Giro Stage 13 Preview

The mountain stages begin with a summit finish of sorts on the slopes of the giant Colle del Nivolet.

Two races in one: First a maxi-breakaway of 25 riders met the Montoso climb and over the top four riders were clear. Cesare Benedetti wasn’t among them but used the descent to get back in contention and form a group of seven. They hit the wall climb in Pinerolo and Gianluca Brambilla surged clear with Eros Capecchi on his wheel and Eddie Dunbar got across to them during the ensuing descent. It looked like the trio were going to sprint for the win but they started marking each other and Benedetti made a long sprint to take the stage win, a reward for a worker.

The second race was among the GC contenders and Miguel Angel Lopez and Mikel Landa attacked early on the climb of Montoso and used team mates up ahead as relays to get them across the plains into Pinerolo with 28 seconds on the GC group which had most of the big names barring Davide Formolo and Tao Geoghegan Hart. Lopez and Landa got some time and applause, using a stage when they could have sat tight to make a move and we’ll see what they’re capable of today, whether they pay for it or surge again. Roglič looked tired at the finish and when the race hit the climb of Montoso his team mates were dropped in a flash. This will worry him but most of the climbs to come are more gradual. Jan Polanc is now in the race lead with four minutes on Roglič and should keep his lead today and it means UAE will continue to try and control the race.

The Route: 195km and after days on end of the Giro deliberately skipping the climbs, things change with a vengeance as the race seeks out new roads and steep climbs. Outside Pinerolo there’s the unmarked Colletta di Cumiana of which the final 5km are mostly at 10%. Then comes the Colle del Lys, used last year but in the other direction and this is the harder side, almost 13km at 7.5% average but there’s a descent on the way up meaning it’s often 8-9% and it sets up a hard first 55km. Then things calm down with a gradual descent and a gentler section to Cuorgnè.

The Pian del Lupo climb is a new one for the Giro. Listed as 9.4km at 8.7km, there’s an extra 3km of climbing just to get to the start of the climb including a cobbled section in the town just before the climb proper starts. Once underway the road here is a very narrow and rears up from the start, this is a tough climb to see who has mountain legs and it’s irregular, including a surprise 14% kick just before the top. The descent is in two parts, the first is awkward and technical on a narrow, sketchy road before reaching the main road outside Frassinetto but from here it’s still difficult with awkward blind bends and an irregular feel.

The profile suggests it climbs right after the descent but this is the main road up the valley, it’s a drag for the most part for 25km to Noasca.

The Finish: the Giro uses 20km of the 26km Colle del Nivolet, subjectively one of the best two climbs in Europe alongside the Fauniera (which wins here as it feels wilder). The start is marked by a series of numbered hairpin bends outside the village of Noasca, as if the road has to suddenly start gaining height after tracking the valley it its approach. They take the new old road (an old road repaved to allow cyclists to escape what is said to be the longest tunnel in Europe on a mountain pass) and it’s steep here with some long 10% sections before picking up the main road again and riding into Ceresole Reale, a small town with a big lake where the road is level. From here it’s 6.9km at 8.9% as they ride into an Alpine paradise and the final 3km are regularly over 10% just before leveling out for the finish.

The Contenders: the breakaway has a chance they can build up enough of a lead because once the race hits the climb to Pian del Lupo the big teams are likely to accelerate and it’ll be hard to stay away. Still Ivan Sosa (Team Ineos) is one to watch, Tanel Kangert (EF Education First) can ride hard over multiple mountain passes but is only eight minutes down on GC, and maybe the likes of Sam Oomen (Team Sunweb) and Francois Bidard (Ag2r La Mondiale) fit the bill too.

It’s crunch day for Primož Roglič (Jumbo-Visma), if he can win here or just beat his GC rivals then he’ll send a big message that he’s in control. Only yesterday he was without team mates and looked tired at the finish, so for all his apparent form he’s not getting three chainrings today. Still it’s hard to imagine all his condition has vanished and he’s won on big climbs before, like the Galibier stage of the 2017 Tour de France.

Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana) and Mikel Landa (Movistar) took time yesterday and should be confident today. Simon Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) should be reassured because he stayed with the leaders to Montoso yesterday and can try today. Vincenzo Nibali is the rider the rest will fear, he had a quick try over the top of the Montoso climb which dropped Bauke Mollema for a moment. Finally Rafał Majka is climbing very well and Bora-Hansgrohe are strong.

Rafał Majka
Primož Roglič, Vincenzo Nibali, M-A Lopez, Mikel Landa

Weather: 22°C with sunshine but increasing chance of rain later.

TV: the finish is forecast for 5.15pm CEST / Euro time. The climbing out of Cuorgnè for the Pian del Lupo should start around 2.30pm and the final climb begins around 4.40pm. As usual it’s on RAI in Italy, Eurosport across most of Europe and Australia, L’Equipe TV in France and Flobikes and in the US. Note that because the finish is in a national park that the TV coverage will be scaled back, there will be no helicopter for the final part.

44 thoughts on “Giro Stage 13 Preview”

  1. Chaves finished in the main GC group with Yates, so that will cheer M-S a bit as it looks like the Colombian might be returning to the levels he was at a year ago.

    • I thought Chaves looked really strong yesterday. I wonder what M-S will do, tactics-wise, if yates gets dropped. chaves is hardly a contender for GC but he’s basically on the same time as landa and only a few seconds behind lopez. if he maintains his form (a big question mark given his recent travails) then he could get a solid top-10. matt white has said chaves has no GC ambitions whatsoever, but a solid top-10 might be quite appealing if Yates blows up again.

      majka seems a solid pick – he also looked really good on the main climb, though lopez surely has more of a kick. the only thing is that the breakaway is more likely to stay away given the lack of strength in UAE for controlling things.

  2. If you see the end of one stage of the Giro watch this one as it is stunning and will at last instigate some activity amongst the GC contenders. Locana at the start of the climb has taken the Giro to heart and the houses, gates and railings are festooned with pink bicycles, ribbons and rosettes which continue all the way up the climb. It is all a bit last minute though, as when I rode the climb yesterday although there are some stretches of immaculate asphalt it was a question of dodging the workmen shovelling sticky tarmac into cracks and potholes. The new old road makes avoiding the tunnel much easier, but it is narrow with hairpins and the steep 2 km section has pitches of 14%. The final km is above the snow line with banks of snow on either side. There was a strong tailwind yesterday that eased the effort and it is slightly overcast this morning with that possibility of rain. By the way if you want to move to Locana the mayor is offering new residents € 9000 , but you to have a child need an income of at least € 6000.

    • Thank you Kevin G for the excellent local knowledge.
      By the way, does the mayor’s offer apply if the children are, for example, 30 and 28? 😉

  3. A fabulous ‘Stolen Moment’ from Benedetti yesterday, and it’s worth taking 5 minutes of your time out today to hopefully enjoy this 1991 Italian “dream-like” piece –

    Note also that the race went through the town of Cavour yesterday, birthplace of music producer Mauro Picotto.
    He got his break at a DMC competition, a British music label that spanned the Chicago and Continental house influences. So fittingly, on a day when I’m awaiting the EU election results with some trepidation, I’ll conclude with the consolation that at least we’ll all remain brothers in rhythm if not in political harmony –

    • Long time reader and barely a comment left, but I feel I must break the silence today to commend your Italo Disco links to the previous day’s stage. One of my favourite genres although one I know too little about (I know the records, but not the titles, apart from the obvious ones), so I’ve absolutely loved listening to them the last few days and finally putting a title to a track I will have usually heard in a DJ mix.

  4. We went to Pinerolo yesterday, but unlike Mr. Inrng my post is not yet up about that.
    The most interesting comment came from Davide Cassani about Roglic. He said that Roglic said he didn’t feel so good on yesterday’s stage. But Cassani said he didn’t believe it as nobody ever admits they’re not having a good day. Whether that means it was merely an excuse to get out of working in the chase or something else is what makes it interesting to me. Nibali clearly wasn’t buying the story, but today might make things more clear. W Il Giro!

    • Cycling media quote Nibali as irritated by Roglic’s defensive tactics. That’s the benefit of gaining massive time by simply being better in the time trials Vicenzo!

      Lopez and Landa showed we indeed have a race. I did not expect that, although they are way down. Let’s see today who pays for their effort.

    • I heard on a Dutch cycling podcast that Roglic often claims he feels that he doesn’t have the best legs, for example during Romandie (which he won of course). He might feel he doesn’t but clearly it doesn’t always mean he is worse than others.

  5. Hopefully yesterday’s stage gives us an insight into what the rest of the Giro will be like. Jumbo-Visma aren’t strong enough to exert any control on proper climbs, Astana and Movistar are much stronger and coming into their terrain and Nibali is looking sharp. I certainly don’t see a Roglic procession. It also goes to show that the ‘problem’ with the Tour hasn’t been the route or team sizes, just the presence of Team Sky. Astana appear to be the strongest team here but they don’t have the strongest rider, if they did it might be less interesting.

    • Totally agree with that summary. I still think Nibali is best places to profit from all the other attackers trying to distance Roglic

      • +1. As he is virtually second to Roglic’s virtual maglia rosa, all he needs to do is ensure that he doesn’t lose time to Roglic until he is worn down going with the moves. Sure, he’ll lose time to his competitors but his powder will be dry when that moment comes, and better able to capitalise. Chasing the other riders so you don’t lose second is a waste of energy. You’ve got to keep your opponents dancing in the ring so you can land your winning blows more easily.

  6. Apparently this is a boring Giro….

    There seems to be differing opinions about Primoz Roglic, one is that he did not look good when left without team mates, the other is that it is a big bluff and he is in top condition letting others do all the work. I tend to agree with Inrng that he was struggling a bit yesterday, at times he seemed agitated and the lack of support was especially noticeable. There will not be many places to hide on the last few kms today. He has a good lead but one bad day and it will evaporate very quickly.

    Vincenzo Nibali is the obvious challenger but not sure he will try for a big win today, there is a lot of road and many climbs before the race hits Verona. I suspect he would be happy to gain some time and crank up the pressure. It is time for Simon Yates to show he has the legs, his team looked strong yesterday.

    There are many riders about 4 to 5 minutes down on Primoz Roglic, some of those eg Mikel Landa will try today and I suspect the GC rankings will look very different after this stage.

    Interesting to see how Pavel Sivakov does, he looked very comfortable yesterday but today is a somewhat different challenge.

    • What we can be sure of is that Primoz was isolated on a relatively light day of climbing, its great to see him using racecraft to save energy he shows maturity

      • I think the view point of some is “we’ve had 3 stages, this is a boring Giro” (i.e. they have an immediacy to their thirst for cycling entertainment) vs. “Let’s savour this like a fine wine and wait for the race to breath. Once we’ve drunk the bottle we can pass judgement”.
        The subcontext of Roglic’s superiority in the time trial and the margin he has to play with despite a weak team sets this Giro up nicely for plenty of action. I don’t have much to complain about with the race so far.

  7. Just out of interest how does everyone feel about the coincidence of there being an ongoing doping investigation in to some shady corners of Slovenian cycling at the same time as a 20 year old Slovenian has just won the last World Tour stage race to finish, a Slovenian holds a 4 minute lead 2 weeks into the Giro and the person in 2nd place in the Giro and who is a strong favourite and has already dominated 2 time trial stages is…. Slovenian? Not bad for a nation of 2 million skiers, must be the altitude.

    • I’m sure plenty feel uncomfortable, it’s awkward. There’s a big problem here and I’m surprised it hasn’t dominated the headlines more given a rider has been ejected from the Giro and it’s engulfed Nibali’s team. But be careful not to associate it as just one country’s problem.

        • And what do you think about Nibali being on a dodgy team run by a shady Slovenian after switching from another shady team run by a shady Kazakh and after switching to them from another shady team, yet always coming up smelling of roses for some people? Coincidence. Gotta be.

          • If this is going to turn into the trial of X rider or Y nationality via the blog comments it’ll just turn into a text version of a bar brawl, it’ll be easier to press the “disable comments” buttons.

    • not much different than having recent GTs dominated by a team mired in a few issues of their own, with dodgy doctors, iffy TUEs etc etc blah blah

      does Geoghegan Hart rank as a big gun already?

    • you mean “aderlass” or is there an other ongoing doping investigation?
      for aderlass: as far as i know all 21 names provided by the doctor are out in public as far i know.

      Many strong riders from one nation at a specific time is nothing new in cycling. other nations that used to be not so present in cycling suddenly became strong, the UK for example.

      • Strong riders from one nation at a specific time is nothing new, it is nothing new in other sports also. It is also most of the time very suspicious. It often correlates with such country organizing olympic games or football world cup. But maybe it is a subject for another post…

        • It’s not that suprising when it happens: money talks. When a country hosts the Olympics or WC, suddenly there’s political value in spending money on sports, and so they improve – usually through a combination of fair means and foul, not only the latter.

          In the case of cycling, it’s also relevant that it’s actually quite a small sport, internationally speaking. So a peak of interest in one country can often result in it being disproportionately represented at the top levels., just because there isn’t as much competition as in bigger sports. And when that country gets bored, their representation fades away again.

      • rony — there is a UCI investigation into a slovenian actor separate from aderlass, google Milan Erzen and the articles will likely pop up with a lot of information.

        to echo your comment on coincidence, I think when a nation decides to invest in a rider development programme, it understandably produces a big jump in results once it matures. And there will always be unscrupulous people looking to game the system or produce quick results for monetary gain that involve themselves or get into positions of power (coaches etc), but that doesn’t generally mean the entire effort or every rider is impugned. Of course there are counter examples like the Russian state doping program for an easy example where most athletes were complicit/aware.

        My outsider view on pro cycling is that most top level riders have their own support structures (coaches, doctors, training plans, soigneurs and even their domestiques come with them) and so can be islands within a team where they are able to get away with stuff, or not be involved. A setup like Ineos (and I think Michelton Scott) where it seems to be a very team-oriented support/development structure seem rare, most of them seem to just buy talent.

    • There does seem to be an element of various writers adding 2 + 2 and getting 5 here. There is a sudden prominence of Slovenian cycling, Tadej Pogacar won the Tour of California along with the riders here. There is clearly money and a desire for victory from those the gulf states sponsoring bike teams (a bigger issue for other sports). There also seems to be some sort of Slovenian / Croatian connection to the “Operation Aderlass” investigation. Easy to put together a conspiracy theory linking all this but we dont really know the evidence, simply throwing around suspicions is not helpful to anyone . I suspect this issue will grow in the next few days, the hot house of a GT media presence tends to amplify these things, after all the folk on the Eurosport couch have to find something to talk about.

      • Both Croatians who got suspended are also a fruit of Slovenian cycling school, namely Erzen’s school. You can put them in the same bucket if you want. They all went through Adria Mobil at certain point in their careers.

    • Not much more dodgy than the Brits winning last 5 GTs IMO. But yes, looking at simple statistics, I would say Slovenia became a number 1 cycling nation if we exclude Luxemburg. Slovenia has 5,2 WT cyclist per million of capita. Ahead is only Luxemburg with 6,3. Belgium has only 4,6 or something. Of course there are plenty of limitations, France and Italy cannot have each 400+ WT riders even if they theoreticall could have so many.

      Regarding doping connections…I don’t know but could imagine everything around Erzen smells a bit fishy for sure. On the other hand, if we believe cycling is clean or cleaner today than what it was in the darkest days a decade ago, then also Slovenians should be clean. Biologocial passport has limitations…but can it have so many? Or did they dope well in U23 categories where checks are more loose and the “investment” is still visible?

      • As a Brit I’m not comfortable that ‘we’ won all 3 grand tours last year, and the last 5 in the row or whatever it is. It’s skewed by Sky a bit and also Froome being the dominant GC rider of late but it’s still odd.

    • The remark about 2 million skiers…cycling is becoming increasingly popular in Slovenia and I’m not talking about last 3 years but last 15 years let’s say. I wouldn’t be surprised you’d see more cyclists on Slovenian roads than British roads for example. The altitude comment was probably a sarcasm but that’s not a factor over here. The highest point of Slovenia is not even 3000 meters high and vast majority of Slovenia ranges up to 700 meters high or so.

      • if that is so (with the many cyclist) a trip to the southern alps recommendable? i guess the roads are better than lets say in hungary and its not that far away.

        • Depends what your goals are. If you wish to tackle the epic mountain passes, then in Slovenia you won’t find many. But nevertheless, Slovenia has relatively low density of population but yet the population is decentralized, which means many roads, nowadays also paved and many with very little up to no traffic. It is the 3rd most forested country in the EU and in general very green. You can also ride basically from the seaside directly up to the mountains. The negative point is that since financial crisis roads except for highway got little attention so some can be in a pretty bad condition. It’s good you get some local tips prior to heading there for some beautiful, off the beaten path rides.

  8. A fantastic Stolen Moment for Benedetti yesterday, and take a little time out today to enjoy this classic –

    The race passed through the town of Cavour yesterday, birthplace of DJ Mauro Picotto, who got his break back in the 90s at a DMC event, the British label that spanned the Chicago and Continental House influences. So fittingly, on a day when the EU election results promise more disharmony for us Brits, I can console myself that we’re all brothers in rhythm if not perhaps politics –

  9. Thanks as always for brilliant write up.

    Very excited for today.

    Expect Roglic to be commanding but I guess we find out whether the next week will be dynamite or not today – his teams weakness was nice to see yesterday for those in hope of an exciting finish.

    I would love Landa to show us his best climbing in what remains, it feels like a long time since we saw the best Landa.

    Also – how impressive was Dunbar yesterday? It felt like a very good showing for a 22 year old so left me excited about his prospects – I was also happy to see Ineos/Sky let a rider go so we aren’t just watching their young guns fly under the radar to a top20 for the next week.

    Tao-G – was wondering if his faltering was the crash or the incline… would love to know, very disappointed for him either way as he may be falling behind Sivakov in Ineos’ pecking order now along with Bernal which is a shame as this seemed a huge opportunity with Bernal out to make a statement. I guess it’s the rub of the green.

    Incredible potential at Ineos now whatever.

    Feels like we’re heading into a GC golden age with all this talent, fingers crossed Bardet, Quintana land a deserved TDF before time runs out, I for one would also like Froome to get a 5th but wih Dumoulin, Bernal, now Roglic, Yates… all three of those feel like a fantasy.

  10. I know there’s a lot of “clever race craft” comments from media / posters for Roglic not pulling through but I wonder how much emotional energy he wasted arguing with people, and future favours lost. Plus it looked to me like he kept drifting off the back and having to sprint on. He’d probably have had an easier day if he just rolled through and pulled his turn, with a little soft pedalling of course.

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