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Giro Stage 3 Preview

One for the sprinters, the race heads south for a seaside finish with some very exposed roads and crosswinds are forecast. With grey weather and cool temperatures today’s finish beside the Lido di Giannella might feel more like De Panne.

Pascal Ackermann, Fucecchio

Ackermann beats the field: a rainy start and a breakaway formed after two kilometres including Giulio Ciccone who collected more mountains points and the jersey is his for the next few days at least Thursday and perhaps much longer as he’s a genuine climber. The escapees never got much more than four minutes and the sprint finish seemed inevitable. Caleb Ewan launched first, Fernando Gaviria and Elia Viviani went to the right and Pascal Ackermann did his own thing on the left and surged for the win with Viviani trying to get on his wheel but the Italian could only follow. The top five riders were five big name sprinters in the race with no look in for the others.

This ought to end the “why didn’t they take Sam Bennett instead” questions but this was never a question of form for the team, more one of function. Ackermann winning in his German champs’ jersey winning generates images worth a lot to his sponsor but there’s the long term matter of nurturing a promising talent compared to giving Bennett a chance when he’s due to leave the squad. Ackermann is now in the ciclamino points jersey and already talking about winning more.

The Route: 220km and after celebrating Leonardo Da Vinci at the start the race heads south passing through the tourist parts of Tuscany or Toskana as it can feel in high season and also skirting past some the Strade Bianche route but this time sticking to the tarmac.

The Finish: pan flat and along the featureless coast, and there’s the danger, parts are on roads where there’s a guardrail and the sea and little else so the peloton is exposed to even the slightest crosswind and the wind is going to blow, first a crosswind, then a three quarters tailwind, then a cross-headwind.

After few features, the final kilometre packs a lot it, it is stressful just to look at on the map and lead out trains will earn their crust. After passing the 1km to go banner they ride into Orbetello and with less than 500m it’s over a small bridge paved with rough flagstones it’s just here riders have to apply the brakes because there’s a sharp left turn followed by a sharp right bend which funnels into the very narrow finishing straight which is 400m long.

The Contenders: let’s take the same five sprinters and see what happens, yesterday there was a chance of a breakaway, today less so. Pascal Ackermann (Bora-Hansgrohe) was very fast yesterday but there’s still no pecking order and today’s sprint features the hectic chicane with 450m go which then funnels into the small finishing straight meaning this is no dragstrip speed contest where everyone can have a go, it’s a test of nerves too. So Caleb Ewan (Lotto-Soudal), Elia Viviani (Deceuninck-Quickstep), Fernando Gaviria (UAE Emirates) and Arnaud Démare (Groupama-FDJ) are the obvious picks but Gaviria tweeted about not feeling well yesterday, an off-day in the rain or is he ill while Vivian’s train doesn’t look as polished and Démare was just several lengths back.

Pascal Ackermann, Elia Viviani
Caleb Ewan, Fernando Gaviria

Weather: a trip to the seaside but it’ll be cloudy and no more than 18°C, the wind will blow from the NE in the finish at 30km/h and as a rule this is the necessary windspeed to split up a bike race.

TV: the finish is forecast for 5.15pm CEST / Euro time. Don’t tune in too early unless there’s a surprise. 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 Monday, 13 May 2019, 6:28 am

    I have a feeling for the FDJ boys today, good in the wind and Demare’s size and power could be suited to the tough headwind finish that’s predicted.

    If there was a split today, and Jumbo Visma were on the wrong side of it, would they need to kill themselves to close it down?
    Would a managed gap not be a disaster?
    I’m not saying that they go out with the deliberate intention of losing time, and it’s very early days, but are they’re almost repeating the errors of Yates and Mitchelton-Scott of last year?
    They’re a good team, no doubt about that, but they’re not going to complete three weeks like this.
    That would be a big ask for the old Sky A Team, never mind the Dutch team.
    As for Roglic’s interminable media duties, it can’t be helped, but it brings to mind the sage advice of Mr T – “ quit yo jibba jabba, don’t be no crazy fool, prepare to meet my friend pain”.

    • jc Monday, 13 May 2019, 7:32 am

      I agree about Jumbo Visma and Primoz Roglic, the leading the race thing becomes a real drag especially if you are new to it. However looking at the stages coming up it is difficult to see where they might “give away” the jersey. Would they really want Bahrain or Sunweb to split the race and loose 30 seconds or so? I thought yesterday that Bahrain and Sunweb were deliberately applying pressure on a small climb and that forced Jumbo to chase. On paper the stages coming up look pretty straight forward but if you are nervous about being ambushed a lot of energy can be wasted chasing shadows. That energy would be far better kept in reserve for the challenges to come. I seem to remember Astana doing something similar a few years back, although Alberto Contador eventually won the energy he expended prevented a serious tilt at the tour come July.

      • The Inner Ring Monday, 13 May 2019, 8:21 am

        It’s hard to engineer a hand over of the jersey. If a move with riders posing no threat on GC could go away Jumbo would be happy with it, but the sprinters and their teams would not be. It’s still a luxurious position to be in.

    • JeroenK Monday, 13 May 2019, 11:20 am

      Ecky, if Roglic is caught behind a split, there will be at least one or some major contenders in front of the split. Therefore, it’s a hypothetical question: In practice they will always try to close things down. If you wait until you know who’s in the front group, you are always way to late.

      That said: I think they will be on the offensive side in crosswinds. They have the team to do it and others (notably Lopez and Yates) are more vulnerable. I don’t see Tom D and Nibali being dropped in the crosswinds. Tom because of his physique and Nibali because he proved he can be up there in races like Flanders.

  • Luke Monday, 13 May 2019, 6:54 am

    To me it looked like Ewan launched too early and faded in the last 100m, a mistake he often seems to make. Is he preferring the risk of fading over the risk of being beaten to the jump or boxed in? I think if he leaves his run later than today he will be much faster.

    • The Inner Ring Monday, 13 May 2019, 8:23 am

      Replay a sprint 100 times where you send the same riders in the same conditions into the same last 5km (and nobody knows the result of the last simulation) and the results would often vary as riders gain and lose position and launch their moves at differet points. For me if yesterday’s sprint was redone again and again Ackermann would win a lot of them given his pure speed in the finishing straight.

      • rebound Monday, 13 May 2019, 9:53 am

        Inner Ring – the Dr Strange of cycling 🙂

    • Utah Monday, 13 May 2019, 8:24 am

      I thought exactly the same thing when I watched it.

      • martin d Monday, 13 May 2019, 10:31 am

        Me too

    • Travis Monday, 13 May 2019, 2:01 pm

      Yes. He always seems to go to early. I’ve seen him get boxed in a few times (cegorr this year maybe) and I think he prefers to go early but because of this he misses out just as much if not more that if he waits.
      Watch the replay to 2017 stage 7. Fully expect a similar outcome.

  • Morten Reippuert Monday, 13 May 2019, 7:22 am

    QS didnt bring the key to the Viviani’s success last year: Mørkøv (‘composer / navigator’). Could be an issue in the technical finishes, but he will be there for the tour where Green is more likely

    • The Inner Ring Monday, 13 May 2019, 8:24 am

      Sabatini is a valuable lead out rider too, Viviani wasn’t far off.

      • Anonymous Monday, 13 May 2019, 12:17 pm

        Sabatini is the worst of their lead out riders and inconsistent. I think Viviani will be getting dropped off on other wheels quite a lot here rather than relying on him.

    • Larry T Monday, 13 May 2019, 8:29 am

      Viviani said something to that effect I think. He’s going to need to use the others for a leadout as he tried yesterday, but left it just a tiny bit late it seemed. The hapless Mauro Vegni had described the stage as not for sprinters in something I read, so what will happen today where he said the first big group sprint will happen? Just one more thing to love about La Corsa Rosa, even the race director finds the entire thing unpredictable! W Il Giro 🙂

      • Megi Monday, 13 May 2019, 9:17 am

        Viviana jumped to the right wheel yesterday, he just didn’t have the speed to get round it.

        • Larry T Monday, 13 May 2019, 11:00 am

          I think he’s still got plenty of speed, but his timing was just a bit off. But if the same thing happens today I might have to agree with you. With Kittel and Greipel on the way out, the new Tedescone (big German) has arrived just-in-time!

  • Digahole Monday, 13 May 2019, 9:01 am

    Ackermann in the ciclamino and looking fast, but even if he keeps winning, is he or any of those five, going ride through the last week to take the jersey? Who’s the pick?

    • J Evnas Monday, 13 May 2019, 10:02 am

      Nizzolo? I’d imagine Ackerman will try to finish the race – presumably Bora won’t pick him and Sagan for the Tour. Same might be true of Ewan and Demare?

      • Digahole Monday, 13 May 2019, 10:17 am

        Yeah, maybe Nizzolo. Thinking though that with this final week and the chances of missing the time cut vs effort involved, few are likely to try. Should throw up some interesting personal battles with a hefty carrot dangling

  • ocaz Monday, 13 May 2019, 9:22 am

    On note of Sam Bennett, you think there is a possibility we could see a mid season move for him to Katusha? He’s not 100% at his place in the team and with Kittel ending his contract by mutual consent they could do with a sprinter

  • Matthew Monday, 13 May 2019, 10:43 am

    Is Bennett out of contract this year, or just pushing for a move if he doesn’t get a GT ride?

  • Joe K. Monday, 13 May 2019, 11:08 am

    So many top-end sprinters this year with no particular one standing out so far. Makes for an interesting end to the day’s racing, for sure! What happened to Bennett (being left off the team) happened to Caleb as well when he was about to leave Mitchelton-Scott. Guess it’s not good to let the cat out of the bag too early. Why not wait until the start of the transfer window in August to break the news, I wonder?

  • brent sword Monday, 13 May 2019, 11:20 am

    Reading your description of the finish I wonder what the chances of a crash near the end. The giro seems particularly apt some times at putting on finishes with such a tight finish that someone comes a cropper on the final corners just trying to keep in good position.

    That being the case I will go for ewan because his team seemed strong yesterday although he launched 20 – 50 meters to early for his strength. Ewan is also a great crit rider so may suit a technical finish. I know his position is aero but I don’t like it as his back wheel has a mind of its own sometimes and I wonder if a lightly less aero position may give him better power delivery and control.

    • Larry T Monday, 13 May 2019, 2:28 pm

      “The giro seems particularly apt some times at putting on finishes with such a tight finish that someone comes a cropper on the final corners just trying to keep in good position.”
      I guess Vegni and Co. at RCS do that on purpose?

  • Paddy Dunne Monday, 13 May 2019, 4:40 pm

    Stop with speculation already about Sam. He was totally happy at that team. Has been professional and loyal. I get they’ll sell a lot of cookies hoods in Germany with Acker Man’s mug splashed all over the billboards. Tis a cruel cruel sport. I’d be super concerned Sammy going to Katusha. Always thought a great long term home could be Trek Segafredo. If he moved on from NettApp/Endura/Bora. He needs to race, with the dearth of sprinters out there. The boy got grinta. But then he’s from Carrick. One things fir sure I won’t be buying any German kitchen equipment this year!

  • Cd Monday, 13 May 2019, 5:27 pm

    Is the peloton on strike today at the Giro?

    • Larry T Monday, 13 May 2019, 9:44 pm

      Wondering the same thing. They complain when the transfers are long so RCS has ’em ride the distances instead, but I wonder if they’re protesting this as well? There was a lot of wind out there, but not all of it was a headwind. Back-in-the-day it was claimed nobody started racing until the TV coverage began…maybe we’re getting too much coverage these days? I can’t believe I just typed that!

      • Cd Monday, 13 May 2019, 10:21 pm

        Only 1 guy in the break and then they catch him 80km out and nobody attacks again. They should kick out the other Wild card teams and teams like EF and Ineos who have neither sprinter or a GC guy. It was unwatchable. Didn’t help that the US coverage died with 4km left.

        • ronytominger Monday, 13 May 2019, 10:54 pm

          probably some teams would like to be kicked off certain races, after all theyre forced to attend all wt races, atm two on different continents.
          (with certain races i dont really mean the giro – yet still, some seem to attended with their C-teams)

  • Peter Tuesday, 14 May 2019, 5:49 am

    How come Demare only got 43 points towards the sprint competition? I calculated it as 67. Clearly I have something wrong.
    First sprint 2nd 12 pts
    Second spring 1st 20 pts
    Second on the stage 35 pts
    Total 67 pts

    • Anonymous Tuesday, 14 May 2019, 12:49 pm

      First Intermediate was 12, 8, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, the second one was for time bonuses, not points. He was second in first sprint at Poggibonsi . 25+8 is 43+ 6 from stage2 =49
      That’s why commentators wondered why Demare gone for the minor seonds time boni on the Grosseto intermediate.

      • Peter Wednesday, 15 May 2019, 3:38 pm


        The guide here is not updated to this year’s points calculation and regulations.

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