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Giro Stage 6 Preview

Sprint or breakaway? A long stage and the hilly finish could open up the stage while the grim weather continues.

Stage 5 Review: Tom Dumoulin took to the start but abandoned and the presence of team mate Louis Vervaeke in the breakaway suggested Dumoulin’s abandon was likely. The rest of the stage was ridden under a downpour and the only race seemed to be for a hot shower but there was a sprint and the finish line was awash with water, they could have used pedalos. Pascal Ackermann won the stage, a mix of timing and power. The day may be more memorable for UAE Emirates and Bahrain-Merida being engulfed in Operation Aderlass with the latter seeing one of their Giro team provisionally suspended.

The Route: from Cassino, scene of a huge battle in World War Two and San Giovanni Rotondo, which isn’t the patron saint of roundabouts but the home of Padre Pio, a saint and the destination of many pilgrimages. It’s 238km and it’s not the longest stage of the race. The first 200km see the race cross Italy and to the big climb of the day to Rignano Garganico which rises out of the plains of Apulia. It loos like a hurdle to the sprinters at first glance but it’s not so hard, 15km at 4.4% but with some longer parts that could be too much for the sprinters if some teams turn up the pace. It itself the climb isn’t too much for the sprinters, it’s down to the tactics. Over the top and the climbing isn’t done, there’s an unmarked climb with hairpins for 2.6km before a drop to arrive in the finish town.

The Finish: a ride around San Giovanni on an undulating road with a long finishing straight that rises to the line at 2%.

The Contenders: a breakaway or a sprint? The big climb can see some sprinters in trouble but the likes of Caleb Ewan and Arnaud Démare can manage on a good day but could find the second climb too much. This means fewer teams to chase and the climb is a launchpad for some breakaway riders.

Obvious picks are Thomas De Gendt (Lotto-Soudal) especially as he go in the breakaway meaning Lotto-Soudal can still deploy Caleb Ewan only without having to chase but he’ll have to go on the climb. Otherwise Diego Ulissi and Valerio Conti (UAE Emirates) can try to land that all-important first Italian stage win. Tony Gallopin (Ag2r La Mondiale) is versatile and has won Vuelta stages like this. Team Ineos don’t have a big leader, perhaps they’ll try with Eddie Dunbar. But there’s a long list of contenders, it’s all very open in the first week, choose from teams without sprinters or GC contenders first and then cast wider.

Caleb Ewan, De Gendt, Ulissi
Conti, Gallopin, Ciccone, Kangert

Weather: cold and damp, the forecast says a top temperature of 11°C

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

  • Digahole Thursday, 16 May 2019, 8:13 am

    9 degrees, wet, 240km, hills! All the sprinters, other than Ackerman, must be pretty frustrated with this giro so far. Money on Ewan in a sprint though, looked to be climbing well when beat by Carapaz the other day

    • Larry T Thursday, 16 May 2019, 8:37 am

      Viviani said on TV (while visibly shivering) he’s already looking ahead to Stages 10 and 11.
      Sun and blue skies here in Napoli, which is around 100 kms south of the start in Cassino so I’m hoping the race gets a chance to dry out today? Mauro Vegni called this a stage for the “finisseur” but he’s been wrong a few times already. W Il Giro!

  • Netserk Thursday, 16 May 2019, 8:51 am

    A large breakaway and Ulissi in pink for week? Surely Jumbo-Visma wants to pass on the jersey, and with this in mind many would like to be in the break, no? If not today, it will happen on one of the next two stages.

    • Ecky Thump Thursday, 16 May 2019, 9:16 am

      Do we have a Team Sunweb candidate today, to get in a break and / or make a late move?

      • Thinktank Thursday, 16 May 2019, 9:24 am

        Team Sunweb have Jan Bakelants and Sam Oomen with Jan Bakelants being down some 5:40 in GC. Further, I think this stage will be too easy for their (imo) best climber, Rob Power.

        • The Inner Ring Thursday, 16 May 2019, 9:35 am

          Was thinking of Power for today and Sunweb might see how Oomen does on GC, he’s a big talent, so he sits tight.

          • Simmers Thursday, 16 May 2019, 10:23 am

            Michiel Elijzen (one of Sunweb’s managers) was pretty adamant yesterday that Oomen would not go for the GC, so there’s every chance they’ll try and get him in a break today or tomorrow.

            Looking at the GC right now, there will be plenty of riders with an eye on pink today. De La Parte, Conti/Polanc, Carthy, Gallopin, Cattaneo are just some of the names within shooting range if a strong break gets away.

    • escarabajo Thursday, 16 May 2019, 1:52 pm

      Andrew Hood in VeloNews made a interesting point – that even if Roglic wants to ditch the jersey for a week, the other big teams could ride hard to prevent the break sticking. Thus keeping him in pink as he’d have to ride too. Don’t know, makes sense though.

      • Lanterne_Verte Thursday, 16 May 2019, 2:50 pm

        on the other hand if Roglic cedes the jersey to a non-contender by a couple or few minutes then there is the possibility that his main rivals could then take some time on him over the next few days and still not themselves be in pink

  • Ecky Thump Thursday, 16 May 2019, 9:25 am

    A shame that one of the favourites has abandoned but it does not essentially alter the dynamics of the race – the super TT’er (Roglic minus Dumoulin) v the versatile climbers (Yates and Nibali) v the climbers (MA Lopez, Landa etc).
    That was pretty much the pre-race script and it still is.
    Perhaps the balance has now swung to Yates and Nibali, as it looks an improbability to lead the entire race?

    Someone mentioned the possible effect of the weather during the race build-up also. It rather feels like the race is under a cloud, literally and metaphorically, at present.

    • Banksy Thursday, 16 May 2019, 12:34 pm

      One can definitely spin Dumoulin leaving as a minor blow to Roglic – not hard to envisage scenarios in the mountain stages where the pair of them needed to respond to explosive attacks from some of the other GC contenders. It leaves Roglic without any potential for help from Dumoulin and Sunweb.

  • Kavan Thursday, 16 May 2019, 9:35 am

    Tom of Ghent must have booked this one weeks ago so it is one for the Irish. Give it a go Eddie.

  • ocaz Thursday, 16 May 2019, 9:42 am

    The loss of Dumoulin is the Giro’s loss but the Tour’s gain.

    Think this crash although not what Tom or anyone wanted could be a blessing and give a proper showdown between Froome and Dumoulin at the Tour, both fresh.

    Just on point of him starting, I assumed he was always going to pull out as looked a nasty wound and given fact he had lost over 4 minutes little point in suffering just for the sake of it.

    Do you think team made him start for the sponsors sake? As assume he would have known it didn’t bode well when he was on the trainer before it started and given the fact he pretty much pulled out after the neutral zone

    • Larry T Thursday, 16 May 2019, 12:27 pm

      What’s the big benefit to Sunweb of Big Tom starting the stage only to stop before it even officially started? Based on what the man himself said, I think he simply wanted to honor the race (especially as a winner just a couple of years ago) and show up at the start and give it a go.
      I don’t think he thought for a minute after he turned his legs over on the trainer (as he described) that he’d be able to get far, but he said he just had to try. I’ve not been a big fan of Big Tom’s racing style, but he’s been classy under various stresses at the Giro over the years.
      BRAVO and buona fortuna at LeTour!

    • Davesta Thursday, 16 May 2019, 1:10 pm

      TD said that he wanted to give it a try so that he didn’t have any regrets and wouldn’t later question whether it was the correct decision…I guess sometimes even a lot of pain can be masked by the adrenaline and concentration of racing, but clearly not in this case…

    • escarabajo Thursday, 16 May 2019, 1:54 pm

      Although Dumoulin was less than impressed with the Tour’s parcours this year …. that’s why he went for the TT-friendly Giro.

  • Richard S Thursday, 16 May 2019, 9:45 am

    My only hope for today’s stage is that some teams other than Bardiani, Vini Fantini and Androni put some riders up the road. If it’s just those 3 plus a couple more while the peloton huddles a couple of minutes behind riding piano to stay upright it could be a long day.

    • Larry T Thursday, 16 May 2019, 12:33 pm

      At 238 kilometers, it’s gonna be a long day no matter what. They’re pretty much riding clear across Italy today. As you probably know, there are plenty of polemics about the wild-cards allowed in the future, so I think these teams that face possible exclusion are trying to make a point to RCS and the UCI that they need to be considered in the future plans. I think we need more wild-card teams of local/national interest in the big races rather than less.

      • Richard S Thursday, 16 May 2019, 1:54 pm

        I’m not complaining about the Italian pro-conti teams being there. Far from it, I always support those teams. My point is more that when those guys are on their own with no decent WT teams with them, or a decent sized group of riders from any team, you knows it going nowhere and the peloton won’t need to break sweat to bring them back. My point is moot now anyway as it isn’t raining and there is a large breakaway!

        • Larry T Thursday, 16 May 2019, 2:45 pm

          So far they’re a fair amount of time behind even the slowest predictions so a long, long day. NOBODY seems the least bit interested in helping Jumbo close the gap at present so how long will they grind away out there before sitting up and letting the break (and jersey) stay away?

  • anon Thursday, 16 May 2019, 10:08 am

    I wonder if the Giro will be adopting this new rule they’ve invented over in California whereby if the leader is detained by crashes further out than 3kms to go they’ll just retrospectively neutralise the GC anyway? Such “on the hoof” rule making brings the sport into disrepute and is indicative, as in the neutralisation in the Giro yesterday, of the increasing domestication of the sport.

    One day grand tours will just be 21 days on Zwift “because its safer”.

    • plurien Thursday, 16 May 2019, 10:18 am

      …wasn’t there an earlier Giro with a mountain descent in snow that Quintana took full-on only to find some other riders could cruise down and get ST…?
      This stuff is not new.

      • anon Thursday, 16 May 2019, 10:24 am

        That’s a false equivalence. An equivalent action would have been if, Quintana having done that, they then gave everyone the same time as him. Over in California the GC leader, Tejay van Garderen, wasn’t even in the peloton and yet STILL got the same time as them. So these incidents are not the same. In any case, I highlight it, and yesterday’s rain neutralisation only to make the point that the sport is becoming soft. Quite possibly in the head.

      • tom Thursday, 16 May 2019, 11:48 am

        Was the case there not that the descent was neutralised, and Quintana just ignored the neutralisation?

        (Might be wrong, but remember there being a lot of drama at the time about his actions)

        • gabriele Thursday, 16 May 2019, 1:46 pm

          Yes, you’re wrong. The descent was never actually neutralised. Just Lefevere doing one of his things, other lazy DSs jumping on board and the internet crowd swallowing as easily as always another ready-made myth, no matter how many times it gets debunked.

          • Larry T Thursday, 16 May 2019, 2:49 pm

            +1 Grazie! As to the “California Vacation” I don’t care what they do as the race is little more than a chance for the Tour contenders to take a nice break in sunny California while getting some training kilometers in their legs. Right up there with the Tour Down Under on my list.

      • Davesta Thursday, 16 May 2019, 1:15 pm

        As tom says, it was actually the opposite – the descent was neutralised due to snow and freezing temperatures, but Quintana (and I think Uran and a couple of others) attacked the descent and finished ahead of the bunch, and the time gaps were allowed to stand. Those time gaps went some way towards Quintana winning the overall…

        • gabriele Thursday, 16 May 2019, 1:46 pm

          See answer to tom above.

          • Davesta Thursday, 16 May 2019, 3:11 pm

            I’ve just looked up the details from 2014, and I do indeed stand corrected.
            Seems there was a lot of confusion in the peloton about whether the descent was neutralised or not, but it wasn’t a case of the UCI applying, or not applying rules…

            My memory was also a little off – it was Hesjedal who followed Quintana, not Uran (he was in pink and lost the jersey)

          • gabriele Thursday, 16 May 2019, 4:53 pm

            You’d better check what I wrote above, also. The descent wasn’t neutralised, so the gaps had no reason at all “not to stand”. That the peloton was *supposedly* confused is a different matter… and pretty much irrelevant. However, I agree with you that the example from 2014 had no relation at all with what happened at the Tour of Califarce.

    • J Evnas Thursday, 16 May 2019, 11:02 am

      Anon, I’m in general agreement with you that there are far too many neutralisations nowadays, but yesterday’s piscina finish could have been carnage, so it seemed the sensible decision to me.
      I don’t watch the ToC (if I did, I would stop now), but the TVG decision seems unjustifiable.
      I think TD only turned up for the ‘look’ of it yesterday.
      And like Richard S, I fear today could be another slow procession.

      • paterberg Thursday, 16 May 2019, 11:30 am

        I think the point anon is making, hopefully he corrects me if I’m wrong, is that so-called “safety” reasons are hauled out as if course issues or weather are totally unforeseeable. “Oh no it raining, let’s cancel the race” is a poor response when course design, and so minimising safety issues, is largely in the gift of those organising the race. Yet how many times do we see roundabouts, chicanes, hairpin turns, posts in the road, etc., in the final kilometres of a race? If neutralisation is now to be used, and the California case is a more heinous one than the stage of the Giro yesterday, as a “get out of jail free” card for race organisers then the show will have been diminished. Yesterday in the Giro, for example, they could simply have cut the race 9 kms shorts and had the relatively straight line first pass of the finish line as the race finish. There was no need to send the sprinters round the loop which, it seems to me, was more dangerous for them than finishing 9 kms short.

      • Tovarishch Thursday, 16 May 2019, 12:29 pm

        In the post race show on Eurosport yesterday, Nico Roche made the point that if they had actually implemented the 3 second gap between groups rather than 1 second, which all the riders were in favour of, there would have been no need for the neutralisation. I think the rule was only tried once, on the Tour. Why was it dropped?

        • anon Thursday, 16 May 2019, 1:22 pm

          I saw that too and thought what Roche said made a lot of sense. Neutralisation should be an absolute last resort because it is meant to be a race.

    • jc Thursday, 16 May 2019, 11:46 am

      Not really sure what happened at the ToC as I am not following the race but from the brief reports it sounds dubious. The decision yesterday seemed eminently sensible, the conditions were dreadful and the finishes are dangerous enough (see Tom Dumoulin…..) that there did not seem any reason to add the the risks for no reason. None of the GC riders would be gaining time but they could have been put out of the race with injuries.

      I have some agreement that perhaps “Extreme weather protocol” is being implemented too often. However it is not me risking life and limb racing on a bike for others entertainment and I am also sympathetic that the riders’ health should not be unreasonably put at risk.

      Looks nice weather for the start today hopefully that keeps up.

      • anon Thursday, 16 May 2019, 12:51 pm

        In paragraph T part J of the UCI rules it says races can be neutralised whenever the jury thinks it would be better that way.

    • Davesta Thursday, 16 May 2019, 1:26 pm

      I think it’s important not to equate the situations in the Giro & California – the decision in the Giro was surely eminently sensible. Whether we like it or not, GC teams & riders fight for position at the front of the race during sprint finishes in order not to lose time and this increases danger. In the atrocious weather & on a technical circuit, this would have almost guaranteed carnage at the end of the Giro stage, and then we’d all be bemoaning the loss of a GC contender…the decision had no real downside, but definitely some upside.

      The decision in California isn’t an issue of safety or domestication in my view, but one of the UCI flagrantly bending, breaking & disregarding their own rules. It’s hard not to see the decision as some kind of bias towards American riders. Though it’s perhaps notable that the chief commissaire is the same that kicked Sagan out of the TdF a couple of years back…

      • paterberg Thursday, 16 May 2019, 1:42 pm

        That depends whether you think the point of the event is that it is a race or not. There are other solutions to genuine safety problems due to weather besides neutralisation. For example, the 3 second rule mentioned by other above that was used in the Tour without issue as far as I’m aware of. I find it strange that these days the simple fact its raining is apparently enough to neutralise races.

        • gabriele Thursday, 16 May 2019, 1:59 pm

          I’m generally with you about safety being an excuse more often than not in order to make races more controllable and even predictable, with weather issues (and especially the corresponding “protocols”) as a significant part of this process.
          That said, it makes sense that riders have a significant say about race conditions as it’s important that they’re an active and responsible party in protecting their own health.
          It’s equally important that the different needs and factors (including “having a race” or “sadistic spectators”) reach sort of a balance, which is what arguably happened at the Giro yesterday, unlike other ominuos applications of the EWP by Vegni in the recent past (a Tirreno’s Queen stage cancelled because of snow – which easn’t ever really there, temperatures well above zero and not a single flake or white spot along the road).

          ToC simply doesn’t make sense. Just another example for the vast collection of sport authorities leaving the rules in shreds when they need to protect *some* athletes, shrugging off any demand of transparency or equal treatment.

      • Othersteve Friday, 17 May 2019, 1:42 am

        TJVG will be dropped tomorrow on Mt Baldy like a bad habit.
        so one more day in yellow for him today no big deal.

    • KevinK Thursday, 16 May 2019, 1:55 pm

      Regarding the ToC, I think the decision to give TvG (and several other overall contenders) the same time is a gentle bending of the rule that fit’s with the rule’s intent. In the case of TvG, he went down, the peloton didn’t slow for him to get back on as per the usual unwritten rules (understandable given it happened 8.5 km from the finish, but still, the other teams weren’t exactly sporting in the slightest), then his entire team dropped back and pulled him into sight of the peloton. There’s little doubt he was about to rejoin the peloton with the mass crash happened.

      Here’s a question – was it also unfair that Moscon, Britton, Wilsley, de la Cruz and a few others also got the same time? Wasn’t the mass crash just outside the 3 km zone? In general, there’s a lot of leeway given in the way rules are interpreted in races. I was especially surprised that Viviani was relegated, given the jersey he was wearing, though I thought it was the correct decision. Most of the times sprinters get away with crazy stuff that seems to clearly violate the intent of the rules. Sticky bottles, riders getting towing back by team cars, lead-out riders accidentally impeding other teams sprinters, etc. Also, rules about time gaps and so on seem to change regularly, usually in response to some event like this.

      From my seat, I don’t think this decision makes a mockery of the 3-km rule – it’s there to keep GC riders from paying the price of chaotic sprint finishes, and sprint finishes seem to be spooling up the craziness further and further out from the finish line over the last couple of years.

      • gabriele Thursday, 16 May 2019, 2:04 pm

        *Unwritten rules* of waiting for someone less than 10 kms to the line? What?! You must have been watching a different sport for the last century and a half or so.
        The 3 km rules is the “3 km” rules. I wouldn’t like if the referee could *decide* in football that a shot hitting the post and ending out of the field was actually *scoring a goal*.

        • KevinK Thursday, 16 May 2019, 3:02 pm

          My point was that the “sprinters must hold their line and not impede other sprinters” is a pretty obvious rule to enforce, and yet rarely is. That’s just one example. Don’t get me started on some of the rules regarding blood tests and enforcement and consistency of penalties.

          Anyway, I defer to your greater knowledge about the unwritten sporting rules, if these even really exist anymore, and I agree that the rules should be applied consistently and clearly, without what appears to be obvious nationalism or favoritism that often rules the day. Ultimately TvG should have been on the wheel of a trusted teammate at the 8.5 km marker, and this issue should never have come up.

        • Vitus Thursday, 16 May 2019, 3:07 pm

          what gabriele said.
          And we are talking about the written rules here, which were bend, not the unwritten ones, which are a. unwritten, b. not a rule at all, and most important c. have nothing to do with the situation in now official circus race ToC

      • paterberg Thursday, 16 May 2019, 2:25 pm

        Tejay wasn’t in the peloton. From my point of view that he gets the same time as people who were is not “bending the rules”: its making them up! And that issue only arises because of race juries freelancing neutralisations. Perhaps the rules around when they can be invoked need tightening up. It can’t be allowed that they are imposed willy nilly.

      • Richard S Thursday, 16 May 2019, 2:40 pm

        Its the Tour of California which is, obviously enough, in USA. Priorities are likely to be more market related than sporting. The decision was probably about keeping a relatively big (American), marketable name in the lead rather than some Dane only ‘Europeans’ have heard of. I’d say its unlikely that the decision would’ve been made if it meant Sagan or another major name lost the jersey.

        • Larry T Thursday, 16 May 2019, 2:55 pm

          The Big-S’ main boy Peter Sagan, 3-time world champ in a race that has a finish in the Big-S’ backyard? Surely you jest!!!! “Kim Il Sinyard” himself would have appealed threatened to sue?) to the race jury to keep him in the leaders jersey!!!!

          • Richard S Thursday, 16 May 2019, 2:57 pm

            That’s what I meant, if it had been Sagan instead of Asgreen who they had to take it off.

      • Bern Thursday, 16 May 2019, 8:03 pm

        After Teejay’s crash, he jumped on Lachlan Morton’s bike. Later, at a sharp right turn, he skidded (ostensibly because he was not used to Morton’s reverse-located brake levers), ran off the route and lost several seconds returning to the race. Those seconds looked to have meant the difference between catching the peloton vs. getting stuck behind the second crash right outside the 3k banner – the crash that kept the team from rejoining the group. So from my viewpoint, TeeJay was personally responsible for not avoiding that later crash, and earned the time loss. The UCI decision was painfully poor, I think.

  • Mark Rushton Thursday, 16 May 2019, 10:13 am

    Good news for Sunweb is notw they have a team who can freelance. It’s not ideal but like the smaller teams, the riders may get their moment in a breakaway or a stage finish and being lower down the gc they might be allowed to get away. Could do a deal with Ineos who also don’t have a leader.

  • KevinK Thursday, 16 May 2019, 1:58 pm

    By the way, despite the complains in the comments section yesterday about how boring the race is, this stage was thrilling. Dicey has hell, given the rain and flooding and cold, but Ackermann’s win was epic, at least relative to his short career. My respect for him grew substantially after that performance.

    • Ben E Thursday, 16 May 2019, 2:27 pm

      The same people make the same comments in the first fortnight of all three Grand Tours. If the race was all go in the first week like some desire, the exact same people would be complaining in the second and third weeks that the gc was decided in the first week and it was all boring after that. Don’t let it effect your enjoyment of a wonderful race.

  • Anonymous Thursday, 16 May 2019, 5:12 pm

    Very happy for the winner and his team today.

    • John Irvine Thursday, 16 May 2019, 10:37 pm

      Agreed. This was a very satisfying finish. And it’s nice to see a Fausto win at the Giro. 🙂

      • Ecky Thump Thursday, 16 May 2019, 11:46 pm

        Trevor Francis track suits from a mush in Shepherds Bush.

      • MRJ Friday, 17 May 2019, 12:25 am

        Is it known if Fausto Masnada happens to be named after Signore Coppi?

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