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Giro Stage 18 Preview


A big day with the new Hofmandjoch and the old but ever-reliable Stelvio. It’s an even bigger day because Saturday’s mountain stage has been revised and reduced, making today’s stage doubly decisive.

Ben fatto: “if at first you don’t succeed, go in the breakaway again the next day”. After getting outpunched the previous day in San Daniele, Ben O’Connor got in the breakaway again and this time had the jump on his rivals, with one attack he was free and able to keep powerful riders like Thomas De Gendt and Ilnur Zakarin at bay to take the stage win, holding off a Bahrain rider in Hermann Pernsteiner no less. The break also included Ruben Guerreiro but not Giovanni Visconti so the Portuguese rider now leads the mountains competition. Behind little happened, as predicted the final climb just wasn’t hard enough to do much, Sunweb had a go with Jai Hindley jumping and then… Wilco Kelderman going after him, a reminder that Kelderman is leaving for Bora-Hansgrohe soon. But that was it, over 200km and the interest comes in the form of palace intrigue instead of sport. But today ought to resolve everything…

The Route: over 200km and 5,000m of vertical gain. An uphill start over the Passo Campo Carlo Magno, as in yesterday’s “summit” finish only this time they climb past the ski resort and go for the pass above so it’s uphill but not to steep but a good point for the breakaway to form. Next is the Hofmandjoch, aka the Passo Castrin and a new climb tackled for the first time by the Giro and hard going with almost 9km at 9% with a long tunnel across the top of the pass.

Then the Stelvio, an old climb but used sparingly, today is only the 13th crossing. Today it’s tackled via the eastern “Trafoi” side with its 48 hairpins. It’s a giant, Europe’s second highest mountain pass and 25km at 7.5% but with the final 15km at a solid 8-9%. There are few secrets to the Stelvio, it is just relentless.

The descent is also very long and a deciding factor could be the weather, it’ll be 2-4°C at the top which would be chilly on the start line of a cyclo-cross race or the roll out of the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad only there’s a 20km descent at speed at even by the end of the descent it’ll be 8°C tops. It’s neither freezing nor damp, but it’s still bone-chilling, riders will need good gloves to work the brakes and to keep the legs turning and to refuel at the same time.

The Finish: a 10.7km climb to the Laghi di Cancano (“Cancano lakes”, two hydroelectric projects on the Swiss border but also a big area for hiking, gravel biking and more). The first 8.7km are steep and climb the “Fraele staircase”, a 4km section with 21 tight hairpin bends. The final two kilometres are flat across to the finish where the road kicks up a touch at the end.

  • Saturday’s stage has been revised and now features the long valley road up to Sestriere and then two times up the old Cesana road, a 12km climb but where the final 5.5km at 7.5% count the most and with a steady, safe descent in between each time

The Contenders: another good day for the breakaway, Sunweb and Ineos might want to try and crack João Almeida once and for all today but they’re not going to do this by riding hard all day long, they’ll use the Stelvio. Another for Ben O’Connor (NTT)? It’s not so far-fetched, if he could win yesterday he’ll find terrain to suit again today and his winning move yesterday wasn’t an all day raid. Thomas De Gendt (Lotto-Soudal) could feature again but there are better climbers, he might have to get in the breakaway and then really go for a long range solo move. Ilnur Zakarin (CCC) too, he’s much better suited to a long climb like the Stelvio. Movistar have some good picks with Sergio Samitier and Antonio Pedrero on 15th and 16th overall, high but not high enough to ensure a chase if they can infiltrate the break while home hopes Dario Cataldo and Davide Villella can feature too, a stage win would vindicate their new strategy of hiring outside of Spain.

Among the GC contenders Tao Geoghegan Hart (Ineos) seems to be climbing the best and has a good finish from a small group. Rafał Majka (Bora-Hansgrohe) can get a stage win too but as he’s one of many with the podium in sight if he jumps others like Hindley or TGH might have to react and so on. Vincenzo Nibali (Trek-Segafredo) is the one to watch, he won the last time the Giro went over the Stelvio but has he got the jump to ride clear and take 20 seconds by the top so that he can exploit the descent? He’ll need to really take time on the descent though to take the stage win.

Ilnur Zakarin, Thomas De Gendt, TGH, Majka
O’Connor, Padun, Warbasse, Villella, Kangert, Cataldo, Dombrowski

Weather: clear skies and cold, 10°C max in the valleys and between 2-4°C at the top of the Stelvio.

TV: the Stelvio starts around 2.15pm CEST and the finish is forecast for 4.30pm. Then comes the Vuelta and the Laguna Negra summit finish at 1,735m above sea level.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • DJW Thursday, 22 October 2020, 7:36 am

    Despite – or maybe because of – the lack of big names, this Giro has been consistently enthralling and open. What will today bring: Nibali using experience and descending skills, Hindley forced to leave a struggling Kelderman, Almeida surprising us by holding on, TGH going for it… Both TGH and Nibali need to try early on the Stelvio if they are not prepared to settle for a place.

    • Alex Thursday, 22 October 2020, 7:46 am

      Giro, grant me TGH and Nibali up the road together.

    • The Inner Ring Thursday, 22 October 2020, 9:27 am

      I’ve enjoyed the Giro but more as a stage-by-stage contest, the “fight for pink” as the race puts it has been relatively quiet because of the steady course and team tactics. All change today though, if Almeida can make it through he’s got a great chance of winning overall.

    • DJW Thursday, 22 October 2020, 10:15 am

      Yep. I keep saying this is likely to be TGH’s best chance of a GT win in his career. A high placing would of course be great for him but I really don’t see him having many more chances as a GT leader at Ineos, let alone be within striking distance of the leader’s jersey. It’s a big ask for sure but if any stage is going to create time gaps among the GC riders running into many minutes this Giro it’s this one.

      • KevinR Thursday, 22 October 2020, 10:16 am

        Oops that was mean – meant to reply to DJW!

    • Anonymous Thursday, 22 October 2020, 2:07 pm

      Almeida has been the leader since stage 3. Kelderman has been in second place for over a week, moving up from the depths of third.

      If the Tour de France was so static then nobody would be talking about the race being enthralling and open. But this is the Giro and that’s what everyone is supposed to say about the Giro. So here we are.

  • RQS Thursday, 22 October 2020, 8:59 am

    I suspect Almeida’s wheels will come off on the Stelvio today, and the final climb will be salt in the wound, though this requires a team coming to the front and putting him in the hurt locker.
    Unfortunately yesterday’s procession seemed very un-race like. The race misses JV and Yates.

  • Davide Thursday, 22 October 2020, 9:09 am

    I am in awe of Ben O’Connor’s back-to-back stages, besides the odd sprinter, I cannot recall when was the last time this happened, going from 2nd to 1st. Can we get a fact check on that Mr InnerRing?

    • The Inner Ring Thursday, 22 October 2020, 9:25 am

      2nd to 1st is hard to know, probably a GC rider on a weekend of summit finishes. But from the breakaway it makes sense too, those with the legs to get in the breakaway and without GC duties for a leader in the third week of a grand tour can often go again and again, you tend to see the same names up there repeatedly.

      • David Thursday, 22 October 2020, 10:16 am

        Thanks IR, so I take it that Ben O’Connor has made a piece of history in Grand Tours, going from 2nd to 1st – that makes his feat even more sensational!!!

        • Hammarling Thursday, 22 October 2020, 12:25 pm

          Edvald Boasson-Hagen – 2011 Tour!
          Stage 16, outsprinted by Hushovd after a breakaway into Gap.
          Stage 17, victorious after a solo breakaway into Pinerolo

          Not to take away from O’conner, but alas not a record. The record goes to: Louis Trousselier! 1905 Tour de France he finishe 2nd on Stage 4, before winning Stage 5 (in fact he went 1st-3rd-1st-2nd-1st-3rd-1st-3rd-1st-4th-4th to win the not-yet-Yellow Jersey)

    • Davesta Thursday, 22 October 2020, 10:31 am

      I recall Mikel Landa did it 3 years ago in the Giro – outsprinted by Tejay Van Garderen, then following up with the win the next day

      • Jon L Thursday, 22 October 2020, 11:44 am

        Landa had also finished 2nd a few days before as well.

        His was at the third time of asking!

        • hoh Thursday, 22 October 2020, 12:26 pm

          Our host’s sensational quibble: “Landa is a great climber” the second time going got me giggle for minutes.

  • Richard S Thursday, 22 October 2020, 9:12 am

    Nothing happened in the race yesterday but the scenery more than made up for it. Trento has been bumped up from ‘would be nice to’ to ‘definitely have to’.
    Would be nice to see something happen today but if it all boils down to a blast up the final climb I wouldn’t be surprised at all.

    • RQS Thursday, 22 October 2020, 9:26 am

      I’ve been impressed by some of the helicopter photography, though a shot on a hillside lake that lingered too long on its murky depths made me wonder if the cameraman had forgotten what he was there for.

      • Anonymous Thursday, 22 October 2020, 1:00 pm

        He was having a brief moment of self-doubt, like Cavendish.

        • via collins Friday, 23 October 2020, 6:19 am

          I wish you could have heard the laugh that line caused just then 🙂

  • jc Thursday, 22 October 2020, 10:13 am

    I suspect the “GC” group will be down to four riders by the time they are part way up the Stelvio. Then down to the individual riders. Inrng’s point about Wilko Kelderman moving to another team next year could well be relevant here.

    • KevinR Thursday, 22 October 2020, 10:24 am

      Indeed. Any sign that he may be weakening could see Sunweb switch to Hindley, not least because he’ll be riding for them again next season.

      • Pete Thursday, 22 October 2020, 5:06 pm

        And Kelderman’s only demand for a new contract will be jackets with velcro closures.

  • plurien Thursday, 22 October 2020, 10:21 am

    Pernsteiner’s jump on GC was pretty good yesterday. The gruppo seems so lethargic, you have to wonder / hope they calculated on leaving their effort for today. Guess they are each in a bind: Attack and you will be counter attacked.
    At least the scenery will be spectacular, so long as the clouds stay away.

  • Charles Thursday, 22 October 2020, 10:34 am

    Everything crossed for Tao! xxx

  • Martin Whitaker Thursday, 22 October 2020, 10:40 am

    How technical is the descent from that side of the Stelvio? If even slightly, I’d take Zakarin off the potential winners list.

    • plurien Thursday, 22 October 2020, 10:50 am

      Less famous than Kruiswijk’s collision with that snowdrift on the Stelvio in 2016 is Zakarin’s crash and subsequent hospitalisation. Got to be a factor. His descending has not improved at all.

      • KevinR Thursday, 22 October 2020, 10:57 am

        If the Tour is anything to go by, his descending has got considerably worse. That descent in the breakaway was a horror show

        • The Inner Ring Thursday, 22 October 2020, 10:58 am

          The Port de Balès has a much more irregular descent. Today’s Stelvio is more predictable but yes, if he’s in the breakaway there’s no point waiting until late on the Stelvio to go clear.

  • jc Thursday, 22 October 2020, 11:41 am

    Unusual that Ineos have two riders in the break on a stage like this

    • Anonymous Thursday, 22 October 2020, 12:00 pm

      Wonder if TGH has a thought of going long over the Hofmandjoch and use Pippo Ganna and Ben Swift in the long valley run up to the Stelvio. Perhaps a bit too fantasy bike racing, find out shortly.

      • RQS Thursday, 22 October 2020, 1:52 pm

        Was surprised to see those two up the road. You’d think they might be good for setting a good pace early on in the climb, but pretty useless thereafter. Perhaps they’re worried about the time cuts.
        Mr O’Connor in the break again! Inrng’s prediction may well come true…

    • Anonymous Thursday, 22 October 2020, 2:13 pm

      They’ve been playing the same strategy for every non-sprint stage since Thomas went. Apart from the stage wins it is also the classic way to win the teams classification.

  • Paddy Dunne Thursday, 22 October 2020, 11:53 am

    It’ll be a measure of the man if Zacharin’s descending has improved. Tao is in an interesting position. Career changing and life changing. So easy to say he should just go fir it. Will he stick or twist? Will anyone be offering copies of Gazetta before the descent one wonders ?🍀

    • Lukyluk Thursday, 22 October 2020, 12:11 pm

      I think they use iPads now. A bit stiffer, granted.

  • J Evans Thursday, 22 October 2020, 12:13 pm

    Well whoever – if anyone – can do it today has to go on the Stelvio. Leave it till the last climb and Almeida has already shown that he’s good enough to hang on.
    The GC guys have ridden very conservatively – almost all the action has been from individual stage winners – and now it’s this stage or not at all.
    Nibali presumably won’t care about a placing so I can see him going for it, but all the others will be thinking how good a top 3 or whatever would look on their ‘CV’. That might stop them being brave and going for victory – I hope not.

  • J Evans Thursday, 22 October 2020, 1:42 pm

    I think people – possibly only British people – are over-rating TGH’s chances of doing anything much today. He’s a long way back, lost time on Etna, and has only shown so far that one stage that he could stay with Hindley and Kelderman, and then beat them in the sprint. I’ve read a lot of people saying that he could have ridden away from them on that stage, but that is pure supposition: you often see riders who look good and then it turns out they have nothing more to give.

    • RQS Thursday, 22 October 2020, 2:03 pm

      I think you’re being a tad uncharitable. There’s a big question mark over him and there are signs that he’s not massively confident. But the way he’s bounced around at the end of stages, and that he is fourth by one second suggests that he’s capable of doing well.
      It’s conceivable he could get on the podium.
      He lost a minute to Almeida on the ITT, and less than 40 seconds on Kelderman. He seems to be climbing better than both riders and I would expect him to put time into both today.
      Could he win it all? I think that’s too hard to see right now. The climbing in this race has not provided us with the clarity of how riders are doing and his youth belies any propensity to having them strength, speed and endurance to really do so. He’s my biggest tip to win today though.

      • J Evans Thursday, 22 October 2020, 3:14 pm

        I was more meaning the chances of him winning overall. He could win today, but I don’t see him taking lots of time on the other GC contenders. There’s been a lot of talk – a lot of it from the British commentators – and a lot of people saying he looks the best, but he’s actually done little.

        • RQS Thursday, 22 October 2020, 4:17 pm

          I think you have to put that in the context of the race. There hasn’t really been too many GC days, and the prime candidates who could put time into Almeida typically haven’t, except TGH and Kelderman, so again, I think you’re being harsh.
          I would’ve said that even if TGH wasn’t in a prime position today. He may well take pink. There’s no point him fighting Hindley till a bit later unless he wants to try to get Hindley off his wheel.

        • RQS Thursday, 22 October 2020, 4:21 pm

          Regardless of my nationality I think TGH has looked lively and animated compared to other riders (GC or otherwise) so it seems reasonable to think to rate his chances. The big question mark is his three week form/endurance. Not much to really go on so he may fall or he may not, but he definitely looks like one of the best prospects for the race.

      • Bazzzzzzza Thursday, 22 October 2020, 4:42 pm

        Well…. he looked pretty solid to me. That was great riding today by both TGH and Hindley. Dennis support riding them up Stelvio was an outstanding ride.

        Top 3 with 16 seconds or so ….. Saturday should be interesting. Maybe down to single digit seconds for the last day TT.

        I would say that is a successful GT for viewers.

        • Ecky Thump Thursday, 22 October 2020, 5:25 pm

          The sound of a bleeping reverse alarm from JE 😃
          Whether’’today’ meant today or the GC, TGH is bang in this race now.
          Super stuff.

    • J Evans Thursday, 22 October 2020, 6:24 pm

      Very much in keeping with my usual standard of prediction. When you’re right 7% of the time, you’re wrong 93% of the time.
      New jackets for Sunweb? How much time did Kelderman lose due to the cold? Because it was mostly at the bottom of the long descent, although that was also where Dennis was pulling the others along.
      When riders stuggle with jackets I always think they should use the SE Asian motorbike rider style – put the coat on backwards so your front is covered and open at the back.
      I wonder if it was sensible of Sunweb to not make Hindley go back to Kelderman. It is normal to make them go back, but it’s so often pointless, and I certainly often complain about it. However, it might have made a very big difference between the final two climbs. I also wonder how much of that decision was down to Kelderman leaving the team?
      This leaves them with two options, which is a definite boon if one of them goes pop. But – and it’s a big but – WK beat TGH by 37 seconds in the first ITT; TGH beat JH by 1 min 15 sec in that ITT. The last ITT is 15km instead of 34km. Not an exact science at all, but a repeat of those rides would see WK take 16 sec off TGH, and TGH take 29 off JH. And maybe a big question about today’s decision by Sunweb is that WK could be 45 sec better than JH in that final ITT. And this one’s flatter, which might help WK.
      As is so often the case, TGH might end up wondering ‘What if I’d tried attacking on earlier stages?’ But he still has Saturday – as does Hindley.

  • JEB Thursday, 22 October 2020, 2:01 pm

    Sunweb tried towards the end yesterday, maybe Kelderman should have just let Hindley go (I guess that’s what the comment about him moving teams referred to).
    TGH had Dennis up the road (in fact they past him with 1km to go) – surely it would have been worth a try for TGH to jump away try and make it up to Dennis. Almedia had to close down Kelderman on his own, so worth making him work. One dig each from Sunweb and Inios but 2 efforts for DQS.
    TGH did put in a dig to the line at the end so appeared to have a little bit left in him.

    • JEB Thursday, 22 October 2020, 2:04 pm

      p.s. thank INRNG for all the previews, really enriches watching the racing having an expert overview of the stage and competitors.
      p.p.s I re-watched the 2018 Giro during lock down when the real one wasn’t on and it was great to be able to go back and re-read the preview each day before the stage (and the comments!)
      Keep up the good work.

  • RQS Thursday, 22 October 2020, 4:24 pm

    TGH needs to go in the next 1km or Hindley will take him. (It’s 3.7 to go)

    • Lukyluk Thursday, 22 October 2020, 4:33 pm

      Funny, I was thinking the same but with names reversed, thinking of the overall…

      • RQS Thursday, 22 October 2020, 4:43 pm

        Tactically INEOS should’ve exploited Hindley cape-gate and pushed while he struggled. And, as suggested, TGH should’ve tried a dig on the final climb. Still, one more big climbing day before the TT, but unless TGH can get approximately a minute on Kelderman (and shakes Hindley) I think we have our podium.

        • Nick Thursday, 22 October 2020, 5:12 pm

          In broad terms, TGH was 1.1 secs/km slower than Kelderman, and 2.2 secs/km faster than Hindley at the last time trial.

          With the next ITT only 15.7km long, if TGH can get about 30 seconds on Kelderman on Saturday, so gets a 15 second overall lead, we could have a very close finish indeed. Whereas Hindley needs about 30 over TGH and 45-50 over Kelderman.

          • JT Thursday, 22 October 2020, 5:41 pm

            But this is at the end of a GT with many mountain stages since the last tt. Form will play a big part so I cannot imagine Keldermann taking 45 seconds out of Hindley in a 15 km TT.
            Also a lot of people said that Hindley was taking it easy in the TT to better help Keldermann the next day. Is there any truth to that ?

        • Lukyluk Thursday, 22 October 2020, 5:36 pm

          I don’t see how TGH could have taken more time by “trying a dig”. He went for the overall rather than the stage, and because of that, he’s still in contention.

          However, I think there will be a bit of awkwardness at the Sunweb table tonight. Hindley IMO had 2 options: if he was strong, he should have attacked TGH and try to take 30s, if he wasn’t he should have dropped back and paced Kelderman.

          I’m not a big Kelderman fan, but Sunweb could have killed the race today, and instead this Movistar-style in-betweening means they’re still vulnerable.

          As a reminder, Kelderman is leaving at the end of the year, and Spekenbrink isn’t exactly known for dealing with his team’s “lame ducks” with elegance and grace. That 0.5s handing of a bidon just before the final climb says all.

          • oldDAVE Thursday, 22 October 2020, 5:52 pm

            shocked by a few of these comments!

            bear in mind beyond TGH not having the legs to try a dig, he was also thinking tactically of not going into the red and losing time to Hindley, knowing that he was the one who’d have to do the pulling… plus (more importantly…) he’s a young bloke who has never been at the sharp end of a 3 week race so with a TT and mountain stage to come may have been managing his efforts rather than blow it all today and then fall out of contention Saturday/Sunday…

            So many more factors involved than having a dig that makes his finish completely understandable. He locked in for a mountain TT and that was the sensible option.

            Likewise Hindley, yes Hindley might have attacked, but what happens if rather than dropping TGH or ruining his rhythm to stall him – he might have increased the pace further dropping Kelderman and then even if Hindley takes time, he might lose it in the TT gifting the Giro to TGH…

            No one made the wrong decision today, I doubt TGH had the kick people imagine, and Hindley was correct to hold fire. TGH still needs 45seconds on Kelderman to be confident in the TT and go in with at least a 30second advantage.

          • Lukyluk Thursday, 22 October 2020, 6:12 pm

            I think I basically agree with you on the first part, except for the “No one made the wrong decision today” comment, I feel that Sunweb did, and no matter the outcome of the Giro the one who will lose will regret the way they raced today.

            I wasn’t criticizing TGH for not attacking, I think it was the right thing to do if he chose to go for the overall. I was answering a comment above saying that TGH should have attacked.

          • oldDAVE Thursday, 22 October 2020, 6:31 pm

            I think I agree Lukyluk (and I mostly agreed with your previous comment) but Sunweb had to drop Almeida, I don’t think they were to know what would happen with Dennis/Kelderman considering they were the strongest team the other day, I don’t know how they could have really done anything different? They just came across a Rohan Dennis who was riding the best day of his entire career… alone Tao surely couldn’t have done what happened today.

          • RQS Thursday, 22 October 2020, 6:57 pm

            I was massively surprised that Dennis and TGH didn’t put a small dig in to distance Hindley. If they had of repeatedly gapped him towards the top of the Stelvio and made it harder for him to put his jersey on then they may have dropped him from the climb/decent, or he may have gotten cold (like Kelderman) or just put him in difficulty. I just didn’t understand that they didn’t at least give it a small dig to shift him.
            I appreciate that TGH may not have had a match to burn up the final climb, but I don’t think he stood much to lose by testing Hindley, but since he didn’t the Sunweb win was assured. You might talk about GC but if TGH get to the line first he puts himself above Hindley and then that makes dealing with Kelderman easier. As it is all Sunweb need to do is stick Hindley on TGHs wheel.

          • hoh Thursday, 22 October 2020, 8:16 pm

            On the other hand, they maybe making the calculation to try distance Kelderman as much as possible. Distance Hindley, he may drop back to help Kelderman. Very smart move.

            Better still, if they can create a conflict between Kelderman and Hindley, the latter maybe less hesitant to leave the former behind come Saturday. Best case scenario for Ineos on Saturday would be for break to mop up the bounce seconds, then TGH and Hindley come to the line together dropping Kelderman. Wouldn’t matter if Hindley win the sprint in that case. Tao can get the 3 seconds back in the ITT.

          • KevinR Thursday, 22 October 2020, 10:26 pm

            I’m not sure Sunweb got their tactics right today. As Lukyluk says, they could have taken a big step towards cementing the Magia Rosa today by getting Hindley to work with Kelderman. Instead, by hedging their bets they’ve really let TGH and Ineos smell overall victory while making their team atmosphere very delicate to say the least.

  • oldDAVE Thursday, 22 October 2020, 5:56 pm

    ps Rohan Dennis was unreal today?
    Questions earlier in the Giro here over him and Ganna being too large and poor at climbing for TDF team next year aren’t correct, aside from Olympics I’m not sure how you leave Ganna or Dennis out of that team… especially with a TTT.

    Ineos 2021 squad is completely insane… aside from missing Pogacar….

    • ChrismanSpurs (@ChrismanSpurs) Thursday, 22 October 2020, 6:05 pm

      I think the Ineo/Sky ethos is basically ‘bring me a top TTer and I’ll make him a top GC rider’. With hindsight it’s prob why both 2 guys signed for Ineos. They can be a top TT rider anywhere. You go to Ineos to ride GC/win the TDF. Gotta be setting Dennis up for that at least.

      That was mind blowing from Dennis today. Absolutely butchered the peloton

      • oldDAVE Thursday, 22 October 2020, 6:27 pm

        I feel like you’re 50% right there…

        As in Rohan D seems to have tried riding GC and failed to this point so it might be in the back of his mind still, but the past few years he seems to have very much focussed on TT’ing and I’m not sure Ineos are seriously considering him for GC at this moment – although obviously that might change quickly, even if I doubt it.

        Ganna likewise is quite a lot larger than other riders who’ve gone from TT’ing to GC riding, I believe including Indurain (weight wise) so I also doubt he is seriously considering riding GC at the point… again it may be in the back of his mind but I’m unconvinced for now.

        Finally – most Grand Tours aside from the Giro recently have lost their TT miles and if you look at the riders Ineos are favouring as leaders in the last three years it has changed and their pushing more pure climbers who can TT than previously when it was vice versa.

        So I actually don’t think either Ganna nor Dennis will develop into GC contenders and I also doubt they were signed with this in mind.

        • RQS Thursday, 22 October 2020, 6:39 pm

          If you’re telling me that two days ago you would’ve predicted Dennis doing that then I’d laugh in your face. He certainly didn’t have that ride in him then as each of the breaks he got into he trailed away, and they were no Stelvio. I still don’t accept him as a super domestique for the mountains as one stage does not turn a bull into a goat, but that was certainly impressive and something we’ve never seen from Dennis before.

          • oldDAVE Thursday, 22 October 2020, 6:51 pm

            Oh to clarify:

            I never said he was a super domestique!!
            I likewise have never seen him ride like today.
            But I was saying we’ve seen him climb well before so if he’s all in for a cause (like today) I don’t see how any team could leave a rider of his quality out of their strongest grand tour line up. He’s too good, and today just proved it.

          • KevinR Thursday, 22 October 2020, 10:32 pm

            DAVE – Dennis did a mighty ITT up And down the Stelvio and to the foot of the last climb. He can climb well – his previous GC attempts didn’t fail, they just didn’t quite land wins – and knowing what his TT distance was he simply tore the peloton to shreds and then sat back to watch the fallout of his handiwork.

          • ChrismanSpurs (@ChrismanSpurs) Thursday, 22 October 2020, 11:23 pm

            Wouldn’t have predicted it no but Ineos/Sky have been a catalytic(?) team in terms of guys go there to rebuild/change their game in the mould of the team. Who knows who will spring out of semi-nowhere to be a GT challenger. But someone will. Rohan Dennis, given his profile as a rider, isn’t exactly a wild outside bet imo. Similarities with him and Wiggins surely. I haven’t been as acutely aware of his failings over the last few years so yes my judgement is biased towards his recent form.

      • Richard S Thursday, 22 October 2020, 7:16 pm

        You go to Ineos to get paid.

  • ChrismanSpurs (@ChrismanSpurs) Thursday, 22 October 2020, 6:00 pm

    Inoes rode a tactically perfect race. 50 seconds on the Stelvio, 50 seconds in the descent/flat and then 40 seconds on the final climb. Maybe they hoped Kelderman would crack more on the final climb and they’d gain the extra 20-30 seconds to go into pink. But to take the best part of 2:20 out of a 2:42 defecit is unbelievable. Rohan Dennis basically did the job of about 3 men. De Gent & Carrara in 2012 wrapped up in one man..and then some.

    Ineos will surely fancy their chances now. Go full deathtrain and put the heat on the penultimate climb on Saturday again and they can crack Wilko early and maybe gain a minute, if not the 30-40 seconds to put TGH in pink and give him a lead to try and hold in the TT. Could even see Hindley in Pink come Saturday night if Ineos ride him to the line again. Could be another Hindley-TGH 1-2 on Saturday if things go the same way. That would put Hindley 7 seconds up on TGH. Can Ineos take that risk? I think they can.

    • Marek Thursday, 22 October 2020, 6:28 pm

      I think one point that been missed with respect to TGH/WC Stage1 TT times is that WC was a GC contender and was going for the bast time he could while TGH was a just a domestique with no TT winning aspiration and was likely to be saving himself to some degree.

      • RQS Thursday, 22 October 2020, 6:47 pm

        I think you’re missing stage 14. Admittedly TGH hadn’t won his stage then, but he most certainly was riding for GC at that time – possibly with a view to winning the next stage too….

        • ChrismanSpurs (@ChrismanSpurs) Thursday, 22 October 2020, 11:30 pm

          Kelderman was basically 40 seconds up. Not unreasonable to give him 20 seconds on TGH for the 2nd TT. Looks a very straight one, will prob favour Kelderman if he’s not too tired. If TGH gains 30 seconds @ Sestriere it may not be enough. I reckon Kelderman is going to do a good TT.

  • Tversky & Kahneman Thursday, 22 October 2020, 6:14 pm

    * hindsight bias claxon *

  • oldDAVE Thursday, 22 October 2020, 6:35 pm

    last post: I firmly believe Geraint Thomas would have breezed to this Giro win had he not fallen.

    I’m not sure I can remember such a firm favourite crashing out like this for a few years? Froome in ’14 definitely, Dumoulin in ’18 maybe although there wasn’t as much of a gap to his rivals possibly? Maybe that year Quintana crashed in the Vuelta TT.

    Gutting for Thomas. Reminds me a little of the crazy Sunweb decision for Dumoulin not to ride the Tour in ’18 especially once he knew Froome was going for the double. Firmly believe he would have beaten Thomas had he not ridden both.

    • oldDAVE Thursday, 22 October 2020, 6:37 pm

      sorry Dumoulin in ’19Giro

    • SYH Thursday, 22 October 2020, 7:13 pm

      With Ganna, TGH, and Dennis riding the way they are? They’d have mountain trained every stage and Thomas would be leading by 4 minutes heading into the final flat TT.

    • Richard S Thursday, 22 October 2020, 7:13 pm

      Quintana has never been the same since that crash I reckon. Top form Thomas or 2013-14 Nibali probably would’ve walked it but it would’ve been much less interesting as a result.

    • SYH Thursday, 22 October 2020, 7:15 pm

      This, incidentally, does not bode well for the Tour next year but I think I’ve accepted that Sky have magical pillows which let TT specialists win the Cima Coppi, apparently.

    • J Evans Thursday, 22 October 2020, 7:52 pm

      oldDAVE – ‘the crazy Sunweb decision for Dumoulin not to ride the Tour in ’18 especially once he knew Froome was going for the double’ – was this Sunweb’s decision, not Dumoulin’s? (I’ve no idea.)
      Always thought it was mental, even before the race started: why race Froome in the Giro rather than taking him on in the Tour with him having done the Giro? Thomas must be eternally grateful.

  • RQS Thursday, 22 October 2020, 7:28 pm

    Kelderman’s interview in pink was not one of a happy man. It’ll be frosty at the dinner table.

    • Lukyluk Thursday, 22 October 2020, 7:43 pm

      Given the form Sunweb showed, they could have put the Giro to bed today. Instead, they risk finishing 2nd and 3rd, with extra egg on face. I’d be sour too.

      Good for the spectacle though, especially on Saturday.

    • Steve Thursday, 22 October 2020, 9:56 pm

      Was he sad because Hindley didn’t take pink when the chance was there? And has a Grand Tour ever had such obvious children of hippies in the podium places before? And, woof, I am really going to miss Rob Hatch talking about Chihuahua Mayda.

  • The Crow Friday, 23 October 2020, 5:51 am

    Jai could have attacked and taken the 13 seconds to get the Maglia Rosa on that last climb. Instead he held back and followed team orders (and Tao’s wheel) to take the stage win. He fully and genuinely supported Wilco’s campaign in all of the post race interviews. If there is anything frosty to be had at that dinner table it should be the beer that Wilco brings to Jai.

    • Via Collins Friday, 23 October 2020, 6:30 am

      Wise Old Crow!

      I reckon you’ve sussed it all out nicely. I really enjoyed seeing Brad Wiggins on the review couch being tortured over whether Jai did the right thing or not. He was having an existential moment there, and I was in a similar mindset. I cannot believe how much intrigue that stage has thrown up – from jacket zippers to the “Sunweb-have-blown-it-gate”. And Steve, it’s been a thread of comedy gems, but you absolutely win with the Rob Hatch pronunciation line. It’s so weird to go through a day and here Joao being pronounced calmly and normally!

    • ChrismanSpurs (@ChrismanSpurs) Friday, 23 October 2020, 1:46 pm

      You didn’t hear Keldermanb’s post race interview then….he wasn’t exactly ‘fully and genuinely’ supportive of Hindley’s action

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