Giro d’Italia Stage 7 Preview

A summit finish, and a high altitude one too but only the final five kilometres of the climb are selective. With luck we’ll get two races for the price of one, a breakaway to contest the stage win and the GC contenders in action soon after but Jumbo-Visma and others might want to mow down the breakaway for the time bonuses so they can start to take back time on Evenepoel.

Hat-trick in Napoli: the Giro was almost upstaged by the sea of flags and banners celebrating SSC Napoli’s win in the Italian football league, so much for the “city of a thousand colours”, it was all blue and white with much of the stage looking more blue than pink.

The day’s breakaway almost made it. The group took over five minutes which looked promising only for Ineos to hit the Valico di Chiunzi hard and shrink their lead, a move maybe to ensure they were first down the descent and out of trouble… but maybe to test Remco Evenepoel after his double decking the previous day. Simon Clarke and Alessandro De Marchi dropped their companions of the day on the next climb out of Positano to form a duo: two breakaway specialists, both 36 years old and former team mates too and they kept a lead coming into Naples. Cooperate as they did, things fell apart in the final kilometre when De Marchi stopped sharing the work, he told Italian TV he was racing to win and didn’t want to finish second and the pair were soon swamped, poker play or not.

The sprint saw Fernando Gaviria take a flyer but this ended up offering a lead out of sorts for Mads Pedersen who went long but was a length clear to claim his hat-trick of a stage win in all three grand tours. Napoli fans may have been pleased to see Milan finished second.

The Route: 218km and 3,900m of vertical gain. Today’s route is very similar to the 2018 stage won by Simon Yates, only the start is different. There’s the climb of Roccaraso which has featured regularly in recent years and there’s 7km of climbing. The second climb to Calascio is 13km long and mostly at a steady 6%.

The Finish: a 26km climb? As the profile shows it’s more 10km at 4%, a pause and only the final 4km are steep, enough to force a selection. The top takes the riders beyond 2,000m above sea level and if this isn’t the Alps, the decor feels like it, an open, almost barren space reminiscent of the top of the Galibier and past waiting banks of snow. It’s uphill right to the line.

The Contenders: a Primož Roglič finish, he’s often unbeatable in an uphill but there are questions about his form, plus he crashed on Wednesday’s stage to Salerno. Still if he wants to take back time on the overall, this is where his comparative advantage lies and because of this Jumbo-Visma could be chasing hard today to ensure their leader gets the time bonus rather than the breakaways.

Tao Geoghegan Hart is also handy in a sprint finish but better suited to a flat one among a small group but it could mean Ineos get to work today as well and he just seems in form.

Remco Evenepoel has got the power to contest the sprint normally, in fact he could just ride away but with his injuries this might well be harder.

As suggested already some teams have an interest in mowing down the breakaway but all the same it’s a lot of work for a potential gain of 10 seconds at best, the breakaway can still make it. Riders low down on GC already who can handle the final climb are Rein Taaramäe (Intermarché-Circus-Wanty), Bauke Mollema (Trek-Segafredo), Ben Healy (EF Education-Easypost), Harm Vanhoucke (DSM) and Lorenzo Fortunato (Eolo-Kometa).

Roglič, Geoghegan Hart
Evenepoel, Taaramäe, Mollema, Healy, Fortunato, Rubio

Weather: dry and 20°C at times early in the stage but with altitude things will cool rapidly, 11°C at Roccaraso and down to 4°C at the finish where it could be damp in the clouds and with the chance of rain too.

TV: KM0 is at 11.20am and the finish is forecast for 5.15pm CEST.

Big rock: today’s finish is at the Gran Sasso d’Italia, literally the “big stone of Italy” and one of those unoriginal names you find in many mountain ranges. The originality today is this is the highest point of the Apennines, the range of mountains that runs along the spine of Italy. The Giro uses these mountains regularly as they allow the race to have a range of uphill finishes almost on demand, the course need only turn inland and there’s everything from a small ramp to today’s >2,000m summit finish.

28 thoughts on “Giro d’Italia Stage 7 Preview”

  1. Vine time today I think as I can’t see either of the leading GC contenders burning any unnecessary matches tonight.
    Feels a bit like the actual start of the race.

      • Close but some riders can jump and don’t have to be closed down, was thinking Rubio perhaps as well. But think we’ll see Ineos trying to drive a hard pace to the line, it won’t be easy to jump away either.

        Going to be interesting going from 20°C to 4°C in the stage.

  2. Just looked at the webcam and, currently, the weather is clear but cold, forecast does suggest the possibility of showers maybe thunder this afternoon. Not so much lying snow visible.

    I am going to go with TGH. Ineos are the strongest team in the race. While I am dubious that makes much difference I can see that today they will set a fast pace (maybe even on the first climb) in an attempt to both get rid of many other riders and to put pressure on the other GC contenders.

    Remco Evenepoel is possibly suffering he also seems shaken up, the commentators yesterday were suggesting that he was not descending well, he seems on edge there was the tantrum at the finish a couple of days ago and yesterday he was gesticulating at spectators to get out of the way. This sort of thing will have been noted within the peloton.

    Primoz Roglic has also been down a few times (do we know exactly what happened yesterday?) and there is a suggestion he doesnt do so well in poor weather, not sure if that is true but again will be well known within the peloton.

    I think a GC fight for the win, the pace in the peloton will pull back any break and they will not let any really strong riders go first thing.

    Probably all completely wrong 🙂

    • Roglic yesterday, had to make a save when riding downhill so he almost “sat on the back tyre” and torn bibs in process. Plus he had to do a quick bike change near the finish.
      Today I suppose we’ll see who’s still hurting from the crashes. Remco can sit on Roglic’s wheel until the finish so UAE, Ineos & Jumbo will have to do something.

  3. Yesterday was one of those finishes you’d struggle to explain to someone new to cycling. That neither of them even made an attempt for the line before getting swallowed up was pretty weird.
    I also felt a bit sorry for Jonathan Milan’s bike. His sprinting style is something else, he looked like a demented buffalo on a clown bike. I’m sure he was knocking the watts out but it Pedersen looked like he was gliding much more efficiently in comparison.

  4. Rode much of the last 20km of yesterday’s stage a few days ago doing the Vesuvius out and back from the city centre (which I absolutely would not recommend becuase the traffic is terrifying).

    The cobbled streets in Napoli are full-on and I’m not all surprised by the number of mechanicals yesterday.

    In fact, from what I’ve seen there might be more cobbles in Napoli than all of Paris-Roubaix!

  5. As forecast, another pure sprint stage – now three for the 9 days of the “1st week”, which is perfectly fine for me. Maybe I’d have just changed one of the three with a Sanremo style finale, still open to sprinters (provided you don’t have Pogi or MvdP on the starting line), but also to *late* attackers. Anyway, a balanced route, gradually building up tension and action.

    And a great stage in Naples again, let me say. Quality sprint, with several technically interesting point. 20 final kms which kept me watching even if I really hadn’t planned it, plus beautiful landscapes before that for the slow-food viewers. Highly emotional finish.
    I especially liked Clarke’s interview, some quotes here:

  6. Leknessund won a similar profile stage of last year’s Tour de Suisse and came 8th on the Morzine-Megève Tour de France and won Arctic Tour of Norway. Ok he has a lot to prove before being recognised as a genuine GC contender with mountain credentials but he’s young and motivated. He’s ridden with discretion and determination whilst getting no mention, which the pundits always say is the best profile to have in GTs. I’m not sure what any rider must to to get a breakthrough ride anymore, but doesn’t a GC leader with proven climbing ability deserve even a mention? It’s the Giro and he’s got the maglia rosa; he’s reaching his preferred terrain and stage profile. Anything is possible – even a solitary chainring..?

  7. After the domination on the big teams in the early season and classics, it’s been great to see many smaller teams get something out of this early Giro.
    Stage wins for
    – Milan for BV
    – Matthews for Jayco
    – Paret-Pientre for AG2R
    – Groves for Alpecin
    – Pedersen for Trek (although he has been a big player all early season, no wins in the classics)
    And to wear the Pink for several days must be great for Leknessund and DSM.
    Pinot going for KOM has been great to see as well.

    Hopefully Clarke gets a stage later on in the race.

  8. What is it today with Remco and his talking down Roglic, etc.? Maybe it’s factual, but seems to me he’s perhaps more nervous, more in pain perhaps, than his ‘bravado’ wants us to think. Can’t help but think he might regret such talk later in the race, maybe even this afternoon… (probably not that soo but..).

  9. As an admittedly biased Brit, it’s great to see the return to form of TGH. I’ve long felt that the 2020 Giro was unfairly maligned as a Covid-era anomoly, so it’s been great to first see Hindley win last year against Carapaz, and now TGH to be in form as a genuine contender versus Roglič and Evenepoel on a stage like today’s. Now I’ve said that, this is obviously the moment where he drops like a stone! I imagine his relative status may be partially enhanced by the literal wobbles that Roglič and Evenepoel have recently had.

    • Or they hadn’t any decent script available because of the strike, so they had to go with one provided by an AI, which as a consequence was heavily biased by its database of TDF stages (the only cycling race an AI knows about).

  10. It was a fascinating stage today.

    Who would chase? Remco and Roglic must both be sore from their crashes and didn’t want to work hard for bonus seconds. Ineos and UAE would rather save energy for the TT in a few days than give away bonus seconds. AG2R and DSM just want to hang on. So no team really pulled. Vlasov, Kamna, Caruso ann just sitting in.

    I wondered if maybe Pinot or Carthy would try to skip off the front but that didn’t happen either.

  11. Another 200K in the legs, but as someone who was expecting some GC fireworks it was a six hour yawn.
    Maybe tomorrows stage will produce some excitement with some short but steep climbs.

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