Giro d’Italia Stage 21 Preview

The final stage and once the peloton has arrived by plane in the morning, there’s a quick trip to the beach followed by a criterium around Rome.

Tappa e maglia: Primož Roglič started the day with a 26 deficit on Geraint Thomas and ended it 14 seconds up. Plausible on the morning of the stage but a shock result in the moment as once the pair were racing up Monte Lussari they seemed to be almost tied on time, Roglič was only a couple of seconds ahead. But surprise was to come later as the further they rode up, the more Roglič was taking time and with two kilometres left Thomas had gone from his trademark forceful but powerful pedal stroke to chopping at the pedals, his head dipping at times.

Then Roglič dropped his chain and time seem to slow as he realised pedalling was no use, then dismounted and put the chain back on himself, spinning the cranks by hand when plenty might have hurled their bike off the mountain in rage, suddenly he’d gone from taking back time to standing still in the middle of the road. He remounted only to find it was hard to get going again on the slope and a spectator and the Jumbo-Visma mechanic came to his rescue with a push. It took the best part of 20 seconds to get going again. Game over? He was gaining time and this might just have given him breather and an adrenalin shot. Plus Thomas was losing more time by now, his shorts caked in salt. Roglič came in with the fastest time to the cheers of legions of Slovenian supporters and then it was just a countdown for Thomas and he was out of the maglia rosa. Both riders have suffered at the hands of fate over the years, appointments with destiny cancelled at the last minute so one of them got a cruel twist right at the end but Thomas was gracious in his interviews.

As for the all the others, the top-5 on the stage are the top-5 overall, Thibaut Pinot climbing to fifth overall at the expense of Eddie Dunbar, who slipped to 7th. Mountain time trials are rare but they have their appeal, especially on such a steep climb the effort is visible as opposed to flat courses where facial expressions can be hidden behind visors. Although if the course offered imagery the TV production and especially the direction could do with some improvement as the coverage struggled to tell the story of Roglič’s ascent and Thomas’s troubles.

The Route: first a charter flight in the morning for the peloton to Rome. Then 126km starting in Eur, – the district built for Benito Mussolini and now Rome’s business quarter – with a trip to Rome-on-Sea, aka Ostia and back via Eur. Then six laps around Rome and this time they promise the roads have been resurfaced. The route isn’t quite a tourist bus tour of the city – there are too many things to fit in – but there’s plenty as the course passes the Colosseum and more.

The Finish: flat and with some urban cobbles – sampietrini for locals – on the approach and then a sweeping bend past the Colosseum, more cobbles with 400m to go.

The Contenders: which sprinter to pick? Jonathan Milan (Bahrain) seems the most regular and cobbled finish suits as he can launch a seated sprint without fear of bouncing around. Mark Cavendish (Astana) has made it to Rome and the fairytale ending would be a sprint win but he’s really missing a leadout specialist. Otherwise Pascal Ackermann (UAE) seems fresh despite all the climbing, Alberto Dainese (DSM) might be more confident, Arne Marit (Intermarché) and Fernando Gaviria could still get a result.

It should be a sprint with several teams up for it but none of them have big sprint trains so if there’s a lull someone else could pounce, think Bob Jungels (Bora-hansgrohe) or why not Derek Gee (Israel-PremierTech)?

Ackermann, Dainese, Cavendish
Gaviria, Marit

Weather: sunny and 24°C.

TV: KM0 is at 3.30pm and the finish is forecast for 6.45pm CEST.

71 thoughts on “Giro d’Italia Stage 21 Preview”

  1. When the road pro’s use a 1X setup do they use a proper 1X narrow wide chainring. Is there something different compared to my gravel bike. Its not the first time i seem to have noticed a dropped chain from a similiar setup in the pro peleton. And with the proper 1X chainring and derailer its super hard to drop. Even on the roughest dirt roads i don’t know anybody who has dropped one. And on a paved or concrete it should be super hard to drop.

    My gravel bike has a sram set up 42 tooth on the front and 10-42 or 40 on the back. Probably almost the same as roglic and the same brand. Mine is only apex however and i presume roglics would be much more high end. I have ridden on all sorts of rough roads with no issues.

    • Perhaps it’s a power thing – the Eurosport commentary suggested he went through a big pothole and I guess if he was really digging in at that moment it might be more likely to pop off (ie compared to an amateur). Also, it’s Roglic – I bet he could drop his chain on a BMX.

      • Big pothole? Looked like one of the many drainage channels, some of ’em had what looked like carpet or boards over them to perhaps make the edges less sharp.
        I doubt we’ll ever hear/read an explanation of this equipment failure as other than Mollema’s ringing endorsement the most we get might be like the screaming heard outside a certain team bus when their star sprinter went off on a rant after his chain came off in the sprint yet again. “Nothing to see/hear here folks! Move along while we take the fat SRAM check to the bank. Everything’s great.”
        Everyone’s happy (except the G fans I guess) including RCS who should be thanking their lucky stars this drama added a nice dose of excitement to what would have otherwise been a forgettable Giro.

    • I think it’s the lack of a clutch rear derailleur on road bikes.

      Gravel / cross bikes have a clutch in the RD which keeps the chain tight.

      • Works most of the time. My wife has a 1X (Shimano GRX) gravel bike and her chain’s come off a time or two despite the clutch. I keep threatening to add a chain-retaining gizmo but haven’t gotten around to it yet. We haven’t ridden on anything challenging in awhile so…

    • I just used the exact same setup (narrow wide chainring, XPLR clutched derailleur, 10-44 cassette) in a gravel race. In the recon and during training i never had an issue. Then in the race going full gas and sometimes not taking the best line I dropped the chain off the chainring. You could see that Roglic was not looking ahead in that section and bumped straight through the drainage hole / pothole under a lot of power (a lot more than I could ever muster!!) and the same thing happened. Chapeau for keeping his cool and riding away to an insane victory.
      There is of course a solution to this, other than using the clutched derailleur and appropriately sized chain – a chain catcher bolted to the front derailleur mount. 20g or so tops.

    • On X1 there’s a tab on the rear derailleur you gave to flick to add more system tension – if you accidentally leave it “off” there’s a 50/50 chance your chain will drop on a ride. Wouldn’t be surprised if that was the case, and scary to think such a tiny thing could’ve cost him the Giro…

    • Interesting detail Brent – thanks. Respectfully, though, would Roglic’s (presumably) higher power output mean more torque on the chainring/chain in that moment than for us mortals and increase likelihood of mishap?

      INRNG – in many ways you make the grand tours for me – as life has got busier with family etc I’m so grateful for the way your blog (and the many excellent and interesting comments) bring results to life in a five minute daily read so that when I can watch I have a feel for the stories and narratives I’ve missed: thank you so much.

      • I don’t see power as a reason. Whatever power Roglic is giving out in a TT it should not be much greater than his FTP and pretty much any of us will do more power on a shorter rough climb or sprint than a pro should be doing in a TT regardless of the hill.
        If a setup can’t take the power of a TT it would be inadequate for normal use. It could be bad luck but it feels like something in the setup is not 100% right.

        Undoubtedly Roglic has a far greater power than myself. However i am much much bigger my FTP was not that much less at 350 – 360 watts.

  2. Bravo Inrng! A grand tour of unmissable blogging completed!

    What a bike race yesterday. Really enjoyed the final twist (but hope race directors don’t look at this and the Tour’s finish on la Planche des Belles Filles and take it as a blueprint for ‘guaranteed’ excitement)

  3. Thank you Inrng for the fantastic coverage.

    I found this blog maybe five years ago and, in that time, your daily coverage of grand tours has been one of the most consistently enjoyable/insightful pieces of sports reporting I’ve come across. I’m still very much a part-time cycling fan and I haven’t owned a bike for years but, for me, summer days now include reading a stage preview over breakfast and keeping a sneaky eye on the race on my phone while I’m at work.

    Chapeau Inrng!

  4. All this talk about 1x gravel gear set ups just confirms my view that the stage was ridiculous. It’s supposed to be a road race ffs

    • Also let’s have TT’s in stage races done on road bikes and less of this helmet swapping malarkey mid race. What a farce!

    • Gear setup has nothing to do with the surface. Gravel roads can be flat as a pancake. This was a road, and it was steep, so it needed lower gears than the usual moderate roads that are designed for buses.

    • I wonder what the gear ratios either had yesterday. Maybe Roglic’s setup does allow a lower gear ratio and thus smoother power delivery on the extreme steep slope?

      Lowest Shimano can get to is a 34:34. Supposedly Roglic went below one?

      • With SRAM Red its also possible to run 46/33 x 10-36 (cassette would have to be Force) which gives a slightly lower bottom gear and a better chainline, so perhaps this really was an elaborate way to promote XPLR 1X to roadies…crazy if true.

        • correction, slightly higher! there is a 46/30 chainring option but maybe 30t is too small for the faster segments of a climb …

          • Except for the tiny downhill section where they mostly coasted, I think a 30 would have been fine. Rog was the fastest up the climb with an average around 15 km/h, including that downhill section.

  5. That was high drama and slow torture for this G fan. Watching the pink drain out of Geraint Thomas – pedal stroke by pedal stroke – dragging himself up the Great Wall of Lussari was excruciating.

    Champion ride by Primož Roglič. The photo at the top captures something memorable – Slovenian glory and Roglič’s personal triumph and redemption from his nadir on La Planche de Belle Filles.

    I too thought Roglič got an adrenaline shot when the chain dropped. He went off like a bullet when he got going again. The writing was on the wall for G at that point.

    For sale. Pink bar tape. Unused.

    • Am I the only one who noted the salt all over Mr. G yesterday? He looked like he’d done 7+ hours in the Alps in July vs a less-than-one-hour chrono. I didn’t notice this kind of salt crust on anyone else…was it just me…or did he just maybe leave his race on the trainer instead of the road (if you can call it that, as Gelato4bahamontes noted)?

      • I did see that. The commentators mentioned it as well with a reference to him warming up in that kit too.

        Who knows? I think it was just too much for him and he blew himself out trying to keep up with a rampaging Roglič who is lighter and better on the really steep ramps.

        At least they’ve both made it to Rome. Fingers crossed for no crashes in the capital.

      • There was a shot of him warming up at some point, and he was putting in a huge effort, dripping with sweat. The commentators noticed as well.

        • Thomas did a Pino? The pressure got to him?

          I think behind closed doors, Thomas is a rather emotional guy. He just hide his emotions behind his deadpan humour.

          • On the other hand, he does seem to have issues pacing Mountain TTs. He mucked up on the climb on the first TT as well.

            All in all, he didn’t do a bad ITT, still 2nd on the stage. Though he did blow up badly in the last km or so, coming significantly slower than the rest in that last sector losing 11 seconds.

          • I read an analysis somewhere about a general trend by G of finishing ITTs on a (relative) low, a good deal of examples, and of course on this kind of route such an approach hurts twice as much…

          • Nor sure if it was a pacing error; he didn’t go so deep on the flat this time (just a few seconds in it, helmet change not withstanding). Just don’t think these type of TTs suit Thomas, both the parcours of a flat start and climbing finish, and the steepness of the slope with his more grinding style.

        • “The commentators noticed as well.”
          Did they say anything like WTF is he doing? I realize it’s really BCN (British Cycling Network) rather than GCN, but none of ’em wondered why the guy was boiling himself before one of the most important chrono stages he’ll ever ride? Whatever happened to the precision and scientific wizardry that’s so much of “marginal gains”? I wonder if anyone will ever say he left it all…in a puddle under the trainer?

          • @Larry: It’s actually pretty global, you can select 16 different languages for commentary. I listened to the Dutch commentary, Karsten Kroon was quite surprised about it, but he said something along the lines of ‘they’ve probably done research into it and determined that it is better this way, because that is how they do stuff at Ineos’.

        • Yes that stood out for me too, very low cadence intense effort, sweat running off his face. Perhaps he woke up feeling totally dead and that was an attempt to get some feeling in the legs.

  6. Thank you INRNG for yet another grand tour of immaculate coverage. Reading your superb analysis and insight has been the first thing I’ve done each morning for three weeks, and I’ll miss it … until Le Tour!

  7. As others have said, thanks INRNG for another great set of GT posts, and thanks also to all those who comment – all bringing a good depth of knowledge and sharp observation. Happy to be still wearing my INRNG jersey after many years…

  8. Yes, a couple of hill top finishes in the first week and a stage or two with long range GC action would be nice but as I’ve said earlier I like this kind of GT «story». No early grand tour fatigue for me watching, no early killer of suspense and suspense really building up in the last week for the final climax, which this time proved to be an actual climax, yesterday. Not a classic Giro, but far from forgetable for me.

    For JV things mostly went according to plan it seems in retrospect. Coming in undercooked and really hitting something close to peak form for the final few stages (I still do not follow the Roglic-slightly-out-of-shape narrative but see it as an adaptation of tactics to the course + one «bad» day), Roglic et al chose a strategy that I for one am convinced would make things extremely difficult for Remco as well. Not that it matters.

  9. From one side I feel sorry for G, as what he did at this age after some more difficult years deserves many kudos.
    But from the other side, you cannot win a GT with 0 attacks, and I think there were opportunities for him to take time.
    And here I don’t enter into team tactics. Ineos ends up with 3 guys in the top 10 and they have not shaped the race. Very weird.

    • In stage 16 that Roglic lost time to Almeida and G, he could have lost more time if it wasn’t for Kuss pacing him.
      A few little things that didn’t go GT’s way…not winning stage 16 (missing out on the extra 4 second time bonus), shipping 3 seconds on the line on Friday’s stage to Tre Cime di Lavaredo and yesterday in the TT, the slow bike change/helmet swap (looked particularly slow… would an semi aero road helmet have been better?).
      Anyway, seems like the TT was either a bad day for G, or wrong choice of gearing…he certainly seemed to run out of gears in the latter part of the climb/pedalling style certainly affected as noted by IR.

      Thanks for all the stage previews, W Il Giro

    • Absolutely +1
      No risk, no treat.

      Not that Roglic and Jumbo took many risks, either. But at least their team had been hindered by that covid wave which forced so many switched riders.
      Almeida also used his strong team less than could have been desirable. Content with his first podium, I guess.

        • Yes but athletes’ qualities, form and GC situation made Ineos’ group more apt for creative active racing of sort deploying the different pieces… with a focus on Arensman and De PLus, obviously, especially the former.
          At JV only Kuss performed decently (and was indeed paramount for the final result in a defensive role), most of the rest for different reasons were underperforming big time, especially Dennis and Bouwman, but also Oomen and Affini, while not much more could be asked to Hessmann or Gloag.
          Almeida at the end of the day had the strongest teammates in a couple of key moments but he didn’t try to take full advantage of them, either, in order to try a coup of sort. As I wrote, too content with podiuming, I guess…

          • Except for stage 16, it didn’t look like Almeida could have put in an attack that the other two couldn’t follow. Steady pace is more his style anyway. Also, in the opening stages of the Lavaredo stage the three top 3 teams kept closing down breaks that contained strong riders of the other two teams so the advanced lieutenant tactic didn’t work.
            Still, at least an attempt at an attack one mountain earlier would have been nice.

          • Lavaredo is a bit too late… plus, if, say, Arensman tries to force a break *on a hard climb* like the difficult section of Valparola or even Giau, with a serious commitment to staying away, I can’t see many gregari shutting him down. And if captains dare to do so, just go see their bluff. Same could be said for other stages, like “Sans Montana” where Ineos insisted for a neutralised version both before and after they started riding (not “racing”). Now it’s for them to regret.
            As for Almeida, it’s precisely because of his riding style that he’d have got more options turning the contest in a serious full fondo competition, as he partly did in the Bondone stage. The peloton strolling around then opening gas? It meant he was third at best. And I say “peloton” ’cause it was no “reduced” group or “strongmen group” to cross the Giau… lame.

      • After stage 8, Thomas told a journalist that Roglic said he had Covid. Whether it was just “mind games” or true we’ll probably never find out, but it would not surprise me.
        UAE’s team were stronger on paper then in reality (which was a shame). A combination of illness and crashes and Vine’s lack of racing since February all played a part.

  10. I only discovered this blog inrng last year and what a well written thoughtful and above all insightful read it has been. Makes me realise how majority of mainstream cycling journalism seems so flat. Reminds of of the glory days of Winning magazine. Thank you.

    I’m happy for Roglic but I’d have been equally happy for G. Both likeable. Both deserving. Though both being cautious riders didn’t always make for the most drama. We’ll have to see in the future how Remco will deal with the high altitude climbs. Pleased for Dunbar, 7th after his hand injury in the Spring and finally he is able to show he can compete in a grand tour. With so many young guns passing him at ineos, at 26 the pressure must have been enormous not to become a forgotten man. Now after this race he can look at G (37) and Roglic (33) and see he has many years to go. Loads of interesting side bar stories like that in this year’s race.

  11. Thanks to Mr Inner Ring for the excellent coverage as always. Been following this blog since 2012. Sky’s power may have faded in the GTs, but never the fun I got from reading this blog.

    The other really sweet thing from yesterday is that G and Roglic are really good friends and neighbours. Thomas even went to say hello to Roglic’s kids after yesterday’s stage.

    • That’s a nice bit of context.

      Let me add my thanks and plaudits to our host for the consistently excellent sports blogging. Long live inrng.

  12. What a final week. The sun came out and the roads went up. Whether this Giro properly got over the loss of so many riders and the awful early conditions is for later, but all those who came through the last week gave us great stages and stories right down the GC.
    Sprinters staying in for today must be feeling the pressure right now.
    Derek Gee deserves a great day in Rome, and I really hope he’s in a break to let the crowd show some love.

    If RCS want to turn the penultimate deciding stage into something really different, they might as well offer an MTB course, or fixed gear crit since the stage they served up was quite some trick climb. I do think stages should ideally be run on just the one type of bike and this was an opportunity for a roadbike climbing ITT. Then the coverage, with useless time comparisons and many rides missed out, only served to emphasise the irregularity. It was spectacle but it was definitely at the outer edges for this sport.
    And if any mechanic ever sends a 1x bike out with no chain catcher, no guard rings ever again…

    Thank you for the consistently high quality writing, excellent insights and for simply telling us what we need to know. W il Giro and bring on the next players, please. There’s the Tour coming up!!

    • +1 to a fixed gear crit. Kind of at odds with my “make them use same gear across a stage race” comment above, but I could make an exception for that. Maybe add some such crits to the WT calendar. Would be great!

      Would require the UCI general regulations to be changed though – UCI do not allow fixed gear in any road competition (and vice versa, only fixed allow on track).

  13. I was expecting the final to be Almeida, Roglic, Thomas, but it was Almeida that faded not Thomas so much.
    Roglic why not ride a 53/34 front and a 34T back?

    • Probably need to ask SRAM whose front shifters are notorious for not working? OTOH Mr. G dropped his chain how many times in this Giro? As we used to say back when I turned a wrench for money – “Some people can f__k up a junkyard!” A few years ago we had a client who managed to drop the chain on the brand-new Campagnolo Potenza 11 equipped rental bike I tuned myself almost every time! I’d get on it and TRY to make the chain drop…with no success. The client at least was understanding, saying he had the same problems with his own Shimano DuraAce Di2 equipped bike.
      Some people are just ham-fisted barbarians, not to mention with modern “compact” setups they seem to run the chain up the cogset in back while still on the big ring in front. When that ratio is no longer low enough, what do they do? BAM! The downshift of 16 teeth up front under spring and pedaling pressure quite often results in the chain missing the small ring and ending up around the BB shell, even if the mechanic has fitted some sort of chain-watcher! Look up Pantini/Oropa on Youtube if you want to see this.

    • You sure would have noticed G riding 34×34 as his lowest gear?! Was it enough? There’s your answer.
      A 1x setup is also better as chain line is improved. What happened to Primoz is simply unlucky. And for the Sram haters Matthew’s dropped his chain on a 1x Shimano setup on a very similar incident in the 2nd flat Giro TT. Shit happens.

      • The chainline of a 1x setup can and often is better than that of a poorly selected 2x setup in the middle of the gear range. A 2x will always yield better chainlines at the top and the bottom of the gear range.

        • If I was a mechanic at Jumbo I would have made a modification to mount a single ring on the inner part of a 2x crank, or some other chainline mod. They spent most their time in the big cogs and cross-chaining gives efficiency losses that matter when 10 seconds to the hour are significant gains.

    • 53 / 34 plus say 11 34 on the back would be perhaps a few to many gears difference at 19 front and 23 on the back for a total of 42. Generally in past times you couldn’t run that much difference even with a longer derailer. Sram might have a gravel double groupset but then it might not be setup to run such a big difference on the front derailer. You would probably need to run something like 48 up front.
      Ironically the main reason other than sponsorship for running 1X would be simplification and less dropped chains. Running really wide gear selections with 2X would probably increase the chance of a dropped chain as it would be really difficult to have it set up for big/big and small / small combo’s with it overstretching on one end and to loose on the other.

      • Legend has it Giovanni Battaglin used a…wait for it….TRIPLE on Tre Cime back-in-the-day on his Pinarello. Years later another Pinarello rider debuted the first “compact” setup with 50 as the big ring so “Mr. 60%” could intimidate his rivals on Hautacam by riding in “the big ring” up the climb though I’m sure he was cross-chained and was damn lucky he didn’t need to call down for what was likely a 34 next to that 50.
        During my early bike tour mechanic daze we’d come across all kinds of what I dubbed “vanity triples” – gawdawful combinations that were on the verge of tearing the rear mech or dropout off the bike if the tired and frazzled rider shifting the wrong way by accident… if the chain didn’t drop first! As you’d guess, these things ALWAYS worked perfectly according to their owners…until they s__t-the-bed in the Alps or Pyrenees and it was up to us to try to salvage things. I’m sure it’s just like trying to make SRAM stuff work but in this case it’s not a cobbled-together DIY mess, it’s something marketing-mavens assure them will work just fine…until it doesn’t.

  14. I also want to echo the thanks for the great stage previews and previous day reviews. Plus the excellent comments added a lot to the context of the race. Looking back, was the 3 second time loss by Thomas on Tre Cime a sign that he was tiring? I have to say that I am very happy for Roglic getting a redemption story for the 2020 Tour mountain time trial. And extremely happy that Pinot was rewarded for his aggressive riding by getting 5th place. You can’t say he was invisible in his final Giro!

  15. Just to add to all the appreciation above, this blog is a wonderful thing, I’ve been following since 2012 too and its remarkable how consistent the high quality is, I love the way you are able to maintain the same fundamental style over so many years and at the same time it seems to get better as well, like Thomas’ fine wine!

    A couple of points to add, I agree the coverage yesterday was frustrating at times, would it be feasible on such a course to install small fixed cameras on poles eg at every hairpin I wonder? I guess the tech exists but there isn’t an infinite amount of time and money to implement such things. Perhaps onboard cameras for the top 10 would have been fun.

    Re the Derek Gee phenomenon, I see he is in the running for the Supercombativo prize and rightly so but has he also won the Combination prize? Is that the same as the old TDF combo jersey or a different twist? I find the minor prizes at the Giro fascinating but confusing and would love to know exactly how they all work, RCS Giro website isn’t very clear so would be great if you could summarise them in a post or if someone has a link to the details please direct me to it 🙂 … similarly how the heck have Gaviria and Fortunato ended up with negative KOM points? Irregular sprints at the KOM point?

    Thanks again Inner Ring, I hope you’ve enjoyed this Giro and can get a well earned rest in readiness for Le Tour!

    • Thanks, I’ve searched more, seems there hasn’t been a combined prize since 2006, I was led astray by innaccurate info in Inner Ring’s Giro Guide 😲

  16. Thanks to all those who have said thanks, it’s appreciated.

    There will be a review of the race as a whole tomorrow… and then it’s quickly onto the Critérium du Dauphiné and before we know it the Tour will be starting.

  17. Long time reader of this blog, rarely posting anything but just wanted to give a hats off and big thanks to The Inner Ring! This is by far the greatest cycling blog out there and that includes the insightful and respectful comments of fellow readers of this blog.

    On a separate note….. I still cherish my (by now collectors item I’d say) Inrng jersey….. Any chance we’ll see a new version for sale in the future?

    Just as a little anecdote….. 2 years ago I rode up the Col du Sabot (recommended, thought but beautiful and very quite climb!). Near the top a few fellow riders passed me descending (as it is a dead end road) and they were followed by a support vehicle. As I come close the support vehicle graciously went out of his way to make room for me to pass while opening the window and saying ‘The Inrng jersey may always pass…’ That put a big smile on my face and made the day complete…. 🙂

    • I really regret not getting the jersey when they were available, if they ever come back I will drop everything and grab my credit card before they sell out.
      There’s no place like INRNG in all of cycling journalism. Thank you.

  18. Just wanted to say, as others have done, grazie mille for the wonderful coverage of the Giro. It’s an amazing treat to begin the day during these three weeks reading your fine writing.

  19. That was a strange race?
    I can’t work out my feelings after.

    We saw a race, at least more so than last year, but something still feels undercooked?

    Is it because if retirees? I think Tao would’ve won this race had he not crashed.

    Is it because of the terrible coverage of what felt like a brilliant stage yesterday?

    Is it because despite other years of the Giro being won by second tier GC riders, the fact that both Roglic and Thomas have been beaten so comprehensively by Pog and Vin in the TDF recently, their fight for the win put the Giro’s deficit to the Tour in even starker contrast?

    I’m slightly at a loss to put my finger on it?
    The weather?
    The drama being away from actual racing prewk3?

    Either way Roglic deserves these victories and very happy to see him win.

    I’m also a huge fan of final stage mountain TTs and don’t understand why they happen so rarely.

    I’m not in favour of GTs going down to two wks but this race wasn’t a good advert for the three wks unfortunately, hard to argue that you put the third wk with either of the two preceding and it would’ve been a better two wks rather than three.

    I like this top three a lot though. Almeida is great.
    Also great to see Cav win.
    Even better to see G lead him out, what a guy.

    • If you wanna know how this would have worked as a one week race, you just need to check Crans Montana and especially Croix de Coeur.
      Plus, part of the poor racing was down to the final uphill ITT. I also sometimes like final ITTs, especially on Sunday, but you must design the course to avoid a waiting game until then. Not easy, given that the riders will do as they feel or are told. However, Tre Cime right before Lussari was a flaw of this otherwise fine route (among a couple of other details, like excess of sprint or no-GC-break stages which I also ha highlighted back then and produced that sensation of “useless first half”).

    • And I obviously get what you mean re: Pogacar, and Vingegaard, in a sense, but it must be said that there’s not a huge record of them racing against Roglic, and the record we have doesn’t speak at all of such a huge difference, with Roglic also taking a decent number of wins, the most significant one being of course Itzulia 2021 where the three of them went on great form and with some possible winning perspective, as the racing made manifest (even if Jonas was on the same team as Rogla). After all, Roglic was paramount in setting Vinge as a valid rival to Pogacar, and the TDF he lost to Pogi was for less than a minute, not five minutes behind like Thomas.

      I think that Thomas never went better than Pogi or Vinge in *any* race *ever* they were actually contesting, be it GC ore one-day – for generational reasons also, obviously enough. I’d even doubt he was ever better than them in any stage, but that’s a hard call to go by memory.

      So, it’s frankly crazy to put in the same category a guy like G who simply never could put his wheel ahead of Pogacar or Vinge under pretty much any circumstances ever…
      …with one of the very few ones who could actually beat those two in selective racing they were all going hard for. Besides the GCs, it’s true that Vinge isn’t that good in one-day racing, but, for example, I remember him trying at a Lombardia or Emilia, both good for climbers, and while Rogla was winning or getting some top-5, Jonas was stuck behind. Roglic could even beat Pogacar, at Liège, or on the uphill finish of MiTo etc.

      All that said, I’d agree that at the Giro Roglic was clearly under his prime level, be it age, crashes, covid, lack of team support or a caombination of it all, whereas Thomas was on exceptionally brilliant form as his whole team.

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