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Giro Stage 12 Preview

Not quite a mountain stage but the climb to Montoso is tough and hard enough to shape the stage before a lively finish in Pinerolo with a steep cobbled “wall” just before the finish.

Ewan e basta: a breakaway including Androni-Sidermec’s Marco Frapporti’s who’s racked up over 800km off the front so far. Caleb Ewan won the sprint, his second win. It was a straightforward sprint with Ewan having the best combo of speed and timing. There’s still once chance for the sprinters with Stage 18’s flat finish in Santa Maria di Sala but how many will haul themselves over the Alps remains to be seen, Elia Viviani told RAI TV yesterday “my Giro is finished” and he’s off home. Arnaud Démare now has the points jersey and isn’t averse to the mountains, he even went on holiday to the Alps last summer because he enjoys tackling the passes at his own pace, something that helped him avoid the time cut when others got cut but if there are fewer sprinters the grupetto will be smaller too.

The Route: 158km between Cuneo and Pinerolo, notionally to celebrate Fausto Coppi’s raid in the 1949 Giro between these two towns but the stage doesn’t copy the legendary route via the mountains. It’s like recreating Eddy Merckx’s famous Luchon-Morenx Tour de France stage by riding the autoroute rather than crossing the Pyrenees. Still it’s a good way to ease into the mountains.

It’s 87km to Pinerolo and here they tackle the steep, cobbled via Principi di Acaja “wall” which they’ll do again later. They head out for a loop. After crossing the Pellice river outside Bricherasio with 47km there’s a small unmarked climb before Bibiana and the Montoso climb.

There’s a right turn in to a big wide road after and a gentle start of 3-4%. You can read more about Montoso in the full Roads to Ride piece but the summary version is that this is a surprisingly tough climb, 9.5% at 8.8km is hard, but top and tail the soft start and and flat ending you have have 7km at over 10% and with some sustained sections at 12% and one part at 14%, all on a small road hidden in chestnut woodland that has been partially repaired.

Across the top there’s a brief flat portion and then the descent is very different, it’s a high speed wide road with fresh tarmac, sweeping bends and lined with big crash barriers that give it the feel of a motor racing circuit. Once the descent is done there’s 22km to go across flat plains meaning it’s a long way for a lone ride or even a small group to stay away.

The Finish: they come into Pinerolo and scale the wall of the Via Principi d’Acaja again, it’s just 550m long but cobbled and there’s an early part at 20% to steal momentum. It’s the same finish as the Giro used for Stage 18 in 2016 when Matteo Trentin won.

The Contenders: a breakaway seems likely, UAE Emirates will try to protect Valerio Conti’s maglia rosa but they don’t look too imposing, there’s only so much they can do but perhaps this means Diego Ulissi can’t go in the breakaway? There are plenty of riders well down on GC who pose no threat, they just have to be suitable to get over the climb today so this weeds out some of the heavier candidates while other riders are on duty today for their GC leaders.

Prototype riders are Marco Canola (Nippo-Vini Fantini) who is a rare big talent outside of the World Tour teams but he’s also a rare winner; Androni-Sidermec have Andrea Vendrame and Fausto Masnada, Masnada is the better climber but Vendrame a light sprinter. Team Ineos are in the race and perhaps Eddie Dunbar is a pick for today with others waiting for the mountains? Not along ago Gianluca Brambilla (Trek-Segafredo) was second in Pinerolo but he’s not been the rider he once was while Giulio Ciccone could try, he’s a climber but packs a decent sprint. Tony Gallopin (Ag2r La Mondiale) has a second place already. Team Sunweb’s climbing pair Jai Hindley and Chris Hamilton could try too. Finally if the group has the wrong mix and things get brought back then Vincenzo Nibali and Primož Roglic could pop up for the win from a reduced group. Lastly Thomas de Gendt (Lotto-Soudal) is an obvious pick but he may be after the mountains jersey and if so today isn’t the day to go on a raid.

Tony Gallopin, Andrea Vendrame
Ciccone, Canola, V Nibali, Roglič, Ulissi

Weather: sunny and a pleasant 23°C.

TV: the finish is forecast for 5.15pm CEST / Euro time and they start the climb to Montoso at about 4.00pm. 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.

  • Ecky Thump Thursday, 23 May 2019, 7:27 am

    From Bologna, and tenuous links to the 1867 Italian release of Giuseppe Verdi’s opera of the same name, comes today’s musical tribute to the Giro’s breakaway grand masters.
    Don Carlos’ beautiful ‘Alone’ remembers a time when it seemed Italo House united Europe, at least in dance, on a day when the European Elections bring so much strife (and milk shakes 😀) to the UK –

    • Gian Thursday, 23 May 2019, 8:42 am

      Thanks to Inrng for the write ups and thanks also to Ecky – I’m enjoying their musical links!

      • noel Thursday, 23 May 2019, 9:38 am


    • Sergio Thursday, 23 May 2019, 1:21 pm

      I’m wondering when will we get Moroder’s The Chase!


    • motormouth Thursday, 23 May 2019, 3:55 pm

      don carlos is still an active DJ! that’s crazy (and awesome). great selection.

      here is a dj mix from don carlos to use on a bike ride: https://soundcloud.com/dirty-channels/playdirty-014-guestmix-by-don-carlos

      • Ecky Thump Thursday, 23 May 2019, 8:26 pm


  • jc Thursday, 23 May 2019, 9:30 am

    Agree a win from a breakaway seems most likely though it might be difficult for one to get away. There will be lots of riders fancying their chances and it is not impossible for a GC contender to sneak in to a large group which will then mean a big chase.

    I wonder if Simon Yates will try to stretch his legs. Given his and his team’s various media statements he might try to back up all the talk with some actual effort. If he does I suspect it will come to nothing but maybe it is worth the risk.

    Is the Slovenian / Croatian link to “Operation Aderlass” anything more than an article in Cycling News? If there are some genuine issues here (maybe a big if) then it could add to the media circus around Primoz Roglic.

    • The Inner Ring Thursday, 23 May 2019, 9:37 am

      Yates could try but if he takes a minute on the Montoso climb he’d struggle on the plains, even if he were joined by others, especially with tomorrow and Saturday looming. He might have a problem too, you don’t normally lose that much time in a TT.

      Aderlass is a real police operation, riders have been suspended including one pulled out of the Giro. Le Monde, which seems to have a good source, says no other active riders appear to be involved.

      • motormouth Thursday, 23 May 2019, 4:08 pm

        There seems to be a branch of this Slovenian scandal not directly related to the Anderlass operation, which is unfolding around Milan Erzen, prompted from a supposed UCI investigation itself happening over many years. All of this investigation seems to have primarily impacted Bahrain Merida at this point: Erzen started the team with Nibali’s agent, and Bozic was already implicated in Anderlass, and they have a handful of Slovenian cyclists on their roster. Roglic and most other slovenian cyclists have links to Erzen as well, but Erzen seems very connected to rider development programs, so I’m sure lots of people have contacts with him and are not involved.

        But UCI has been mum on details so far except to “confirm” a media question (ie they are spreading gossip).

  • noel Thursday, 23 May 2019, 9:32 am

    sorry can someone remind me, do we have time bonuses for 1-2-3?

    • The Inner Ring Thursday, 23 May 2019, 9:34 am

      Yes, 10-6-4 seconds in all stages except the time trials.

  • DJW Thursday, 23 May 2019, 9:33 am

    One of the interesting questions is how far from a stage end can a climb be for it to function as a GC rather than just a stage win phase. The climb is certainly hard enough to shift some GC aspirants, and if a GC group prepared to cooperate were to escape while others were left, then surely the 22kms of plain would not be excessive. The reality is more that the climb will probably be used simply to see who might be vulnerable, and to exploit that vulnerability on later stages. After days of ennui – even for me prepared to watch the velo equivalent of paint drying – it’s still a welcome moment.

    • Richard S Thursday, 23 May 2019, 9:54 am

      After Yates’ poor show in the TT Jumbo-Visma might be tempted to lift the pace just to test him out. Mind you it sounds like a proper climb so conversely Yates, Lopez et al might see it as their first opportunity to put the boot on the other foot.

      • RQS Thursday, 23 May 2019, 1:33 pm

        Yates stall has been put out for him. He is only going to attack today. He needs to take back time from his rivals. If some come with him that’s fine, as he will gain on those that don’t.
        I think that with time bonuses on offer the break may not get far enough away especially with such such a short stage.
        The final climb will be like the 4th July. We will see if who is set for success and who isn’t.

    • AndyW Thursday, 23 May 2019, 11:06 am

      I was thinking exactly the same – looks tough enough to establish some kind of pecking order and I can see a small GC group making it to the finish. Will be interesting to see if teams get riders up the road to help with that final 22 km.

    • Nick Thursday, 23 May 2019, 11:59 am

      The run-in for Stage 15 last year wasn’t exactly flat, but the final climb was 15km from the finish and that was enough for Yates to get away and take 45ish seconds.

      • Nick Thursday, 23 May 2019, 10:54 pm

        I see Lopez and Landa got away and got just under 30 seconds.

    • motormouth Thursday, 23 May 2019, 4:25 pm

      my impression is this sort of stage is that to make it ‘stick’ requires a strong team to setup the leader– a classic movistar or astana tactic as they will need someone after the downhill (or to shepherd them down the DH if they aren’t a Nibali). this is going to be a good finish!

  • noel Thursday, 23 May 2019, 9:37 am

    probably the best thing MS/Astana/Movistar etc can do here is try and stick a couple of men in the break so Lotto really have to work to contain it. If Yates or Lopez etc can get away on the climb and bridge up to a team mate or two then it could get interesting.
    I have a feeling this will only be a minor skirmish/softening up day however…

  • Chris_SK Thursday, 23 May 2019, 9:59 am

    If Landa and MAL needed a chance to get back a couple of minutes, the steep grade of the Montoso could be a good launchpad… with Carapaz and Bilbao high in the GC, will they get the opportunity to stretch their legs?

    My thinking is that Jumbo-Visma are still happy for U.A.E. to pull the peloton another day or two… so it will be tranquilo from the GC group…

    Most probably a small group of pro-conti Italians are going to go for all-or-nothing suicide break and the GC group fill out the remainder of the top 10.

  • KevinK Thursday, 23 May 2019, 10:22 am

    Watching how Pascal Ackermann did/does at this Giro has been one of the key points of interest, so I’ve been enjoying the Giro so far, and yesterday’s stage was especially interesting. I was impressed by his efforts to hold onto the ciclamino jersey, and his form in the final sprint. I especially liked that he had stripped off all is bandages at the end, just as he stripped off his cold/wet weather gear a few stages ago. Unfortunately, he continues to be exploited by other more experienced sprinters, who find his wheel and let him go too soon in his over-eagerness. I’ll be cheering for him to make it to stage 18, and look forward to he and Demare battling for sprint points along the way.

    On another sprint related point, I notice how narrow Ewan’s bars are. Clearly narrower than his shoulders. I realized a few years ago how much more comfortable I am with narrow bars, and love the added aero advantage, which easily trumps the aero benefits of a full-on aero bike with wider bars. When I switched to narrow bars, a lot of people told me it’d be harder to breathe (it’s not), that I’d have less control (no, it lets me squeeze through gaps), and that I’d lose sprint power (I can’t sprint). I know Ewan has mastered an extreme aero sprint style, and he seems to be able to get considerable power with his setup.

  • Nicholas Taylor Thursday, 23 May 2019, 10:23 am

    May I politely point out a typo concerning Demare. He is not ‘averse’ to the mountains. Best wishes and thank you for a terrific site.

  • Gelato4bahamontes Thursday, 23 May 2019, 10:59 am

    1949:254 kilometres, 4200 metres ascent, 5 climbs (la maddalena, vars, izoard, montgenevre, sestriere)
    VV Coppi

  • Terence McMahon Thursday, 23 May 2019, 12:01 pm

    Great write up! Can’t see it happening on this stage, but if they have the legs to try and take time back on Roglic then Astana, Mitchleton & Movistar should put their resources together to try to do it sooner rather than later.

    • JeroenK Thursday, 23 May 2019, 1:53 pm

      That would be great, except… such a thing does not happen very often. In modern cycling, a common theme is to conserve energy, play a poker game with other teams to take initiative and burn through their riders, limit risk of your star rider stalling after an attack and wait for an opportunity. It’s only when all seems lost and everything is to win, riders take more risk, like Froome last year. Right now, they have lots of days left to wait for Primoz’ bad one. My guess is all you see is late stage attacks with little risk of time loss.

      Where is the stage racer equivalent of Mathieu van der Poel when you need him? 😀

      • Terence McMahon Friday, 24 May 2019, 11:23 am

        Two of the three teams were up for it… Didn’t think it would happen yesterday but there you go. Mitchelton clearly waiting for today (stage 13) by “resting” Mikel Nieve yesterday.

  • oldDAVE Thursday, 23 May 2019, 12:39 pm

    Thanks for a brilliant write up as always.

    Thank god we’re getting back into some actual entertainment today!

    I’ve often thought putting Grand Tours down to two weeks would be sacrilege but these last few days have me reconsidering – if less distance equals more excitement whether that be less sprints/shorter stages/shorter grand tours (except the TDF) I’m all for it. Would be even more so if shorter Giros/Vueltas were used to open up new markets with races in US/Asia/South America taking on added significance.


    Would love for something to happen today, but you get the feeling even if they got away from Roglic on the climb he’d close a minutes gap on the flat alone. At least they have little choice than to go for sustained pressure to avoid falling into the Quintana-MovistarvsFroome fate so might as well start today! Come on Yates/Sanchez/Landa show us what you’ve got…

    I’ve still got my fingers crossed we’re going to get some shocks in this next week, even if it seems like Roglic has this wrapped up.

    • KevinR Thursday, 23 May 2019, 11:18 pm

      Well Landa and MAL showed what they’ve got – about 30 seconds! Yates didn’t. I’m starting to think he’s not quite right (how I don’t know) or else he’s going to the other extreme to last year’s gung ho approach. Probably the former!

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