Giro Stage 13 Preview

A touch of Milan-Sanremo with two late climbs thrown in to spoil things for the pure sprinters.

Stage 12 review: just as the Ecudador flag has the rare feature of a depiction of the flag inside of it, one Ecudaorian stage winner can bring another and after Jonathan Caicedo last week, now a stage win for Jhonatan Narvaez. He made the day’s 13-strong breakaway that gained 13 minutes at one point and attacked it with Mark Padun. Things looked to be heading for a duel in Cesenatico until the Ukrainian broke his front wheel, leaving Narvaez to go solo for the win. Padun chased hard and got to within 9 seconds but on a cold, miserable, wet day he cracked and that was that. Not much happened further back, NTT toiled all day but what could Pozzovivo do on the final climb? Even if he attacked, Deceuninck-Quickstep had Masnada and Knox in support for Almeida and remaining 30km were flat and the cold seemed to have numbed everyone.

The Route: 192km and a flat parade across the Po plains. However two sharp climbs await, the first is the Passo Roverello via Roccolo, 4km at over 8% and with some steep sections as it twists up into the Colli Euganei (“Euganean Hills”). For reference in Milan-Sanremo the Cipressa is 5-6%, today’s first climb is harder and the chance for Bora-Hansgrohe to go Vollgas and eject Arnaud Démare. There’s only a short descent before the next climb, this time to the village of Calaone and it’s got a different feel, a direct strip of tarmac uphill and but steep again. From the top there’s just 16km to the finish.

The Finish: a flat run through town on big boulevards but with a left-hand bend, almost a full u-turn with 400m to go but it’s a wide bend rather than a sharp one.

The Contenders: a stage for Peter Sagan, the two climbs are ideal for him and his Borah-Hansgrohe team to eject Arnaud Démare and other sprinters. If anything these climbs might be a touch hard for the Slovak but his team can set a pace to suit, Goldilocks style: not too hot, not too cold.

With Michael Matthews back home, challengers include Fabio Felline (Astana), Andrea Vendrame (Ag2r La Mondiale), Enrico Battaglin (Bahrain-Merida) but they’d all prefer a slightly uphill finish today rather than the flat 15km approach and the dragster finish strip. Davide Ballerini (Deceuninck-Quickstep) has more sprint power but can he cope with the climbs? Also watch Stefano Oldani (Lotto-Soudal), the Italian neo-pro is riding his first Giro but quietly contesting sprints and he’s a lighter build.

Peter Sagan
Davide Ballerini
Felline, Battaglin, Vendrame, Oldani, Swift

Weather: the sun’s back, a top temperature of 21°C and a light 3/4 tailwind.

TV: the finish is forecast for 4.30pm CEST.

42 thoughts on “Giro Stage 13 Preview”

  1. Three chainrings for Sagan!

    Makes me happy just to see that again. And will be happier again for more confirmation that his death had been greatly exaggerated.

    • Agreed. It’s been such a frustrating spell as a Sagan fan that I almost dread races like this where he is the primary favorite. However, our host has tremendous powers of prognostication (strong call yesterday, Inrng!), so I remain hopeful.

      Minor typ0 – you have “and but” in describing the second climb.

  2. Not even single chainring for Demare? The first climb is 40km from the finish line. If FDJ plays it right and is lucky, they might just manage to get him over. That should be enough for a win.

    • I thought about it but decided to take the risk. He could feature if he can get back but that’s a tough ask, the problem for him is not that the first climb is 40km from the finish (it’s actually 33km but ok), it’s that the top of the last one in Calaone is just 15km out. Today’s climbs are tough, almost Mur de Huy style efforts.

  3. Struggle to see Sagan get over the last mur with 2.2km @10%ish. I guess its a 60% chance of breakaway, 35% small GC group with likes of mcnulyt/almeida sprinting it out and 5% scenario where Sagan is first group after 2nd mur

  4. More unhappiness with the compromised Covid bubbles around the race were reported with EF and Thomas De Gendt, of all people, making their feelings known.
    Indeed De Gendt has been quoted as saying that the riders would discuss even starting yesterday’s stage.
    Whilst it was a tough day in horrible weather, I wonder if the relative lack of action outside of the break was anything to do with the above?

    Feelings seem to be running high but I wonder also if the increasingly international make-up of the peloton now makes it a more difficult place to garner a united action from the riders?
    I mean when you have more and more young and upcoming riders from, say, South America, often from quite impoverished backgrounds, I can imagine that they’re more likely to tow the line and not cause disruption?

    • Does Vaughters really want a united action from the riders? From the outside looking in, it looks to me like he just wants to watch the world burn.

      In other words, trying to capitalize on a potential race cancellation (a preemptive “I told you so”) with the comfort of knowing that the cancellation won’t happen unless it needs to, because – surprise, surprise – the world doesn’t stop turning because J. Vaughters sends a letter. If the race finishes, everyone will have forgotten about his stunt within a week, and if it doesn’t, then he suddenly becomes the good guy (to some people, at least).

      Running after media attention is a bit pathetic, but it’s his problem. But pulling stunts like this sets up for a lot of collateral damage. I hope I’m wrong.

      Unrelated, I’m not sure about the difference in behavior between European and South American riders. Again, looking at what has leaked in the press, there’s no obvious dichotomy there. Nobody wants to get sick, and most people are scared, it’s just that nobody seems to agree on exactly why.

      • I would defend Vaughters to the extent that he and the EF organisation appear consistent. They pulled out of the early season races when other teams didn’t. I would however accept its easy for EF to pull out with no GC goal and two stage wins.

        I saw a rebuttal from the Vini Zabù boss (I think) who claimed people were being unfair on the Giro compared to the Tour. That may be true somewhat but the media reports I have read certainly appear to corroborate the position that ‘bubble’ has not been as well managed. I also wonder if Vini Zabù have a vested interest to support RCS to ensure a wildcard in the future.

        I dont blame any team or individual rider for racing on or deciding to pull out. In the end its a job and in the end we all have to make a balanced decision between our own health and the need to earn money.

        • To be frank, Vini Zabu probably have the same relationship with the Giro as all the WT teams (including EF) have with the Tour. It’s likely their biggest earner by some distance, so don’t rock the boat.

    • The organisers have explained that the policemen who’ve tested positive are not those on the Giro but the Giro-E, a celebrity event using e-bikes that has separate logistics, hotels etc but De Gendt probably gave his interview yesterday without knowing this. It’s not De Gendt’s fault but as usual sensational words can go around the world 100 times before the reality check appears and doesn’t reach as far.

      EF’s open letter has gone down badly (“an attack without precedent” says this morning’s La Gazzetta and that’s just the opening line, it continues). There could be discussions behind closed doors about increased health measures (more testing, stricter hygiene and isolation, banning crowds etc etc) up to and including stopping the race which is the last resort. This can’t be stressed enough, the Giro is a big deal in Italy and going public with these calls has got RCS and others on the defensive, especially as it’s been framed as asking the UCI over the heads of RCS and the Italian authorities and ministries.

      • Vaughters’ argument, as laid out in public anyway, makes little sense and is illogical. I didn’t like him much before and this does nothing to alter that view.

        • Vaughters’ argument seems to be that if you write a letter to the UCI and leak it to the press, the press talks about it, then comes back to you for comment, and you get two articles instead of one. Talk about value!

        • Vaughters natters like someone who is powerless to influence the decision makers, and as Kevin says his position is incoherent. That’s typical for him, as is the gratuitous rudeness. I must say though that his team seems to be well-run and gets good results relative to their budget. Probably not intentional, but maybe JV’s role as media lightning rod benefits his team sometimes– laughing at the boss is good for morale.

          • Agree with you Foley. The team does pretty well with the resources it has, although there was a significant period not so long ago when that wasn’t the case. Huge jokes can be punched in Vaughters’ statement/letter and that comes after his childish outburst over a fine. As Brian Smith said on Eurosport, there are established routes to make such complaints/suggestions. Vaughters knows them. So the conclusion could be that this whole sorry saga was a publicity stunt.

      • The point about the E-Giro is an interesting one. Unless I read it wrong the concern was about the moto riders in that event, and that logistically the two events aren’t separate ENOUGH.
        There are concerns around groups mixing in hotels, and that is one of the biggest risk areas.
        Not sure I get all the anti-JV stuff here. If he has a legit concern about the health and safety of his team then he has a responsibility to say something. Duty of care IMHO. De Gendt has every right to speak his mind as well, as he’s one being exposed to this risk and has to balance employment with safety of family when he goes home.

  5. On a positive note, I have been happy to see Tao Geohegan Hart moving up from top 20 to just outside the top 10. An impressive performance for the young rider.

  6. With comments like that by Vaughters, EF may find its assigned hotels get less glamorous each day. Why not work with RCS to ensure protocols improve, instead of wishing you weren’t there?
    Besides, the weather now at the Stelvio is -6 and a steady wind. Everyone needs to help RCS find an honourable way out of this.

    On COVID protocols it’s worth observing that hotel bubbles don’t mean a thing when each rider is daily passing thousands of roadside spectators who feel obliged to shout stuff at them.

      • It’s the cumulative effect of picking up droplets from each shouty spectator you pass. Only takes one of these droplets to be from a positive contact, and since there are thousands coming on each rider every day, that’s a much greater exposure risk than being in close company with only a handful of people.

  7. I love the way that this forum so quickly digresses from discussing the stage itself.
    And, continuing on that note, the comments by De Gendt and Vaughters don’t appear to be very helpful. De Gendt feels unsafe, but what is he actually worried about? COVID-19 is deadly, but for someone in his demographic he is unlikely to suffer seriously. If he has health concerns he should pull out. Same with Vaughters. If the team are worried then the best thing to do is pull out. In many respects it’d do all the other teams a favour – more chances to win and less chance of infection.
    I know that there has to be a sense of togetherness with respect to the teams and their actions (EF pulling out at the benefit of others isn’t exactly fair). But there is also obligation to the sport itself. RAI and RSC all have contractual obligations, without which the sport doesn’t run. Completing, or trying to complete the race is the best they have.
    Part of me wonders whether the inclement weather has also started to make riders nervous. Generally speaking they don’t get rained on for three weeks in a row (and though that hasn’t happened, they face a prolonged period of poor weather) which can’t be helping raise their spirits.
    Anyway, fingers crossed for a Sagan win, but I somehow feel that the likelihood of it makes it less likely to happen – when the peloton know that there’s one rider to watch they give him a short leash which others exploit. It’s been a tough year for Sagan though and so I hope a second Giro win sort of puts the speculation to bed, and he can just get on with racing.

    • His interview said he’s worried about passing it onto his family afterwards.

      Obviously he can quarantine away after the Giro. But 1) he’s already been away for over a month; 2) where does he stay during that 2 weeks? It ain’t safe to self quarantine in a hotel and not sure Airbnb is your solution.

  8. I just want to acknowledge the good work EF Education have done in calling for the Giro to be ended early. Jonathan Vaughters has again demonstrated his skills as a leader, and as someone who puts the welfare of his riders first ahead of business concerns. It’s not the first time. The sport is in a different place today thanks to decisions people like him made over a decade ago. We all see how much he loves the sport. Thanks JV.

    • I would buy that for a dollar if Vaughters put his money where his mouth is and withdraw his team. Why does he wait for the UCI or RCS to cancel? Mitchelton-Scott and Jumbo Visma took immediate action, why all the media histrionics? Vaughters is not shy of speaking his mind, and not always correctly.
      This virus is not going away and we need to learn to live with it.

    • Will JV pull his Ronde van Vlanders team too ? Italy is still far better off than Belgium

      …guess he wont with Betiol and Vanmarke there.

Comments are closed.