Giro Stage 8 Preview

A sprint stage or a breakaway? Probably a breakaway day, and watch out for the final 2okm which are harder than they look.

Athletic Bilbao: a stage raced hard from start to finish. It took an hour for a move to go but it wasn’t to the peloton’s liking and so it was pulled back and eventually another move barged clear. The peloton kept them close with UAE Emirates worried about Rojas in the move as a threat to Conti’s maglia rosa and by the Svolte dei Popoli climb the escapees only had one minute but this grew again and the move stuck. Onto the hilly circuit in L’Aquila and after trading moves Pello Bilbao launched the winning move to go solo and hold off Tony Gallopin who came close to completing his collection of grand tour wins in all stages. It was a frantic day with UAE running out of riders; they’ve lost Juan Sebastian Molano and now Fernando Gaviria and didn’t have enough riders to keep chasing but Trek-Segafredo, Katusha-Alpecin and Bardiani-CSF all joined in. Astana get a win but they’ve come here to win with Lopez.

The Route: 239km, the longest stage and just maybe the small climbs the final third help to break things up. It’s north, much of it along the coast, for over 200km with some climbs in land. This is the Marche region of Italy and the roads tend to go directly up the hills and are often in a poor state but the Giro sticks to the more gentle ascents, although the one to Candelara is a leg-breaker. The final part turns back and takes the coastal road back south to Pesaro. This should be familiar to some in the peloton it’s the same coastal road from Gabbice to Pesaro used in 2013 for the time trial stage when Alex Dowsett was the surprise TT winner ahead of Bradley Wiggins. It’s a twisty section of road that rises and falls, culminating in the Monte San Bartolo before a quick descent via several hairpin bends into town.

The Finish: the descent ends with 2.5km to go and it’s flat from here on. The route crosses town with a sharp right hand bend with 700m to go and then another with 250m to go, a tight bend that’s crucial for a large group.

The Contenders: sprint or a breakaway? UAE Emirates have lost their sprinter so will only chase if Conti’s race lead in danger and the big GC teams will hope to avoid trouble today. Still it’s a good day for the breakaway but who to pick, who hasn’t gone in the moves and has energy today? It’s hard to pick names so the safe bet is a sprint and the known knowns in Viviani, Démare and Ewan who can cope with the hilly finale.

Viviani, Démare
Ewan, Ackermann, Gastauer, Montaguti, Canola

Weather: sunshine and showers, 17°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 in the US.


20 thoughts on “Giro Stage 8 Preview”

  1. Great finish yesterday! Was rooting for Hamilton and look forward to following him, but Bilbao was just too experienced, too strong.

    You’d say the peloton would like an easy day today after yesterday’s pace and TT looming. A sprint seems s good call, but why the chainrings for Viviani ahead of Ackerman? Ewan and Ackerman looked to be climbing the best on stage 4. A flat finish today, but still hard to go past Ackerman on form and confidence.

    • It’s still more likely a breakaway but with two many names to pick the sprinters got top billing. As for Viviani vs Ackermann, just think the end of the course is more acrobatic and the short finishing straight suits his torque more.

    • Bilbao answered to reporters that he went when his DS told him to do so. That’s an example of what I was thinking about (among other things) when I wrote that Astana had superior technical staff when compared to UAE, at least in previous seasons.

  2. It’s interesting that potential top 10/possible top 5 riders are being allowed to take time here and there, such as Formolo, Oomen, Amador and Bilbao. I don’t think Sky would let similar things happen at the Tour, which is why the Giro is so good! Presumably Jumbo-Visma know they can’t shut everyone down for 3 weeks and UAE showed they can’t do it for a whole stage without help. I suppose that’s a more natural scenario for a 3 week race. I wouldn’t be surprised if another one or few of the riders within a few of minutes of Conti tries to get up the road again for a shot at pink which could lead to a hectic start again.

    • I am a bit surprised by that too. Perhaps it is a reaction to last year when MS chased down every break, part of the reason why Simon Yates fell away at the end. However there are now various riders back in contention maybe not for top spot but certainly top 10. I suspect Primoz Roglic thinks he has the beating of them all in the TTs but it has an element of risk. If Team Sky / Ineos were running things I doubt they would have allowed such big time gaps.

  3. I have seen it suggested that it is going to be very wet today, though the forecast I have seen suggests wet to start, then sunshine with showers around the finishing time. It does look like plenty of snow in the Val d’Aosta not sure how that will affect the stages at the end of next week.

    The final descent looks to be pretty sketchy, if so and there are thundery showers around it could be very nervous.

    If the weather is wet then given the length of the stage it must favour a break, cant see anyone wanting to take too many risks.

    A lot was made of Lauren de Plus’ withdrawal (it explains why J V slowed down on Stage 6) whilst loosing any rider is not helpful is it that big an issue for Primoz Roglic? Surely it is almost to be expected that most teams will not finish with a full complement and he has other climbing support?

    • De Plus looks to have been a key signing this year. If you look at the earlier stage races this year, De Plus was the first time that Roglic has had a lieutenant at the finish of the mountain stages. Unlike the 2 leader doing their own thing of Roglic as Krswjk.

      It’s really swung things towards MTS.

      • I agree that the loss of de Plus is a real de minus for Jumbo Visma.
        It does open Roglic up to one-two moves by Astana and Movistar when the race hits the mountains.
        It’s just as well Jumbo have managed to ditch the Pink jersey too.

        This reduction in GT team sizes makes the loss of riders en route so much more telling, especially for the ‘lesser’ teams.
        It was intended to peg back Team Sky but, in reality, I feel it harms other less-strong teams more deeply.
        That’s the hidden price to pay for meddling with the rules.

        • It seems likely Ineos will put out a “super team” at the Tour this year eg. Froome, Thomas, Bernal, Kwiatkowski, Poels, Rowe +2 more very strong riders. The reduction in numbers hurts the other teams more, especially if they include a sprinter or stage hunter.

        • Add to that Dumoulin’s exit as well because he and his team would have wanted a steady tempo in the mountains, eg of Lopez and Yates jumped away, Dumoulin or a Sunweb team mate would ride steady to try and bring them back.

  4. I know the town well and not only is the descent sketchy but the final bit in town isn’t too clever either. The final right-hander is tight and the finish line is just before the cobbled pedestrian zone.
    If there’s any dampness around watch them tumble.

  5. Just a mention for UK readers – there is live coverage of the giro on s4c which is pretty good via the website. The commentary is in Welsh of course (it’s a Welsh language channel for those that don’t know) but although I understand little it’s actually very listenable. It fits my weltanschuuang of cycling, whereby you can talk about the grupetto in France, echelons in England, the koepgroup in Spain, the peloton in Italy, and so on and so on.

    • I agree, S4C is surprisingly listenable even if you can’t speak Welsh, and in some ways it forces you to actually watch the racing to see what’s going on. One word that I do know and that got used a LOT the other day is “glaw” – meaning rain (bwrw glaw = it is raining).

  6. Chapeau to S4C for their excellent coverage. Here are a few terms for you to get your tongues around – apologies, can’t face trying to write out a pronunciation guide as well!

    dosbarthiad cyfredinol = general classification
    cymal = stage
    enillydd = winner
    arweinydd = leader
    brenin y mynyddoedd = king of the mountains
    gwibiwr = sprinter
    dringwr = climber
    dihangiad = break
    ymosodiad = attack
    croeswynt = crosswind

    • Diolch ddim yn dda boi.

      A quick pronunciation guide.

      Y – a soft u in English like “run”, except in the final syllable of a word where it is approx an ee like “free”.

      DD – is th like in “the”, not like in “with”.

      U – approx ee like y in last syllable of words.

      And I’d guess peloton is grwp.

      Mynyddoed (mountains) written in English would look like Mun-uth-oi-th

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