’t suppose that’s as good a story.

    • This is like full trolling? And you say you like INRNG?
      Most comments come armed with a better grasp of the facts.

      Especially the hysterical note that it’s ‘money and not fair competition that rules this sport’…
      Errr? La Vie Claire? Bernard Tapie… super teams bankrolling-over other teams as far back as the 80s (and before)… You must have been asleep you’re entire life?

      And then you remember every other sport except possibly Mongolian wrestling has its own issues with money – Have a look who won the top football league in Europe this season – Bayern Munich (7th time in a row), Juventus (5th time in a row), Barcelona, Man City, PSG… they all have something in common. Likewise F1, you’re not even going to get into F1 if you’re not born with cash or in a well-developed country… and the list goes on…

      Less doping chat more race analysis.

    • Anotherdavid – I’m assuming you’ll never watch any sport again, because believe me, cycling isn’t the only one that uses products to stay strong.

      With that being said, Yates blowing up the way he did is an indication he isn’t a pharmaceutical miracle. NB: I said indication, not proof he isn’t doping.

  9. anotherdavid,
    Terbutaline lost to Salbutamol.
    Thanks for bringing it down to the basics.
    I’m a cyclist and I love all this but…

  10. The moment the Giro was won was on Stage 15 when all the contenders had Froome on the ropes and Pozzovivo, Lopez and Carapaz decided not to work with Dumoulin to increase the gap. Those three were not at their limit, witness the attack they made on Dumoulin near the finish. If those three wheelsuckers had taken even one pull on that stage or several other stages for that matter Froome would have had a much larger time deficit to overcome.

    • Good point, it’s made above too but at the time Dumoulin-Pinot-Lopez-Carapaz were all focused on each other and probably had no idea where Froome was altough the acceleration up the climb just before in part happened because of a split in the field on the descent, the did initially pick up the pace precisely to distance Froome.

      • Oh, man. I loved those two guys. Were they thought as wheelsuckers at the time? I loved how Parra looked like he was 45yo. Loved the Kelme kits back then too.

    • -1 Bruce
      That’s not the deciding point. You cannot go negative on tactics and win. Each of those individuals had their own race and effort to give. They may have had a sprint in their legs, but if they had done so earlier, and no wheel sucked, could they have stayed away from diesel Dumoulin? In their own estimation no.
      Equally, the point with stage 19 was that it was all or nothing. Froome May have lost another 40 seconds on that stage and would still have won the Giro. Everything is a calculation at the time.

      Btw – I totally discount TD’s comments about Reichenbacher on that stage. He may have assisted TD, but he knew he didn’t have the legs alone to chase Froome, and he probably feared the idea that he might blow up on his own, be leap frogged by Pinot, or blow up on stage 20 (which he did anyway). So his comments were most likely in frustration. Although he no doubt expected attacks from Froome and Pinot in his mind he was riding to Pink once Yates went.

  11. Not gonna say a thing about the outcome except:
    • Patrick Konrad!
    • Anyone see Chavez getting lapped in Rome? Does that mean DNF?

  12. I imagine the happiest people in the world now other than Froome are Nibali/Porte/Quintana who will be anticipating a tired Froome turning up in July. And it will be interesting to see if Adam Yates follows his brother in stepping up to be a genuine contender rather than top 10 finisher.

    I enjoyed seeing a scrappy Froome struggling to get on top rather than starting out dominant and then having 8 Sky riders not so much set pace but rather crush the peloton into submission which has been the story of the last few years. Although I think Yates would have proved a more popular winner.

    And chapeau to Adam Hansen for his 20 Grand Tours in a row, he’s an icon of cycling, a sport that elevates suffering to nobility.

    • Agree on all your points and cannot wait to see how Froome performs in July. Perhaps he has only really had 5 super tough days this Giro though…?

      I also have some allegiance to J Evans’ suspicion that Quintana is a lot older than we are being told.

      How will Nibali cope having seen Froome successfully execute a Nibaliesque attack?

      Porte, if he starts like last year brilliant – 3 weeks – not this time.

      Cycling and mountaineering both have a body of literature that celebrates suffering like no other sports, probably due to the influence of gravity and the elements on success. Long may it continue, extreme weather protocol or not.

        • Come on, guys. Are you really going to start asking for birth certificates à la Trump? And it’s not three days younger, it’s more like 2.5 weeks.

      • I rate Porte’s chances of winning as zero. As good as he is, he’s very unlucky and seems to have poor judgement at key moments.

        Nibali has to be favourite, though I would love Bardet to win. People talk about these TT time deficits, but as we have just seen, they do enable riders to attack without being marked. Going down to eight riders may mean that he can pull off the front more easily and make more time in the mountains. Admittedly I think the stars need to align for him.

        Chapeau to Froome. Who knows how much he took out of himself. If he was on an upcycle of form, it may yet be possible for him to rest and then build into form again. If so, he’ll be unstoppable. But I think 3 in a row makes the next TdF too much (happy for him to prove me wrong) and so I go with the other favourites.

        • right with you on Nibali…. tricky first 10 days, cobbles etc, it’s going to be 2014 all over again.
          And he hardly seems to get a mention with everyone banging on about Froome, Bardet and the 3 movistar no-hopers constantly… it’s going to be fascinating to see who expects who to do some work out of those 3.
          I’m slightly concerned about his team tho…

  13. I think this result somewhat puts to bed the thought that the Sky train matters. What matters is Froome. Sure Elissonde help drop some guys but if anyone else was on his tiny wheel it wouldn’t have worked. Just like the Postal train, this train doesn’t win races, elite talent etc wins races.

    • The team did matter. Sky were very active on the flat stage into Isco after the TT. This “should” have been a relatively easy day but turned into a stressful one for MS (Matt White has admitted that Simon Yates was tired by this point from his efforts on the stage into Sappada and the TT, they really wanted a quiet day but didnt get it). On Prato Nevoso, Wout Poels drove the pace and then provided Chris Froome, Tom Dumoulin and Domenico Pozzovivo with additional impetus after Simon Yates was dropped. On stage 19, Sky drove the pace in the breakaway, which MS felt they had to expend energy closing down (a good number of pros think this was a mistake). Then Sky took up the pace on the lower slopes, dropping SY in the process. Finally Kenny Elissonde (who had done little in the whole race up to this point) set a searing pace over the gravel to allow Chris Froome to launch his long range effort. The “Sky mountain train” might not have been much in evidence but perhaps the Giro does not lend itself to that tactic?

      Three week stage racing is most definitely a team sport, it is arguable that Chris Froome won and Tom Dumoulin came second because Sunweb, Sam Oomen aside, were not up to the job of supporting him. No doubt, in the end, Sky were up to the job of supporting Chris Froome.

      • “The “Sky mountain train” might not have been much in evidence but perhaps the Giro does not lend itself to that tactic?”

        I think Froome has said as much in post-race interviews. He’s now saying he never did the race before because it was too hard and it was not suited to his “lead from the front” skill set. He’s also called it his hardest challenge because of that too. However, the one time there was a “Sky train” Froome did win the race.

        • There’s much in what you say. The sharp gradients and slower climbing nullify the Sky train. It also does little for the competitors as they don’t get much benefit from wheel sucking.

          Although Sky riders were in evidence at times, Poels in particular, they were all across the mountain and of little use to Froome.

          Interestingly though, you’ll note that they had the combined best team time, so they were not slouches.

  14. Inrng great job over the last 3 weeks ( and every thing else)

    To state it again screw the chicken littles that won’t join mpcc and help the sport instead we have this aura of falsehood that will never go away.

    If Wada was good enough we wouldn’t need the mpcc.

    I don’t dispute that Froomes performance was great.

    I also realize that this a heavily British read site so with expectation to get totally flamed why do Wiggins, Yates and Froome all have asthma and a suspicion of cheating.

    • Interesting phrase, a “suspicion” of cheating. Not a “proof” of cheating then. Not a “demonstration” of cheating.

    • Can we stick to the race and racing rather than reviving the trial of Bradley Wiggins etc via the blog comments. Unless someone has new information it’ll likely lead nowhere except to bad tempers.

      • Thank you inrng for commenting. If I may be so bold, I would just like to add that the potential for illicit behaviour is a pan-human trait that knows no borders. Let us loose the petty nationalism and engage in a collective hug.

        (See what I did there?)

    • Why should having athsma imply cheating? For most pro-cyclists with asthma, the condition has been caused by their being pro cyclists! Exercise induced asthma is common amongst elite athletes, who are at least five times more likely to have asthma than “the man in the street”. It is particularly prevalent amongst those who have to suck in cold damp air. So amongst the research results that have been published is one that shows that 70% of the British Olympic Swimming team had EIA and another that shows that half of elite cross country skiers suffer from it. It has been estimated that around a third of pro cyclists suffer from it. That doesn’t necessarily mean they are taking anything for it, but if they are, we wouldn’t really know since most (including Salbutamol) don’t need a TUE for dosages up to 800 micrograms over 12 hours.

      • Facts! Thanks very much — and in excellent tune with Inner Ring. I’m just a non-rider/watcher/fan, with nothing like the knowledge of most of the commenters here, but — like others — I want to thank Inner Ring for posts and comments that have become almost inseparable from enjoying daily coverage of the riders and races. Bravo, and bravi!

  15. Aru = Cunego???

    Not a Sky or Froome Sympathiser…. but… has Dumuolin or Lopez been asked about what drugs they are taking during this race? Is there anything on their medical dossier, or any of the other top 10 riders, now that would be true transparency.

    Cycling really does struggle with credibility not only from us supporters but every mainstream media story will mention something somewhere.

    Wouldn’t it be really nice if we just saw the medical submittals for each team on a daily basis, they have to declare what they are taking after all. Of course its not a sure fire way of innocence, but it would help on a race by race basis.

    On a more positive note, great to see younger riders and new names coming through, Yates, Carapaz, Lopez, G Bennett, O’Connor. Theses guys seem to like attacking generally, so the future looks bright.

    Now if only the Tour could channel some of the Giros route making!

    • I’d say Froome = Cunego in 2004. However with much brighter career before and after this Giro. And parallels to Landis are more than appropriate. However we know what happened to Landis later, directly impacting that particular infamous stage. As much as I dislike Froome for his unaesthetic riding style and tactics, being in my view a complete counter commercial for cycling sport, he gained a lot in my eyes based on what he did in this Giro. Should we assume the biological passport serves its purpose, whatever happens Froome will be a definite winner of this TdF for me.

      Should have could have would have but let’s not forget, looking at the start list and top10 GC at the end, this Giro was very poor in terms of GC contenders. However win is a win, so let’s not speculate too much.

  16. Hats off to Oomen, cracking the top 10 as a domestique, always a bit behind the big guys but very consistent at just 22 yo.

    • He’s been tipped here for some time so hopefully loyal readers have been keeping an eye on him. He had a good Giro, the first time he finished a grand tour after leaving the Vuelta last year.

      • Playing “what if” … Oomen could’ve been the superdom support TD needed in the mountains. He wouldn’t have his Top 10 finish, but that coulda shoulda woulda help TD win Pink.

    • Top10 doesn’t say much in this case if we agree this Giro was undercontested from the GC point of view. However his gap of 14 mins at the end is what is impressive. We also shouldn’t forget to mention Reichenbach. This guy deserves much more praise.

  17. This video from Team Sunweb is interesting:

    They fully expected Froome/Sky to attacker on Finestre. Which means everyone else did too.

    They anticipated: Less than or equal to 1 minute over the top, and Froome would be caught on the descent, so that was the allowable margin. More than 1 minute and it might be harder.

    Froome went over the top with 40-50 seconds. So far so good.

    But then the catch on the descent didn’t happen.

    So this was, perhaps, the moment the race was won. Not the climb, but the descent.

    • Interesting. I think the race was won on that massage table! TD and coach knew what was coming and TD’s face shows he knew he didn’t have it in the legs or the mind to respond adequately. Rare to see that on display to the public even if we knew it to be the case too.

      It will be interesting to see if TD alters his nutrition and training (or team) over the next few seasons.

    • A well produced, interesting and poignant video. It amplifies the point about the descent on the Finestre. It is clear also that everyone knew exactly what the tactics would be, there was no surprise when Chris Froome went when he did. If there was a surprise it was that there was no breakaway by the time they got to the climb so no riders up the road which ultimately worked to Chris Froome’s advantage.

      • Having watched the stage back three times already it was clear this stage was actually a perfect storm. Mitchelton should not have chased the initial breakaway. It was no danger to anyone and Yates was going to break down anyway. If they hadn’t there would have been a decent group up the road which would have changed the dynamic of the whole stage. Sky would still have done what they did, of course, but everything else would have played out otherwise. Another point was when the descent of the Finestre was less than urgent by the chasers (at some points they are just free-wheeling). In many ways the stage works on analogy with the recent Avengers film (spoiler alert!). Dr Strange at one point looks into the future and says he saw only 1 way out of 14 million to beat Thanos. Events unfolded last Friday such that things individually fell into place to give Froome a 40 second lead from a 3.22 deficit. Replay the stage 14 million more times and that doesn’t happen again.

        • I have watched it a few times and noticed that the whole peloton raced through the feed zone on the run up to the Finestre. I wonder how much an impact this had on the demise of Yates and Pozzivivo? Sky had their feeding strategy in place and one missed feed probably had little impact on them. However, according to an interview on The Cycling Podcast, Sunweb had no extra feeding stations, so missing the big feed may well have had implications for them too.

    • I’m not surprised they expected so. He needed to gain more than 3 mins. And the podium doesn’t count much for Froome. So he didn’t really have anything to lose. Attacking later very likely wouldn’t have brought him 3+ mins.

  18. Another fantastic Giro, especially with the climax of Friday’s stage. Enjoyed it thoroughly, and it does feel as if the switch to eight riders is beneficial to the racing. How refreshing was it to see a Grand Tour with barely a crash?

    Don’t think there’s anything Dumoulin could have done to prevent Froome from winning this; Froome was simply too strong in the final 2 stages. Had he been able to limit his losses to, say, 1.30min in the stage to Bardonecchia, Sky would in all likelihood have cracked him on Saturday.

    Thanks Mr. Inrng for the coverage – the best around as usual!

  19. Like you inrng, I’m stunned that the Mitchelton-Scott team and specifically Yates failed to recon the Zoncolan. Whilst he rode very well up the climb, it does strike me as an amateurish approach. Did he fail to recon the Finestre too I wonder?

  20. There’s some fuss about the Velon date from Stage 19. Apparently Froome’s is inaccurate – shows exactly 350w & 89rpm with no variation. Data like this would go a long way towards settling things, so it’s hugely frustrating when it’s not correct. Any thoughts?

      • It’s not a magic bullet, sure. But it would add credibility and go some way towards silencing the geniuses on Twitter. Plus, there is a specific issue around Froome’s data from S19, which means the conspiracists have a field day.

        • Do people even understand the data through? I saw the Twitter mob after Ryan Mullen posted his power data for a mountain stage and people going crazy with “how much power must Froome be putting out to beat him by X mins of course he’s on it”. Well he might be putting out less since Mullen weighs at least 10kgs more.

          • Fair point, but that data represents an opportunity to demonstrate transparency, even if it’s not absolute proof of anything in particular. I remember Vayer making a total fool of himself over Froome’s tests a year or so ago, but to more sane observers those tests looked hopeful. We need more information like this.

    • Power data means nothing unless every athlete is using the same equipment and everyone’s data is published.

      The only data that matters is who won the stage and that yates must have stopped for a coffee mid-stage.

  21. I see William Fotheringham is banging on about the AAF in the Guardian again today. Their coverage of cycling (and rugby) means I will never be persuaded to buy a subscription.

    • Totally agree (and recognise your name from the comments section there!). The Telegraph’s coverage seems better but one’s political leanings dissuade me… 😉

      • Absolutely agreed.

        I’ve never been able to get past Sean Ingle article where he took his frustrations about Mo Farah’s treatment and heaped them Froome in the exact way he complained about those speaking of Farah.

        Just feels like so many people are being blamed for Armstrong’s mistakes.
        Whilst also if something is repeated often enough it suddenly becomes true.

        I absolutely think there has to be suspicion – and Froome’s ride is a the limit of what I can believe – but people seem to be losing sight that destroying someone’s image without concrete proof is almost as bad as doping in the first place – because if they’re innocent you’ve really screwed them.

        • If innocent becomes guilty REGARDLESS OF PROOF then innocent and guilty become meaningless terms and the guilty are whoever anybody says they are.

          I can’t think of a worse position for society let alone cycling to be in. And innuendo laden crap such as the Guardian peddle towards Froome is nothing to their credit.

    • So agree with you. But WF never liked Froome and never tried to hide that fact. He must be a Hunter S. Thompson disciple, though he’s not gonzo enough, and lacks Hunter’s brilliance. If Froome had been born in Soviet Russia and held sway 30yrs ago WF would be showering him with love. The Sky logo on the jersey probably doesn’t help either…

    • Their coverage of cycling is an absolute disgrace.

      Last year all Froomes vicories were accompanied with snarky pieces about his lack of character and that they couldnt celebrate his victories. It appeared that there was an agenda based on the team sponsor.

      The AAF scoop was very unsettling in the way it was released. This complex issue being in the public domain does no one any favours. Whatever verdict happens now will not be trusted. I would like to know how much money changed hands to get the AAF scoop. I’d also like to know if they got what they paid for. It appears to me that they tried from the outset (and in many ways succeeded) to sell the AAF as a failed dope test.

  22. A fantastic Giro! Maybe I’m tooeasy to please and maybe I’m a cycling romantic who can close his eyes so that he doesn’t see what he doesn’t want to see. I can certainly live with contradictory thoughts and feelings about riders, teams and stages:-)

    But I have to say that I was on several occasions more emotionally involved with how the race or the stage was lost than how it was won. Or how it was not quite won.

    It is difficult to imagine how I can be bother to view hours of road cycling in July – instead of using the available time on riding my bike, suffering quite modestly and enjoying immensely – but miracles do happenand the racing can turn out to be rivetting…

  23. Regardless of the controversy and your views on Froome I think the Giro has once again shown pundits and fans are too quick to presume winners at this race. There can be huge changes in fortune and it’s what makes this the best and toughest grand tour.

    Related to that I’d like to see Dumoulin focus on the Tour from now on. It’s more controllable and better suited to his abilities. Can he win it this year? I know he’s said he’s not riding it but I wonder if that’s a deliberate strategy? Having said that Michael Matthews’ ambitions would have to take a back seat and the TTT probably favours Sky, but still…

    Lastly I know some people complain that the top tier sprinters aren’t at the Giro but I enjoy the more chaotic nature of the sprints, since there’s no Kittel train. The only thing missing for me is the top level puncheurs who seem to skip the Giro nowadays after a long Classics season.

    • We’ll see with the Tour, the route this year is different to usual, notionally wilder and on harder roads to control with narrower roads, shorter stages, irregular climbs etc and we’ll see if the 8 rider teams change things… or if the “Tour is the Tour” and things revert to what we’re used to every July.

      • I hope you’re right about the route! It’d be good for the sport to have a more exciting contest in its showcase event. Having said that I feel like similar was said last year but the race had a very predictable feel to it.

    • Dumoulin seemed to hint at an appearance in the TdF yesterday, though possibly not for the GC. He said he’d decide after some initial resting and time away from the bike.
      The TTT might favour team Sky in the TdF, but remember Sunweb are World Champions in this discipline over 42k, winning with a 22s margin over Sky (8s over BMC). They shouldn’t lose too much.

      • I hope he does have a go at GC. And good point about the TTT, I’d forgotten about that as I didn’t really take much notice of the event at the Worlds and made a lazy presumption!

  24. Enjoyed the Giro and INRNG so much, Thank you everyone.

    No one mentions Pello Bilbao at all. Invisible man comes sixth. 28 YO and no real GC history, or am I missing something?

      • Outside the top 20 and over a hour down to Froome is a bit different to 12 minutes in a Giro generally considered to be “tough” I’m generally interested in this as there is much discussion of George Bennett, Chaves, Oomen, Formulo, Of course Yates and Pinot but Konrad and Gonclaves and Dennis as well, but he’s beaten them all.

        He never really got a chance at Caja Rural, and too young at Euskatel to stand out. Have we been missing something here? I mean he didn’t appear to be riding as a domestique to Lopez but surely must have done some work for Astana and still finished 6th?

        • The fact that clueless Kirby didn’t mention his name (and if, he pronounced it damn wrong) doesn’t mean he wasn’t around all day. In fact he was on Lopez side most times.

  25. It was wonderful to see Mr. Corporate Rider toss away his tie and briefcase and break away to show the toughness and aggressiveness of old-time riders. Was it planned from Stage 1? Probably not, but CF’s teammates did a great job of launching him on his 80km rocket ride to redeem an otherwise middling grand tour performance. I for one hope we see more of this tactic in grand tours. NQ, you listening?

  26. So what happened to constant Carlton Kirby favourite (“people say he can’t climb but he can climb”) and receiver of a Sean kelly mispronunciation, Rohan Dennis? 56 minutes down as a GC leader does not suggest the marmite commentator is watching the same rider I am. Are BMC trying to collect as many Tejay type riders are possible? Porte is another.

    • Interesting point. I wonder if this is somehow due to Ochowicz? His prototype rider was Andy “limit my losses” Hampsten who kind of backed into his Giro win in 1988 and kind of dieseled his way up Alp d’Huez the day he won. Never much of an attacker.
      BMC’s GT contenders seem to be either that type or those who simply blow up in a GT by the 3rd week. Porte was kind of like this even before he went there so is it a “last chance saloon” for riders who get a lot of hype as GT contenders but are unable to deliver? Not hard to understand how they’re having trouble finding a backer once the rich chamois-sniffer type sponsor they had was no longer in the picture. If you had money to spend on pro cycling, would YOU put it on this team?

      • bit harsh on Andy Hampsten, no?

        I do take your meaning that he was one of those just below the very top level who’d outlast you more than go out and snatch the race, and maybe he needed things to break his way to win a GT, but anyone who survived that day on the Gavia didn’t just back into a Giro win.

        Tho also that is an interesting callback on the Ochowicz lineage of GC riders. Porte doesn’t seem quite the same tho? Certainly a higher level GC rider than TJVG + Dennis. More undone by lack of race nous and/or mental focus, poor handling/descending, bad luck, etc than physical jour sans or inability to hang with the top guys.

        • Like the idea of Richie Porte, GT winner isn’t outlandish. Probably not gonna happen at this point, but he has/had the talent. Whereas I’ve never seen TJVG (let alone Dennis) as someone with a realistic chance of winning a GT, even when he was finishing 5th in the TDF.

    • Yeah i don’t get the hype around ‘Ronan’ Dennis either. He’s a good time trialist, and could probably be a decent stage hunter, but not much else. Unless the Giro goes retro and throws out a Moser era route with 150km of TTs and no summit finishes then I can’t see him winning.

      • The enduring appeal of potential GC contenders, combined with the visible success of Froome + Doom as the modern TTers who can climb GC contender model. Plus he’s a relatively good-looking, English-speaking white dude – see also Van Garderen, Tejay.

        He’s the same age as Doom and has never shown anything remotely close to the climbing and recovery ability of Doom, let alone Froome, so serious GT contention seems a very remote possibility. His climbing is good enough for one-week stuff with a TT where top GC guys aren’t going full-bore, seems like he’d do better focusing there, but you know, the eternal lure of GTs.

  27. Another moment the race was won: Paris-Nice when Poems fell and broke his collarbone.
    He was supposed to be a co-leader and could have been up there on GC. If that had been the case would Froome have been allowed to do what he did ?
    But because of the crash Poems came into the Giro short of form and Froome was the sole leader.

  28. Still smarting after this beat down.

    Beyond the *****’s

    It could have been bloody simple for Sky to asses the situation with those last 3 mountain top finishes and based their race on that alone. If so, looking back that would be too simple, yet then it meant it was what the completion failed; the simple. -From hindsight… That last 3 MTN top stages was everything.

    Strictly Amateur; I ride with friends giving kidney jabs that make it mandatory to leave reserves or pay up later in the rides. On My small scale, never similar to what We just witnessed. However, if SKY felt as those last 3 TOP stages WAS everything, & Froome was planning to peak in the 3rd week; that is building and saving for the BIG SHOW. Well, I must bow to their organization for a masterful performance.

  29. This should be (you all hope!) my last comment on Giro 2018.
    “I am absolutely certain that when people have the same information as I have, they will understand why I made the decision to continue racing and riding the way I have been.”
    Why DON’T we Mr. Froome? Why? Seems this all could have been cleared up long ago. Why not?

  30. Doumolin is not Indurain. The fans and cycling press have fallen in love with him, and clearly over the past 3 weeks he showed his limitations. He suffers steep gradients in the finals, and pretty much climbs in one gear.
    This was an entertaining Giro, Froome showed his superiority, but the chasers were simply not true champions. Nice riders, yes. Campione, no.

    • Are we talking about T(R)UE champions or the the ones salbutamolized? Froome is superior in the way he cheats and his lawyers control UCI, WADA and other (in)dependent bodies : )))

      • You’ve already been comprehensively demolished on your other comments by seemingly much more knowledgeable folk than I but I’ll take this one.

        You don’t need a TUE for Salbutamol, its a legal but controlled substance. I won’t bore you with the figures since I’m sure your point of view doesn’t rely on factual information. Froome has continued taking Salbutamol ever since the day the AAF was recorded because its a legal medication. As far as we know, no further AAFs have been recorded. Using Salbutamol is not cheating and even if readings are recorded over the controlled amount the rules allow for a genuine reason for this being so which is what Froome is presumably attempting to show now.

        But thanks for your contribution. It does your agenda zero credit.

  31. Giro d’Italia has been lost. Lost by the whole cycling community. It’s really a sad mascarade what Froome is doing, what SKY is doing. Froome should have been disqualified during Vuelta or after Vuelta and this “Spanish” result should not have counted. What we are talking about today? What Giro has been won? I rolled on the floor laughing, watching Froome going 80km SOLO with his 3rd form peak in 12 months (TOUR + VUELTA + GIRO) and soon he is going to hit TOUR DE FRANCE : )))

    • Innocent until convicted is a pretty basic tenet of justice, so he was absolutely within his right to ride and win. And win he did. Likewise, if he is found guilty he will receive a ban and serve his time. Justice sometimes takes time and we need to be patient for the outcome.

      As for The scandal being bigger than USpostal – how? Team-wide blood doping, EPO, growth hormone is somehow less than an adverse analytical finding of a controlled (not banned) substance? Your comments are frankly nonsensical!

      In fact they actually reduce the likelihood of your own objective – clean cycling – being realised. This is because most objective people will dismiss you – and your points – as ramblings of a deranged conspiracy theorist.

      Sky have certainly made a lot of mistakes and should be called out for a number of them. But please try to be rational and evidenced based in your criticisms.

  32. Cycling is facing the most severe sickness since Lance’s times. It’s even more dramatic situation. As long as SKY and its lawyers control UCI and WADA, we can only talk about illness of this sport. This two organizations don’t have they saying, their rules, their independence.

    Cycling is slowly dying, but you still believe SKY lawyers will turn the card. No, they’re not fighting for Froome now but for SKY BROADCASTING as it’s bigger scandal than US POSTAL. The difference? US Postal was unconscious of what was going, SKY is sending its troops fully aware of the case.

    • @inrng, I think it’s time to “call time” on the comments on this post. There’s been some dodgy comments so far but the last three are too much.

      • We already have CAPS LOCK…. if the comments could be written in green or red ink 😉

        Don’t feed the trolls. I don’t mind alternative views but saying the UCI is controlled by Sky’s lawyers just makes the author look unhinged. It can be argued that Sky are able to spend millions on lawyers which is a form of pressure but it is also a more nuanced take. And in lower case too.

  33. I’m sorry, but that’s a bit of an over reaction.
    Firstly, we are dealing with Salbutamol. This is not the Festina Affair. Also, everyone has a big opinion on his adverse finding, but what we don’t have have are the facts.
    As a surgeon for over 20 years I’ve seen more false positive and false negatives with lab test results than I could ever count. One abnormal value like we dealing with here should not create your type of reaction. This is not a HCt of 60%, or synthetic testosterone or EPO. No sport can move forward with type of hysteria over a lab value that most of us have NO idea of the testing parameters and the true values, and the calibration of the equipment for that day.
    This is not a legal defense, these questions that doctors should ask when an abnormal lab value pops up, when the other ones are all normal.
    Yes, it’s concerning. But in the grand scheme of the history of cycling this is pretty minor.
    We’ve had generations of ampetamine, steroid, EPO, testosterone, GH, use and now an asthma medication is the worst thing ever.
    We should be lucky not to have jobs and reputations dependent on a single lab result.

    • Wise words, Joe.
      As a surgeon, do you think there is something inherently odd about using a urine sample to detect a threshold concentration of a controlled substance? I see that Froome’s level has been reduced on account of the specific gravity of his urine (not widely reported, though, with many publications still saying ‘twice the allowed limit’) which suggests that the accuracy of the test is pretty suspect if just accounting for urine concentration can reduce the value by more than 25%.

      • I don’t pretend to fully understand the pharmacokinetics of Salbutamol, and how the lab test functions that measures the concentration in the urine. From what I’ve read about previous cases of high salbutamol levels the specific gravity was not taken into effect for the final verdict. I would love to speak to someone who is an expert in laboratory medicine to understand how urine concentration affects the level of the medication. I’ve looked at some studies of the excretion of salbutamol in the urine, but a test subject in the middle/end of grand tour in hot conditions does not seem to be a widely studied subject for obvious reasons. We do know that urine levels and intake are linear in regular test subjects. But in science, not controlling for the variables of a grand tour leaves much to doubt. If I read correctly, some tests did show high variation person to person. This is looked at, since understanding what an inhaled dose does to a patient, seems to be difficult question. As pulmonary function and the absorption of the medication needs to be understood. Remember, people who are using the medication presumably have some level of pulmonary disfunction. To me, they have set up the test method all backwards.
        If we want to be serious, then all riders who are taking the medication, should be required to have a pre and post race spirometry exam. Its cheap and easy. Then medication doses could be titrated to the level of pulmonary disfunction. This way, if a rider has high levels of broncoconstriction, then who cares how much medication he’s inhaling, as long as its within general prescribing recommendations. So if Chris Froome had high levels of broncoconstriction at the time of the test, to me it changes everything.
        To me, this is a medical problem, not a cycling problem.

        • Hi Joe – thanks for your thought on this. I agree that there are few contexts more extreme for a human’s physiology than the last few days of a grant tour, particularly in the late summer heat of Spain. What effect this might have on Salbutamol metabolism is an interesting question – which I doubt we will get a satisfactory answer for. (I am sure you have probably see a recent peer reviewed study that presented a parameterised model of Salbutamol urine concentrations which came to the conclusion that there was a huge error and so both false positives and false negatives were likely to be fairly common.) As for the linearity of the relationship between inhaled dose and urine concentration, the relationship can be linear but there may still be a large error.

    • Thank you Joe, for the reminder that the testing and inferred findings are complicated rather than clear, even for the experts, and that if a rider had taken more than the permitted amount of Salbutamol, it would be a relatively minor offence in cycling and sport in general.

      A few days ago in these comments it was suggested that most had already decided upon Froome’s guilt or innocence – quite true, I suspect – though I have not. And perhaps more relevantly, I likely will not have decided after receiving the verdict of guilt or innocence. I think the complexities could allow for the possibility that a guilty verdict is returned for someone who did not exceed the threshold intake, and an innocent verdict is returned for someone who did. After all, if it was easy to determine with little room for deliberation and debate, would we not know sooner?

      Is it better to make the mistake of punishing an innocent party or absolving a guilty one? Not a straightforward answer, but in this case where the latter would represent getting away with a modest breaking of the rules – and it being debatable as to just how much if any advantage would be gained – and the former would result in destruction of a reputation for life (which no doubt has occurred in part already, permanently, no matter the outcome), perhaps the former mistake is the worse?

      We will never know for sure … barring any confession – which still could be untrue to some degree, complicated by political or other motives, one day. I for one will neither be giving an unconditional free pass to Froome or anyone in similar circumstances, nor condemning them.

      • @Duncan

        What seems clear to me, regardless of if it is decided he broke or didn’t break the threshold on one day or not (and remember Froome led the whole race from the end of day 3 onwards), is that Froome did not win the Vuelta because of that dosage. It is, to my mind, an entirely technical and minor infraction rather than a studious attempt to gain an unfair advantage – if it is an infraction at all.

      • Apart from the politics of it, to me people who are all wound up about elevated levels of Salbutamol, is like complaining that the winner of a beauty pageant had too much botox.
        Cycling has much bigger problems to contend with.

  34. I’ve been really intrigued by the various debates going on. I think there are 2 key points to make.

    1.This situation is the fault of the UCI not Sky or Froome. Clearly the team and the rider will want to race to maximise their form/results/income. It is up to the governing body to ensure that the sport is not diminished by the behaviour of teams or riders. If the UCI want to avoid issues like this going forward they either need to be totally transparent, or make the rule book more punitive/aggressive.

    2. I am under no illusion that cycling has its problems, and team Sky are shaping up to be a prime contributor to the mess of a reputation our sport has, but when you look at some of his recent sporting successes, I’m not always sure they are that ‘unbelievable’. Froome, as well as being a good physical specimen has developed some amazing racing tactics and looks for time in all sorts of places.
    I’ve yet to see his stage 19 performance first hand but was it only power that won the day, or terrible tactics by other teams and riders. Equally, we’ve seen riders get into a better racing form during a GT.

    Finally, I hope this issue will be sorted by TdF.

  35. Finally finished watching the Giro via ‘on demand’ – the best thing about cycling is that you can be days behind and not hear the result via other media/friends.
    The worst thing about cycling – for me – was that I couldn’t watch what would otherwise have been one of the best stages of recent times without having many doubts about the guy doing it.
    There are so many weird ‘anomalies’ about Froome’s career now – from the sudden transformation from also-ran to world beater, through Sky’s many dodgy-looking practices, to the inexplicably (as of yet anyway) large amount of salbutamol in his urine.
    And the thing is, regardless of the result of the legal case, I’ll still be none the wiser and have just as much faith/doubt in Froome (and Sky) as I have now.
    (Just as I did through the 90s and 00s.)
    Now, let’s see who ends up being the ‘winner’ once the courts have decided – maybe by 2020 then.
    Like so many, I’m turned off by the whole thing and focus far more on one-day racing nowadays.

    • The video of George Bennett saying “He did a Landis. Jesus!” says it all – look at his face and how he laughs, and his tone of voice when he says ‘Jesus’ – he clearly finds the whole thing ridiculous.
      Froome’s own competitors (rightly or wrongly) don’t believe in him and many people who watch cycling don’t – and that’s a problem (and it’s not going away).

  36. If Froome was now stripped of this result, the Giro would get the result it deserves for selling out to Israel and allowing them to sport-wash their massacre of unarmed Palestinians.
    Primarily for that reason, I hope that’s the end result (but also because I think the rules should be ‘If you’re over the limit, you’re banned – and you don’t get to keep any results you got in the meantime’ – not that this is Froome’s fault: it’s the rules that need to be changed).
    Most of all, though, the Giro was tainted from the start by supporting a murderous apartheid state.

    • J Evans. Although I am pleased to see you contributing again, it’s probably best to remember that we are talking about bike racing, not our personal political views. Sport, all sport should never be compromised or associated with the endless failures of politics, of whatever persuasion.

      What limited information there is in the public domain, now indicated that the power output of Froome and Dumoulin were fairly similar, although we don’t know their respective weights. I don’t hear constant complaints about Dumoulin’s performance. From my observations, Froome did nothing out of the ordinary. He gained time on descents, held his own on the flat against a disjointed chase and lost a little time on the last climb. That is nothing like the Landis ride, where a hard and sustained long distance chase by the bunch constantly lost time on Landis. Shame on Bennett, should better understand the detail, before bringing more disrepute on our sport.

      The reality is that Froome completed within the rules, whatever our personal views, and has so far not been sanctioned for any offence. The boy needs to be given some credit. If circumstances change, then is the time for comment.

      • “Sport, all sport should never be compromised or associated with the endless failures of politics, of whatever persuasion.”

        Then why the start in a country that occupies land it doesn’t belong to? THEY started to bring the politics in when they agreed to this propaganda stunt, 3 days of happy news from a country that shots unarmed protesters in masses as soon as the Giro caravane left the building

      • Anonymous has answered the first part from me and I’ve said plenty more elsewhere.
        As for Froome, my issue with him was not this particular ride (although it was an incredible comeback in form, the actual ride was no so amazing as to be unbelievable on its own), but his entire career and the team he rides for – the things I mentioned.
        It’s similar to how I felt watching Armstrong – but nowhere near as strong as I was certain LA was cheating whereas with Froome I only have suspicions.
        How many people did the Israelis shoot dead during the Giro? Over a hundred? How many were maimed by Israeli bullets? Over 3,000? Brexit is ‘politics’; mass murder is not ‘politics’.

        • “It’s similar to how I felt watching Armstrong – but nowhere near as strong as I was certain LA was cheating whereas with Froome I only have suspicions.”

          I always wonder how less diminished those suspicions people have would be if LA had never occurred…

          • I had a lot of suspicions about a lot of riders – almost all of the riders in the 90s, for instance – before Armstrong even won a Tour.
            Even Festina was only a confirmation of what was already known.
            The idea that those who have followed cycling for decades only became aware of the doping issue once Armstrong was punished has no basis in reality.

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