Giro Stage 21 Preview

A time trial to conclude the 2019 Giro d’Italia and the top-3 should change with Primoz Roglič overtaking Mikel Landa today.

Puncheurs: Astana fired riders forward early on the stage and Miguel Angel Lopez launched an attack on the Passo Manghen and was joined by Richard Carapaz and Mikel Landa. But with so many riders ahead Lopez got stuck in traffic, the breakaways merged and it all came back together. A new breakaway went clear including Pello Bilbao, Tanel Kangert and Mikel Nieve and soon after Giulio Ciccone and Valentin Madouas were among those who bridged across. These five names would get caught on the final climb but managed to hang with Vincenzo Nibali, Richard Carapaz and Mikel Landa, a sign the GC battle was over.

In the finale, Carapaz tried to work for Landa but the Basque took the final bend all wrong leaving space, speed and momentum to Pello Bilbao who took his second stage win. The GC didn’t get shaken up, Primož Roglič lost 54 seconds to Mikel Landa who leapfrogs him on GC, and the Slovenian copped a 10 second time penalty after fans gave him a 20 second push on the early slopes of the Croce d’Aune. Once again Richard Carapaz faced attacks and had no problem responding.

Ultimately it wasn’t the greatest stage and will probably be remembered for a different incident. An fan spectator idiot running beside the road tangled with Lopez, bringing him down – it’s a been a Giro of misfortune and mechanicals for him – and once Lopez got up he started laying into the prone man, an almost understandable act of road rage but one that risked the wrath of the commissaires and the standard penalty (UCI rule is elimination. We don’t know if the UCI officials didn’t see the incident in the moment or on TV; or if they were clement towards him. It ought to go without saying that everyone should go and see a bike race but not stand in the road, let alone get in the way of the race, but people can get carried away. Lopez got going but got stuck and needed a push from a team mate and went from protagonist to losing 1m49s but this at least will be anecdotal as his sixth place looks ok as he should hold off Majka today; and his team mate won.

Finally note that Sho Hatsuyama has a strong lead in the imaginary maglia nera competition, the Giro’s version of the lanterne rouge prize for last place. They did used to award a jersey and there are some great stories of how riders tricked each other to win it; today Hatsuyama has over four minutes on Will Clarke.

The Route: 17km around Verona with the climb of the Via Torricelle, a familiar course as it was used in World Championships in the past, the last time being 2004 and as a TT stage to conclude the Giro in 2010. The Torricelle climb is a long drag up with slopes of 3-5% and irregular in places, riders will be working their derailleurs and standing on the pedals. The descent down the Viale dei Colli is on a wider road but has more corners, riders might take risks but they should be measured as there are only a couple of technical moments. The course flattens out, there are junctions and urban cobbles to cross and they ride into the arena, the Roman amphitheatre.

The Contenders: has Primož Roglič‘s form being deserting him… or did he never really have the legs for the Alpine stages? Perhaps a bit of both so he could win the stage today to complete a triple of TT stage wins but it could be close. Among the other GC contenders Bauke Mollema (Trek-Segafredo) is having his best ever grand tour and Simon Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) could make one last surprise.

Victor Campenaerts (Lotto-Soudal) could have won in San Marino were it not for a dropped change and a bungled bike change. Ever since he’s hauled himself around Italy with one goal in mind, to stay as fresh as possible for today and his strong ride in San Marino makes him a strong pick today.

Other TT specialists include Chad Haga (Team Sunweb) who has also been targeting this stage too while Luke Durbridge (Mitchelton-Scott) has been on team duties but not on big breakaways so could have an eye on this too. Otherwise the likes of Jos Van Emden and Tom Bohli will surely find today’s course too hilly.

Victor Campenaerts, Primož Roglič
Mollema, Jungels, Haga, Izagirrre, Yates, Ludvigsson

Weather: summer arrives, it’ll be 29°C and a still day

TV: Richard Carapaz rides into the Arena at 5.15pm CEST / Euro time.


113 thoughts on “Giro Stage 21 Preview”

  1. Anecdotal really, but, for the minor places Simon Philip Yates could take back a position or two today in the GC. Not many other changes in perspective, apart from Roglic.
    Poor old Superman yesterday. Where’s a good, heavy bike pump when you need one to hand, eh?
    Finally, thanks again to InRng. The daily guides have been as fun and invaluable as ever when turning on the TV. When will more socks be arriving in the online store?

  2. How good are Movistar without Valverde and Quintana they look so much more balanced and coordinated.

    I wonder if Jumbo regret sending a half strength team?

    Thanks INRNG for the usual great coverage

    • The big change at Movistar this year is bringing in Max Sciandri as one of the Sporting Directors.

      It’s true that he didn’t have to wrangle recalcitrant Valverde and incomprehensible Quintana this time around, but he did have o work out how to convince Landa to ride for the team.

      I’ve said this before – the most effective tool in Sciandri’s kit box is undoubtedly a humble roll of gaffer tape, to be used for taping Unzue’s mouth shut so he can’t issue any instructions!

  3. Thanks for the daily briefings.
    Did anyone else see the Yamaha 3 wheeler passenger whack the spectator with about 5k to go just after the Lopez incident, nothing much reported about that incident.

  4. “Ultimately it wasn’t the greatest stage” – I think it’s safe to say that it wasn’t the best Giro either. It never got going and before really starting, it was already over. What started with a very disappointing course (first two weeks of road stages contributed nothing besides crashes), continued on the road. The old saying is that the riders make the race, but you got to give them the opportunity for it. Ultimately the race was decided by tactics and Nibali was right in his interview after stage 13, when he said that Roglic won’t win the Giro and neither will he. You can forgive Nibali for letting Carapaz escape on Colle Nivolet, but repeating the same one day later will haunt him for a long time. I was right in my comment in the Giro preview, where I voiced my surprise about so many people backing Roglic for the win. I don’t know whether he peaked to early (Romandie) or lacked team support or lacks the necessary experience. Probably all factors contributed because from the TT in San Marino his form trajectory pointed downwards. I was also right mentoning the weather being a factor. Rain and cold makes it a completely different race and who knows what might have happened had the Gavia been raced and the Mortirolo descent not been affected by terrible conditions. Vegni needs to take a long look at himself regarding the route planning. In a country with so many great possibilities picking this route is very disappointing.

    • I also called Roglic’s peaking too early in a comment I made on CyclingTips before the race had even started, and said that this year would be his chance to gain the experience needed to go to the top step in the future.

      With regards to the race route, what are conditions like at this time of the year in the mountains which the Vuelta visits? It would be a huge effort to orchestrate it, but swapping the Vuelta and Giro in the calendar could be a good way to improve the season schedule.

      • Roglic peaking too early is a bit easy to say in hindsight. He admitted to having had stomach problems. Based on that, you could blame he lost some of his form on lack of experience. Being able to eat and drink what you need for 3 weeks of racing without problems is a big part of grand tour succes.

        If anything, this giro lacked a bit of suspense for me and I am not exactly sure why. It’s not the race route, although a few more hilly stages would have been nice in the first week. I hate to admit it, but maybe it missed the big duel between a few star riders? Carapaz sneaked away in the GC. He earned that by riding really hard and attacking while others were in a stalemate, but it was not a man to man fight. After that, no one had the form anymore to really make a difference and get time back. Maybe Landa, but he could not.

        Maybe this Giro is a bit too much of a Giro of what ifs. What if Dumoulin, Bernal and Jumbo super domestique Gesink did not crash? What if Lopez had not had so much bad luck in exactly the wrong moment? What if the Jumbo DS’s had bigger bladders? What if Landa could have ridden for his own result? What if Yates was in top shape? What if Nibali was not so busy being the major contender for the win watching -in his view- the other major contender? It was a duel that wasn’t.

        I think this race route would have been marvellous if the cards were dealt differently.

        • Maybe it’s a stupid question but a lot of people were saying before the race that Roglic had peaked too early after winning Romandie and said the same thing since he cracked in the mountains but why is it different to the Dauphine-Tour double that Sky have been doing for the last 5-6 years? There’s a bigger gap between Dauphine and Tour than there is between Romandie and Giro

        • Though I agree with this, I also think the strongest rider won, (on the strongest team), and there wasn’t a lot Nibali or others could have done differently to change the final outcome. Carapaz was up to all attacks, and even pulled on the front in the last couple of days. A really impressive rider.

      • The Giro has had to deal with snow in the mountains for 102 editions. The Italians would never move the Giro, as the French would never move the Tour. Let’s say it part of the tension of the route. Extreme weather changes up and down the peninsula. The Giro history is strongly link to unpredictable mountain conditions, with epic moments, and controversial route changes. The Vuelta in August has finally given the race a stronger identity.

    • Problem is, in the pre-Giro interviews a Yates win looked like a sure thing, in the first part of Giro a Roglic win looked like a sure thing, and in the second part, without a clear before/after moment, a Carapaz win looked like a sure thing. From start to finish the result looked like it was set (albeit with different riders) and when the result looks set, it’s not very exciting (see: TDF, Sky)

  5. Does Landa have history of losing a two-up sprint by taking poor lines in the final corner? It seems familiar but I can’t remember exactly.

  6. Roglic’s demise was far from certain, and in the context of Roglic vs Nibali, the margin could be a close one. But I agree that it was always a question of whether he could hold his good form in the mountains, which seemed unlikely. Still, we had Geraint Thomas win the TdF last year, and that was a much more unlikely event.
    Carapaz’s pink jersey (let’s not say victory yet) has been a case of stealth. I’m sure that Nibali was aware of his GC position, but did not identify him as a potent threat when he let him ride off. Credit to him for not dropping time thereafter, but had Roglic or Nibali marked his move, would he have won the Giro?
    I dispute the boring tag. Though it is true that the sprint stages do not hold as much frisson. If you only come for the GC battle you are likely to spend at least one third of your GT bored. The point of the KOM, points jersey, team prize and young riders jersey are meant to inject added drama into these races, and so you’re expectations are out of kilter with the sport if you expect fireworks for more than 20% of racing time.

    • In the “excitement” stakes RCS have been a bit unlucky. Both Egan Bernal and Tom Dumoulin were removed by crashes, both of whom would have been very likely contenders. Also if Mikel Landa had been the one who managed to get away and thus ended up as the main Movistar rider today could have been very different, how much of a lead would he have needed over Vincenzo Nibali and Primoz Roglic to hang onto to the lead?

      I agree that GTs always have “boring” bits. It is a key part of the challenge. Even pan flat sprint stages add to the stress and fatigue which tell in the end. You have to watch the race in its totality, it cant all be full on racing up and down mountains.

    • How much added drama do the other jerseys ever add to Grand Tours? There is excitement and good racing to be had outside of the battle for GC but it doesn’t usually come from the other jerseys. That Ciccone won the KOM jersey is interesting and he won it in style but not even his biggest fan could call it dramatic. Nobody else challenged him for it.

      • I’m not saying that the other prizes lead to great drama, but they help add other narratives which potentially do create more drama (by their very nature). Their existence is proof that the organisers need something more than just the GC to keep fans entertained because they know that the GTs are slow burners.

      • You only have o go back one year, when the white jersey battle between a recent Grand Tour winner and Lopez added a lot to the inability of another GT winner to narrow the gap to a Mr.Stemwatcher up on the road

  7. Add my thanks for a well-covered Giro, Mr. Inrng. One minor typo, on Campenaerts you have “dropped change” instead of “dropped chain.”

    Unmentioned in most reports of the Superman smackdown is that two spectators were apparently involved. One runner, doing something very dangerous but which happens all the time, and another a bit further up, on the side of the road, who apparently threw a shoulder into the runner, knocking him into Lopez. If indeed the second guy intentionally shoulder-checked the runner, he was at least as stupid and irresponsible as the former.

    A lot of commenters have applauded Lopez for smacking the runner, and have advocated for fans who run to be hit or tackled, etc. In this case it seems a roadside fan may have decided on a little vigilante justice against the runner, and actually caused the crash in the first place.

    • Greying pundits do romanticise the early 80s-style working class hard-man cyclist image. But would they have been so defensive of a cyclist lashing out if the working class spectator had responded by smacking the cyclist back in the face I wonder.

    • The runner problem needs to be addressed. They hardly mean harm. But in the heat of the moment, lacking situation awareness, they can often be a danger to riders. As Mr Ring pointed out, beautiful of cycling as a sport is access and putting up more barriers would probably not be a solution.

      I suppose UCI can put out educational videos, letting these runners understand how they appear from a rider’s prospective, a bit of empathy won’t hurt. Or they can take the “can’t ban it, regulate it” approach, and organise runs?

      • OTH, What Lopez did was pretty damming, the commissioner just made it worse letting him off the hook.

        Lopez was no longer removing a nuisance that could potentially cause danger to riders. Instead, he was exerting a violent revenge on a helpless fan on the ground. That is no “self-defence” and definitely illegal in any sense. Of course, the consequences should be proportionate to the damage caused and he can probably get away with a warning and possibly a few jokes at his expanse about GC riders who can’t throw a proper punch even if they wanted to.

        I suppose it would be fun trying to predict the outcome of a bar fight involving current gen of GC leaders. Not sure who would be left standing but Porte is probably the first down (and he’s probably not even in the fight).

        • Not sure about Lopez. Kicking him out sounds harsh somehow… but it’s of course completely out of order what he did (same for the ‘fans’ of course). There have been other incidents where riders try to fend of runners by pushing or hitting them from the back, which to me is different from plain retaliation.

          What gives me a bit of mixed feelings is that they did punish Roglic for being pushed! Yes, he maybe could have told them to stop or push them away somehow? But it’s not sure if that would be effective. And besides, how much did he even gain?
          Would Roglic have gotten a fine if he punched one of the pushers? Looking at the Lopez situation, I’d say he wouldn’t have. Not a very strong message.

          • A penalty for Roglic was very harsh. Did he really gain from it ? Lots of riders getting slightly lesser pushes, but who draws the penalty line ?

            Who was the rider the TV showed getting a very sticky bottle from the team car for about 15 or 20 secs a couple of fays ago ?
            Did they get a penalty ? Or was it the ‘the comms didn’t see it’, even if all the world eatching on TV did ?

          • I don’t think it was what he gained, but that he didn’t speak to or gesticulate at the fan. If you continue to let it happen then it does become a big problem.
            I think the commissars got it right in both instances (Roglic and Lopez). People are making a lot of Lopez’s connection with the fan, I think there’s a push or slap and then his knocks his hat off. Shocking in some ways, but not damaging. The fan gets embarrassed, but is not seriously hurt. In the context that he came into Lopez’s workspace and ruined a good day’s work I think most people would be tempted to slap the fool that did that.

          • Lopez should have been disqualified for that. UCI should have obeyed their own rules, otherwise they send a message that yes, we have rules, but they are arbitrary. I can imagine his frustration and even more the addition to his frustration should he have been disqualified on the penultimate stage for his reaction and not proaction. But hey, there should be zero torelance for violence and as someone already mentioned…it wasn’t self-defence.

        • It actually looked that Lopez was smacking the spectator round the head with an open hand, not punching him in the face.

      • The UCI doesn’t have much of a reach. The Tour de France does put out TV adverts in France in July ( but not everyone will watch, and not everyone that watches will remember or just stay cool and it only takes one fool or one moment out of millions for things to go very wrong. If anything it’s a miracle things aren’t worse.

        As for Lopez, the commissaires explained Lopez’s reaction as a “human act” which is going to set a precedent, both in terms of the rule and the rationale. I can see both sides of this, the right answer to this is not fall over in the road in front of the riders. Go enjoy the race but the road is for racing, not spectating or running.

        • The problem is these morons don’t care about cycling or any other sport. It seems all about getting their mug on TV in any way possible. Narcissists of the highest order like these will show up anywhere they think a TV camera might be pointed at them during a live event. Example: there are two kooks here in Italy who seem to specialize in loitering outside the houses of government and then standing behind whatever politician is being interviewed on TV. They stare right into the camera and one of them often holds up a pen to his lips in a strange way. They seem to live only to get their mugs on TV!
          I think the only solution is for the TV technology to make it impossible to ID them: simply blur or edit out their image whenever the camera operator or director can not avoid having them in the shot. And for Pietro’s sake, NEVER include these boobs in any replays or promo videos!!!

          • Maybe broadcast it on a bit of a delay, giving time for the blanking out of the faces of obnoxious fans (a la Google streetview), so there mugs don’t get broadcast at all. 🙂

          • Of course cycling media has long celebrated the crazy fans along the roadside. It’s written about and shown as an interesting and wacky and specific aspect of bike racing, and much as we here might complain about it, more casual viewers likely find it entertaining. It obviously adds to the spectacle, and when the fans don’t go to far it really is interesting to watch. It certainly added a lot to some of the Columbian races earlier in the year, as fans there seemed beside themselves with glee at seeing star riders from their own country winning home races.

            In other words, I can imagine how a television executive would react to the idea of delaying TV coverage, and running the footage through a set of Google Maps algorithms to blue the faces of everyone on the side of the road before it could air.

          • The only solution is take every tenth fan and kill them. Each of the surviving nine will think twice before offending mighty Caesar again, and spoiling a bicycle race.

          • All sports get crazy fans Larry. I don’t think it’s always about getting on TV, whether it be football fans who fight, set off flares or bring their musical instrument to the game. That doesn’t stop there being an element of narcissism about their behaviour, but it’s all part of the rich biodiversity that makes up fandom.
            That’s not to say that people shouldn’t be educated about running with the riders (putting it like that makes it sound like Pamplona), but you can’t really bottle up these sorts of things as it just creates a sterile environment and cycling will lose because of it.

          • They police it extremely well in La Vuelta. The Guardia Civil line the route and make sure everyone stays in check – I noted this last year. You can’t barrier the whole route obviously but having that police presence every 30 yards can deter fans from getting right in the riders faces or running alongside. Obviously there is a cost to this but then there’s a cost to everything…..

          • RQS – did you read my first sentence? “The problem is these morons don’t care about cycling or any other sport.” No doubt the problem is not limited to cycling and I never claimed it was. I’ve been following pro cycling since the ’80’s and I can’t say the increasing numbers of kooks along (or in) the roads have added anything to my enjoyment of pro cycling, whether I’m at the roadside in person or watching on TV.
            If this is needed (and condoned) to increase TV viewer numbers, that is some sad news indeed.
            But it may be true, as the montage at the end of RAI’s Processo alla Tappa final 2019 show featured what seemed like every idiot out there during the 3 weeks, including the jerks who fell down on their own, the guy who threw the bike into the road, all the way through to the a-hole beaten up by Lopez. The race authorities need to explain to the broadcasters that highlighting this kind of ass-hattery does nothing but encourage more of it. Are we going to destroy the sport in pursuit of better TV ratings?

  8. Well done to Carapaz and Movistar . As someone who has criticised them before I’d like to give them some credit now , a bit sad that they are probably going to lose Carapaz . Anybody know if he is really going to Ineos ?

    • Sounds crazy with Team Ineos getting so many potential GT winners on same team.

      The old guard with Froome and Thomas still having some years left on their contracts (though, probably fewer years left as potential GT winners).

      Bernal on long term contract. Should be a future GT winner.

      Ivan Sosa on 3 year contract (on first year) and Sivakov I think, until end of 2020. Both of these riders might develop into future GT winners – though we will have to wait and see.

      They have a history of being very good at getting star riders to work hard for the team

      • “Sounds crazy with Team Ineos getting so many potential GT winners on same team.”
        Since when? Their strategy is pretty much the same as BigTex’s old “Can’t beat ’em? Buy ’em!” and with the UK fracking king’s pile o’cash they can buy ’em all and turn ’em into domestique deluxe for whatever leader they choose.

        • Well, it is the riders’ choice. They are not indentured , or slaves, the whole opportunity of selling a contract a la Tinkoff seems to have been kicked into touch.

          So your take is: the team who offers you the most money, is the one to choose, inevitably and certainly. And this is somehow the fault of the the employers, these poor benighted cyclists just have to go along with it? None of them have any free will, to think, well, I’d prefer to ride for or with someone else.

          Alternatively, maybe they think that they would prefer to ride for the best organised, best resourced ( including management, sports science, nutrition etc ) team. But that is still somehow a wrong choice,,totally to be laid at the door of the sponsor. Or maybe, in the short life of sportsmen, they want to make some money.

          Oh please.

          • I think it’s more complicated than that. Assuming you have the “level” to be employed by Ineos you can also choose to go to a “smaller” team and be a leader there and try to have some wins with your name attached to them, be better known by the general public and THEN negociate juicier contracts with such or such team, why not Ineos. Not taking into acccount the satisfaction, in the end, to bring home some jersey or cup, presumably the reason why you started to work and train and suffer when you were a teenager.
            See for bad examples (so far) Richie Porte or Warren Barguil.

          • Most certainly it’s the rider’s choice. I wrote nothing to the contrary. I don’t hold it against them. Think of a high-level sporting career – how long does it last? These guys will never make the kind of dough INEOS can throw around once their sporting career ends. Some of ’em will take the dough, but then get disillusioned and go off to try their luck at being a team leader elsewhere, while some who might be successful at that prefer to take the big cash from the likes of USPS/Discovery or SKY/INEOS and serve their leaders, though they might get a crack at a GT the team’s big stars decide to skip for some reason.
            You infer a lot into my post but in the end the “Can’t beat ’em? Buy ’em!” mentality is what I dislike, no matter who practices it, even if they might possibly be “the best organised, best resourced ( including management, sports science, nutrition etc ) team” as you claim. Were you around when that was being said about USPS/Discovery as well?

        • They will make an intra-team competition for the most suitable leader, the ones who get along with being super-domestiques will also stay, the rest will leave for sure.

  9. Another ITT, and this time Nibali isn’t just underestimated, he is totally unmentioned. I expect him to top-5, likely to finish 3rd – this time the weather shouldn’t cost him. But of course, maybe yesterday took too much energy out of him for that. In 2010 on almost the exact same course he was 5th, beating Wiggins.

    Sorry, I’ll get off your back, but I do think you chronically underrate Nibali’s TT.

  10. As far as Nibali not following Carapaz’s two attacks and the supposed stalemate with Roglic, seems like a simple matter of Nibali not having the legs. Easier for him and his fans to put it down to a tactical miscue than to consider that he might not have GT-winning legs anymore.

  11. Nibali had the big mouth, but his defensive racing earned him a podium instead of the Rosa.

    A Giro to forget, not to take anything away from the winner (bar accidents in this TT, which would make both my sentences quite stupid in hindsight).

    Anyhoo, a couple of good tappas, nicest thing about this GT was that the break took many of the days, which is always popular.

    As always, thx Inner Ring.

    • Defensive racing? Not sure what you were watching, but even Carapaz hattipped Nibali for ‘doing the hard work of cracking Roglic’ in the stages where he was given freedom to ride away (can you imagine a stage where Nibali was unmarked? Ha) – think you should rewatch the race maybe…

      • I don’t want to watch the race again. It was shit. For your comments about hattipping, that’s rich. Nibali just weren’t marked, he was marking Rogla in the second week, because he was quite weak himself. Which gave Carapaz the victory. The winner was a deserving one, with no doubt the strongest team. If Nibali had won, he would have been also(deserving, with strong teqam). Roglic also(deserving w/o strong team)..

        Again, basking shark. I love Nibali as a rider historically, even neo-history(S M), probably my 2-3rd favorite GC rider of all time, but let’s not make up stuff.

      • +1 – Nibali was purely focused on Roglic and let Carapaz go. He was waiting for Roglic to react (and probably vice versa). Both played a poker hand in this respect and Carapaz beat them on the flop (or the river, to give a more nuanced poker reference).
        We will never know for sure if Nibali could have raced Carapaz without him stealing that moment, but it’s clear he saw his chance and went for it. Given that Movistar came with Landa as lead he was very much the grey man until he wore Pink.
        Geraint Thomas’s victory in the TdF has many similar parallels, though it was clear that Thomas was as strong, if not stronger than Froome in the end.
        Once in front, with his superior team and ‘ace-in-the-hole’ (not sure why pokers such a theme in this post) of Landa sitting just behind Roglic and Nibali, Nibali (and Roglic) were caught in a gravity well of not being able to pressure the pink jersey without making themselves vulnerable.

  12. Carapaz – exceptional. Classy rider and very good with the media. A good news story for cycling.

    Roglic – weak team. Why focus on Kruswijk for TDF? Odd. Next year Rog needs top level coaching to peak later. Should have focused on TDF. Will win a GT one day.

    Landa – such talent and so poor at TT. Surprised that Sky didnt focus on his TT. If its Bahrain he goes to then he is in for big $$$ and finally sole leadership.

    Carapaz and Mas at Movistar would be exciting.

    Nibali – still compelling. Good for the race, good for the sport. But can’t drop the younger GT contenders and can’t out TT them. So only way to win a GT is street smarts – is he a real threat for Trek or an expensive coffee markeing billboard? Not convinced by Trek’s signings – Richie Porte looking like expensive outlay.

    Simon Yates – my favourite rider. Big couple of off days. Almost reassurung that riders go awol in these days of marginal gains etc. Never looked himself – back for Vuelta?

    Lopez – not quite top level contender – yet.

    Ineos – anonymous though invaluable for Sivakov. Politics ahead with 3 GT wannabees in one team at TDF.

    Dumoulin – no idea of form but has to be real threat for July.

    Alaphillippe extending at DQS – wonderful. Smart move. Will need a beast of a team to tackle Van Der Poel.

    Roll on the TDF and thanks INRNG as ever

    • Will this be the year that TdF is more interesting than the Giro? I think so.
      What with Bernal, Domoulin, the Lotto riders missing more or less out, probably coming back for the Tour, making a threesome where there should be only, ummm two?

      There will always be a discussion about route deciscions, this year Giro didn’t get it, but was it the route, or was it the teams? Why not have a small mountain/hilly in first week to go out of the TT-things (as omg the Tour does, even?

      A very interesting proposal above, change the Italian and Spanish GT’s place in the calendar?

      I’m there, of all things. The Giro is supposed to be “the cycling tour, for cycling fans”.
      Well, they lost this year. As I’m being sick in my mouth, the Tour will(must) be better than the Giro this year.

      Probably we will get a Vuelta out of this world this year that will ask us to make it the “real” Tour!!

      Let’s see. I just wanna see good racing, regardless!

      • Giro organisers have been sitting on their laurels, assuming that the interest in the race was a natural phenomenon which would continue in perpetuity rather than being something they would need to work to retain.

        The reaction of the Tour organisers to being criticised for a handful of boring editions was to listen and mix up the race format. Well done to them, as a result they are well on track to reclaiming status as the best grand tour.

        We don’t know as yet which will be better out of the Tour and Vuelta this year, but the one thing we can be sure of is that it would be an astonishing feat for either of them to be worse than this Giro.

  13. I must say, I am very uncomfortable with Superman not getting punished yesterday. I would have liked some statement saying that the idiot spoiled his race, that he would have received the same tome as the group he was riding with at the time of the accident but due to his actions he is thrown out of the race.
    I fully understand why he did what he did and yes, the idiot may have deserved it but it is never the answer to repeatedly hit someone. As it is, there was absolutely no punishment, not even a fine. What precedent does that set ?
    There have been many cases of someones race being ruined by outside factors (race motorbikes, organisers, inflatable arches so on…) and there is rarely violence. The only violence I remember was Sagan kicking a motorbike at the vuelta and he got punished.
    There have been cases of riders throwing punches amongst themselves and they got thrown off the race. Why not here ? What example is that setting ? Acknowledge the circumstances, the idiot but still punish.

    • In this world in general with ever more rules, I tend to favour a more relaxed and human approach where possible, but in this case I feel similarly to you, that there was little choice but to punish both Lopez and the runner or runners who caused him to fall.

      As it is, riders are now being shown by this (in)action that an impetuous lashing-out is acceptable. Understandable though Lopez’s precipitating feelings may be, one can choose not to physically retaliate. For me it is puerile behaviour, not befitting an adult whether in front of cameras or not, and puerile would be an understatement for those commenters in the media who have supported Lopez’s actions in retrospect.

      • I disagree, especially after watching the video clip again just now. If they would have fined Lopez I would have happily contributed to an online donation scheme to pay the fine!! Perhaps when the next narcissistic a-hole thinks about this he might remember how bad this clown looked on TV being beaten by a tiny cyclist after his careless action!!! If I had been standing there I would have thought about giving the moron a kick myself! The real race fans ought to be dishing out some justice on these a-holes! I don’t much care if these clowns dress up in silly costumes and try to get on TV (though showing them DOES encourage more of the same) but stay the F–K out of the rider’s way and out of the damn road!

        • Nobody expects that. But I also don‘t expect a rider to tower over a fan (and that is no easy task with lopez, but he managed it), who is looking frightened at him, while the rider hits him several times. Did you see the look of fear in the eyes of that man? If not, please go back and look at it. People try to pretend, that there is just black and white: violence or not reacting. Well that is not true. There are many other ways to react other than violence. I always was happy, when lopez rode well, that is over. I hope the man went to the police to report lopez or that he sues him, because hitting other people is simply not ok. I also hope, that there is a way, that the uci can overrule the racejury in hindsight and ban lopez for a few months. There simply have to be consequences for that action. If violence is now a „human reaction“, that we all have to understand and be ok with, we really are in deep trouble. To make it clear: I can understand, that lopez acted that way, we humans are human, that is, why we have laws and rules to live together in peace, but not, that he was not disqualified and that everybody is ok with that. We move ever closer back to the times, where people took the law in their own hands. It really is frightening.

          That lopez was not disqualified (that is -rightfully- the only possible fine according to the rulebook) is a horrible, horrible, bad decision. Not only will it make it impossible to ever fine riders again, who attack fans, nor does it look good, when a sport is ok with his athletes hitting fans. And that was not a short blow, while riding by, he stopped to hit the man several times. If that action is not fined, then what is?

          Would we be in 2015 I would be shocked, that so many people have no problem with what lopez did and with not disqualifying him for his attack, but since 2016 I almost expect such reactions. But that doesn‘t make it less frightening.

          • @Nick:
            I was trying to say, that he did not-like froome did a couple of times-hit the man while riding by, no, that he stopped his effort to continue the race to hit him. froome should have been disqualified these times, too (especially the one time, when he hit that man on the side of the head!), but there you can argue, that he still raced, that maybe the jury did not see it and so forth. But there was no doubt with lopez.

            If I would watch cycling with a child or a teenager, I really don‘t want them to see that we condone violence to settle our scores. And even worse, that it doesn‘t get fined. And I don‘t want that to be what the young cyclists talk about and have that now marked as one possible way to act. It is as it is with populism: When we lower the bar, when we don‘t follow our social rules, it has real consequences. We might think „oh, it is just one time, one guy, one whatever“, but that is not the case. The next time another person feels strengthened by what lopez did and that he was congratulated for it and might think it is ok to hit a person, that „looks at him strange“. And don‘t think this won‘t happen. Just look at the world.

          • You are delusional. Nothing like you are fantasizing happened, happened.

            I’m just glad not everyone thinks Lopez was wrong for what he did (he wasn’t).

          • @motormouth:
            Instead of insulting me, you better should think about why someone having a different opinion than you upsets you so much. Because that is not the problem of the people having a different opinion than you (almost everybody on this planet will have a different opinion to you almost any time on every day), the problem is yours. All you do with that is stop any and all real communication and create animosity.

            I always wonder why people come on the net, a tool for communication, with the purpose to stop all communication, that they don‘t like and hurt the people, who say things, that they don‘t like in order to stop them from saying things they don‘t like. This is like a child, who does not like, that another child used his toy and so rather breaks the toy or throws it away in anger than to play with the toy.

            Maybe people like you really think, that what they do is normal and positive communication, but I can break the news now to you: It is not. And I am pretty sure, that you already made the experience often in your life, that people don‘t react good to your way of „communicating“. Why hurt others and get so upset yourself all the time, when getting along and creating space for others is so easy?

            Action creates reaction. You make it personal, it will be personal.

          • There’s violence and there’s being slapped round the head by a 5ft 4, 55kg, tired Colombian. The guy was never in any danger, he probably stood up and laughed it off. The look on his face was embarrassment at his own stupidity. Thankfully the Giro race judges had the common sense to see this. Lopez’s day was ruined and he ended up dropping a couple of places on GC as a result of it, that’s enough punishment.

          • @Mr Anonymous , you wanted Lopez to be thrown off that race and then banned for a few months ? What punishment would you give to a ‘fan’ who interferes with a race ?Personally I thought there should have been some punishment for Lopez , taking into account the circumstances something like a 1 second penalty and 10 Euro fine.

          • Yes, the punishment according to the rules = disquaöification would be eay to hatsh in this case. The commissaores dont have the option for a milder punishment, for this would have to be written in the rules. So they decided not guilty. At least thats what i think happened

          • @ Dave: Sorry, that I did not expressed myself better: I would have been fine with a disqualification aka simply following the rules. Instead the race jury decided to punish Roglic- although getting pushed is no offense anymore – and decided to NOT punish lopez, although he broke the rules. If now everybody decides for themselves which rules to follow and which not, we can give up. We decide on rules and laws beforehand and then we can‘t simply not enforce them, because we feel empathy for lopez (which I do feel, but that doesn‘t mean, that what he did was right and that he does not need to be punished).

            BUT now, after not being dqed and getting the money and palmares of this giro, I think the uci should overrule this decision and ban him. If it are a couple of weeks or months, I don‘t care so much. It is more important, that this grave error is put right again.

            To the fan: Many people equate the two actions – the fan falling into the riders and lopez hitting the fan. They act, as if both actions were attacks and therefore justified. But they are not. The fan did not set out to hurt anybody. It was an accident. In this special case he would probably not even have caused anything. It was another „fan“, who bodychecked him and so he fell into the riders. You see, someone takes the law into their own hands (the person bodychecking the running person) and only makes things worse for everybody. If anyone of the fans should be hold accountable, it is the person bodychecking the runner, because-like lopez- he was hurting another person intentionally.

            We don‘t live anymore in 1950 and it is foolish to expect people to behave like that. It also is not helpful to insult them all the time. Did insults ever change one thing or brought one person to change their actions? Don’t think so. The sport lives from the viewers by the road. That is why sponsors come, these are the images the sport sells of itself. When you watch some autumn races in belgium, where nobody is on the road for the whole race, it is almost painful to watch the riders race and nobody cares about them. These are sad, cringeworthy pictures, that nobody wants.

            So I think, you can‘t have the one thing without the other. If you want fans close to the race – and the fans on the road are a huge reason for the success of the sport – you have to expect, that they act like human beings, which means, that sometimes they do stupid things. If that leads twice a year to a bad situation, this sucks and of course we have to make sure as best that we dan, that it doesn‘t happen- but it also isn‘t the end of the world or as if that fan went out that day thinking: „Well, today I am gonna hurt a rider!“

            Or will we in future go and insult, hit and curse too on every rider, that drives careless or aggressive and causes a crash? Because that happens way more than anything else.

          • Hmm. I was not insulting you. I see a theme here though, namely that you seemingly overreact to everything. First you are outraged at a small (I believe the UCI called it ‘human’) reaction from a rider whose last chance at redeeming his race (ie his job) slip from his grasp through no fault of his own. Then, I’m apparently the downfall of humanity, and the internet, worthy of a multi-paragraph response.

            Is this authentic, or are you trolling? This sort of unrealistic offense is a common tactic of trolls (called ‘concern trolling’), hence my hackles are up.

          • “They act, as if both actions were attacks and therefore justified”
            If you run alongside a rider and you fall down, if bodychecked or you’re just too dumb to run straight 5 meters, you arer are attacking riders. Plain and simple.

          • Violence is a part of human nature, as destructive as it is, it does actually solve problems. A footnote here might point to WWII.
            I’m just pointing out that in a world which doesn’t base itself around virtue signalling reality exists, and in the case of Lopez, he was assaulted (albeit unwittingly) by a fan in his place of work. He basically had a days hard work wiped out by that guy. In his annoyance he got up, slap the fan and knocked his hat off. In the grand scheme of things, if he was a work colleague I would sit him down, have a conversation with him about his behaviour and then get him back to doing a good job.
            Your draconian solution is unrelating, unforgiving and in no way proportional. You are damning the man for reacting in the moment with great emotion in what must have been a very tough day. Once you get off your moral high horse and see him for the man that he is, and how he was provoked into his actions you can start to deal with the man, his latent humanity and start to process them in a real way. I think the tour organisers should be commended for not bowing to high minded t**t-w@ffles.

      • Lopez had multiple unfortunate events this GT. I’m pretty sure many would have snapped the same way. I would’ve done it, most probably. And would have trashed the bike that malfunctions repeatedly.
        I bet he doesn’t race the same gear again.

          • Well then you’re a Burke.

            The spectator took his on the spot punishment because he knew he deserved it. It ended there as a result. Instead you’d rather rake through the coals flame Lopez.

            I find your approach very fascist in a very left-wing kind of way, as you don’t care for the human aspect, only the rules.

          • That is because you are a(n Internet) bully, And because you like to be a (social media) judge.
            To many other and possibly to most other viewer the hapless (and unfortunate, it must be admitted) idiot didn’t receive a single punch, just a couple of slaps – the strongest of which was the last one that was aimed at and squarely hit his cap. I mean, a tired mother could have slapped her six-year-old son harder (back in the day when spanking a child was already considered a bad thing but when people were still human and therefore fallible)!
            It ended where it started for the very same reason. Not because the spectator was mortified with fear for his physical wellbeing or because he didn’t have the time to recover from the burning sensations of pain.
            PS You don’t really believe that those who don’t think Lopez should’ve been thrown the book at must also think that it is perfectly okay, right and acceptable to punch other people, now do you?

      • Thanks as always for the great coverage INRNG!

        All in all, I thought it was a rather strange Giro, a bit subdued even because of how it unfolded. Nibali might claim otherwise publicly, but he’ll no doubt curse himself for giving far too much attention to Roglic, when his eyes should have been on Movistar’s two leaders. Carapaz snuck under the radar, got his advantage and then just never gave an inch. It made for a slightly underwhelming 3rd week in my view, because we never really got to see an intense duel for the pink jersey.

        That’s not a slight on Carapaz of course. For a relatively inexperienced GC rider he showed amazing composure and never once looked rattled. Deserved winner, and I’m curious to see if he’ll prove himself to be a regular contender, or if this was a case of everything falling into place at the right time for the right rider.

  14. I want to add my thanks INRNG for the daily previews and summaries – and the chainring predictions – that turned out to be surprisingly (to me) accurate at identifying the potential victors for that day. I made sure to read them each morning – and to check in on the comments – before following the day’s action. Chapeau!

  15. With a long list of initial contenders not starting, getting injured and pulling out early or not making it past the first week and now off to do the TdF…..Will this open up the Vuelta as surely they won’t do a Tour/Vuelta double?

  16. @INRNG:
    Minor correction on the UCI article referred concerning the Lopez incident: UCI rule Though the sanction is the same (elemination), the article to be used should be 2.12.006 section 8.2.2. You will see in the communique references that this new “barème” is being used though the old one is still available on the UCI website.
    I checked the communiques both for stage 20 and 21 and none of them makes a mention of the incident, so if a fine or other sanction was imposed, it must be informal but supposedly in agreement with his team.

  17. I’m generally a pacifist, I don’t any enjoy real violence even in sport such as boxing, MMA etc, but I found myself cheering on Lopez. They disturb the race for the actual riders and the spectators that have made the effort to get out there. Everytime one falls or gets slammed by a Moto or Guarda I cheer.
    I’d like to hear the riders call out the idiots in the post race interviews that any runners are not welcome as their fans. Maybe they do already, but I’ve never heard it. I got annoyed that Luke Rowe’s brother does it at the Tour of Britian, they should know better.

  18. I expect Mr Ring will publish a “when the race was won” post within 1-2 days.
    But from point of view of Nibali & Roglic, it could just as well be titled “When We Screwed Up & Lost the Race” 😉

  19. Interesting that so many are justifying Lopez’s behavior by saying he’s small, he didn’t know how to punch effectively, he must have been tired, etc. I wonder if an identical incident happened with a rider who isn’t as well liked, and is stronger (say Lars Boom or Nacer Bouhanni, to take two examples of riders who have been punished for getting physical, and who can both probably throw a decent punch) would be greeted with the same support and excuses?

    The morning this incident happened, I was out riding and some idiots in the bike lane caused me to crash. Scuffed my bike, gave me a few scrapes and bruises, and I believe caused me to break my index finger (x-ray pending). It was some elderly cyclists on a tour, fixing a flat in the dedicated bike lane, and a runner who was running in the same lane, all with a nice wide side walk available a few steps away. I was upset, angry, and hurt. Somehow I managed not to punch the runner , the elderly touring group leader who was fixing the flat tire, or the other elderly riders who were milling about with their backs turned to oncoming traffic.

    A few weeks ago, I got a hard time here for saying I understood why TVG got to use the 3 km rule in the ToC. “Rules are rules, otherwise it all means nothing” was the gist of what I heard. I was convinced by that logic. In this case, it does seem that the UCI rule is draconian – DQ/elimination. But one assumes that rule was created precisely to make it unthinkable that a cyclist would lash out at a fan. Fans have run along with riders forever. It’s always been dangerous. Riders are always on their limit, and tired, and competing for glory. It doesn’t seem worse to me than in previous times, judging from the films I’ve watched. So why does Lopez get a pass? And what happens when a rider with a proper right cross cold cocks a fan for getting in their way?

  20. Those readers who keep posting comments about the Lopez incident must surely be cyclists–they keep going round in circles. Absolutely loop-ey!

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