Giro d’Italia Stage 13 Preview

A sprint stage or not? The Colle di Nava is a tough climb for the sprinters but there’s 100km to get back on.

Genova for who? a giant battle to get in the breakaway, they rode 55km in the first hour. Among the 20 riders was Mathieu van der Poel plus two team mates, as well as Wilco Kelderman (Bora-hansgrohe) whose presence obliged Trek-Segafredo to chase. Lorenzo Rota (Intermarché) was the first to attack the group with over 50km to go and went clear with Gijs Leemreize (Jumbo-Visma) and Stefano Oldani (Alpecin-Fenix), all three didn’t have a pro win between them. The next climb blew the chase group to smithereens which helped the lead trio stay clear. Rota was working a lot while Oldani could play the van der Poel card and did less work, but still his share. Did this make the difference in the finish? The trio had a tense sprint and Oldani won by a wheel ahead of Rota. Kelderman took eight minutes back on GC to climb from 23rd to 13th overall at three minutes.

Oldani’s already been dubbed Il Vecchio, “the old one”, by Italian TV on account of his name but he’s only 24. It’s his first win but he’s been racing since his boyhood days, collecting a wardrobe of regional and national champion titles on the road and track.

The Route: a sense of déjà vu with a start in Sanremo and traces the route of La Primavera backwards for a while before heading inland – still on the Milano-Sanremo route but the exceptional edition of 2020 – to tackle the Colle di Nava. Then it was a gradual climb with a fast descent, today it’s a proper climb, 10km at 7% but on a big, well-engineered road where being on the wheels helps. Then comes a long section to the finish with few distinguishing features.

The Finish: a long flat road through the middle of town, there’s a cobbled section before the flamme rouge.

The Contenders: breakaway or sprint? Today’s stage is reminiscent of Stage 5 to Messina where the bunch split on the Sella di Mandrazzi and Arnaud Démare made it back to beat a depleted bunch. That day the climb looked flat enough for most sprinters to cope, only the peloton made it hard. Today’s ascent of the Colle di Nava is much tougher, the slope bits more and so if a team or two wants to try the same move they’ll find an opportunity. The problem is going to be sustaining it, there’s 98km from the summit to the finish.

So the default option is a bunch sprint, right? Only how many teams will toil to set this up? Quick-Step probably but they’ve not got big engines and Cavendish is prone to being dropped early. Groupama-FDJ yes but they’ve had two stage wins and Démare’s in the points jersey, they’d like a third stage win but there’s no desperation. Lotto-Soudal have seen Caleb Ewan go home, Intermarché are without Biniam Girmay, Fernando Gaviria must be keen but his team need to save energy for tomorrow and Mathieu van der Poel might fancy going in the breakaway again.

Mathieu van der Poel, Arnaud Démare
Gaviria, Cavendish, Dainese, Bauhaus

Weather: sunny but not as hot of late, 25°C

TV: the stage starts at 1.20pm, the Colle di Nava begins around 2.30pm and finish is forecast for 5.15pm CEST.

26 thoughts on “Giro d’Italia Stage 13 Preview”

  1. Can someone explain to me three things?
    1: Why didn’t Kelderman ride his heart out to the end? He seemed to start playing cat and mouse with…a chasing group that had lost? He had seconds more to gain on his GC rivals.
    2: Why did Van der Poel attack and try to get to the lead group when he had a teammate in it? Was the plan to get there and have Oldani lead him out?
    3: The opening pun in this post? My addled mind isn’t getting it..

    • I think the answer to 2: is that 2 v 1 v 1 is better than 1 v 1 v 1. Plus the fact that MvdP rarely does anything by the book, and probably backed himself to be able to attack with enough ferocity that he wouldn’t tow anyone up with him.

    • Not going to claim knowing the answers here, but I’m going to give this one a go:
      1. Kelderman said in interviews at the finish he isn’t riding for GC. Believe the quote was “I don’t have the legs for the long climbs”. He said he was only aiming for stages.
      2. Possibly the calculation was if he could get away solo or in a very small group they could play the numbers game or at least give Oldani another reason not to pull as MvP was chasing. Seems MvP sat up once it was clear he wouldn’t get away solo so seems plausible.
      3. The Italian legend Paolo Conte has a song called ‘Genova per noi’ = Genova for us, or I guess it was ‘Genova per Oldani’ yesterday..

      • A few other explanations for 2:
        – MvdP was protecting Oldani by chasing down Ballerini.
        – MvdP wanted a head start before the final climb, like Riesebeek seemed to sometime later. I think they knew pretty well that it was going to be hard to follow better climbers on that climb.
        – MvdP wanted to put pressure on Leemreize and Rota.
        Or a combination of these things… It certainly wasn’t a bad move, because he didn’t bring anybody along. Actually bridging up would have been tricky, because then Oldani en MvdP would probably be handed full responsibility for the break by Leemreize and Rota.

        • Maybe by this time tomorrow it will have been obvious he was saving himself for today’s stage 13 and anyway Oldani took his first win.

          My feeling is that ‘the vintage GT’ requires a gold plated (most doped) champion and a roll call of plucky underdogs (cf ‘FroomeDog’) who are snapping at his heels. That we just don’t have this scenario any more is absolutely no great loss. Instead we have athletes who are able to deliver a wider variety of performances, always within the fascinating limitations of a sport which is about balancing alliances on the road and individual effort.

      • Re: #3: Got it. Nice.
        Re: #2: Yeah, that he sat up suggests he was giving it a try to see if he could do it without risk to Oldani and to let Oldani use him as an excuse not to pull…

    • 2. I don’t think there was any calculation. MVDP just likes to win HIMSELF.
      It certainly was not helpful. MVDP fell away from the chasers when there was still enough time for them to chase down the break if they were 100% committed and good enough. It would have been more useful for MVDP to save his strength to keep chasers under control by sitting on or catching back if dropped a little on the climb.

  2. I am now on the Hindley + Hamilton bandwagon. Nice ride by the latter and he should have a top 10 overall in his sights.

  3. The best part yesterday was the fight to get in the break. After that I thought it rather dull, the GC teams wanted an easy day (trying to imagine Wilco Keldermann as a GC threat is rather a stretch!), too tough for sprinters and once the three went clear that was that.

    Today seems a very high probability for a break, who is going to chase? That might mean another high speed opening possibly all the way along the coast until the turn inland.

    Does anyone know what the situation with Steephill is? It was clearly a lot of effort to run and understand completely why the person who ran it has packed up. Perhaps there is somewhere else but Steephill was such a useful collection of information about all the major races.

    • I miss Steephill for sure. It was my go-to place for startlists and grey-market feeds in the pre-GCN days. I haven’t quite deleted it from my cycling bookmarks folder, where it sits alongside velominati (which was good for a laugh), and Cyclocosm (at least he’s got an occasional platform on Cyclingtips, though who knows how long that will last with the Outside purging.)

  4. Such a hard stage to predict, but I don’t see why any of the sprinter teams would chase the break. It will all come down to FDJ, and they are probably OK with letting the break stay away and, by doing so, defend the current advantage in the sprint competition.

    • I think you’re right. As Inring said, UAE need to be thinking about tomorrow (Almedia), and as someone mentioned yesterday MvdP isn’t looking so fresh. Even if he gets in the break and pulls off a win, Demare would still be well ahead in the maglia ciclamino competition. I expect to see Demare again try to take max points on the intermediate sprint and then play the long game (int. sprints, stage 18). The way MvdP has been riding (frankly a little recklessly), I’ll be surprised if he finishes the Giro. I think his lack of experience in GTs is showing.

  5. It’s been a nice Giro so far. I like it that outsider GC riders keep getting into breaks and taking time back. Whilst Trek are keeping a lid on things and Ineos have tried to make things hard at times nobody is suffocating the race.

    • I have to disagree to an extent. It’s not been up there with other recent editions for excitement. And the GC battle has been limited so far – that should change very soon with the high mountains. So it still has time to become a vintage Giro! That’s my view anyway. Others, like Richard, may see it differently.

      • I’m not saying it’s vintage by any stretch, or even exciting. It’s just nice. Maybe just because it’s the Giro and it’s sunny and I get to chill out in the afternoon and watch it!

    • There has been a couple of good stages, the opening TT was surprisingly good and the Blockhaus stage (how often do “big” mountain stages end up in a photo finish sprint?) was good too. The trip through the hills of Basilicata and the Naples circuit were interesting. Other than that not so much, though that is partly down to the weather, warm & dry rather than cool & wet as so often.

      The stage around Turin on Saturday has the potential to shake up the GC in unexpected ways. The finish into Cogne does not look as though it is hard enough to make much difference.

  6. All but one of Israel PT’s riders came in over 19 minutes down yesterday so I expect them to at least try to get Nizzolo to a sprint, or get in the break en masse! (and it’s Froome’s birthday, I see). Dainese for win number 2 or Astana to wake up and get Nibali in the break (we can dream! :))

  7. Oldani’s complaints about “altitude tents” (now rather hotel rooms) show how widespread their use is in the peloton and hence the sort of difference made by the lack of consistence in the norms through different countries – essentially, Italy and Norway being the odd ones, according to Oldani. I don’t dislike the ban at all (anyway, not the first thing I’d ban among those which are currently legit in cycling), but it should be generalised or it makes little sense – plus, I consider it quite hard to enforce it.

    So, now it’s about pay Kolobnev or Valjavec a fee, and goodbye blood values in biopassport…
    He, look how Kolonbev invested the cycling money ^__^

          • Not bad as far as poor quips go, but aren’t altitude …chambers used solely during training? Or have I (again) missed the latest news and the teams on the leading edge(*) of sports science are now using them also during three-week stage races?
            If so, then for what? To keep the blood values achieved during altitude training high? (But they don’t drop so fast in any case.) To further aid or fasten recovery between stages? (I would imagine the effects would be opposite.)

  8. What a stage!!!

    It really looked like the break would hold out and we’d have another surprise winner – but they must have been cracking big time towards the end. Valiant effort to keep the advantage that long.

    Great to see Demare getting another huge win – Cav looks a bit off form. Gaviria needs to pick it up a notch – he’s way off his early Quickstep days pace.

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