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Giro Stage 11 Preview

Another day, another sprint? Yes but this is the last chance for the sprinters for a week and several could be heading home – possibly with flights booked already – after today. Still it’s a featureless stage and in order to avoid the boredom we can riff on parmesan cheese and invisible cows before reverting to the sprint picks and today’s weather.

Yes Nono: a crash under the flamme rouge took out Pascal Ackermann who finished but with what the French call “pizza”, a blend of red and white shredded skin. We got a sprint win for Arnaud Démare and now four of the “big five” sprinters in the race have won a stage… except for Elia Viviani, which isn’t what he and his special tricolore jersey came for. It’s an important win for Démare because he hadn’t won a thing all season and had a classics campaign to forget, plus it had Marc Madiot bouncing on his sofa.

The Route: 221km across the Plains of the Po valley but crucially it visits several cities along the way like Reggio, Parma and Piacenza, this is the race’s chance to meet an urban population. Otherwise there’s not much to write home about, there are no climbs to trouble the sprinters.

If the riders look up to their left today they’ll see hills, the Apennines. It’s from here that Parmigiano Reggiano cheese comes from, only ride in the hills them and it’s near impossible to find a cow. There are grassy fields and roads are busy with small tanker trucks ferrying milk from the dairies, but rarely a grazing beast. Instead the cattle are out of sight, they spend their lives indoors and grass is mown, dried and fed to them in the barn.

The Finish: out of town, amid retail units and industrial workshops, the finishing straight is 3km long. You might see the profile slope up at the end but it’s gradual, a slope of 0.65%.

The Contenders: no one sprinter is coming out on top and Elia Viviani (Deceuninck-Quickstep) is getting beat again and again but often only by a bike length so it’s our big four again. Caleb Ewan (Lotto-Soudal) is close, Arnaud Démare (Groupama-FDJ) will enjoy the dragstrip finish here again. The question is over Pascal Ackermann (Bora-Hansgrohe) who looked like he’d landed on a cheese grater yesterday and if he crossed the line he’ll be very sore, probably didn’t sleep well and will find 221km hard going.

Caleb Ewan
Arnaud Démare, Elia Viviani
Pascal Ackermann

Weather: sunshine and clouds, 21°C and a light crosswind of 10-20km/h from the south.

TV: the finish is forecast for 5.15pm CEST / Euro time and you probably won’t miss much if you tune in with 4km to go. It’s on RAI in Italy, Eurosport across most of Europe and Australia, L’Equipe TV in France and Flobikes and Fubo.tv in the US.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • IanP Wednesday, 22 May 2019, 6:21 am

    Yeay… uphill finish. Viviani’s turn today, now that Demare has his win.

    Seriously the comment from Matt W about Yatesy detraining could have some merit, even laymen cyclists know that if you just cruise around for a week or so, form drops, and these guys are on another level fitness wise, you can only imagine what 12 days or relatively easy riding with only a couple of hard digs is doing for the form. Imagine when we finally hit the climbs it could be interesting to see who actually has anything to give top end wise.

    • Digahole Wednesday, 22 May 2019, 7:10 am

      Stage 7 they rode 185km with something like 2500m climbing at 45km/hr. The day before they did 240km, plenty of climbing at over 41km/hr. Big training days by anyone’s standard!

    • Gregario Wednesday, 22 May 2019, 8:04 am

      Yesterday some guys averaged about 140 Watts for the entire stage. This is really unbelievable by Giro standards. The lack of variety in this Giro is astounding, I wonder how the TV audience compares to the previous years. Vegni should have a lot of questions asked, because in recent years the Giro was by far the most entertaining GT but to keep up the trend A LOT has to happen in the last 8 stages. They should really stick to what the Giro is all about instead of tinkering and botching the course by trying to lure riders of a certain profile to come (Froome). The race is bigger than any rider.

      • ocaz Wednesday, 22 May 2019, 10:06 am

        This detraining and loss of form is incredibly interesting to me and does make sense when you think about it. Some domestiques will have effectively 4 easy days with time trial, rest day and these two pancake flat days. I mean as a weekend warrior, I could have even coped with those Watts yesterday very comfortably sitting in the pack.

        It does make you think that because they haven’t had to work hard when it does come to dip into those hard efforts and dig deep like the time trial they may have lost some of what they gain in the training in the lead up to the Giro.

        • Watts Wednesday, 22 May 2019, 11:02 am

          DS next year: “Alright Guys, todays stage was only 150TSS so let’s do two blocks of 40/20s now and afterwards we sprint back for the city sign. Gotta be fit for tomorrow”

          • The Inner Ring Wednesday, 22 May 2019, 11:22 am

            Yes, this should be evident to everyone with the range of data and software they use, the likes of Trainingpeaks and being able to measure effort, load and recovery have quietly changed stage races. Simon Yates cites this as an issue for him but others haven’t had this problem?

          • Watts Wednesday, 22 May 2019, 9:55 pm

            Sounds like Ol’ Yatesy is making excuses to me. But we will soon see if he has too much form – or a lack of fitness.

          • CA Thursday, 23 May 2019, 4:34 am

            Watts – EXACTLY! Yatesy can’t make that excuse because every rider is in the same boat… if Roglic crushes him then what did Roglic do that Yatesy didn’t do in the last 2 weeks?

        • Gregario Wednesday, 22 May 2019, 11:19 am

          I agree. Basically so far the GC contenders had to make two efforts: one in the prologue which was 13 minutes and then 50 minutes in the TT. Apart from that there were a few minor climbs in Stage 2 and Stage 6 where they probably didn’t even have to go into threshold. Bear in mind that most of the riders probably wanted to go to the race under-cooked and ride into form for the second half of the race. How can you ride into form when you don’t make any prolonged efforts for nearly 2 weeks (and add another week of taking it easy before the race)? I think that this year was the best chance for anyone to go for the Giro-Tour double ever, it probably was just a matter of timing it right effort-wise prior to the race and planning your “off-week” for the current part of the race.

          • Rich Wednesday, 22 May 2019, 2:02 pm

            >> How can you ride into form when you don’t make any prolonged efforts for nearly 2 weeks (and add another week of taking it easy before the race)?
            Next year: GC guys trying to get into the breakaway in early stages? Might not be allowed by the bunch, but would provide a few good intervals…

          • CA Thursday, 23 May 2019, 5:39 am

            You’re kidding right? Zero chance the GC contenders only made 2 efforts the past 2 weeks… if any of them stuck to that then they are toast!

            Eg. on the rest day, the GC riders likely rode hard, or they added some extra efforts throughout the past two weeks.

            Plus, the armchair fans can say the GC riders didn’t put in any efforts, but this race has already included a 15k climb, various 7-9k climbs, cross winds, keeping pace with the sprint trains, staying out of trouble, etc. Absolutely, the GC men had to work hard at various points during the race so far. You don’t just ride 45kph in a cross wind, regardless of whose wheel you are on.

      • AndyW Wednesday, 22 May 2019, 1:18 pm

        It’s weird, isn’t it? However good the next 10 days *might* be, it can’t compare to the interest of last year, or many other years at the Giro. A stage that most club cyclists could have completed after a rest day (usually the perfect time for a super hard stage) and then another flat day today. The flip-side is that such a front-loading of sprint stages means that most sprinters will then leave, which isn’t a good look for the Giro either. Even scheduling an ITT for Sunday seemed a bit of a waste of a prime slot (a peak viewing day?). The demands of the cycling fan and the casual viewer are obviously different, but who wants this apart from the sprinters’ teams?

        • Gregario Wednesday, 22 May 2019, 2:24 pm

          Right. If, (I know it’s a big if because the hardest stages are yet to come, but let’s assume it) Roglic doesn’t crack and keeps his form steady till the end, it will be a disaster for the organisers. The fight for the ciclamino jersey a non-event because most of the sprinters are likely to go home today, a GC winner dominating from start to finish, Dumoulin crashing out in the first week, Bernal not even starting and TV audiences plummeting because of a terrible parcours and maybe even mountain stages cancelled/shortened because of bad weather (although the last seems unlikely and is not the organisers fault). A Giro, which was hyped as the best race of the year, turning into a 3 week procession. Maybe people will complain about too much negativity and pessimism but I can’t help but feel that way. Italy has so much potential thanks to its terrain (and where it clearly has the upper hand compared to the Tour) and to waste it just like that is just criminal.

          • JeroenK Wednesday, 22 May 2019, 2:47 pm

            I think in Italy the bar for ‘criminal’ is set a bit higher than that. Some might say it’s set a bit too high ;-).

            Let’s see how this Giro works out, OK? I also hope your joy in life does not depend on the attractiveness of a cycling stage race alone.

          • Paddy Dunne Wednesday, 22 May 2019, 4:09 pm

            Well played sir!

      • CA Wednesday, 22 May 2019, 3:15 pm

        140 Watts average/rest day on the road is intended to make the next week more explosive… why is this so hard to understand? The riders (for the most part) are way cleaner than in the past, even than the past 5 years so they need more chances to recover. This is common sense.

        • AndyW Wednesday, 22 May 2019, 6:36 pm

          It’s not a binary choice though. As INRNG has mentioned, there is apparently a record number of vertical metres this year, so real attacking riding day after day from now on might require a superhuman effort.

          Some tricky steep climbs towards the end of a stage (think of stage 11 last year) as well as a few more stages to give the breakaway a chance could have easily enlivened things without putting too much strain on a clean peloton. This time last year there had been three proper summit finishes, a breakaway from Mohoric, multiple other tricky uphill finishes, as well as a few stages for the sprinters and a TT.

    • JeroenK Wednesday, 22 May 2019, 12:09 pm

      Detraining? If that is the case with a rider, the person responsible for training and racing planning (a coach, normally), has done a terrible job. The stages are known well ahead, so teams have every chance to anticipate. Everyone knew this Giro is end-week heavy, so it would make sense to plan for a late taper of training and racing stress.

    • Francisco Wednesday, 22 May 2019, 3:10 pm

      If they are so worried about detraining, no body will stop them from pulling at the front as hard as they like.

    • CA Wednesday, 22 May 2019, 3:18 pm

      Give me a break… if Yatesy is detraining then it’s his own fault! The top GC guys don’t take a full rest on a rest day… they go out for 3 hours and have some hard efforts if that’s what they need to prep for the mountains ahead. Or after yesterday’s stage they’d go do a few hills.

      If a GC man comes into the mountains flat that’s his fault and the fault of his handlers. You can’t blame the course for that. Besides last week had some really tough days for the GC riders.

      • George Vest Wednesday, 22 May 2019, 4:14 pm

        I’m not aware that anyone is blaming the course for lack of form. Certainly not Yates, from what I heard.

  • Larry T Wednesday, 22 May 2019, 7:24 am

    The finish town of Novi Ligure’s only an hour or so (by car) from our cycling resort so we’ll head down there to see the finish. We’re hoping Viviani will finally get a win that he can keep.
    Odd that you didn’t type a word about Costante Girardengo or Fausto Coppi since Novi’s where they lived. It’s also the home of NOVI chocolates, now controlled by the Gruppo Elah Dufour Novi gruppo. Nothing says “Piedmont” to me like the famous gianduiotti. MMMmmmmm!

  • Ecky Thump Wednesday, 22 May 2019, 8:10 am

    Hey Larry, you want old school?
    You got old skool –

    The race passes not so far south of Brescia today, home of the 49ers and one of the best Italian House tracks of the Mapei days.
    So if you’re bored with the flat route today, enjoy the scenery and put a compilation mix on of 80s / 90s tracks. And pump it up, pump it up 🙂

    • Gian Wednesday, 22 May 2019, 8:45 am

      +1 cycling and Italo House – does it get any better?

      • Sergio Wednesday, 22 May 2019, 12:11 pm


        I’m selecting tracks for an upcoming trip where I’ll “DJ” and there are many Don Carlos and Gino Soccio (Canadian, I know…) on my list!


    • Larry T Wednesday, 22 May 2019, 1:26 pm

      I think I’m too old for that. I’m not complaining about the stage, just about the Processo show which is simply awful. If I get nostalgic I can just watch “Greatest Show on Earth” or “Stars and Watercarriers” for the old school flavor. On the old school subject, we’re planning on riding with the GIOS folks on Sunday to the start in Ivrea from the Gios showroom- so you might see us on TV?

    • motormouth Wednesday, 22 May 2019, 3:57 pm

      Ecky, I would love if you would post a house track from a town on each stage on the preview. This is what the Giro is about. This and Rigo’s cactus.

      Brescia has roots in italodisco days as well, and through the 80s in the hi-energy style blending that disco and house together, good call out!

  • Richard S Wednesday, 22 May 2019, 9:03 am

    I fancy Demare to open up early and out drag everyone on the long ever so slightly uphill power strip. I fear that Viviani has jinxed himself with his special jersey. Judging from Demare’s press conference yesterday he’s going to hang around and go for the points jersey.

  • Joe K. Wednesday, 22 May 2019, 9:15 am

    Viviani must feel bitter-sweet about Moschetti taking a fall and wiping out of the Giro. Perhaps a bit of old-style Italian “evil eye” karma for the previous relegation? I say “bitter-sweet” because I’m sure Viviani doesn’t want to see anyone get injured in a sprint finish like that, . . . right?

    • Larry T Wednesday, 22 May 2019, 2:23 pm

      Dunno if YOU have ever competed in any sport, but as someone who has a time or two, I ask – who doesn’t aim to beat the best…at their best? Real champions have a burning desire to WIN, but they’re not interested in gifts or winning due to unfortunate circumstances affecting their rivals.

  • Max Wednesday, 22 May 2019, 10:02 am

    I dont follow pro-cycling that close, but Demare only seem to win when some of his real contenders crash…right or wrong?

    • The Inner Ring Wednesday, 22 May 2019, 11:24 am

      He’s not really a pure sprinter, he could win classics and has won the occasional time trial too. But Viviani is also versatile and so is Caleb Ewan too with his ability in uphill finishes. Ackermann’s repertoire isn’t known yet.

      • Max Wednesday, 22 May 2019, 3:41 pm

        Grazie Mille!

  • Ablindeye Wednesday, 22 May 2019, 10:11 am

    Heart says Viviani head says Demare. A slight rise and a long finishing straight sounds right up his alley, not to mention Ackermann being in the wars and the confidence of yesterday’s win for both him and the team.

    It could be a one horse race for the points jersey if injuries get the better of Ackermann. So many others are likely to abandon, including Viviani, who normally goes the distance. After his 100 point swing as a result of the dq and only one flat stage to go this seems unlikely, he is well and truly out of the points race already.

    • plurien Wednesday, 22 May 2019, 11:25 am

      Rudiger Selig came in a close third yesterday and beat Ewan in the sprint. Bora really has got past the stage where it was all about Sagan. The Schachman/Buchman combo in Basque Country shows it’s more than sprinters too.

  • Wayne Wednesday, 22 May 2019, 11:14 am

    God this Giro has been dull!! We’re talking TDF levels of dullness here! Its a shame when the most interesting parts of a GT have been crashes but that’s where we are now. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that due to Yates and “Superman” losing so much time in the TT they’ll go on the rampage over the next week and we’ll forget these processions we’ve been watching.

    • The Inner Ring Wednesday, 22 May 2019, 11:48 am

      Personally I think it’s been a more repetitive start than the Tour de France, the Tour has sought out a variety of finishes in recent years, eg last year we had Sagan winning an uphill finish, then Dan Martin an even steeper finish, plus the cobbled stage won by Degenkolb in the opening phase before the mountains.

      • Wayne Wednesday, 22 May 2019, 12:06 pm

        Yeah that’s true actually, usually the Giro is my favourite race of the year but this year I’ve barely bothered with it. I just tune in for final few km or just look up the result on PCS. As someone said earlier it’d be interesting to see the viewing figures. Hopefully they’ll be low enough to discourage a similar route in the future!

      • gabriele Wednesday, 22 May 2019, 12:58 pm

        The Tour started to copycat the Giro’s first week years ago (thanks God and Proudhomme). They’ve got a different set of problems as for now (including a middle-term audience crisis), but course design tends to be decent to good albeit lacking potential for a proper selection especially in the mountains.

        • Larry T Wednesday, 22 May 2019, 2:32 pm

          +1 (as usual) but one more thing – plenty of comments here about dull, dull, dull, especially compared to last year, an edition of La Corsa Rosa that wouldn’t go down as epic in my book.
          I started wondering what could contribute to this idea? Could it possibly be that the guy who wore the Maglia Rosa for most of the race last year had a Union Jack next to his name? And when he handed the jersey over to the eventual winner, that guy also had a Union Jack next to his?
          No question the race is always more interesting when one of your countrymen is winning but as much as I’m not a fan of Mauro Vegni and Co. I think the whinging (I write that because most of it seems to be coming from a place where they use this word) about 2019’s race is overblown and premature, especially as we’re only at Stage 11 of 21. W Il Giro!

          • Richard S Wednesday, 22 May 2019, 3:27 pm

            I don’t think its that. Yates was in the lead last year but he was in the lead because he was able to punch clear on uphill finishes. This year he couldn’t be in the lead if he wanted to be because he isn’t as sharp but also because the terrain hasn’t been available. I don’t think its as bad as some people are making out, the race is poised quite nicely, but the stage design/layout could’ve been better for variety and the odd GC punch up here and there. If it kicks off over the next 10 days it’ll become irrelevant though.

          • George Vest Wednesday, 22 May 2019, 4:16 pm

            ‘Could it possibly be that the guy who wore the Maglia Rosa for most of the race last year had a Union Jack next to his name? And when he handed the jersey over to the eventual winner, that guy also had a Union Jack next to his?’

            No, and no

          • Anonymous Wednesday, 22 May 2019, 4:19 pm

            Any comment that has the vaguest hint of criticism of Italians and you’re always up in arms, Larry. But it’s OK for you to continually knock the Brits. Got it.

    • Louis le Blond Wednesday, 22 May 2019, 3:01 pm

      Agree – the most dull Giro-start ever!! Lookin’ forward to the mountains….

  • R Wednesday, 22 May 2019, 12:25 pm

    So the first week is both very stressful and not hard enough? Seemingly an oxymoron, but the effort to maintain position and concentration over 220km is a different task to going uphill, I suppose.

    Will be interesting to see which sprinters take to the start line tomorrow. Viviani is effectively out of the points competition and Ackerman is going to have a tough time in the hills while recovering from his crash.

  • IrishAl Wednesday, 22 May 2019, 1:52 pm

    Yatesy had his excuses drawer full to overflowing with plenty to choose from in the interviews I listened to. Having raced and ‘hidden’ in the peleton I can’t say that it is easy – perhaps no long sustained efforts but lots of small accelerations take its toll and make any race tough.

    “…but rarely a grazing beast. Instead the cattle are out of sight, they spend their lives indoors and grass is mown, dried and fed to them in the barn.”

    That’s very interesting and sad as well. I never really liked Parmisan cheese and now I hate It.

    • Richard S Wednesday, 22 May 2019, 3:20 pm

      I go to a lot of dairy farms for work, a lot of them send their milk away to make cheese and in the vast majority of cases the cows don’t go outside at all. That’s how they are now, dairy cows are highly tuned beasts and feeding them controlled food in a controlled environment gets the most out of them. You’d have to boycott all but a few uber-traditional French varieties, and probably all milk, if you wanted to go down that road.

      *apologies for being about as far off topic as it is possible to be on a cycling blog.

      • cp Wednesday, 22 May 2019, 3:32 pm

        Such conversation is more interesting than recent Giro stages…think of the riders, not even a cow to look at as they roll by. But cyclists aren’t that different: how many prefer to be inside on zwift, eating refined “technical nutrition” to be outside on real roads with a nice prosciutto and parmesan panino in the back pocket nowadays?? The cows, though, have no choice unless they band together and rebel.

    • Dave Wednesday, 22 May 2019, 5:13 pm

      People ask him questions and he answers . Mostly he seems to not know what went wrong himself . Maybe he should just blank the questions ?

    • HodH Wednesday, 22 May 2019, 6:19 pm

      My cousins in Ireland the initially had problems making Italian style cheeses with their herd of buffaloes. They had to bring in a specialist from Italy to tell them why the formulas weren’t working. The problem was the milk was more rich and fatty than the same buffalo had been producing in Italy, which was put down to the fact they ate fresh green grass outside almost all year round.

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