Giro d’Italia Stage 10 Preview

The Giro resumes with a stage of two halves, the first mountainous and on back roads, before the latter part on the plains as the race heads for a seaside finish in Viareggio.

The Route: 196km south across the Apennines with 2,600m of vertical gain, most in the first half of the stage. By now this is a familiar pattern in this year’s Giro with some hilly terrain for a breakaway to go clear and then the sprint teams can take over for the second half. But today’s hilly first half is harder. Normally the Passo della Radici is a long climb and only steep at the top but here it’s climbed via some smaller side roads which make it a little bit better for the breakaways as the roads are more lumpy with more bends, it’s just harder to see what’s going on or chase. But the descent is the main road and the small climb of Monteperpoli is just something to help the legs get warmed up again, nothing savage although a nice viewing point if you’re visiting given the restaurant the top.

The Finish: a big long sea side finish, all flat and no bends in the final 3km.

The Contenders: a breakaway or a stage for the sprinters? It depends who goes up the road early, if it’s a handful of wildcard invitees then it’s 90% for the sprinters, if some big names go up the road they’ve got a chance and more might fancy a go today as the hard start suits.

There’s no real hierarchy among the sprinters. Kaden Groves (Alpecin-Deceuninck) is quick but missing leadout lieutenant Ramon Sinkeldam. Fernando Gaviria (Movistar) is almost a finisseur these days taking a flyer in the sprinters but today’s 3km finishing straight’s no help. Jonathan Milan (Bahrain) has the raw power but is hardly stringing together the wins. Mads Pedersen (Trek-Segafredo) took his first bunch sprint the other day and can do it again.

The romantic pick would be Mark Cavendish (Astana) who is back on familiar roads near Lucca where he used to live and train. More practically he’s looking faster and has a decent chance. Third in Napoli Pascal Ackermann (UAE) has really seen his win rate decline since his Bora days but he’s still a top class sprinter.

Possible breakaway picks would be Matteo Cattaneo (Soudal-Quickstep) to perk up an orphaned team, Callum Scotson or Alessandro De Marchi (Jayco-Al Ula) as they are solid rouleurs who make a chasing bunch toil, ditto Alberto Bettiol (EF Education-Easypost) who is a local too, or sorts, a Tuscan but these aren’t quite his training roads. Trying to pick more names isn’t easy as other names might be retained for sprint / breakaway chasing duties.

Groves, Milan
Pedersen, Cavendish, Gaviria, Ackermann

Weather: after sunshine on a rest day it’s back to rain showers, some heavy, and 15°C. There’s a light tailwind in town for the finishing straight.

TV:KM0 is at 12.20 and the finish is forecast for 5.15pm CEST.

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

  1. If a stage with a steep climb at the end is Vueltaish then these stages that are kind of hilly but kind of not and then finish in a sprint are getting a bit Giroish. It feels a bit like the air has gone out of this Giro quicker than a tubeless tyre at Paris-Roubaix. As such I’m predicting a 3 man break of Eola-Kometa, Corratec and Arkea will get caught with 20k to go, there’ll be a bit of bustle, some crashes, Cavendish will go down and a scraggly 20 man group will contest a sprint probably won by Pedersen.

      • Oh. It’s a shame everyone’s feeling like this. I’m more excited about the next two weeks than I have been in any of the build up. Up until now this race just seemed like a Remco test:

        Boring race scenario1:
        Could he win and put 3mins into Roglic to prove he’s a proper foil for Pog/Vin.
        Boring race scenario2:
        Or would he falter and Rog take him down in mountains leaving Remco’s TDF prospects in doubt.
        Interesting race scenario:
        Or would they tussle in a close fight but knowing P+V are significantly stronger than Rog that might suggest Remco is not at the level needed to challenge Pog/Vin so would make that future duel less enticing.

        I did not expect Tao to be anywhere near this level and thought Geraint would be more like a submarine if he were to win and snatch victory late on with it being a quieter race till then.

        Now we have a scenario where it’s a three way duel and maybe even an intra-team face off of riders who I expect to be relatively evenly matched in the mountains so and much more excited than I was at the prospect of a Remco walk over or Roglic sniper win.

        • I agree, it’s a much more interesting race now. Remco clearly is on a super high level, and his opening stage ITT at 60kph was a mighty thing to witness, but his lack of professionalism is playing out a bit. Obviously, you can’t fault a rider for getting sick necessarily, but then again, you really can put some of the blame on Remco – most top riders always manage to stay healthy in races.

          In my mind, whoever wins this has earned it – they can’t be blamed for Remco not staying healthy. Staying healthy is part of the game.

  2. This seems to me to be set up for a break, Ineos back in charge with Ben Swift bossing the peloton. They are not going to chase nor will Jumbo, will put every effort into letting a non threatening break go and then a gentle training run to the finish. Its going take a good deal of effort from Bahrain, Alpecin etc to pull it back and not sure they have the teams to do so, Astana certainly dont have the team to help.

    Looking at the various media stuff (and Inrng’s tweets) I get the feeling that SQS knew for a few days something was up, hence the swift test and withdrawal after Remco looked so worn out after the TT. Not convinced the various “measures” that have been announced will makes any difference, bike racing takes place in the midst of society (one of its attractions) not in its own little bubble. It also seems odd that this is a bike racing thing, not heard of any footballers (for example) having issues.

    • My favourite quote from Jean de Gribaldy never grows old…

      Cycling isn’t a game, it’s a sport. Tough, hard and unpitying, and it requires great sacrifices. One plays football, or tennis, or hockey. One doesn’t play at cycling.

      I don’t follow football, in fact I detest the theatrics and histrionics, but I suppose playing a game or two a week means a severe illness such as Covid means missing a game or two and returning to play as much or as little of a game as one can manage before being subbed. Whereas stage racing requires completing 100% of each preceding stage to start the next…

      • It is not any potential health issues whatever they may be but we would have known (as footballers get more media time) if they were getting infected. However they dont appear to be. Yes bike racing takes place in public spaces but not enclosed ones (the cases predate ski lifts & helicopters). Given how low the level of virus appears to be generally it seems odd that there has been a fair number of riders who have tested positive and if rumours are to be believed some who are racing on despite having it.

    • I guess, you already gave one possible answer to your last question: “bike racing takes place in the midst of society”, In hardly any other sport do spectators and journalists get so close to the athletes as in cycling which undoubtedly increases the risk of infection.

  3. Just looked at the weather radar heavy rain with a good chance of a thunderstorm over the apennines which is going to make things a bit nervous on small roads. Looks dry at the finish though.

  4. Not really of note for today’s stage – but what does Leknessund do now?

    His stated aim was to go stage hunting, but he’d now have to lose significant time to those above him on GC for that to be the case. And for now he’s only a handful of seconds off the leader. Will he try to ride a GC race for as long as he can? I’d like to see him try, and I wonder if DSM wouldn’t mind the points come relegation time.

    • He’s good but can’t see him staying on the course on the longer, steeper climbs that await, but he might end up managing losses. Say he falls to 10th overall, it’s nice but not game changing for promotion/relegation. On the points side remember a stage win has been bumped up in value, it’s now worth as much as this 10th overall. So he could lose time and aim for another stage but there aren’t many days left for a rider like him, Bergamo looks good but many will have their eye on this. Either way he’s “won” his Giro already, the rest is a bonus.

    • I would not be surprised if Ineos gave up the Maglia Rosa, so Leknessund could get it back. Ineos & Jumbo will be just looking to stay out of trouble until Friday.

      • I’d be surprised. It’s not in their culture to give up the leader’s jersey and the team are easily strong enough to protect it. They may try and pass it to TGH, though, as he has never had a chance to wear it in competition.

        • I don’t think that’s in their culture either, although think TGH may have a chance of wearing it after Thomas gets dropped in the big mountains.

  5. Is Thomas going to start in pink? What’s the precedent in this situation? I seem to recall Froome not wearing yellow after Tony Martin crashed but finished the stage and then didn’t start the following day in 2015.

  6. Day for a crazy big breakaway. Neither Ineos nor J-V have enough control and, why, aren’t there an awful lot of rouleurs with no leader to ride for these days..?

    Plus, can someone do a dog-count from now on, please? And telling a dog owner what to do about their dog is tantamount to social suicide

  7. More ritirati:

    Stefan Küng (Groupama-FDJ)
    Mads Würtz Schmidt (Israel-Premier Tech)
    Domenico Pozzovivo (Israel-Premier Tech) (Covid-19)
    Sven Erik Bystrøm (Intermarche-Circus-Wanty) (Covid-19)
    Callum Scotson (Jayco AlUla) (Covid-19)
    Rein Taaramäe (Intermarche-Circus-Wanty)

    • Not quite. They’ve started but the team buses are apparently following the race convoy rather than driving ahead to the finish so that if conditions for the middle part of the stage in the mountains are so bad they have to stop the race then everyone can get in the buses.

      • This kind of s–t really annoys me. The peloton has all the insanely expensive “gabba” jackets and other cold/wet weather gear + modern bikes with disc brakes that supposedly are unaffected by these conditions…but “Mommy and Daddy” have to follow ’em in the warm team bus in case their tender fefe’s get too cold or they get too scared to keep riding?
        At this rate showing epic scenes from the past when racers overcame/endured all kinds of weather conditions should no longer be done on these TV shows – it’s like a different sport.
        They all want to take credit (and get paid) like they endure all that…but these daze they pedal the bike and wipe their own a__ with someone else to take care of damn near everything else! Where will the heroes of the future come from?

          • Exactly what I’m ranting about! Girardengo wouldn’t have climbed into a car if there was a mudslide blocking the road! It’s a f–king bicycle! Throw it over your shoulder and keep going! That’s the kind of stuff the sport trades-on, but they don’t seem to want to even get close to much in the way of epic rides anymore.
            That’s OK, but don’t use ’em to try to juice up interest in modern-day events with “weather protocols” and rider strikes when they’re too tired, cold or wet or can’t have a car covered with spare bikes 10 meters behind!
            At least today the whiners were ignored, the stage was run entirely and (amazingly) nobody froze-to-death 🙂 W Il Giro!

          • How about officials in the cars? Or the police on the motos? Or cameramans? Should they also shoulder their vehicle of choice?
            I have a feeling you rant bc you enjoy ranting.

        • Watching the TV pictures, it’s clear they are all freezing: more and more layers going on, even while they’re still climbing. Given how many riders are already ill, the field could be thinned out considerably by a day in these conditions – even if they all survive a technical descent in poor visibility on wet roads with numb fingers. There’s not much racing going on either.

  8. I,m sort of expecting a sprint. Today and tomorrow are the only chances for a week or so for a sprint so those few teams with a very good sprinter have an incentive to at least try. Maybe after stage 11 Cav or others have an option to leave the race and avoid some mountain stages. In that case only 2 stages to go.

  9. I think today’s stage proved the sense of sometimes ignoring ‘bad weather’ protocols which the soothsayer’s appeared early on determined to implement. One of the best viewing stages of the race so far and one of myth and the history books- maybe not so good for the riders.

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