Giro d’Italia Stage 20 Preview

A mountain time trial to settle things. Geraint Thomas leads the race and could well the stage today but his slender lead means the maglia rosa is still up for grabs. The order of the podium can be settled, likewise the other places in the top-10. Primož Roglič hardly needs any encouragement but this is right on the Slovenian border.

Tre Secundi di Lavaredo: a lively start to the stage heightened by Ben Healy’s efforts to jump clear and Groupama-FDJ’s work to contain him, Thibaut Pinot was chasing him down to protect his lead in the mountains competition, the efforts risked costing Pinot his GC and in turn this was annoying the peloton as if Pinot had to chase Healy, they had to chase Pinot so that he couldn’t take time overall.

A break got away and they stayed away. They had three Ag2r Citroën riders and if that wasn’t advantageous enough to them, their team car took out Movistar’s Carlos Verona although he was up and racing quickly while the team car was ejected from the race. Larry Warbasse provided a more positive image for the team as he led up the final climb but couldn’t sustain it and was overtaken by Derek Gee, Santiago Buitrago and Magnus Cort. Gee rode to his fourth second place, and he’s second overall in both the points and mountains competition, and the Fuga breakaway competition too, a Poulidor Giro in every sense with all these second places and his rising pou-pou-larity.

This time you could see he was going to be beaten, turning the pedals like a worker with a sledgehammer. Santiago Buitrago floated across, put in a lively acceleration and rode away for the win, almost overdue for the Colombian given his form pre-race suggested a stage win was very likely. As for Gee he started the Giro ranked 627th in the world, and that boosted by his UCI points haul from the Canadian TT title, and his stock will have risen.

As for the GC riders, another day with little action. The Tre Cime have seen legendary sport in the past but not this year. There weren’t big bold attacks, nor riders imploding. Roglič attacked before the final kilometre but Thomas reacted instantly and Almeida took his time and got back and things calmed down again until Thomas jumped with 500m to go. Roglič and Thomas duelled again, the Welshman seemed to be away but Roglič honed in on the finish line and surged past for a three second gain on Thomas, with Almeida a further 20 seconds back. Eddie Dunbar was the day’s loser, losing just under a minute to Damiano Caruso and slipping from fourth to fifth overall.

The Route: locals and visitors alike normally take the ski lift. Here there’s 10.8km of freshly resurfaced valley roads around to the foot of the climb, this isn’t all flat nor straight but there’s nothing too technical.

Then comes the brand new climb of Monte Lussari, although it’s also known as Svete Visarje in Slovenian, the border is close. Obviously the mountain’s been around for a bit now but the route up has been an unpaved trail, the creator of the Strava segment branded it “Lussari MTB Long Climb 2014”. But it’s been paved for the Giro and there’s 5km at 15% and with some very tight hairpins, think the Mur de Huy five times over, and under woodland canopy. Oh, and instead of smooth tarmac, it’s part concrete with rasping drainage groves.

Today’s bikes allow for all kinds of gearing to the days of riders almost being unable to pedal up a slope are over. The hard part is pacing the effort, do you attack a short ramp, or back off and spin? Or rather how many of the changes of gradient can be soaked up. It’s awkward and is more than a W/kg test, there’s an element of freshness needed here too.

The Rules: bike changes are allowed and it’s likely we see those riders going for the win today and the GC on time trial bikes for the first 10km then switching in the dedicated zone to a specialist road bike for the climb. Team cars are diverted and parked at the foot of the climb, the road is narrow and anyone catching the rider ahead of them won’t be able to overtake if there’s a car in the way. So from here on riders can be followed by motorbikes supplied by the race, each team can have a mechanic in obligatory team kit ride pillion carrying a spare bike. For the top riders on GC they can have two motorbikes, so two mechanics and two spare bikes, just in case the spare malfunctions.

Also the start is in reverse GC order as usual but after the first third of riders have gone there’s a 90 minute break so that all the motos can drive back down and get into position. Then a second third followed by another 90 minute break.

The Contenders: Geraint Thomas (Ineos) is the most regular in the Giro so far, that’s why he’s in the lead. He’s looked steady throughout but if he’s riding diesel-style, he’s showed there’s a turbo on top which will help for the change in the slope today. A stage win would seal his win and make sure he doesn’t being quoted alongside Federico Balmanion as a Giro winner who didn’t get a stage win along the way. As good as Laurens De Plus and Thymen Arensman have been in the mountains, Thomas should be stronger today.

Poor Primož Roglič (Jumbo-Visma), not only did he get sacked at the end of the 2020 Tour de France and saw the yellow jersey picked off his shoulders, he’s probably been asked about this moment again and again in the last 24 hours. This time obviously he’s not in the lead but he won’t dwell on the psychology too much, it’s all about how he can perform today. Quicker than Thomas yesterday but only in the last metres, this will give his fans plenty to hope for and they should be legion given this is as close to Slovenian as the Giro gets without crossing the border.

If it rains on the later starters it could suit those going earlier, they’ll have more traction on the climb and less weight too as they won’t be soaked. Jay Vine (UAE) has the physiology for a stage win here but how’s the form, he’s been ill and so isn’t 100%, team mate Brandon McNulty could be more steady. Sep Kuss (Jumbo-Visma) is climbing well but liable to lose time on the flat section.

Roglič, Thomas
De Plus, Zana, Arensman, Kuss,

Weather: sunny and 20°C to start then clouds building and the chance of rain for the final finishers.

TV: the first rider is off at 11.30am and Geraint Thomas starts at 5.15pm CEST.

99 thoughts on “Giro d’Italia Stage 20 Preview”

    • Chainrings only for winning.

      He’s 28 points behind Pinot in the mountains competition so if he’s fastest up Lussari he could take the blue jersey, but he has to set the fastest time uphill without Pinot scoring as well, improbably given the rivals and the way his legs will be today. Likewise he could take the points competition by winning in Rome if Milan doesn’t score.

        • »General final Mountains Classification: in the
          event of a tie, reference shall be made to the
          first place obtained on the Cima Coppi (if any)
          and, secondly, to the number of first places
          obtained on first-category climbs. If there is still
          a draw, reference shall be made to the number
          of second category KOM victories, and so forth.
          If there is a further draw, reference shall be
          made to the final general classification by time.«

  1. I’m a big fan of Geraint, but I fear the Roglič Redemption in front of his hordes of adoring, rampaging Slovenes (humour). It is certainly set up brilliantly for maximum tension. A thousand thanks to inrng for the exceptional coverage. More merchandise, please!

    By the way, for Mark Norfolk who asked yesterday, “W il Giro” is an abbreviation of “Viva the Giro!”
    W = 2x V

  2. A Giro which seems to have consisted of endless days of Roglic, Thomas and Almeida observing eachother in a gently moving peloton while the break rides away to contest another stage. We can see the GC logic from Ineos, JV and UAE but it doesn’t make for drama – or comprehension by the layperson.

    For today Pinot will fancy a GC top 5 at the expense of the fading Dunbar while Arensman must be favourite to trump both.

    • I’m not necessarily disagreeing but we had three stages this week with attacks from Almeida, Roglic and then Roglic again leading into this deciding time trial? Did you miss these stages, as they have been pretty dramatic?

      Have noticed Gabriele unusually mentioning his boredom with this race along with multiple people being bored with last years race – I’m not sure either have been as bad as people say and can remember far worse Tours.

      To me all sport has dull moments which make the exciting ones even better and this is just one of those… rather than the equivalent of some one day races which are stupidly monotonous and repetitive every year and need heart surgery asap…

      There is a wider debate about the Giro and it’s sliding identity/popularity (despite it regularly being my favourite GT) so it’s been interesting listening to the cycling podcast who also mentioned how forgettable the Giro’s opening weeks have been recently (as I did the other day) but that’s question of the sports structure and overall calendar and I won’t open that Pandora’s box again in the lead up to a TT that I’m very excited about!!!

      I can’t explain why everyday I’ve had a feeling Geraint will falter and he never has – but I’d really love him to win both the stage and Giro today.

      Thank you INRNG as always for the coverage.
      I’ve loved every second even through a few sleepy stages.

      • We’ve had some absolutely brilliant Giros in recent years. The Froome breakaway win stands out among others but this has been flat. The stage design has never seemed great, esp the scheduling with particularly dull stages on at the weekend. Losing Remco effectively meant the race restarted afresh after a week and the early TT fixed the top of the GC far too early. While it’s good that the win all comes down to the final stage TT it’s between G or Rog with G the strong favourite in my eyes.

        • My guess is that it’s something about the Anglo-Saxon love/hate relationship with all things Italian? The worst ever example IMHO was that guy who used to be the “dean of English-language cycling commentators” whining about the Giro’s leader’s jerseys. He went off on how the Italians used different colors from LeTour just to confuse people like him! This was after deliberately mis-pronouncing Passo Pordoi (pohr-doy) as if it was French…..”pour-dwa”.
          I can remember the struggle the tour company I worked for had trying to sell vacation packages for the 1989 Corsa Rosa. When the defending champion from the USA decided to focus on LeTour, the interest dried up and the operator came close to pulling-the-plug on it. He sold-out almost every TdF tour he ran, but the Giro was almost always a struggle just to get enough clients to make it worthwhile.

      • Old Dave, I COMPLETELY AGREE. I am very bored hearing how boring this Giro, or last one, or 2012’s was… I mean cmon, we all romanticize the 1980’s and 1990’s but were those races non stop attacking?

        Guys, we are all in love with races that last 3 weeks – the outside world would think we are delusional to expect attracts every single day.

        • CA, I’m not speaking of the 80s and 90s (who is, by the way?), I’m explicitly speaking of 21st century Giri. And I’m not asking attacks every day, just the Giro keeping close to at least the low range of its own standard, for example with, say, *one* stage of serious middle to long range action. Among other things. Some modest editions will inevitably happen in the course of time, but the 20s are starting to set a trend of sort, which must be acknowledged if one wants it countered. As I said, worst viewing figures since record are taken isn’t a good fact for the 2022 Giro, and, as a consequence, for cycling as a whole. The TDF is already and will long long long be the most important race, if the Giro doesn’t goes on being a better one, it won’t have much of a brilliant future 😉

  3. Does anyone know when the climb was paved? Have the teams had a real chance to check it out? (If Ineos haven’t had Ganna and Hayter riding it during the week, I’d be surprised)

    • Some works started last autumn, then the snow came and it was finished in April. I think most of the teams have been over to have a look, Evenepoel in person did but other teams will have sent people over. But there’s not much to discover, those that haven’t seen the course can recon it this morning.

    • It must have been finished quite recently – I rode the climb last Saturday and there were less than 30 people on Strava who rode the segment this year. It looked liked and old road though, rough and dirty surface. Relentless for first 4-5km, luckily I was on my gravel bike with 30-33, otherwise it would have been struggle to just get up. Definitely worth the effort, beautiful views and the village at the top is stunning. Mortirolo cannot compare in terms of difficulty and fun factor at all. Some pictures here

        • It is brutal – my max heart rate is slightly over 180 and I averaged 174 for the climb, pushing hard but not racing. Epic ride and highly recommended. First part is the opposite – butter smooth, then you turn into the the forest run into this wall.

  4. Either all of the peloton bar Ineos are sick, or nobody wants to lose their place on GC. It was slow going all the way (Hepburn climbing away from the peloton? Cav hanging on until late?) until everyone could have a good laugh at Arensman dropping everyone including his team leader. Then it was a 1km sprint. Sorry, but the Queen Stage didn’t deliver for one reason or another.
    Except for some mechanical problems Thomas should wrap this up today – even though Roglic has his non-secret secret weapon bike.
    Second the thanks for the blog posts and coverage of this year’s Giro.
    If Thomas is Ineos Past, then Ineos Future is at the Tour of Norway.

    • Wow! what a teat and Ethan Isn’t even riding.
      In any other epoch that would be a scarily bright future but with the magnificent 5/6 around at the moment how good will they appear?

      • I was trying to point out that the Ineos Present is thin on the ground. Bernal seems still to have problems so what happens at the Tour will be interesting.

  5. I wonder if going last is an advantage, G clearly will know how those ahead are going and if he is in the lead then he knows all he has to do is keep a steady pace (easy to say from the comfort of a sofa!). The issue might be is if one of his competitors is taking back time there will be a lot of pressure to push too much and go pop. G says he doesnt ride with his power meter (not sure how many riders left who do that) which means he is relying on experience and feelings, that might appeal to some here but will it work?

    @Rob md perhaps Ineos future left the race with Covid 🙂

      • I assume (sorry Larry) that the radios will work. The DSs will be sitting in the team car at the top or bottom of the climb watching GCN like the rest of us.

    • Ineos future left the race with Covid? Ganna? I don’t think Ganna will be a GT contender, but Sky turned Thomas into a climber so … Hart & Sivakov left with injuries. If you mean Hart he’s 28 and unlikely to ride again to next year, I would guess. Hart’s contract is up at the end of the year apparently so we’ll have to see how that goes.
      Meanwhile, Lefevere keeps going on about Ineos wanting Remco.

  6. Like everyone else I’ve been very impressed with Derek Gee, it feels like he’s been in every single break. In an unbelievably conservative race he has been willing to put it on the line. It’s a shame he couldn’t hold on for the win yesterday as Buitrago seems to be from the Nairo Quintana school of flair and charisma.
    Its hard to put a finger on why the race for GC has been so tedious, the weather and attrition rate are probably factors. As is the fact that the 3 top riders ride for the 3 strongest teams and all 3 are diesels. All 3 ride in a similar fashion and are about the same size and weight and put out similar amounts of power, so it makes sense that they ride the course at the same speed I suppose. All 3 know their FTP off by heart and can see it at all times, and if one of them should have a momentary lapse Kuss/Vine/Arensman will be on hand with the tow rope. It doesn’t lend itself to excitement.

    • Like everybody I am also impressed by Derek Gee, but I wonder what is next for him. Could he be a contender in the Ardennes or his home races? I don’t see him beating the likes of Pogacar, Evenepoel or Van der Poel. So a career stage hunting in grand tours?

    • Can’t say about Buitrago, but in Quintana’s case it was quite much about a cultural barrier, starting with spoken tongue through many European media (and racism of sort in Spain), but really all the way down to body languge. If anything, other Latin Americans got more accultured to what sells well in Europe or North America, or just how you must be as a successful persona.
      Easy to crosscheck when you look at his impact in his own environment (which, at the end of the day, is among the reasons of his woes in the sport).

      • By the way, I’m not sure but I think that both Buitrago and Rubio are the result of the work done by the Esteban Chaves structure in juvenile cycling. Working really well, taking care of the riders, unlike other realities there…
        Urán, Chaves and Quintana were all acting and being really a thing for their movement, each his own way.

        • Indeed! Being a moral winner of sort in an imaginary contest of the Cycling Out of Context account is probably the hardest competitive feat he accomplished in his career.

    • Once Remco and Geoghegan were out, we were left with 3 pretty similar riders, with Roglic being prepared to wait as long as the other two to unleash his better sprint. And, as someone said elsewhere, while it might not be exciting to watch, it’s exciting to win, so all 3 will keep doing what suits them best.

      Perhaps we will get a little late polemica if one of the top 3 oversteps the boundaries of the bike change area; a late marginal gain?

  7. With these gradients – are we likely to see a lot of passing on the climb? There’s going to be a huge speed difference up that climb even in the top 20 riders

      • Eurosport commenter Karsten Kroon said there will be an extremely generous 30% time limit, so he doesn’t expect it. And the jury can make exceptions for riders who i.e. get a mechanical on a steep section.

        • And you can expect that the race director’s input to the commissaires regarding time limit exemptions will be an encouragement to remember the complete context of the race (just a crit stage to go, already too many abandons) and act accordingly.

  8. Either Thomas is going to become a winner of two different grand tours or Roglic is (or Almeida grows wings and flies to his first…). I’d prefer it to be Thomas (being British) but I’d be happy if Roglic wins too. Let’s see – it’s now, mostly, a race of the legs.

  9. Given that the Planica ski centre that Roglic trained on so much is just down the road from the start today, I wonder whether he’s pretty familiar with this climb?

  10. Again a disapointing Giro… I stopped watching the race mid-Giau and took my bike to ride. Nobody’s really to blame, “ce sont les coureurs qui font la course”, and we have three riders just happy whith what they have : Almeida never did a podium in a GT, Thomas is where he wants to be and rides old-school Sky tactics which is the best for him, Roglic was not in his best form. The percorso didn’t seem bad, maybe too much mountain at the end, but I don’t think it would have stopped Remco. The Giro would have been better with him : even if he had crushed the race, he would have wanted to attack more, I think, with the campionissimo pride that the other three don’t have (but the stage at Gran Sasso maybe shows I’m wrong).
    Giri were constantly more interesting than TdF in the Sky years ; now since the Covid (except 2020 maybe), and mainly thanks to Pogacar, TdF seems more entertaining. This GT seems like an old Tour from the Froome era, and was very disapointing. Is it a normal GT, and did Pogacar spoil us so much that normal GT seem tasteless ? But even in the Giro last year there was more exciting stages… I can’t really save one stage for this one which really excited me. Let’s hope for next year, and W il Giro !
    PS : Pinot disapointed me yesterday : why didn’t he try to go with Healy ? He seems to really want a good place in GC, as if a fourth place or even a podium could change his carrier… Instead, if he would have pushed with Healy, it could have been a stage for the ages, with Ineos possibly derailing (Puccio and Swift par la fenêtre with 100km to go, 2 gregarii remaining only !) , and who knows what could have come after ? Healy could have convinced him playing with his pride, I’m sure ! “It’s your last real stage in the Giro, leave your mark !”

    • I think as you say the issue is with the riders involved. All 3 require a steady fairly high pace, and in the case of Roglic probably isn’t at 100%. Pogacar probably has spoilt us. You rarely see him with his domestiques because he doesn’t need them/is faster than them. Roglic needs Kuss and isn’t necessarily a faster climber than him, he’s just better at TT’s and more consistent and dependable over 3 weeks of varying terrain. The same applies to Thomas/Arensman and Almeida/Vine.
      That said I think the Giro is too conservative with its route design. They have all sorts to play with. A million towns/monasteries that sit atop punchy climbs for the first couple or weeks. They have the Stelvio but hardly ever use it, likewise the Gavia, the Finestre, the Fauniera. We hadn’t seen Lavaredo for 10 years. Get them in there, and the Mortirolo and the Zoncolan. Get a couple of good long TTs in. Force things to happen. To leave it up to the riders!

      • Agreed, even if I think they should have tried to do better despite their characteristics. The route was good, but the 2-3 flaws it actually had really hit hard. And taking away a key piece didn’t help, either.

    • Amen!

      Well, this was actually “not normal”, it’s not just any Pogi butterfly effect. To make it more specific and visible, this is the first Giro in probably decades with little to no GC action far enough from the finish line in *any* stage. The Bahrain under the rain descent in st. 10 was what came closer, but I deem it frankly too little and probably without any real determination involved. 2009 had little GC action, and yet I saw Basso (!) trying a long range move on the colline romagnole. Which is a good example of athletes trying something which doesn’t exactly corresponds to their characteristics. Or Di Luca trying from far with Savoldelli in 2008.

      The 21st century TDFs lacked middle range GC action about half of the times, but, well, to start with they *had* some… the other 50% of editions!, and well before Pogi was even a pro, or riding a bicycle.

      However, the Giro used to be a different story. At least for one single stage (and more often than not in 2 or 3).

      • Long, yes, no doubt… “daring”, not the right word.

        However, Quintana Val Martello 2014, Nibali Pescara 2013, Contador Verbania 2015, Nibali Gardeccia 2011 were all quite more daring, for different reasons.

    • Whether the mountain would stop Remco is something we unfortunately would never know. But taking him and TGH away definitely makes the race less exciting. Yao’s style is more attacking. Should Remco stay in the race, the rest would have impetus to attack and drop him. And even after they succeed in dislodging him from pink, they’d want to stamp some more to make sure he’s not coming back.

  11. first time posting a comment, but long time silent admirer of INRNG. Thanks for the fantastic coverage.
    I have only really been following professional cycling consistently for 12 years or so and others will have greater knowledge of the history of the sport. Can anyone think of a more extreme final TT on the final racing stage (assuming that the Rome stage is processional till the sprint)?
    There was the Ventoux TT in 87 but with enough road stages after for JF Bernard to lose his advantage and the Tour.
    Planche des belles Filles ’20 perhaps the closest comparison that I can think of – but slightly shorter and average gradients per kilometre less than 10% mostly (albeit with steeper ramps) compared to 15% on the diagram above.
    What happened there will undoubtedly have played loud in the memory of the main GC protagonists. Ineos throughout have been saying that everything is focussed on these final days It feels to me like the whole race has been overshadowed by this single stage looming ahead, and I think strategy and racing style dictated as much by this as the weather and illness with relatively late and conservative GC attacks almost within sight of the finish line. How much have the main contenders been trying to conserve for this one stage?
    Whilst it’s affected the whole race it’s the dream scenario for race organisers for the GC to remain in play for the final stage, and I’m excited as the severity of the challenge makes comparison and prediction very hard. I’m sure the podium is set but in what order? I suspect the whole top 10 will change dramatically with only 2 mins separating positions 4 – 9.
    Bring it on!

    • GC in play to the very final stage as a “dream scenario” for the organisers is another of those modern cycling myth we’d need to debunk. You’re right, of course. The organisers do indeed try to achieve that. What they didn’t understand is that it’s memorable and related to great audience if it’s the result of a big fight. Obviously, in a sense, a finale like 2020 TDF’s saves the whole race and makes it easier to be sold in the future. But it doesn’t change the loss in audience and passion which have been happening *during* the race. The Giro 2022 was very balanced up to the last mountain top… and was an absolute fiasco in terms of audience and positive public impact. Same for the other awful 21st century Giro, i.e. 2012. 2011 was dominated by Contador but was a success, as 2021. Or 2013. Of course, you can have a balanced fight which works well, or relatively well, like 2017 or 2007. But it can’t be an objective as such when you design the course, which is what’s been happening in the last couple of editions with terrible results.

      • I’d love to blame RCS but I always claim “the riders make the race” so I can’t. I’m too lazy to do it but I wonder how routes people loved could be separated from races that were dull. My guess is if the race was exciting, especially if “your guy” won it = a great route and if it was dull and your guy got his butt-kicked = terrible route design. For 2023 I think there’s plenty of blame to go around but I’m going to wait to read what the various DS’, riders, etc. write about how they “raced” (if you can call it that) La Corsa Rosa 106.

        • To start with, you can give your take about the route months *before*, when it’s presented, and *then* check it against what happens.
          I could provide you a couple of good examples, or three or four, but I won’t go self-quoting right now.
          That said, it’s of course a dialectical opposition, not a deterministic one.
          I think this was a very good route with a couple of flaws which got exaggerated by how things actually went.
          Besides, when I’m speaking of being a success or working well in a context like the previous post’s, I’m speaking of hard figures, as I made explicit, that is, various audience metrics.
          That aspect and my personal taste are two different things, which can sometimes part ways…
          E.g., I didn’t like at all the winner, and I have serious doubts about the how, but there’s no way I can say that the 2018 Giro was bad sporting-wise. Quite the contrary. Yet, for whatever reason, the public didn’t love it.

          Last Giro was a real disaster audience-wise. This one started decently enough, kept its level good, then crumbled (against expected 3rd week usual growth), then… I have to check the very last data. RCS decision to get a steady audience instead of peaks probably didn’t help. But, as I said, no definitive perspective yet.

  12. I hope the motos have practiced driving up 5km at 15% with a passenger on the back at cycling pace … sounds like a recipe for toppling over!

  13. I hope G doesn’t lose the race by a second or two, because he was really unlucky to be given a 3 second time gap yesterday. It was obviously not 3 seconds to Roglic but to Cort, who themselves must have only just been within a second of each other.

    • I hope Roglic doesn´t lose the race by three seconds or less, because if he´d been just a little bit luckier and Magnus Cort hadn´t had a relatively good day, he would´ve been the one to get 4 bonus seconds for finishing third.

      • I get your point about it all being ‘ifs, buts, and maybes’ but it’s not quite the same thing: Roglic was close to those 4 bonus seconds but didn’t get them. Thomas was not actually distanced by 3 seconds by Roglic. Anyway, it’s unlikely either scenario will come to pass.

        • Yeah, man, and in a lot of bunch sprints he was really further further back than s.t., come on! He was exactly 3 secs back, according to the rules, because Roglic actually succeded in coming close enough to Cort, whereas Thomas couldn’t keep himself close enough to Rogla, in which case he’d have been awarded s.t. as Rogla despite possibly losing a fraction of “real” time.

          • I’m not sure why you are being so resistant to my point. Of course those are the timing rules, but it was undeniably a little unlucky for Thomas, and clearly a different situation to everyone coming home home in a bunch. Here this was a rider out in front they came up to.
            Imagine the same situation where two GC guys finished almost together but just 1.01 sec apart, but the first one just caught the back end of a huge strung out breakaway group ambling over the finish in a long line and the 2 GCs guys being accordingly given a 15 seconds time difference: the rules yes, but surely unlucky for the second guy?

          • It starts with “L” but it’s called “legs”, not “luck”. Luck is when you have no information available whatsoever about what’s happening around you so there’s no relation between your actions and the results.

            However, alphabetical jokes apart, G has looked stronger on the road for days now. Lucky or unlucky could also mean anybody having a bad day precisely today… but in that case, Ineos would be to blame for not taking time when they had more legs just in order to risk less.

  14. Roglic should have produced more yesterday but he may just be thinking today’s TT is an all-or-nothing affair in which the gaps can be huge, especially if it’s wet. Riders who typically sprint up climbs by getting out the saddle will suffer more with low adhesion but neither of the top three do this.

    Derek Gee must get a shot at this year’s Vuelta for IPT and he also said Paris – Roubaix is his dream race.
    – The guy evidently needs no recovery and fears no race so his team should just let him write his own programme;- whilst they can hang on to him.

  15. Will PRog rock today, or will Super Furry G carry the best tune?

    Great writing as always IR, special +1 for the ag2r car crash piece above.

  16. I am absolutely loving the spectacle of this course. The portion on the flat is beautiful and the climb really looks steep. Tons of fans along the route. Drone footage is great. Hats off to Gloag for making the most of this experience – love to see the way he interacts with the tifosi.

  17. But in this case the headline can be “Roglic triumphs DESPITE SRAM moment!” But I’ll be surprised if J-V doesn’t try to get out of whatever deal they have with the wizards who brought the world Gripshift. Does anyone remember that crap? All they’ve done since is make and sell more crap. Marketing overcomes least for awhile?

    • I don’t know what the top level SRAM road groups are like but their high end mtb groups are regarded highly. The general consensus among my acquaintances is that Shimano is better value but SRAM makes the best drivetrain.
      Gripshift still has a small but active fanbase, BTW.

      • On the road, for common users, they’re considered sort of a pain in the ***, especially the top groups, for a series of different reasons, many of which matter less for the pros. Not all of them matter so little in competitive racing, anyway, as we often could see…

    • Much of SRAM’s growth seems to be acquisition, not organic, and they seem to have a reasonable “hands off” attitude to the companies they acquire. eg, Quarq and Zipp continue to make great products after being acquired by SRAM.

      • Last tech seminar I sat though with SRAM was for a MTB dropper seatpost with Rockshox brand-name on it. A real piece o’ shiite as the Brits would say. The “engineers” there were really marketing-mavens in disguise IMHO. SRAM’s marketing is state-of-the-art, engineering/design is off-the-back.

    • I think there might have been bigger differences in the past between gearing, now it’s almost flawless between Shimano, Campagnolo and SRAM, you press the button and almost no matter the effort/load, the shift happens within a fraction of a second.

      Still a single chainring means no front mech which means no guard to help the chain stay in place. If you wanted a real light bike to go uphill you might switch a rim brake model but that’s passé for the bike industry now.

      • My standard response is to suggest someone type SRAM Recall into their favorite search engine, then compare results for SHIMANO and CAMPAGNOLO. The differences are striking. No pro teams seem to use SRAM unless some fat checks are written, unlike Shimano who is the default equipment maker these days, just like Campagnolo was decades ago.
        Did Campagnolo become like SRAM to lose their pro team market share? No, they just were outbid and now that Shimano’s stuff works pretty damn (compare images of the original DuraAce groupset with a Campagnolo from the same era) well (unlike SRAM) and dominates the market, the folks in Vincenza know damn well better than try to take them on. Instead they work closely with a few teams and spend the money on R & D instead. Will that keep ’em going long term? Who knows, but I think they’ll be around for many years to come despite having zero OEM fitment…other than maybe some EKAR stuff on gravel bikes where their hydro disc brakes are regarded as superior to the others.

        • SRAM and Shimano user here. Our host is 100% right, from my experience. Shifting is pretty much faultless on the high end SRAM sets – small to big ring in particular is pretty impressive.

          Riding single front ring, on the other hand – well, all bets are off.

          • “Shifting is pretty much faultless on the high end SRAM sets – small to big ring in particular is pretty impressive.”
            Except when used in top-level races on top-end bikes built and serviced by (what I assume are) top-level techs it seems. Get back to me when/if a top-level pro team BUYS SRAM components instead of SRAM writing them fat checks to use their junk.

  18. I can think of two SRAM moments, with different outcomes, Shleck’s dropped chain (2010 TDF) and today’s moment. Seems odd to me a dropped chain on a gravel gruppo due to a “small” rut in the road…not a good look.
    Regardless, Roglic has shown his mental fortitude across two sports, ski jumping and cycling. That is what is impressive to me.

    • Don’t forget Kuss’ acrobatic battery swaps! Their stuff might be crap but the SRAM failures are entertaining for sure! I get lots o’ laughs out of the follies of those who either take fat checks or fall for marketing bullspeak to use this Chinese junk while SRAM toots their horn as some sort of USA success story. When someone used to bring stuff like this to me to “fix” I used to drag out the old mechanic’s chestnut: “Sorry, nobody can make chicken soup out of chicken s–t.” I’m happy that all I have to do these days is laugh 🙂

  19. Wow. Let’s thank SRAM for the drama, rather than diverting the focus away from an incredible performance by Roglic and, for once, a fantastic TT in a GT.

    • Indeed–that was unreal drama as well.

      I loved Hessmann’s (I think it was him) remark after the stage: “Well, it was always the plan to take the jersey later rather than sooner…”

    • I don’t know about 19 seconds. Watching live and the replays just after, it seemed to me like Roglic lost about the same time as Thomas lost changing his helmet.
      And getting a good push at those gradients is going to get back a good chunk of time.

      • Not that it’s much relevant, but I saw good references of Roglic’s time loss at 17″ and Thomas’ at 8″. That said, Thomas’ was the result of a deliberate choice, which one must assume also implied better performing against having avoided the switch, while Roglic’s was an accident, although a consequence of what’s surely part of the game (equipment options).

        • Re-watching it this morning, don’t think it was 17 secs – difficult as the TV cut to Roglic only part way through his correction, but from that moment it was 6 secs and it wasn’t 11 secs based upon the replays (which were partially slow-mo’d). Plus the mega-push he got from his team, the temporary relief of effort further tempered the time loss I think.

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