Giro d’Italia Stage 12 Preview

Last year the breakaways were going away and staying away but this year it’s been harder for a move to stick. This might change today.

Stage 11 Review: the longest stage as measured by distance but in terms of time it went by quickly thanks to a tailwind and a nervous peloton, a 47km/h average speed. Then a sprint win for Alberto Dainese ahead of Fernando Gaviria and Simone Consonni, ahead of the “big” trio of Arnaud Démare, Caleb Ewan and Mark Cavendish. A surprise winner but if anything the surprise is it took this long as Dainese was among the cream of the U23 riders, turning pro aged 21 after collecting all sorts of results and interestingly as an Italian export to the Dutch SEG team rather than stay at home and win from the ample domestic calendar and he won the U23 European championships. In 2020 he turned pro aged 21 and got an early win in the Jayco Herald Sun Tour but it’s been a two year wait for the win.

After yesterday’s win with Girmay as the first for an Eritrean rightly got a lot of coverage, a home win in Italy helps too. Even the La Gazzetta Dello Sport newspaper isn’t covering the Giro that much, they have only one journalist at the race and he’s doing a valiant job but it’s often just three pages, despite Gazzetta being owned by RCS which runs the race.

The Route: when the route was announced late last year this stage had a tricky finish but it’s been revised and the climbing isn’t so hard. It’s still a long day for this year’s Giro at 202km and goes via the Passo Del Bocco, as the profile shows a gentle climb and then a steeper descent, passing the memorial to Wouter Weylandt who died here in 2011.

The next climb to Boasi isn’t steep, it’s got a lot false flat rises on the way up but a few steeper portions, the descent off the top is via a wider road.

The climb to Trenasco is the hardest of the day, 4km at 8% and often on a small road, it could be like something out of the Tour of Lombardy. From here there’s still 30km to go and the race goes via the San Giorgio bridge, built after the Ponte Morandini disaster and it’s a big autostrada section to promote the new bridge but it may be less of an advert for the sport here.

The Finish: once in the city there’s a slight 2% rise to the line.

The Contenders: a good day for the breakaway, the question is whether Mathieu van der Poel goes up the road because if not his Alpecin-Fenix team might be tasked with trying to pull back any move to set things up for him as he can get over climbs that will be ruinous for the sprinters. Ideally he does go in the move as it’ll imply a bigger move rather than one of those days where two riders from wildcard teams are obliged to do something.

Lennard Kämna (Bora-hansgrohe) had a great first week and while he’s out of the GC race, he’s only eight minutes down so is at the risk of being chased by Trek-Segafredo who could send Bauke Mollema as well. But neither are known for their finishing skills and the big roads and flat finish won’t help. Diego Ulissi (UAE) is and is an easy pick, likewise team mate Alessandro Covi, similarly Andrea Vendrame (Ag2r Citroën) , Magnus Cort (EF Education) and Mauro Schmid (Quick-Step). Thomas De Gendt (Lotto-Soudal) must be feeling more confident now too.

BikeExchange-Jayco have to go stage hunting now but at least have the luxury of a stage win already. Simon Yates probably has a better chance in the mountains to come

MvdP, Ulissi
Covi, Schmid, Vendrame, Albanese

Weather: warm sunny weather, 28°C in the valleys.

TV: the stage starts at midday and the finish is forecast for 5.15pm CEST. Tune in from 4.00pm onwards you’ll get the approach to the Trenasco climb.

37 thoughts on “Giro d’Italia Stage 12 Preview”

  1. Dainese gave the best description of the final moments of a race that I have ever heard from a winner. I felt as though I was re-living it!

    • Demare really upset the apple cart yesterday, launching so early.
      He caught out Cavendish and his lead-out big time but everyone was dying in the last 50m.
      Everyone apart from Dainese that is, who looked like he was jet-propelled, leaving it so late and from so far back.

    • He also said:
      “Maybe we don’t have a big party, but we will try to finish all of the prosecco bottles that we have here.”
      So I’m gonna look for more quotes from him!

  2. Whoever wins I suspect we shall see some more (attempted) GC action from Ineos. Richard Carapaz managed to grab 3 seconds yesterday and is clearly looking for any other opportunities that might come his way. This is likely to lead to a nervous bunch which could well result in the break not getting much leeway, more by accident than design.

    I wonder how long before the sprinters leave, Caleb Ewan looks out of sorts, Cav no longer has a decent lead out & Fernando Gaviria seems completely out of luck. I presume Arnaud Demare will stay for the jersey.

      • Suspect he knows he doesn’t have the form to win a stage and the sooner he leaves the sooner he can set a plan for the TdF. Can’t image the fall helped him much this past week though.

  3. Stage 18 could be a sprint and 13 if everyone decides to have an unofficial day off. I think.
    I’m not sure why any of the sprinters bother with the rest of the race, bar winning the ciclamino jersey.
    Maybe that’s enought to make a few pure sprinters flog themselves over the lumpy bits. It hasn’t the kudos of the green jersey in the TdF or the glory of the Champs Elysees finale.

    • Stage 13 could be made surely enough a sprint (100 favourable kms to chase whomever attacks on the climb, albeit the latter isn’t that easy), and so, given that today isn’t wild at all, *that* was the obvious last stage before quitting for any sprinter not interested in the cyclamen jersey.

      Yet lack of sprinter confidence is making it all a self-fulfilling prophecy of sort: some of them don’t try anymore that hard to keep in touch on the climbs, then the team may fail to offer full commitment to the chase doubting that their man will win and so on. The whole context prepares the terrain for a break instead of a sprint… and hence Ewan leaves today.
      I think that Démare could make it a sprint tomorrow, be it only to lose it – he can afford it. But of course much will depend on the total number of teams who put their eggs in the break’s basket.

      Ewan had the form, no doubt (stage 1 was impressive), and the crash might have affected him but note that he lost by the slightest margin to Démare a week ago.

    • It’s surprising. They’d have to explain but having read the paper over the years it feels like the cycling coverage is under-resourced for some time, they don’t have budget for it. It’s creating a negative spiral where the what’s left of the cycling coverage struggles to tell the story of the race. We’ll have to see the TV audiences and how they compare for a wider look.

      • Between race finish (4-5pm?) and going to print (mid night?), the 1 journalist actually manages 3 pages? Wow, that is a very very valiant effort. I hope he at least get a good pay and get some help from juniors/editors. Doing that for 21 days would be hardcore (no to mention he’d be extra busy on rest days.).

    • A good episode of The Cycling Podcast about La Gazzetta (entitled “kilometer 0 – La Rosea”) came out yesterday.

      As a point of stark contrast, when Italy won the World Cup in 1934 it didn’t even make the front page as the Giro was on.

    • It’s more about the crisis of journalism in Italy rather than cycling’s. The latter being quite notable, too, but more on the sporting side than on people’s. For now. The steady growth of cycling as a popular outdoor activity (which partially feedbacks positively on attention to pro sport) partly made for the declining results of recent years. However, in perspective it’s a delicate situation.

      Speaking of TV figures, the big difference from a good and a bad Giro can be made mainly from stage 14 on (the last week and the penultimate weekend), so it’s still too soon to draw comparisons.
      However, it will easily become a vicious circle, Gazzetta not fostering interest, TV numbers going down (or, better said, being less brilliant than in previous years) and so on. Gazzetta’s always been terrible from this POV, although it’s becoming worse than ever. They’re absolutely obsessed with football and football only (well, something of motorsport from time to time), which is crazy given the importance of cycling for RCS… and RCS within cycling (2/5 Monuments, 1/3 GTs, the most important short stage race in Ti-Ad, Strade Bianche, the oldest classic on the calendar in Mi-To, plus others including now relevant for obvious reasons UAE Tour).

      Until now, as far as TV figures are concerned, the Grande Partenza was surprisingly good; Etna was utterly disappointing; yet, during the first week, the low points were “less low” than in previous editions (never below the 1.0 M mark, often around 1.3 M), but solid high results were clearly lacking. Naples was mediocre, being on Saturday (1.7 M), Blockhaus could do better, too, albeit it wasn’t bad (2.2 M). The second week started very poorly as expected, and neither today nor tomorrow will help much. I’m afraid that the deeper we go into the Giro, the harder viewing figures will be affected by the absence of high-profile home competitors (historically, one of the single most impacting factor on audience in any country).

      It must also be considered that, according to RAI sources, ~150-200 K are now using the official RAI streaming online (tenfold the figures of the 2010s) and aren’t thus included in TV audience. Eurosport platform, even in Italy, is “taking away” some further >100 K from RAI because many cycling enthusiasts jumped to the GCN & C wagon.

  4. From the post-race interview it sounds like Bol was DSM’s featured sprinter but begged off midrace allowing Dainese to go for the win. It seems like this should have happened a while ago – Bol is apparently very fast but he almost never wins, which makes me wonder if the pressure of being a featured sprinter is too much or if he’s leery of getting in there and mixing it up in the last few hundred meters. Now that Dainese has this win it’ll be interesting to see how the team handles this (send them to different races, have Bol work for Dainese, or just keep playing it by ear and hoping for it to work out). That was some impressive closing speed by Dainese.

    Todays stage seems like it would have been a good one for Girmay, and with him gone I think MvdP’s chances went up substantially.

    Minor editing note – in the first sentence I think you left out a word, “Last [year] the breakaways were…”

    • I was wondering what the story was with Bol. He seemed to be an emerging sprinter then faded from view. If I am recalling the right race he looked very strong in his Paris-Nice stage win … but nothing since.

      • Yeah, he seemed to be an emerging young sprinter in 2019 with three decent wins, then the last two years he only has one win per year. He did have a second and third at the TdF in 2020 and the nice Paris-Nice win you mention in 2021, but aside from those bright spots he’s often a no-show. Looking at this year, he hasn’t even finished in the top three of any race. Perhaps there’s a physical issue, but given that he was supposed to be the sprinter yesterday, and he ended up finishing 142 (i.e., he didn’t even help with the leadout), I wonder if it’s more psychological.

        • If this were football, there’d be a small army of analysts looking at the sprints – who does what and when, calculating the optimum distance to make your move etc etc.
          I may be wrong here but it does seem as if a lot is still left to chance. Of course teams have their plans but they can appear chaotic at times?

          • I think it reflects the chaos of a sport where you have 22 teams competing, rather than just 1-on-1 in football (etc). The complexity of planning for this situation is therefore so much greater. Highroad made it look easy because they had such a well-drilled train, far better than any other teams, but since then sprint teams have been more evenly matched (ok so Quickstep probably have the best, but even then it’s not the same consistency of outcomes as we saw with Highroad).

            So, the team could plan for rider A leading out until X hundred metres, then rider B, C etc, but there are so many other variables that could disrupt this. Just look at the stage last week where Demare won: Quickstep had a great position with two riders ahead of Cav, then a Cofidis rider unexpectedly blocked Quickstep’s point rider and so Morkov had to lead out much earlier than planned. And that’s just an interaction between two teams.

            I remember when I used to race at cat 3 and we suggested to a coach that we train for leadouts. He laughed at us: “The pros struggle to get it right after extensive preparation. What makes you think it’d work for us?”

          • There absolutely is a lot left to chance in road race sprints! That’s what makes them exciting (and why I’m less interest in track cycling sprints, which eliminates he vast majority of those unpredictable variables). I think that’s the main reason why Sagan won so many bunch sprints while rarely being the absolute fastest. Sprinters vary dramatically in how much they need a quality dedicated lead-out, bike handling skills, self confidence, ability to handle a long/hard race, ability to climb, ability to read one’s opponents, ability to adjust and adapt quickly, an so on.

            Of course there are also a small army (very small) of podcasters and Youtube analysists who do post race analyses, which is also part of the appeal of these races.

  5. Seems like DSM have been betting on the wrong sprinter – the sprint did seem to go on and on, with Dainese geting the jump on the others. Ineos, being the opportunists, got Carapaz a 3 second bonus (Froome and Thomas I remember doing the same thing). As there are only seconds between the GC guys I was surprised no other team thought to do the same thing.

    Stage 12 has been described as,”the biggest disgrace” and “This stage(12) is the very definition of what is wrong with RCS and its management.” A big breakaway or will MvdP drag himself and the sprint teams to the final? Many teams without GC hopes could well try something.

    • I think Dainese was the last to jump, wasn’t he?

      Curious who described stage 12 as a disgrace? Seems like the route has a high potential for a surprise winner, which seems like a good thing.

      • The route was changed quite a lot in order to showcase the new bridge. Originally, it was a well-designed classic Giro “tricky stage” which would force GT men to keep red alert mode and some could surely think about a daring move, thanks to the quiet stages right after and before (it was also one of the very few if not the only authentic “downhill finale” after the very last climb of a mid-mountain stage).
        Which would also have made a difference in terms of general balance of the second week, whereas now – barring the unexpected, which can happen anywhere – we’ve got 5 full days with no GC action at all, and hoping that Torino and Val d’Aosta do deliver some serious GC fight, which isn’t assured, either.

  6. Pleased to see an Italian win. Hopefully dsm will give dainese more opportunities going forward. He was in the mix in several vuelta stages last year I remember.

  7. Did Inrng pen this AFTER the break was already set? You picked a bunch of the break riders plus Covi who tried early on.

    In terms of strategy I think Ineos should let this balloon out until the pink jersey is in question, forcing trek to pull (unless – is it mollema who is best placed in the break).

    Inrng/Gabriele/others – what do you think?

    • No threat to Ineos or the other GC riders so it’s on Trek to chase, not much room for an ambush either for the GC riders.

      Did think of adding Rota and Sobrero for today’s picks too but didn’t want to pad it out with too many names. We’ll see how Van der Poel fares now, especially as he’s got team mates with him.

        • He’s said he wants to finish the Giro, yes. He’s only done one grand tour and that was last summer’s Tour where he planned to leave the race early for the Olympics, now he wants to try and finish a grand tour. But he’s not sprinting for intermediate points yet, he’ll need to score big today and tomorrow to have a chance.

          • MvDP really seems best when he’s at his freshest. MSR and Flanders this year, Strade Bianchi >TA last year, but when his race program stretches, he seems to come down to a more human level – Flanders last year, PR and ASG this year. Looks very tired now.

          • CD – agree 100% – MVDP also seems to think he can win any type of race because, well he is MVDP. Or, maybe he came into this stage with the full intention of helping Oldani.

            Great stage, another exciting day for a quiet GC stage. And another relatively surprise stage winner.

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