Giro Stage 18 Preview

A flat stage on Ascension Day, today could be a sprint finish and a decider for the points jersey… but which teams are left to set up a sprint?

Supernans: A maxi-breakaway of 18 riders but still some teams missed it, surprising given the lack of opportunities left. Various riders tried moves but it was on the final climb that Nans Peters burst out of the group. Perhaps the others saw his big build and hesitated, either way it was a mistake to let him go. He’s a strong rider, longtime a stalwart of the French U-23 team but without a win… until now.

Behind Mikel Landa surged clear to take a few seconds out of Primož Roglič and Vincenzo Nibali as part of his bid to get on the podium and had Hugh Carthy on his wheel, the man from Lankyshire is proving adept at matching the biggest of attacks. Landa is still fourth on GC and now 47 seconds behind Roglič, but even if the Slovenian is slowing, Landa will need to take more time in the coming day. Nibali also had a scare, losing a few seconds in the final when Lopez and Carapaz clipped clear. Short of an energy gel or is he also beginning to fade?

The Route: 222km out of the Alps for a flat finish in the Veneto.

The Finish: fast and flat, just two bends in the final 5km before a finishing straight that’s 1.6km long.

The Contenders: Arnaud Démare and Pascal Ackermann are the two obvious picks. There’s just 13 points between them and points go down to the 15th place on the stage with 50-35-25-18-14 for the first five. This means Démare can’t keep the points jersey just by sitting on Ackermann’s wheel, both have to win today’s stage to settle the ciclamino jersey. But there’s another option, if a big breakaway goes then it can mop up the points and the status quo prevails so Groupama-FDJ don’t have to chase. It could happen as plenty of riders will see today as their last chance and Bora-Hansgrohe are the only team with a firm interest in chasing.

If it’s a sprint still there’s a chance that the two riders mark each other to the point of getting in the way and a third rider comes through. But who? Giacomo Nizzolo has won the points jersey in the Giro after others have gone home.. only he’s gone home, leaving Dimension Data relying on Ryan Gibbons. Jakub Mareczko and Matteo Moschetti are also out. Manuel Belletti (Androni-Sidermec) and Davide Cimolai (Israel Academy) are the sprinters. But the lack of sprinters could tempt others into the mix like Spanish veterans J-J Rojas (Movistar), J-J Lobato (Nippo-Vini Fantini) and Francisco Ventoso (CCC). Tosh van der Sande (Lotto-Soudal), Marco Haller (Katusha-Alpecin) and Simone Consonni (UAE Emirates) often work as lead out riders but could have a go too. But it’s hard to see any of these riders worrying Démare and Ackermann in a straight spint, no?

Pascal Ackermann, Arnaud Démare
Vendrame, Consonni, Belletti, Haller

Weather: cloudy and the risk of rain, a top temperature of 21°C later on in the plains.

TV: the finish is forecast for 5.15pm CEST / Euro time.

37 thoughts on “Giro Stage 18 Preview”

  1. I thought that fatigue was very much a factor yesterday, even Mikel Landa seemed pretty subdued. Maybe it was mainly a reaction to the previous stage but even a relatively “easy” though long stage will not help with recovery. The break could get a very big lead today.

    Really cant see a sprint from the main bunch but maybe if it is just a small break there might be some points still on offer to interest the sprinters.

  2. I think the order has been established. Carapaz is the strongest climber. Landa is good too, but wont be able to steal enough time to overtake Roglic, including the margin Roglic will make up in the final TT.
    Nibali looked strong and steady – until now. Maybe the after effects of his efforts on Mortirolo – but enough to shake his confidence a bit for the last 2 mountain stages – or not!! Nibali needs to reclaim atleast 1:30 min off Carapaz to win – looking very unlikely, how strong Carapaz has been. Only chance of that is now a long range attack from the top of Passo Rolle to the finish.

  3. Stage 20 looks prime for explosion. The final climb has a reasonable decent on it and a well timed attack by Nibali could see him gain a lot of time.

    Today’s race will not be about GC that’s for sure, unless something untoward happens.

    From my POV I’d like Demare to win, even though Ackermann is clearly the stronger rider. Demare has used his age and experience where Ackermann has relied on his strength and youth.

    • The intermediate sprint looks interesting too.
      Credit to both Demare and Ackermann for holding out this far.

      The difficulty of a Giro / Tour double for GC riders is well known but what about attempting the double for the sprinters / points jersey hopefuls?
      Is it a killer too?

  4. That punchy finish was always going to favor Carapaz after a day sitting in the wheels.
    I’m more curious what will happen on Friday / Saturday. Time gaps will be larger than yesterday.

  5. Today will be a strange stage. With the dynamics around the purple jersey, I just can’t see a sprint here, unless some of the smaller teams make it happen (Israel Cycling Academy for Cimolai and Androni for Belletti perhaps). FDJ have no incentive to risk a sprint, whilst Bora only have a few riders to lead a chase.

    My money would be on an outside name winning from the break. If FDJ play their cards right today, and get him in the break, I’m going with Sinkeldam for the win.

    A question related to this for Mr. Inner Ring: how valuable are UCI points for the wild card teams? Would it be worth it for ICA to chase hard today to get Cimolai to, say, a 3rd place finish?

    • The points are valuable but it’s 100-40-20-12-4 UCI points for the stage so third place won’t make much difference. But every point counts with the new UCI rules where 18 World Tour teams get automatic invites and then so do the next two Pro Conti teams and qualifying among the best two is important.

        • Almost correct, with two things to clarify:

          1. The Pro Conti invites are not compulsory for the teams to accept. If they decline, the race promoter can offer the empty positions to other teams.
          2. It extends to the top three teams for one day races, with the total number of teams limited to 25 (18 WT, 7 PCT) and therefore the promoter will have 4-7 invitations.

          Cofidis and Wanty have traded the top two positions between them for a while now and that doesn’t look like stopping. For the stage races you’re most interested in (Tirreno-Adriatico and Giro d’Italia) I’d be very surprised if both of them accepted, so RCS would probably be able to issue one or two additional wildcard invites in their place. For the Tour and other ASO races, the rule will make no difference as ASO have been regularly inviting these teams anyway.

          Third place is currently Total Direct Energie with Israel Cycling Academy very close behind. TDE and ICA would probably both be keen to accept invites for all three WT one day races in Italy (Strade Bianche, San Remo, Lombardy) if they were offered, though it won’t make much difference to ICA if they stay fourth as RCS would certainly give them an invitation anyway.

          If a promoter doesn’t like the obligations of the WT regulations, they have the option of stepping down to Hors Classe level where they can invite teams from all three levels with only a couple of restrictions – maximum 70% WT teams, maximum of 2 CT teams from outside the host nation.

    • Chasing points certainly would be worthwhile for ICA.

      They are currently the 4th placed Pro Continental team on 4119 points, in a very tight contest for 3rd place with Total on 4176 points.

      3rd placed team gets automatic invites to all WT one day races next year. ICA get invited to practically everything put on by RCS (other than the UAE Tour, for political reasons) but they’ve never been invited to Flanders, Roubaix or Liege.

      • Note you’re using the actual UCI rankings system… but the team qualification system uses an internal system private to the UCI and teams with weightings given to this year’s points, last year and also new signings, eg if Total Direct Energie sign Alaphilippe it all changes as part of his points carry across.

        • I’m not talking about the three year ranking to be used for WorldTour team selection, but the regulation 2.10.039 ‘qualification ranking’ which is to be used for awarding automatic invites.

          When it gets to the last day of the season when the Qualification Ranking is finalised, the rolling team World Ranking and the Qualification Ranking will be exactly the same. While it’s not strictly correct, keeping an eye on the current team World Ranking will be instructive for tracking how the teams are doing in the race for the Qualification Ranking.

          Just from looking at the Europe Tour team rankings for 2017 and 2018 (rather than calculating world rankings directly) I think we’ll be safe from having to add any extra WT teams next year. Unless Cofidis do something very special in the second half of this season, my guess is that Wanty will probably sit in 18th place on the three year ranking ahead of Cofidis in 19th and Dimension Data in 20th. Wanty were not one of the teams to apply for WT status (automatic invites they can decline are a better deal) so the 2020-22 WT teams will be the 1st to 17th WT teams plus Dimension Data (20th place, using the regulation 2.15.011b exception).

  6. seems a shame for the race today – I know it’s all about the jersey, but for a sprinter to hump himself over the Mortirolo etc, and then have his team try and avoid the only sprint left seems a bit frustrating…

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