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Giro Stage 15 Preview

The Giro heads into the Alps with a summit finish and João Almedia gets his first big uphill test today.

Prosecco supernova: the stage win for Filippo Ganna who had to macerate in the hotseat for hours after ejecting team mate Rohan Dennis. This wasn’t the most significant time trial ever but all the same Ganna has now established himself as the leading specialist in the field, and by a decent margin: on a 30km course he’s half a minute ahead of his nearest challenger. The second contest among the GC contenders saw Brandon McNulty come out on top and surge from 11th overall to 4th, he had a small gain on João Almeida but the maglia rosa took time on all his other rivals. Wilco Kelderman was close and is still within a minute overall. Can Almeida cope with the long climbs and high mountain passes? Tune in today…

The Route: 185km to Monte Cavallo. The Sella Chianzutan is the first climb of the day and has some flagstones and tunnels but it’s a nice even climb, 10km at 6%. Monte Rest is 7km at 7.5% and the Forcella di Pala Barzana is listed as 13km but the last four kilometres are the hard part at 7%.

The Finish: the same as in 2017, a steep start but it’s all on a big open road. The first half is the steepest part with 10% slopes and long ramps between wide hairpin bends. With 5km to go the road stops climbing the flank of Monte Cavallo and rides across a plateau and it’s more gentle, often 5% before tightening up for 7% between 3km to go and 2km, the last chance for the climbers before the road levels out towards the finish line.

The Contenders: the breakaways have been doing well so far and there’s a good reason why: no team is trying to control the race. The likes of Deceuninck-Quickstep and Trek-Segafredo are rallying around their leaders but not trying to set a tempo to intimidate everyone. So pick a strongman or a climber who can get in a group that rides away and then drops the others to win today’s summit finish, think Mark Padun (Bahrain-McLaren), Geoffroy Bouchard (Ag2r La Mondiale), Jonathan Castroviejo (Ineos) or Einer Rubio (Movistar) as examples who aren’t on duty for GC leaders today. Ruben Guerreiro (EF Pro Cycling) has the mountains jersey and is another to watch but, just as we’re wondering about his compatriot, can he cope with a long climb?

Among the overall contenders Tao Geoghegan Hart (Ineos) is looking one of the most agressive but it’s hard to tell among the climbers, we only had Etna and than was an age ago. Still Jakob Fuglsang (Astana) and Rafał Majka (Bora-Hansgrohe) have the most pedigree for a day like today but Wilco Kelderman (Sunweb) is so far proving very consistent.

Jonathan Castroviejo, Mark Padun
 Rubio, Bouchard, Fuglsang, Guerreiro, Majka, Pozzovivo

Weather: sunshine but cool temperatures, just 16°C in the valleys and cooler higher up.

TV: the final climb starts around 3.50pm CEST and the finish is forecast for 4.30pm. Of course today is also the Ronde van Vlaanderen so be ready to channel hop or switch browser tabs.

{ 54 comments… add one }
  • cp Sunday, 18 October 2020, 7:11 am

    I say Kelderman tries to pounce.

  • brent sword Sunday, 18 October 2020, 7:31 am

    If Kelderman is feeling good i think sunweb should go hard on the lower harder section of the climb especially towards the what appears the steepest section at about the 10 k mark.
    No chainring for kelderman. If anything he has looked more likely than the other GC riders on the climb finishes.
    Trek seemed to have burnt off there team already with pointless charges up hills even when they were not strong enough to split the field anyway. Seemed like a DS or head rider getting carried away in the first week.

    • Digahole Sunday, 18 October 2020, 8:27 am

      I’m thinking that the profile of this climb might be more about tactical moves than individual attacks by the top GC guys. Like having Hindley attack if he’s got the legs. Trouble is Quickstep have Masanada and Knox so are in a great position to play that game.

    • Bart Sunday, 18 October 2020, 8:30 am

      I would be surprised if Kelderman attacks today. He is in a great spot where he can watch others – Almeida is expected to lose time which will make Wilko a leader as long as he sticks with the leaders.

      On other note – it seems that COVID is covering more and more parts of Europe. It becomes more probable that the third week of Giro will be cancelled. I wonder if this rumours (not confirmed) will have an effect on the way the today’s stage is raced.

      • The Inner Ring Sunday, 18 October 2020, 9:41 am

        Agree on Keldermann, he doesn’t need to do too much today, just watch and observe the others, to see if Almeida can be cracked, but he can always move late on the climb if he wants.

        But on Covid, yes it is spreading but not at a rate where people are being locked indoors and all sports get banned in Italy, the Giro has a lot of political support to help it reach Milan. The risk instead is inside the peloton, an outbreak revealed from tomorrow’s rest day PCR tests.

      • brent sword Sunday, 18 October 2020, 9:49 am

        I wasn’t thinking kelderman should go on a big attack. Just that his team should put the pressure on to see if they can put almeida under pressure. Emphasis on the his team should put the pressure on.

        • oldDAVE Sunday, 18 October 2020, 5:08 pm

          not sure Kelderman will ever be a rider who goes on a BIG attack…

  • José António Sunday, 18 October 2020, 8:59 am

    Hoje é o dia D para João Almeida, se conseguir estar com a concorrência é excelente, só tem de controlar.
    O Ruben Guerreiro vai estar numa fuga para ver se consegue mais pontos para a montanha.
    Boa sorte aos dois Tugas.

    • Esteban Sunday, 18 October 2020, 12:19 pm

      Lo mismo digo. Boa corte o Almeida

  • RQS Sunday, 18 October 2020, 9:38 am

    DQS clearly has the strongest remaining team with a GC rider at the Giro, with maybe the exception of INEOS. Could they ride hard for TGH and attempt to blow the race apart to get him top ten?
    It’s going to be tough for the other riders to cut into Almeida as he’s looked pretty comfortable on all the tests so far. He fortunate that this isn’t the most stellar peloton at a giro for a while. But if he has any chinks we’ll see them today.

    • The Inner Ring Sunday, 18 October 2020, 9:42 am

      Quickstep don’t seem to be controlling stages from start to finish, they just want to have riders left to help Almeida in the finish. Ineos still have the strong team but what to do with it for Geoghegan Hart?

      • RQS Sunday, 18 October 2020, 9:58 am

        With a week of racing there’s no point launching a long one today. Best just to let DQS ‘control’ things till the final climb and then see what Almeida has got.
        I guess we’ll see with respect of Ineos. Maybe it’s up to TGH to get himself in a position where the team have to support him as stage poaching is working out pretty well as a team, and as a junior squad member he perhaps just needs to show his consistency (or gets a GC place) before he enjoys full team support.

        • KevinR Sunday, 18 October 2020, 10:34 am

          Agree with RQS. Ineos aren’t going to smash it just to get TGH in the top 10 when stage hunting and winning is going so well. TGH has to do the work to force himself well inside the top 10 before Ineos start to give him team support – rightly so I think.

          • jIMMYf Monday, 19 October 2020, 1:50 pm

            This comment aged like wine, well played

      • hoh Sunday, 18 October 2020, 2:50 pm

        They can force a pace and see if any GC prospect cracks.

        • hoh Sunday, 18 October 2020, 4:38 pm

          Poor Ineos, back riding GC again.

          • ChrismanSpurs Monday, 19 October 2020, 10:07 pm

            INJECT IT IN MY VEINS

  • J Evans Sunday, 18 October 2020, 9:49 am

    Many of the GC contenders have barely attacked at all – pretty much only Kelderman, who has looked the best on the climbs too and has was already my favourite to win before he took the time in the TT.
    If the race is truncated, the GC contenders, including Kelderman, will only have themselves to blame if they haven’t yet got themselves past Almeida, who looked a bit weak when attacked uphill on stage 3. Maybe today they’ll actually give it a go, now that the TT has created more gaps. They’d be unwise not to.
    We often hear how clever tactically Nibali is, but last year he let Carapaz ride away, and he lost the 2013 Vuelta by not rating Horner. I’m not convinced that he has a GT left in him at this age.
    Kelderman should seek to take time today: it’s always best to try to take time while you are stronger because that might change later in the race.

    • RQS Sunday, 18 October 2020, 10:14 am

      I think that’s a harsh assessment of Nibali. Yes, he lost to Carapaz, but he was effectively being marked by Roglic who identified him as his main threat – he ceded to Carapaz primarily to get Roglic off his wheel. He took a tactical gamble with the hope he could attack and gain time on whomever took pink. What he didn’t anticipate was that Roglic miscalculated how much time he could concede to Carapaz. Once Nibali made his gamble he was reliant on Roglic chasing.
      Horner was an opportunist and an asterisk should probably be put next to his *win. His surprising form topped off with a play straight out of dopers 101 on evading a random test doesn’t negate Nibali’s nouse. He probably lacks the athleticism to really win another GC with most of his competitors routinely beating him on steeper climbs. That fall in the Tour a few years back where he was taken out by a moto has lost him a few watts I fear.

      • J Evans Sunday, 18 October 2020, 10:45 am

        Both Nibali and Roglic played a stupid game while Carapaz rode off.
        Whatever Horner was up to (and I share your suspicions), it’s still another occasion when Nibali underestimated a rival who then beat him.

      • Richard S Sunday, 18 October 2020, 10:49 am

        Re Horner, is there any hope of him getting busted retrospectively like Cobo? His performance was even more obviously silly than Cobo’s.

      • El gironí Sunday, 18 October 2020, 10:57 am

        Correction: it was Nibali that was behind, marking Roglic, when Carapaz rode away. Both Nibali and Roglic looked pretty silly after that but later in that Giro, when Roglic showed he didn’t have it in him to win, it was Nibali who became the biggest loser, tactically, having let Carapaz ride away.

      • Will Luck Sunday, 18 October 2020, 1:56 pm

        Have to agree with the asterisk for Horner. Even his attempt at transparency afterwards in releasing his data only added further suspicion. I think this (https://www.outsideonline.com/1919196/chris-horners-bio-passport-problem) is a pretty good explainer for anyone unsure.

  • J Evans Sunday, 18 October 2020, 9:54 am

    It’ll be interesting to see if the Ronde can keep fans away. There have been far too many at the Giro, packed together. And roughly 10-15% are either not wearing masks or have them only covering their mouths, which is akin to wearing a condom on your testicles. If the governmental authorities tell the people to stay away, 90% will simply do that, regardless of whether or not it has any legal basis. This is what the Italian government should have done, the French gov. should have done it with Paris-Roubaix, and the Spanish gov. should do it with the Vuelta. If the fans stay at home races can go ahead as transmission between the fans is far and away the greatest risk.

    Today is the the day to put yourself at the head of the GC race if you can. It could be the last day, or the last big day.

    • Richard S Sunday, 18 October 2020, 10:19 am

      I quite like the fans by the roadside, it makes it feels like a sporting event put on for the entertainment of the public rather than to satisfy commercial demands.

    • KevinR Sunday, 18 October 2020, 10:38 am

      Fans have been banned from major climbs in the Vuelta and I read that the restrictions will be enforced by the police

    • RQS Sunday, 18 October 2020, 10:27 pm

      The thing that gets me is when they pull down their mask to bellow their support at the riders… just negates the whole point and makes the excuse to exclude fans stronger, with the potential to infect the whole peloton… why not trot off and get idiot tattoo’d on your forehead just to make it legit.

      • via collins Monday, 19 October 2020, 11:56 am

        Oh god, absolutely this!
        That thundering idiot screaming into the rider’s faces yesterday, spittle flying everywhere, really was screaming out for a trapdoor to open.
        Ditto the rocket scientist waving a flare.
        Everyone does their best, but some people are always going to do this.
        At least the chap dressed as a penis at the road-side during TT was being clear about his role.

    • J Evans Tuesday, 20 October 2020, 12:25 am

      The RVV showed it can be done. The fans stay away if you tell them to stay away. Other races need to learn.

  • Martijn Sunday, 18 October 2020, 9:57 am

    I wonder what the effect of yesterday’s ITT will be. Kelderman was closing in on Almeida, until the last part, where Almeida took time again. Only Almeida seemed to have to go to his limit for that, whereas the likes of Kelderman and Nibali seemed to take into account today’s stage and held back ever so slightly.

  • Richard S Sunday, 18 October 2020, 10:15 am

    Watching the way Quick Step have rode this Giro, basically just looking after Almeida and not bothering to try and impose themselves on everything and everyone makes you wonder why Jumbo Visma spent every minute of every stage of the Tour on the front never letting even Total Direct Energie riders more than a minute or two.
    I enjoyed watching Ganna yesterday, passing Bardiani and Zabu KTM riders like they were kids on a bike track next to the race. I know it’s tedious to talk about watts but 500 for 40 minutes really is mind bending. No idea what will happen today. I’ve got a feeling Almeida will hang on for a little bit yet.

    • J Evans Sunday, 18 October 2020, 10:49 am

      I spent many minutes of every stage of the Tour wondering why Jumbo Visma decided to chase almost every move. Waste of energy.
      I suspect none of the GC contenders will do anything today. I think they’re all cagey, defensive riders, and that they’ll all wait to see who drops out, hoping they’re the last man standing at the end of the race. Hope I’m wrong.

  • KevinR Sunday, 18 October 2020, 10:43 am

    Wouldn’t it be good if someone does a de Gent on the Stelvio stage all those years ago and threatens to take the pink jersey – or even does virtually for a while. Is there anyone who would be allowed by the team and is capable of it? De Gent himself?! All wishful thinking I’m sure.

    • Will Sunday, 18 October 2020, 3:25 pm

      Zakarin at 17 minutes down 👀?

    • via collins Monday, 19 October 2020, 11:58 am

      Bless de Gendt, there’s ALWAYS a chance he’ll do that 🙂

  • J Evans Sunday, 18 October 2020, 10:55 am

    Meanwhile, at the Ronde, the biggest challenge is for Philippe Gilbert, who has to fathom what Carlton Kirby’s 400-word, rambling, analogy-packed questions are actually asking him.

    • jc Sunday, 18 October 2020, 11:36 am

      🙂 . I do miss him and Sean Kelly at the Giro though, hours of Rob Hatch and Brian Smith do get a little monotonous. Though to be fair there is a limit to descriptions of the Italian countryside whilst the break chugs on with a 10 minute lead……

    • Richard S Sunday, 18 October 2020, 11:43 am

      Listening to Dan Lloyd, Adam Blythe and Phil Gilbert after Kirby’s inane ramblings was like getting into a warm bath. Their recent knowledge of the peloton and sane delivery is vastly superior to anything Kirby or Kelly can offer. It makes you wonder if anyone at Eurosport actually listens/watches, or if Kirby himself owns Eurosport.

    • LDR Monday, 19 October 2020, 10:41 pm

      Did anyone catch Juan Antonio Flecha doing commentary for FloSports at Flanders? A breath of fresh air.

  • oldDAVE Sunday, 18 October 2020, 4:53 pm

    that’s a pretty great shout from INRNG re even mentioning Tao in the write up…
    I did not see him having this form today and was fully expecting Sunweb to ride away with possibly Nibali clinging on.

    Not sure he’ll win this Giro though, the gap is pretty big to Kelderman plus I seem to remember Tao having bad days every so often? Although as a Brit would love to see more of this and for him to go far.

    This season does feel like a changing of the guard is so many ways, even in Team Ineos specifically – at the Tour next year I can’t quite see how they wouldn’t include Ganna, Dennis now possibly Tao… also, Ben Swift is riding better at this Giro than Kwiato has done recently. *(unless Ganna is focusing on Olympics)

    • hoh Sunday, 18 October 2020, 9:35 pm

      Ganna is. With his performance this Giro, surely Ineos would reward him by supporting him for his Olympic bid.

    • Amritt Flora Sunday, 18 October 2020, 10:31 pm

      Great to see our Hackney boy come good, remember several Sunday small group rides with him and CCH back in 2011/12 so have been excited to see him creeping up the standings and today he really came of age. Tao’s been mentioned here a little this Giro so not a complete surprise…

      • ChrismanSpurs (@ChrismanSpurs) Monday, 19 October 2020, 10:49 pm

        Did he have bags of attitude then as well? Looked like he was giving Kelderman the eye a few times….letting him know who is boss

        • RQS Tuesday, 20 October 2020, 12:10 am

          He’s not short on confidence though no reason he should be.
          You may like his 2014 tour of Britain showing as a young stripling where he showed Wiggins and Dowsett a fresh pair of heels. He seems to have learned not to start his sprint too soon now. I’ll feel mean if I leave the link there.
          I’m old CCH member too, but have moved away.

    • RQS Sunday, 18 October 2020, 10:48 pm

      I think there are lots of good reasons why you might cut them. Dennis and Ganna, as good as they are at TTs, are heavy set. Sky has usually favoured goats for their skytrain, and I think you’d find them potentially burning out too quickly. Sky have typically only carried one or two puncheurs. Stannard and Rowe typically filling those rolls while lighter riders have marshalled their GC riders through the mountains.
      I’m not taking anything away from their quality, but I can’t see them taking both.
      TGH will be in the mix, but you have to offset that against other caste members and what they offer. Beresford will be enjoying the dilemma.

      • Richard S Monday, 19 October 2020, 11:36 am

        If there is a team time trial and a good few flat stages as Inrng seems to be intimating then I’d say the two best time trialists in the world are automatic selections unless they won’t to give JV a minute head start. All speculation at this stage of course.

      • oldDAVE Monday, 19 October 2020, 6:59 pm

        I agree if there’s a TTT I don’t see Ineos leaving them both behind bearing in mind Bernal nor Sivakov nor Tao and possibly even an ageing Porte are in the league of the Wiggins, Geraint, Froome, young Porte etc TT bracket so they may need some additional firepower vs JV…

        You could stick those two on the front for the entire TTT and win in all likelihood… but add Castrov/ Thomas/ Kwiato to that mix it’s a very formidable TTT team.

        I actually have a hunch Kwiato might struggle to make next years TDF team with his recent performances and the quality Ineos have next year.

        Could see their TDF team being Bernal Thomas Sivakov Tao Porte Ganna Dennis Rowe unless there are cobbles then Van Baarle or Kwiato rides and Rowe is then even facing stiff competition from Castrov

        Ps think Ganna has proven he might have better climbing skills than many imagine, as Dennis has before.

        • Richard S Monday, 19 October 2020, 7:38 pm

          I hope Kwiatkowski leaves and concentrates on the classics. He deserves to be team leader somewhere though with teams dropping like flies I don’t know where.

  • RQS Sunday, 18 October 2020, 10:59 pm

    Also, no one has mentioned RvV. The moment the race was won, well I guess 100m to go, but when JA crashed at 36km to go he solved part of the riddle of who’d win.
    I felt a bit for the moto rider. He did nothing to cause the accident and it was really a moments lapse in concentration (he was talking to his team on the radio) which caused it. I believe Van Aert was following the bikes for aero advantage. The bike itself was a Jury bike (or race commissar) so I imagine he was trying to usher the neutral service bike to one side stop this.
    Anyway, if you go into back of anything it has to be your fault. But I can only imagine how awkward it must have been for the Jury bike rider to have to set-up and marshal riders and cars around while JA screamed out in pain and anger. The DQS DS seemed pretty hostile too. He dealt with it all with pure professionalism though.

    • Richard S Monday, 19 October 2020, 11:33 am

      Whilst not saying that it’s his fault I’ve noted that MvdP rides with his head down a lot. Not necessarily looking at his power meter in a Froome type fashion but burying himself I think. He seemed to look up and flick out at the last second and Alaphilippe didn’t really have a chance to avoid hitting it. One of those things that can happen whilst riding in such close company on your limit at high speed I suppose. Very unfortunate for him, and for us having to make do with a shootout between 2 of the 3 best riders in the world instead of a finale with all 3!

      • ChrismanSpurs (@ChrismanSpurs) Monday, 19 October 2020, 10:47 pm

        Every time I’ve seen MvdP ride he’s nearly fallen off about 5 times. I’m not saying he’s reckless but he is a bit all over the place. Allaphillipe isn’t much different tbh, with his wonky finishes. Too much mugging for the cameras. Perfect storm of mad Dutchman and flamboyant Frenchman

    • Gazelle CM Monday, 19 October 2020, 6:46 pm

      Riding flat out in the slipstream there is not a lot of forward vision. On clubrides we use handsignals, but then again more obstacles on the open road.

  • Karl Owen Monday, 19 October 2020, 4:10 pm

    Hi Inner Ring- I always love your previews of stages & content. However this season seems to have less with important races missed. I understand this is not your main job, and also understand this is a very unusual season with races packed together. However is this an ongoing thing, or are you likely to be back with a full schedule of content, once we are (hopefully soon) back to a full schedule of races?

    Thanks!

    • The Inner Ring Monday, 19 October 2020, 7:22 pm

      It’s difficult to find time to preview multiple races at the same time. If there’s a normal calendar things should look more normal around here too, hopefully.

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