Giro d’Italia Stage 10 Preview

A tricky second half of the stage and the chance for a rematch between Mathieu van der Poel and Biniam Girmay, but if they watch each other too much someone else will win the day.

The Route: a stage of two courses, primo piatto as the race heads up the Adriatic coast past a series of beachside holiday towns. Then at Cittanova the race flicks inland for something much less digestible. It doesn’t look like much on the profile but what the course lacks altitude it makes up for with attitude, fly over the area and the landscape looks corrugated or like a crumpled blanket with folds and typically the roads just rise and fall all the time. Plus they are frequently cracked and potholed although the Giro coming to town fixes some of this. It means a series of sharp climbs, several unmarked will make life hard for the heavyset sprinters and 1,800m of vertical gain in under 100km. One of the climbs goes through Fillotrano in tribute to Michele Scarponi.

The Finish: there’s the climb to Monsano for the last GPM of the day of 4km at 4.5% but a steeper middle section but the road still rises and falls on the way to Jesi. Once in town the final kilometre is slightly uphill to the line.

The Contenders: Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix) has won on these roads with his stage win in Castelfidardo from the 2021 Tirreno-Adriatico. The punchy climbs suit and he can clean up in a sprint from a reduced bunch. Or will he try to go solo and smash the peloton? He’d arguably win more if he tried more finesse and deployed his team more… but it wouldn’t be so spectacular to watch.

Biniam Girmay (Intermarché-Wanty) is proving very consistent but how to turn that into a win? He can hope to outsprint Mathieu van der Poel.

While the two names are obvious picks, they were in Naples too. Diego Ulissi and Alessandro Covi (UAE), Davide Gabburo (Bardiani-CSF), Andrea Vendrame (Ag2r Citroën) and Vincenzo Albanese (Eolo-Kometa) can try to get that home win for Italian cycling, Magnus Cort (EF Education) ought to suit the course and Caleb Ewan (Lotto-Soudal) and Arnaud Démare (Groupama-FDJ) can get over some climbs but might not force things given tomorrow suits more.

Mathieu van der Poel, Biniam Girmay
Diego Ulissi
Ballerini, Schmid, Cort, Covi, Ewan

Weather: warm and sunny with a top temperature of 29°C. A light breeze will swirl from different directions during the stage and could help unpick the peloton atop some of the exposed ridges later on but a breeze and not a crosswind.

TV: the stage starts at 12.20, Cittanova and the hills from 3.00pm and finish is forecast for 5.15pm CEST.

J for Jesi: there’s no J in the Italian alphabet, nor a K, W, X nor Y which means Italian has the one of the shortest alphabets in Europe. But today’s stage goes to Jesi, Sunday’s stage finish was at Majelletta below Blockhaus and in the peloton today you’ll find Jacopos Guarnieri and Mosca so these letters exist. Most languages have outside influences and imports, as well as old dialects and the J is an import and used sparingly, although of course every keyboard, even an Olivetti typewriter has one; likewise nobody seems to have trouble saying Jai Hindley and if you wear denim trousers you have jeans. Anyway it’s i-ezi/yezzi, rather jay-zee for today’s finish, and the town is spelled as Iesi with an “i” on many maps and signs, but the railway station is Jesi. Last Sunday’s mountain was interchangeable with Majelletta-Maielletta and Jacopo is a derivative of Iacopo.

43 thoughts on “Giro d’Italia Stage 10 Preview”

  1. The race is nicely poised, though it does feel as if we have an “interlude” before we get to Act II. The Giro has a habit of springing traps on the unwary but with benign warm & dry weather in prospect for the next 2 weeks perhaps less risk than normal. I guess Richard Carapaz will try to snipe a second or two, though the options seem limited.

    One aspect of Simon Yates’ travails is that Bike Exchange now have few options for scoring UCI points. The team was very much built around Simon’s GC ambitions. I presume we will now see the team actively target breakaways. With Lotto doing pretty well so far in the race there is going to be pressure on Bike Exchange to respond.

    • On the positive side for BEX the last few of there top 10 riders have only scored 40 – 70 points so anyone scoring a few will likely increase there total.

  2. I have given up on BEX and am now on the Hindley band wagon. One wonders how Western Australia, one of the flattest places on earth, can cough up two climbers!

    • Same for the Netherlands or Denmark… a climber is usually born and not made but they have to travel to succeed, riders like Hindley or Vingegaard didn’t have it easy as amateurs with races to suit on their doorstep.

      • Not really. Both the Netherlands and Denmark are only a stone’s throw from the Alps and I think their bike riding general population is very high. Perth is a stone’s throw from nowhere and only has a population of about 2 million.
        A couple of climbers from Kazakhstan might be a bit more analogous.

          • I’d agree but for an Australian in Perth looking for a long climb things are relative.

            There is an interesting thing with where riders are from and the type of riders they become. Riders move a lot now so they can find terrain and climate to suit. Seeing Simon Yates struggling in the heat is interesting as he’d been training in Andorra at altitude prior to the Giro, presumably beside snow fields and ski pistes.

        • The highest point of Kazakhstan is just about at 7000 m a. s. l. Try matching that in Europe, or America.

          Skyline of Kazakhstan’s biggest town, former capital Almaty, looks – with the perspective compression of a long lens – like×683.jpg.webp

          From the downtown, you can climb to cca 2250 – 1500 m on 24 km; with the peaks above you of alpine proportions.

          But yes, majority of Kazakhstan lies in the steppe.

        • Vinokourov and Kashechkin ripping apart the 2006 Vuelta, incidentally one of the best GT this century.

          Current pros Lutsenko and Zeits aren’t on the same level, but they can climb damn fine. Still very young Pronskiy is a pure climber and looks promising, too: as a first year U23 he overcame a nice field in always probing Giro della Val d’Aosta (Einer Rubio, Fortunato, Vansevenant… and Juanpe López) and now he’s “slowly” finding his place among the pros.

          That said, as Fra points out, that all “-stan” area has some pretty decent mountains 😉 although Kazakhstan isn’t small, either, so it depends on where you’re based 😛

          Truth is that an appropriate sport system matters more than geography nowadays and if talent is detected you’ll be sent very soon to Europe in order to race the local calendar, often still a teenager. As most will be aware of by now, Hindley is actually “a local” when Blockhaus is concerned!

        • I don’t know if you are from Australia, 150 Watts, but distances are perceived different in Europe. Even though you can reach it in a day’s drive, the Alps are still two or three countries away and though I’ve known people to go back and forth for a weekend this is regarded excessive by most. Dutch youngsters train and race on flat roads, and may go on a weekend with their club to Belgium to ride LBL territory. But unless their parents are also bike enthousiasts who take their bikes on Alpine holidays they often will not ride big mountains until they are 18 or so.
          (I’ve never thrown a stone 1000km far BTW).

      • One could also argue that riders with a ‘climbers’ fysique who can rise up through to the junior ranks to (semi)pro level in a flat area – that favours bulk and big engines that help in criteriums and echelons – must have such a big motor that when they get to riding in an area where W/kg plays a role, they immediately stand out.

    • And they’re at least three, I’d say: Ben O’Connor, Hindley and Storer! Plus, one of the most impressive young talents in recent years, albeit already gone lost, and sadly enough – that is, Robert Power.

      • Storer had slipped my mind but he comes from Sydney where hills are available. Nevertheless BEX have bet the farm on climbers from foreign parts to win grand tours (they have one) and now there are Australian climbers all over the place on other teams … Jack Haig being a other.

    • This must be the only sports( based) blog which inspires research into non sport categories! In the spirit of this year’s Giro, I have discovered that Hungarian is written with as many as 44 characters (opinions vary about the inclusion of some repeated characters ). I suppose this is because it is not classified as an Indo European tongue, it is in the same linguistic group as Finnish? Yet ( ducks for cover) no one could say that Hungary was not European in heritage ( Austro- Hungarian Empire), and it was part of the Roman Empire, too: St. Martin of Tours, apostle to the Gauls was born in what is now Hungary.
      Right, back to the cycling!

      • Well, Czech alphabet has 42 letters and Czech is definitely an indo-european language. But alas, we must bow to our “younger cousins”, the Slovaks, who managed to get to 46 letters, or (as it seems) the most in Europe.

        But even Italians can spell “Sagan”. 😀

        • This is where the comparisons start to break down. In Slovak, a and á are considered to be two different letters. In Irish, they’re one letter whose pronunciation changes depending on whether there’s a fada (the name of the accent).

          Similarly, c, h and ch are considered to be three separate letters in Slovak, whereas in Irish they’re two letters, which can be combined to make a different sound.

          • Indeed, that’s mainly a matter of convention and / or phonology. In the case of Czech (and Slovak) orthography, ch is indeed considered a different letter to c/h; not just a digraph. (Albeit we don’t have a particular sign for it, so we use the old digraph ch to write the letter ch.)

            As far as I know, the famous 14/15th century Czech religious reformer Jan Hus is supposed to be the first person to propose a reform of Czech writing system, which was using digraphic ortography at the time. He (or rather the anonymous author of Orthographia Bohemica; whom traditionaly Jan Hus is supposed to be) developed a diacritic orthographic system, which was later accepted in a modified form; ca. at the time of the spread of Gutenberg’s printing press.

            So, the number of letters in a particular alphabet is a matter of convention rather than an expression of a number of phonemes a particular language uses. 🙂

      • Hungarian here.
        It is unargued that the alphabet consists of 44 letters. Some aren’t used much, but they’re there nonetheless.
        Hungarian is a Uralic language rather than Indo-European. The names come from where linguists think they’re most likely to have originated thousands of year ago, not where they are now. No one thinks the English or French people are Indians either.
        That has nothing to do with how many characters there are in the alphabet. That’s more about one of the pillars of Hungarian orthography, phonetic writing. Each letter represents a unique sound (apart from j/ly) and they are intented to denote the spoken word as accurately as possible. Over time, more sounds invented = more letters.
        While he was born in now what we call Hungary, St. Martin have nothing to do with the Hungarian people. Current day Hungary was part of the Roman Empire, but Hungarian people weren’t. They were still somewhere between the Urals and north of the Black Sea at that time. They’ve only arrived into and conquered the Carpathian Basin at the end of the 9th century, about 500 years after he died.

        • Thank you Bandi, that is very interesting. I had always assumed that the Hungarians were descendants from Attila’s boys, but of course that is much earlier.

          • Etymology of Hungary comes (probably) from the Huns indeed. But that’s latin (and greek) – and therefore western European – word. Hungarians call themself Magyars and their country is called Magyarország – the Country of Magyars.

            Compare with Bohemia / Czechia, Suomi / Finland, Germany / Deutschland etc. 😉

  3. Thanks as usual, I was thinking Grimay for today.
    I had no idea about alphabet lengths and although bikermel correct you on your Gaelic charm they missed likerwise.
    “even an Olivetti typewriter has one and likewirse seems to have trouble saying Jai Hindley.”

  4. Soooo … Lotto Soudal and Israel Premier Tech (they are here are n’t they?! Apart from Zabel’s TT jinks they’ve been very quiet) should get very active to try for some points. Maybe Sylvan Adams should try Vino’s trick of sending out some “letters”! Bike Exchange likewise have only stage wins to go for so could be an interesting start to the stage. Shame there’s no strong breeze today to liven things up, but Trek to lead in the GC guys about 10 minutes after the breakaway winner, I would guess.

  5. Something of a toothbrush profile stage today, I fancy Girmay to be smiling at its end 😀
    Very very impressed with him so far.

  6. I thought on the breakaway stage a few days ago that MVDP would go in the braek because his team may be to weak to control the entire race. But they really had to send another helper up there. When mvdp made the first break they should have had a team mate glued on his wheel.
    Today’s might be easier to control with the flat start so they can limit the group size to make it easier to chase down.

    UAE and Trek have made the decision to chase break away wins with there best mountain domestiques and both yesterday paid the price with the pink jersey and Almeida being left alone and in the wind for too long before the mountain finish. Almeida looks good and Lopez Pedro actually looks promising for a top 10. Both teams should consider refocusing on these riders for the moment.

  7. This stage is well suited to a massive team attack so I’m hoping for some real moves on a GC that has far too many within reach of the lead. No need to leave it up to a risky mountain battle.

  8. “J” isn’t as much “imported” as “rediscovered”, in a sense, it was a proper Italian letter from XVI to XX century. It actually represented a slightly different sound from purely vocalic “i”. Italian students surely recall 18th century Jacopo Ortis by Foscolo, but it was widely used in tipography, for example for the plurals of words ending in “-io” when singular. It’s been there along the greatest part of Italian’s history as a language.
    K, X, Y were also used from even further back, since antiquity actually, and obviously stood because of the importance of the Latin alfabet for the Italian language, but they had more ups and downs across history, for example K appears in fundamental medieval texts which do record the very beginning of Italian, then disappeared only to grow strong again with km, kg and so. A very important italian industrial brand, the creators of so many product innovations which then went global in the sector of… yogurt… was called YOMO since its foundation back in 1947. And so on 😉

  9. What is interesting about the leaders at the moment is that they are all weak at time trials apart from Almeida. One would imagine that that capability should cound somewhere along the way apart from the one remaining time trial itself.

    • The Blockhaus stage has certainly concertinaed the GC together, apart from Simon Yates, who was in trouble regardless of the final climb, although no doubts that it added to his woes.
      Ineos’ high tempo going into Blockhaus was also partly with Yates’ problems in mind I guess.
      It’s all left the race delicately poised as you say.

  10. Kelderman’s woes with his wheels (whether his complaints are really spot on, or not)… that’s an example of what I was saying about focussing on aero figures. Those wheels have been through a hell of design troubles, always trying to push supposed “innovations” directly down into the market irrespective they make sense or not. Where’s Larry to take care of this sort of rants? I’m not expressive enough.
    Well, that might eventually be good for the team – in terms of clarity although not to keep a broader set of options – or surely for Hindley at least… he’ll be happy it won’t be 2020 all over again (well, it was Jai who followed Wilco at Bora rather than the other way around).

    • That was amazing, but a question for the historians here: is that the first time someone has been injured on the post-race stage in a Grand Tour? I vaguely recall someone falling off the stage once in a muffed bouquet toss (probably Richie Porte or Landa…).

      God, I hope he can ride on!

      • Me too, really hope he can ride on, but if he doesn’t I hope to see much more of him over the upcoming years!

        Great job to him today – you knew this man was special when he was the last non-Jumbo rider early on in the Classics this year. Great race today!

      • Last year Caleb Ewan quit the Giro with a sore knee. It was said he had problems with the cleats on his shoes but also that he’d tripped by the breakfast buffet that morning too which had caused the injury.

        The irony this time is that Girmay got the injury because he won which makes it exceptional.

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