Giro d’Italia Stage 16 Preview

The big Alpine stage of the Giro. Coming after a relatively subdued stage on Sunday and a rest day we’ll see who has the freshest legs to make the moves today.

The Route: 202km and if today isn’t the longest stage when measured by distance, it will be in terms of time, helped by the 5,440m of vertical gain. The stage begins with the best part of 40km to Bagolino where the road drags up. The comes the first climb, the Passo di Crocedomini.

At first a big wide road but narrower and narrower but always well-kept, it’s a scenic and unheralded climb and followed by a straightforward and fast descent at first that gets trickier closer to the valley floor. Then comes almost 30km of riding up the valley road.

Sure the Mortirolo is climbed via the easier side from Nonno on the eeast but it’s still hard, plenty of 8% here and one of the characteristics of this climb is its irregularity, it’s hard to get into a rhythm. Once out into the pastures by the village of San Giacomo the road rears up with the hardest part across the pass. If they’ve gone up the “easier” side, they have to go down the steeper side and if they avoid the most difficult way down it’s still difficult with the gradient and numerous bends. Then comes 20km of valley roads.

The road to Teglio is marked as a sprint but it’s a tough climb to get there, much of it over 10% on a side road that goes up the side of the valley through the vineyards to celebrate today’s “wine stage” theme.

The Finish: the final climb of the Passo di Santa Cristina almost always above 10% for the second half and just a hard climb, a backroad rather than a ski station approach.

The descent is different, it has its moments but is more gentle than the previous climb, one hard aspect is the woodland makes it hard to see where the road goes. It finishes with a flurry of hairpins and with 3km to go the race picks up the valley road straight into Aprica and it rises at about 3% to the line for the last kilometre.

The Contenders: a breakaway to take the stage or the GC contenders? The breakaway has a great chance today, assuming it can form in time as the paradox is the more riders think the break has a chance, the more will try to get into it and the longer it can take to form and this means there’s less time to get away and build up a lead. Still Ineos is out to pace Richard Carapaz into place on the final climb rather than shred the stage, ditto Bora-hansgrohe for Jai Hindley but the former looks more likely to try and attack and go clear for time over the top. If there’s no breakaway up the road it’s hard to pick the fastest in a sprint because after six hours, it’s more down to freshness. Pello Bilbao (Bahrain) is quick but will be there among the GC riders after the Passo di Santa Cristina?

Simon Yates (BikeExchange-Jayco) can have a foot in both camps, he can go in the breakaway or try to hang with the GC contenders and then use the Passo di Santa Cristina to attack and go clear for the win. From the breakaway he can hope to simply outclimb everyone, if he’s with the GC contenders it’s harder as he’ll have to outride any mountain trains and pick his moment to get a gap. His presence makes it a touch harder to pick the likes of Joe Dombrowski (Astana), Wout Poels (Bahrain) or Bauke Mollema (Trek-Segafredo). Giulio Ciccone (Trek-Segafredo) is bound to be more confident and have an eye on the mountains prize but one stage is a good haul, back-to-back wins much harder. Hugh Carthy (EF) came close then and will like today’s longer climbs.

Mountain leader Koen Bouwman (Jumbo-Visma) had some back pain of late thanks to swapping bikes apparently but if he’s over that he’ll be worth watching along with team mates Foss and Oomen.

Simon Yates
Richard Carapaz, Jai Hindley
Nibali, Bilbao, Dombrowski, Ciccone, Pozzovivo, Carthy, Almeida

Weather: mainly cloudy and 20°C in the valleys,  11°C at the top of the climbs and chance of rain later in the stage.

TV: the stage starts at 11.00am and finish is forecast for 5.15pm CEST. Tune in from 2.15pm to catch the Mortirolo.

17 thoughts on “Giro d’Italia Stage 16 Preview”

  1. Surely it would be a mistake for any of the GC teams to chase all day for a potential stage win and run there teams into the ground. Waiting for the last 2 climbs would make sense. But even so a break will need to have some quality riders to make it.
    Simon Yates if he is feeling strong could potentially win any or all of the mountain stages this week if they end up in a GC battle. He only has to follow and outsprint the GC hopefuls. So going in a break an all day break may affect him for subsequent stages. BEX may try to send Hamilton up the road instead and save Yates to hope for tomorrow which i think looks like an even better breakaway chance. BEX could also send some people to the front of the peleton if the pace is to slow to keep the breakaway close enough that the GC group can fight for the win.

  2. I wonder if we might see a slow GC day today with a break being allowed to go up the road. Unless Joao Almeida has an off day I suspect Ineos & Bora might be happy to ride in a group to the finish. Pacing efforts is important and maybe today is not the day for a decisive move. Hope I am wrong and we see attacking racing but on the other hand maybe better to keep the tension up for a few more days.

    • If it does end up being a steady day on GC I hope at least Nibali rolls to the front for the descents and gives it a little nudge just to keep everyone on their toes.

      • I reckon Bilbao might be more likely to take a flyer on a descent…if Nibali is in good enough shape to stick with the front of the race in the big mountains, I can see him biding his time until he senses big fatigue in his rivals, and striking at that point – he’s won GTs before by doing exactly that.

        Today could well be a day for post-rest day surprises though – it’s a big day coming straight off the back of a rest day

    • I’d imagine that Bora and Ineos will be keen to put significant time into Almeida in advance of the TT, as well as each other (unsure whether Carapaz or Hindley is the better TTer?). This seems the best stage to do so, although perhaps not until the Teglio or the last climb? I do hope it breaks apart on the Mortirolo though.

    • The only exploitable descent must be the last otherwise there’s still just too much valley and drag for a lone rider to to hold off a small bunch – unless one is Pogacar maybe.

      Yates and Nibali are at least on Bardet’s level as daredevil descenders.

      There are four teams with a realistic GC chance (Ineos, Bora, Bahrein & UAE). All the others will want to be in the break – and with multiple riders if possible. The four teams will let a harmless break go and the best climber among them will win. That sounds like Yates.

  3. I don’t expect the GC teams to burn all their matches today. Which non-GC guys fancy their chances in the break and will it rain, together with, who has the post-rest day legs? Are Movistar protecting Valverde’s GC spot or will Sosa get a chance? Outsiders, Fortunato (who won on the Zoncolan), Valter, or maybe Martin will continue his yoyoing up the GC list.

  4. A breakaway of 24 at km48 with Yates, Valverde, Martin, Ciccone, Arensman, Poels… Ineos just need to keep them to 10 minutes or so. A showdown on the final climb awaits.

  5. Is this the same side of the Mortirolo that they rode in 2015 – when Contador did THAT ride?

    And speaking of which – I’d be thrilled to see Landa win this Giro. Finally fulfill the expectations that have followed him since at least that day in 2015. I almost wonder if we need to bring Aru out of retirement, and tell Landa that he is riding in support of Fabio, in order to bring the best out of Mikel…

  6. That was a fascinating day?

    I had thought Carapaz, Hindley, Almeida, Landa all have an equal chance of winning.

    After today, I’m more skeptical of Landa’s chances, as he’d need to take 1min to be in Pink, and then probably a further minute to beat Almeida in the TT. Plus there’s not many places to take 2mins left now whether or not he’s even shown that kind of form so far…

    Maybe also more skeptical of Almeida despite his brilliant ride today, as the final TT is only 17km with a small climb, so if he keeps bleeding 10seconds every mountain stage or climbing finish, one of either Hindley or Carapaz will likely have around 1min15sec on him which would surely be enough of a buffer? (Especially as his descending isn’t fantastic and a few kms of the TT are descent.)

    So coming round to INRNG’s chainrings that if neither Hindley or Carapaz crack, this is between them… and given Stage2 that Carapaz was 6seconds ahead and them seemingly equally matched today, the time bonus’ alone could be the difference come Sunday? Which maybe nudges it the way of Hindley?

    I will be interested to see if his team keep the breaks on a tighter leash on Friday and Saturday so he can nab a stage win and the bonus seconds? As that would seem to be a good way for him to plan to win this Giro currently? Or whether he’ll save up a big final attack for Saturday. He only needs around 15-25secs on Carapaz to be in with a strong chance on Sunday?

  7. Bravo to Hirt, he deserved it. What a performance.

    Landa probably helped Ineos with his usual underwhelming attack, great ride by Almeida, but he’ll surely crack under such stress sooner rather than later? So it’s among Carapaz and Hindley…

  8. there must be some very tired riders after that. it amazes me how good all these guys can descend. hirt only 12 secs ahead at top of last climb and he and arensman have pretty much the identical gap after 6 minutes of technical descending with wet roads. wow.
    i think tomorrow’s early break will tell us a lot about how much teams/riders are willing to risk. will bahrain let bilbao go for break, will bora let buchman try? or will bahrain/bora/astana do what nibali did today and put a team into dropping all ineos teammates so they can attack carapaz? should be fun to watch again! i think landa might have a slightly better day tomorrow.

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