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Giro d’Italia Stage 9 Preview

A time trial stage and in the absence of Filippo Ganna it feels like the big question is Remco Evenepoel’s winning margin; the other is the order of the other GC contenders and the gaps between them.

Evenepoel is the obvious pick but this stage will show us what health he’s in after his crashes this week. It’s the high point for him on paper as after today he’ll be racing on terrain where his rivals will feel they have the advantage, especially after yesterday’s finish in Fossombrone.

Big Ben: a win for Ben Healy and a great stage that had action from start to finish, even if the suspense for the day’s winner was over with an hour to go. Healy joined the early breakaway and for 90 minutes they struggled to get 25 seconds as the counter-attacks raged behind but eventually they were joined by a second move and the peloton let them go. The effort by Healy ought to have left him rinsed but he took off solo on the first climb of I Cappucini above Fossombrone and was solo with 50km to go. It looked brave bordering on foolhardy in the moment but also made sense as the remaining roads didn’t give a group much aerodynamic advantage with its climbs, twisting descents and above all the politics as the chasers kept looking at each other. While he looked to be suffering with his head and shoulders contorted, the legs were spinning smoothly and with a performance like this he can aim for more in this Giro too.

It had been hectic for the bunch for much of the stage, TV images showed them riding in long line even when the break was well clear but with two of the three climbs done and plenty of riders ejected things seemed to go into a lull in what was left of the peloton. Primož Roglič even stopped for a pee, and rode back by himself, a sign things weren’t hectic. However it turns out he was saving weight and soon after getting back to the peloton, he launched on the Cappucini climb. He only took out a few metres with Andreas Leknessund of all the riders leading the pursuit for a while but the gap was enough, there was daylight and Evenepoel couldn’t reel him in, he cracked and the Ineos tandem of Geoghegan Hart and Thomas rode past him and across the Roglič. The trio gained 14 seconds by the finish but crucially a morale boost being being able to ride away from Evenepoel and the rest on a climb.

The Route: a 35km time trial and as flat as a piadina, the local snack, a course where the climb today is the bridge over the autostrada. There are corners though at the start and finish so riders will touch the brakes and work the derailleur today but only just. The section through Cesena visits the old town, complete with flagstone paving. The finish is outside the HQ of Technogym, a maker of fitness equipment, race sponsor today and once a title sponsor of a team in the 1990s.

The Contenders: Remco Evenepoel smoked the field a week ago and with Filippo Ganna out of the race, he is the obvious pick. He did lose ground on the final climb yesterday which suggests he could be sore from his crashes this week but he’s had an extra day’s recovery now and even if he’s not at 100% he could still win. Easy? Hardly, but if he makes it look simple remember today is the point in the race when he ought to have the maximum advantage on everyone and from next week onwards he can expect to face attacks as others try to chip into his lead. He needs to win here, and not just by a few seconds.

Stefan Küng (Groupama-FDJ) could provide the upset. “Only” fifth on Stage 1, he still did well and the flat course suits. Crucially it’ll be wet and he can take a few risks as it’s today or bust for him compared to the other GC riders who can’t afford this. He’s 41st overall so won’t get radically different weather conditions to the big names. Will Barta (Movistar) is 21st overall and good in time trials but would prefer a hillier course. Edoardo Affini (Jumbo-Visma) will be among the earlier starters and should like the course but didn’t sparkle on Stage 1.

João Almeida (UAE), Primož Roglič (Jumbo-Visma), Geraint Thomas and Tao Geoghegan Hart (Ineos), and could win but it would be a surprise result.

Küng, Roglič
João Almeida, TGH, Thomas, Affini

Weather: cold and wet with rain showers, 12°C and a northerly wind turning west during the course of the day.

TV: the first rider is off at 1.15pm and the last rider is due in around 5.10pm CEST.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • DJW Sunday, 14 May 2023, 6:38 am

    Watching Healy yestterday, has the sock height rule been officially or unofficially dropped?

    • Sir Toby Sunday, 14 May 2023, 8:36 am

      Believe the rule still is socks/overshoes cannot be higher than halfway up the lower leg. Looks like Healy had it just right.

      “Socks and overshoes used in competition may not rise above the height defined by half the distance between the middle of the lateral malleolus and the middle of the fibula head.”

      • The Inner Ring Sunday, 14 May 2023, 11:04 am

        He was getting some grief on Italian TV for his style, less the socks and more for the hips and head twisting and the sock length seems on the limit but long can help as some can be aero and they provide support for the muscles (compression, as some people use on flights or for the elderly for thrombosis etc). But you watch the legs spinning around and it looked like he was always fresh and pedalling with a tailwind, very smooth.

  • rob md Sunday, 14 May 2023, 6:47 am

    After 8 days of racing and some crashes I don’t think Remco will win by a large margin. Roglic and Ineos will also be boosted by yesterday’s racing. We’ll see if Remco had a bad day or if fatigue is setting in.

    • gabriele Sunday, 14 May 2023, 12:27 pm

      General performance by a team might also suggest issues of preparation, which in QS’s case doesn’t look the best ever, despite Remco’s single excellent results. But, as you hint at, the physical level of athletes becomes more and more relevant as days go by.

  • 150 Watts Sunday, 14 May 2023, 6:50 am

    W Ben Healey … to be sure!

  • The Other Craig Sunday, 14 May 2023, 7:17 am

    This stage is tailored to Remco’s abilities and is one of the stages that made pundits point to him as a favorite for GC. Anything short of a dominant win will be seen as falling short, especially considering that Remco just looked pretty vulnerable in a stage that isn’t one of the toughest. He really does need to put some time into his rivals to get some breathing room before he is tested again in the later stages.

    • The Inner Ring Sunday, 14 May 2023, 11:06 am

      Agree here, he really needs to win here today and not just by a handful of seconds. Although as a neutral observer a slim win means less of a cushion on the others and he’ll face more attacks and might even have to make moves himself where ever he can.

  • Marc Sunday, 14 May 2023, 7:49 am

    Curious to see where Vine will end up. Was looking quite strong.

    • oldDAVE Sunday, 14 May 2023, 8:57 am


      There’s a lot of interesting side stories here – Vine, Tao (although maybe he’ll end up being the main story), Healy, Almeida etc.

      Vine just gives the impression he might be the surprise GT rider of the coming years to me.

      • MartinM Sunday, 14 May 2023, 10:53 am

        Speaking of Australians. I was thinking we may see something special from Plapp this year, starting with his result at UAE Tour in Feb. Shame to see he is out of action with concussion from Tour de Hongrie.
        I agree about Vine though, and it seems UAE Team agree too.

      • 150 Watts Sunday, 14 May 2023, 12:32 pm

        Almeida seems to be cruising under the radar up to this point. A big day for both himself and Roglic today.

  • Lanterne_Verte Sunday, 14 May 2023, 8:35 am

    Fair play to Healy, he announced himself as a potential stage winner, was widely tipped and very successfully delivered, he clearly has a big future in the sport. Interesting to see Evenepoel struggle a bit, seems like he has a tendency to go too deep when put under pressure on steep climbs, same thing happened in vuelta last year. Geoghegan Hart looked very strong, looking good for podium at least.

    I’d love to see Küng finally take that big win today, he has been close so many times and is clearly in good form, although it looks like the wind direction might work in Evenepoel’s favor.

  • RV Sunday, 14 May 2023, 8:46 am

    I absolutely could not understand why Geoghegan Hart and Thomas took so long before they decided to start working with Roglic. When you know that Remco and every other GC rider is behind you, how do you think that sitting on Roglic helps you?

    • Frood Sunday, 14 May 2023, 8:53 am

      I only saw highlights yesterday but the commentary seemed to suggest they only came through for Roglic in the finishing straight, which I thought was very odd. I guess they know they have to beat Roglic and he’s ahead of them on GC, albeit only just.

      • osbk67 Sunday, 14 May 2023, 10:13 am

        I’ll start by saying I’d sooner see Roglic or Evenpoel rather than TGH or Thomas win overall but the two Ineos riders surely had to dig deep even to close down and catch Roglic. Every second in the red zone after 200km of racing probably costs double in the time trial tomorrow so I suspect they were saving themselves somewhat for it.

        From the strategic perspective of a three-week Grand Tour we’re talking about whether they worked with Roglic for one or three kms after a three km descent from a summit six kms from the stage finish. Sure, if either lose overall by a few seconds it looks tactically colossal, but relative freshness for the time trial is a hidden gain that can’t be quantified.

        When TGH and Thomas rode past Evenepoel and saw he couldn’t stay with them their collective focus perhaps went from 60/40 Evenepoel/Roglic to 30/70 in an instant, in which case the incentive to work with Roglic evaporates quickly.

        A few days ago Evenepoel outsprinted the other GC favourites in a deliberate show of strength, but in losing 14 seconds yesterday his psychological advantage was reversed tenfold.

        • hoh Sunday, 14 May 2023, 11:23 am

          More like collaborating for 800m vs 1.5km. They might gained 4 to 4 seconds more.

        • TomH Sunday, 14 May 2023, 4:31 pm

          “A few days ago Evenepoel outsprinted the other GC favourites in a deliberate show of strength”
          From the front camera angle, Roglic seemed right on Evenepoel’s wheel, and both a noticeable gap on rest of field. Both had same time, no? I think it was smart of Roglic to not get into a pointless sprint for 6th(?) place.

    • Larry T Sunday, 14 May 2023, 9:28 am

      Garzelli wondered the same thing on Il Processo. Why not work together to take time on a rival when you can rather than chance making an enemy out of another by refusing to pull through? Tosatto seemed to dodge the question when he was asked. A Belgian guy made it sound like Evenepoel said he expected to only gain a minute in this chrono so IMHO the race is still wide-open IMHO. Healy proves form doesn’t always = function, he almost looks as much at war with the bike as Van Vleuten going uphill, but it was great to see someone race-to-win rather than not-to-lose 🙂

      • Eek-a-mouse Monday, 15 May 2023, 6:45 am

        Must agree with Larry – Merckx almost always looked like he was fighting his bike, Moser on the other hand was so smooth

    • The Inner Ring Sunday, 14 May 2023, 11:08 am

      I was wondering if they’d come through. It’s a twisty descent and it cost them plenty just to get across to Roglič so it was hard for them to get on the front right away but still the final kilometre was straight. But they’re getting the measure of Roglič as well as Evenepoel too.

      • hoh Sunday, 14 May 2023, 11:24 am

        Tao was also waiting for Thomas to get in at the top.

      • Larry T Sunday, 14 May 2023, 1:09 pm

        Roglic waved them through multiple times. I hope I get to see him pay them back for not helping before they arrive in Rome.

      • Davesta Sunday, 14 May 2023, 1:17 pm

        It made sense not to cooperate at the top, cos they’d just attacked to get across and Tao was waiting for Thomas to close the gap…then it made sense not to work on the twisty descent, because there’s little (if anything) to be gained there by working as a group…but I was baffled when they didn’t work in the last 2-3km, especially when Roglic was asking them to pull…

        I can only assume they (or their DS) decided the effort wasn’t worth it, but as a viewer it was an odd decision

  • oldDAVE Sunday, 14 May 2023, 8:54 am

    Excellent stage.
    Being Irish, very happy.

    Interested to see whether Healy remains a stage hunter in De Gent mould or switches to GC rider, love Mcarthy but hope he doesn’t go the same career trajectory. Victory margin was striking.

    Difficult to be sure on Remco, whether it’s form or crashes or drained after wet stages but it didn’t look good for him in the long term yesterday. I came into this thinking he had to beat Rog comprehensively to be a realistic vs for Pog and Vin at TDF but with the crashes it’ll be harder to get a read on. Either way we’ll get a better race this way!

    Right now my gut is telling me Remco is not on Pogacar nor Vingegaard’s Grand Tour level climbing wise from everything we’ve seen but who knows.

  • StevhanTI Sunday, 14 May 2023, 8:59 am

    Jay Vine could do well again no, he was the minor surprise on the opening day. Would Mads Pedersen fancy going for a top ten (and score a few Ciclamino points) or rather save the energy for the fast finishes still to come?

  • rich p Sunday, 14 May 2023, 9:06 am

    I like the way Ben Healy rides. His style doesn’t shout out souplesse but like a kid out for some fun.
    Listening to him speak, is he only Irish through some distant heritage? Not that it matters really!

    • PaulG Sunday, 14 May 2023, 9:21 am

      He was born in Kingswinford on the outskirts of Birmingham and he came through the Halesowen CC and the Solihull CC. His father’s parents and older siblings had grown up in Ireland but moved to England before his father was born. That link was enough to take out an Irish license, something Healy admits was motivated by what he might gain.

      • StevhanTI Sunday, 14 May 2023, 9:24 am

        Similar story to Dan Martin’s

      • PaulG Sunday, 14 May 2023, 9:25 am

        He’s as Irish as Dan Martin

        • hoh Sunday, 14 May 2023, 10:26 am

          Which is Irish enough for most.

      • plurien Sunday, 14 May 2023, 10:26 am

        These days an EU passport is worth a lot to procyclists who need to spend time across the bloc. Telling the manager of your third tier team that your 90 days is up and you have to leave for a few days back in the UK just is not good enough. It’s a bit better when you’ve made it to pro status, but you have to work your way up with no employed status. Brexit you see.

        • will Sunday, 14 May 2023, 12:55 pm

          Pretty straightforward that he chose Ireland “for the opportunities”.

        • Andrew Monday, 15 May 2023, 10:34 am

          “Telling the manager of your third tier team that your 90 days is up and you have to leave for a few days back in the UK just is not good enough.”

          Unless the rules are different for sportsmen, it’s worse than that: British citizens are allowed to spend only 90 out of every 180 days in the Schengen area, on a rolling basis. Assuming the racing season runs from March to October, anyone with a British passport can spend only about half of it in mainland Europe.

      • Steve Sunday, 14 May 2023, 4:01 pm

        He’s Irish enough to have played football for Jack Charlton’s side. Less than Dan Martin, more than Tony Cascarino.

  • rob md Sunday, 14 May 2023, 10:16 am

    Flagstone paving in the wet? Could be interesting.

  • Anonymous Sunday, 14 May 2023, 10:23 am

    Well done Ben, put his head down and didn’t flex till the finish line. In contrast it never ceases to amaze me how some riders burn energy up drifting back and forth to the cars for this that and the other, even when away in a group. I guess those hideous long socks make up for the energy wasted.

  • Cycling Nut Sunday, 14 May 2023, 11:23 am

    The second day after a crash, or 2 in Remco’s case, is my worst day for pain and stiffness so I figured yesterday would be a big test for Remco and it was. Today should be better but still not 100% for him so I think Remco will not be first but still in the top 5 losing a few seconds.
    I’m really interested to see how Almeida performs, can he hold or make some gains.

  • Md3 Sunday, 14 May 2023, 12:07 pm

    Hats off to Healy!

    When I saw him in the opening time trial I was struck by how very aerodynamic he looked – tighter even from the front than Evenepoel, but without the bullet like perfection and extra muscle.

    I hadn’t noticed him before Amstel Gold this year, it’s exciting to see a young rider with a special talent make their mark.

    Like everyone else I thought “oh no” when he attacked from 50k but he had it spot on. A great win.

    And as @inrng said – he looked like he had a tailwind.

  • gabriele Sunday, 14 May 2023, 12:17 pm

    G was the unexpected performer yesterday on a terrain which was the least adequate for him. Considering how fast he was on the flat on st. 1, he could be worth more than one chainring. The main question is if yesterday’s performance implied fast growing form or if he went too deep. Well, the “other main question” is if he won’t crash, same as Remco. If he’d take the stage I’d be less surprised than by most of the names around him in the preview above (who are indeed possible winners, no doubt).

    • D Evans Sunday, 14 May 2023, 5:31 pm

      Good call – nearly!

  • plurien Sunday, 14 May 2023, 12:25 pm

    Timely reminder: Leknessund is 2x National Champion ITT, and Norway has many tasty riders. He may not hold on to the GC lead but he’ll be nicely poised for more mountain attacks.

  • oldDAVE Sunday, 14 May 2023, 1:02 pm

    Total aside but just an appreciation post for Roglic.

    I get the impression he is a thoughtful and slightly nervous guy at heart who can be prone to the jitters/overthinking as we’ve seen in TDF crashes, overtraining and a few other things that make him fallible at times (very understandable considering he started riding late as well as all perfectly human qualities).

    But you get the sense that he also learns quickly whether it’s about his own body, training or tactics and has found ways to prepare mentally so he feels as comfortable and at ease as possible recently – given the rumours he focused on climbing for this Giro prep it feels so far that he’s really hit the sweet spot this May, setting himself up tactically to prey on Remco’s weakness, as well as coming across as calm and patient, despite opening day losses, which inevitably pushes all the pressure onto his younger opponent.

    If he wins, I feel like this will be peak Roglic, where his talent and experience are in perfect union.

    In a time when people are quick to criticise it would be heartening to see someone who’s had real lows use those to better himself and maybe achieve what would be his greatest victory… hopefully he’d then head to the Tour as a SuperDomestique rather than another Vuelta and you never know what might happen!

    I really admire him even if it’s hard not to be a Pogacar fanboy currently.

    • TomH Sunday, 14 May 2023, 4:37 pm

      I share your admiration for Roglic. He’s bounced back from setbacks that would mentally & emotionally crush many, if not most, other athletes.

    • STS Monday, 15 May 2023, 1:14 am


    • CA Monday, 15 May 2023, 6:10 am

      And Roglic always appears to be a real class act.

      Remember when Pogacar unseated him at the 11th hour – rarely do you see that handled so well. Must have been a massive gut punch, but his reaction is exactly what I wanted my kids to see.

      • Tovarishch Monday, 15 May 2023, 11:06 am

        I don’t know how this myth has developed. Professional athletes get beaten all the time, after all only one can win. They bounce back to try again. Roglic just did what any professional athlete should do. It’s the guy who finishes 60th but still keeps trying who really deserves the accolades.

      • KevinR Monday, 15 May 2023, 12:16 pm

        Agree. Which makes his repeated attacks on Fred Wright for that crash in the sprint (his own fault) seem strange.

        • Monday Monday, 15 May 2023, 1:30 pm

          Oh no not again! 🙂

          Reperated?!! In my book he attacked (if you insist on calling criticism that wasn´t anything our of the ordinary or worse than what we are used to hearing when a rider thinks an incident wasn´t his fault) Wright exactly once.
          He was then asked about it , but (a) there is no reason to assume that he would´ve brought the subject up himself and (b) I, for one, didn´t view his holding on to his opinion and standing up for what he´d already said on the subject as a renewed attack.

          NB I´d like to think I´m not speaking as a Roglic fan here. It´s just that I´m fed up with these modern times where holding and expressing strong opionion and making harsh judgements based on fairly limited and often insufficient evidence seems to be the norm.

  • oldDAVE Sunday, 14 May 2023, 5:09 pm

    Remco is weakening – whether crash or form, the writing feels like it’s on the wall right now – Ineos and Roglic are going to work him till he cracks and his team with leave him in the eye of the storm.

    Saying how great Roglic is above, it will be an amazing show of character for Remco to win from here.

    • oldDAVE Monday, 15 May 2023, 11:04 am

      This dated badly. His abandon came about an hour later…

  • hoh Sunday, 14 May 2023, 7:01 pm

    Guess I will stay clear of my Belgium neighbour today. 🤣🤣🤣

    • hoh Monday, 15 May 2023, 11:39 am

      God, wrote this before heard about Remoco’s abandonment. Reads a lot more insensitive now. Hope he recovers soon.

  • Lanterne_Verte Sunday, 14 May 2023, 10:57 pm

    Remco out of the race with covid 🙁

    • WillC Monday, 15 May 2023, 10:47 am

      Argh, last night I watched the TT highlights and was even more excited to see what unfolded over the coming weeks. I then quickly checked the comments here and saw this: so disappointing! Having COVID may partly explain why Evenepoel didn’t obliterate the others in the TT (and perhaps dropping time on the previous stage?). Obviously a huge shame for the race, but at least we’re still set for a good GC battle over the next two weeks. Can Ineos capitalise on having two cards to play, and the strongest team?

  • jc Sunday, 14 May 2023, 11:01 pm

    Could well be a case of last man standing…..

    • Larry T Monday, 15 May 2023, 9:16 am

      “Could well be a case of last man standing…..” Someone said that awhile back, but it’s a real shame – just when the pundits who’d handed the race to Evenepoel on-a-plate before a wheel had been turned were being proven wrong – he’s out. And unlike UAE or INEOS, his team doesn’t have an alternative to take over. A real shame for La Corsa Rosa 2023 – whoever winds up in pink in Rome will never hear the end of the “woulda-coulda-shoulda” sniping. As much as I detest INEOS I’m starting to hope 2020’s winner might win again though it’ll again be greeted with the W-C-S “Bronx cheers”. Just when we thought we’d turned a corner on the pandemic we get this? Just yesterday I was happy that whatever my wife came down with and passed to me (of course) wasn’t Covid-19 based on a test – but the plague’s still out there.

      • jc Monday, 15 May 2023, 9:24 am

        If anyone had suggested a week G was going to be in the Maglia Rosa on the first rest day they would have been laughed out of the room. However we have a top three all within a couple of seconds of each other, not often that happens at a GT, should be an interesting race as long as no more tests (I read Rigoberto Uran is out too?)

      • 150 Watts Monday, 15 May 2023, 10:28 am

        The helicopter didn’t work!

  • Anonymous Monday, 15 May 2023, 8:52 am

    Pesky virus but beware the “cure”

  • Monday Monday, 15 May 2023, 9:41 am

    I understand that there is no longer any obligatory testing for Covid-19. In other words this “routine test” was done entirely voluntarily by the team – and not because it was a part of any UCI protocol or because the organizers had decided to run them.

    The tally so far is 15 DNFs: 3 due to crashes, 6 due to illness or a health-related issue other than Covid-19 and 6 test positives – some possibly with symptoms that would´ve meant a DNF regardless? – but I´d imagine the last mentioned will become the largest group (although not nearly as massive as we´ve seen in stages races these past few years).

    • UHJ Monday, 15 May 2023, 9:53 am

      Under the UCI no, but routine testing may be required by RCS?

      • The Inner Ring Monday, 15 May 2023, 10:15 am

        It was a test by the team. No routine requirement to test on the race but the organisers may want to consider this, or at least they’ll be asked about this today.

        • UHJ Monday, 15 May 2023, 1:01 pm

          Yes, I checked up on that after writing. I wasn’t aware as I have stopped officiating.
          So basically it is voluntarily and his employer saying sorry dude, we have to send you home. And his contrasct probably states that he must follow orders.
          Sadly, but better safe than sorry, I assume.

          • KevinK Monday, 15 May 2023, 1:08 pm

            I don’t see anything in Evenepoel’s statements suggesting that he didn’t agree with the decision, and I suspect that if he really did feel great, and had won yesterday’s TT by 30-40 seconds, that this wouldn’t have happened.

        • CA Monday, 15 May 2023, 4:04 pm

          Ok, I’m playing devil’s advocate here – please DO not hate me for my comment. But, the severity of Covid-19 is MUCH lower now, and in terms of effects on the general population, it plays out like the flu, so if riders can suffer through the flu why can’t they stay in the race with covid-19?

          Every rider has either been vaccinated, caught covid in the past, or else has fully had the opportunity to be vaccinated. Same goes for all team staff. Any immuno-compromised person needs to take extra precautions, but it’s a safe assumption that all in the peloton are not immuno-compromised.

          • The Inner Ring Monday, 15 May 2023, 4:37 pm

            As written above, there’s a range of literature, experience etc on racing with ‘flu and the things to look for, the symptoms where a rider can race on… and when they stop. Covid is new here and team doctors, the UCI medical staff etc don’t know the long term effects on athletes of this, maybe they don’t have the same elevated temperature / fever symptoms of ‘flu but they could be damaging their heart. I don’t know, and more importantly team doctors don’t either so for now the medical consensus is to sit down in the event of a positive test and review the symptoms viral load etc and decide on whether they race or stop. QS’s doctor decided he should stop.

          • CA Monday, 15 May 2023, 8:48 pm

            I understand – I was playing devil’s advocate, i’m sure many athletes would say the same. But you’re right, the doctors are smart to be cautious.

  • Richard S Monday, 15 May 2023, 10:13 am

    Remco to the Tour…?!

    • The Inner Ring Monday, 15 May 2023, 10:20 am

      I’ll look at this later (some notes on the Giro, 80% written yesterday afternoon got binned) but probably not. He’d have a lot of pressure, the course doesn’t suit. One path for the Tour is he goes as a joker for Quickstep and sits up at some point and then tries to win stages for the fun of it rather than do GC, but that won’t be easy to handle either. Having all but announced he’s targetting the Tour de France next year he really needed this Giro whether he won or lost for the experience.

      • jc Monday, 15 May 2023, 10:38 am

        Its the first rest day at the Giro with the race tantalisingly poised and we are talking about the Tour… The Tour could be far more open than anticipated, Tadej Pogacar’s injury will have an effect even if only at the margins, a good few of the other realistic contenders are at the Giro so maybe the field is wider than thought? What might happen if either G or TGH test positive in the next 10 days might they head to France?

        • CA Monday, 15 May 2023, 4:35 pm

          G or TGH could start the TdF… but won’t have a single effect on the race. G had a “solid” race last year, but he was riding by himself for the most part, he was completely out of the race decision.

          Remco, on the other hand, can make an effect. Roglic, same – he has the power to affect it too, even if only as a great teammate for Vingegaard.

      • osbk67 Monday, 15 May 2023, 11:03 am

        I doubt Evenepoel will start the Tour, although it’s an interesting opportunity to expose him to the race with the reduced expectation of imperfect preparation a year ahead of a well-announced schedule. Working against that, and/or in favour of common sense perhaps, is that Quickstep need stage wins after their dismal classics season, L-B-L excepted, which probably means they’re all in for Jakobsen and/or Merlier. I’m not sure where that selection decision currently sits, but taking both may be an option if Covid decimates the Giro peloton.

  • 150 Watts Monday, 15 May 2023, 10:38 am

    It seems to me that this is a sport which makes the riders very prone to respiratory infections … flu, covid or whatever. They are so drained that I can only imagine that their resistance is very low.
    All part of the deal.

    • WillC Monday, 15 May 2023, 10:52 am

      Agreed, and you wonder how often (pre-COVID) riders would push on through illness, hoping to minimise any losses and recover during the race, and without the same current concerns for the health of themselves or others? I think the health concerns are justifiable, but it seems previously there was far less concern for riders with cold/flu (etc) to infect others in their teams or the peloton.

      Last night I wondered if, for Quick Step, it might’ve made more sense for them to sit on the COVID test results and then re-test Remco later today and hope for a negative. Though I guess that’s easier said than done given all the pink jersey media duties for today. Or, cynically, maybe they’re lying and just trying to get him out of media duties, and will later announce that it’s a false positive. One can hope!

      • Jean Monday, 15 May 2023, 11:41 am

        I don’t understand some reactions. It was obvious Evenepoel wasn’t on his best the last two days. So, not (only) because of his crashes, but because a starting viral infection. After testing on covid, no doubt anymore. But why focus just on a positive covidtest and the protocol ? One could see that Evenepoel was in bad shape after the finish of the TT. The “bags” under his eyes. A “low” voice due to a cold. In addition a video where Remco’s wife noticed a cold score on his lip. Evenepoel replied with : i’m afraid I’ve caught a cold. In those circumstances the only option was to test Evenepoel.
        Some nitwits suggest Evenepoel should wait and not leave the Giro, take profit of the restday….. and continue the competition afterwards. That’s just insane. Already competing with a cold is not wise. But strenuous exercice with the flu and even more with a covid-infection is irresponsible and even dangerous. With every viral infection, inflammation of the heart muscle is always threatening, in addition to other side effects. With Covid much more. The pandemic and scientific studies have proven that. So stop minimizing covid now. The discussion here should be about the organization’s lack of measures. For example, the pre-press conference in which riders and journalists were crammed together in an unventilated space that was far too small. The Quick-step team was one of the few to criticize this. They wore mouth masks themselves at the time. The ski lift joke after Gran Sasso, and a total lack of (covid)protection of the riders from the public, journalists and organizers. In the meantime, we also know that there are some riders who have mild symptoms and who have also tested positive, who have continued the Giro. Irresponsible.

        • KevinK Monday, 15 May 2023, 12:59 pm

          Well said.

        • Monday Monday, 15 May 2023, 1:35 pm

          “In the meantime, we also know that there are some riders who have mild symptoms and who have also tested positive, who have continued the Giro. ”

          How do we know and who are among those riders?

        • WillC Monday, 15 May 2023, 2:06 pm

          To clarify, I wasn’t trying to minimise the potential seriousness of COVID or suggesting that riders should “push through”. It’s just interesting to contrast the response to a COVID positive to previous attitudes toward riders’ health issues (be it flu, questionable extent of weight loss, or other more nefarious things). I think OldDAVE summarises it pretty well in one of his later posts, above.

          For disclosure, I’m a biomedical researcher, including a focus on immunology and COVID outcomes, so I’m not blasé about COVID or its potential for long-term health issues (let alone possible future variants etc)

    • Larry T Monday, 15 May 2023, 11:17 am

      150 Watts – I said this the first time I saw big-time pros compete at the Coors Classic back in 1986. HTF 150+ guys can ride in a peloton all day, day-after-day with the coughs, sneezes, spits and the rest making a cloud of gawd-knows-what without all of ’em ending up sick still amazes me to this day.
      Back then you’d hear/read about Rider X just finishing a round of antibiotics..wonder if they still pump ’em full of that stuff…which of course makes things worse for everyone in the long-run with resistance and super bugs?

      • KevinK Monday, 15 May 2023, 7:01 pm

        The vast majority of illnesses a rider might get during a race are not touched by antibiotics, while those same antibiotics can have nasty side effects. I don’t doubt that there were team doctors giving some riders antibiotics some of the time, but it was certainly either a waste of medication or detrimental to the rider. On the other hand, some were probably getting inhaled steroids for those colds and flus.

  • rob md Monday, 15 May 2023, 10:59 am

    What a shame for Remco, QS, grouchy ol’ Lefereve, and the Giro organizers. The ability to still win yesterday was an example of how good Remco is, even visibly ill. The other comparable instance I can think of, was G’s 2nd place to Dumoulin at the 2017 Giro TT.
    I don’t think Remco will go to the Tour – he’s doing the Worlds, so he could do San Sebastian and maybe some other 1 day races to get his form to where it should be.
    Will he do the Vuelta? Doubtful I’m guessing, although he might be itching to race.

  • oldDAVE Monday, 15 May 2023, 11:14 am

    Feel like I’m the only person not that disappointed in Remco leaving.

    I’ve had a hunch from the start that Roglic might outclimb and drop Remco badly in wk3 as he seemed to be hinting at in last years Vuelta before his own abandon – in that scenario I worried the hyped faceoff might end up being a damp squid.

    But the surprise of Geraint and Tao has really excited me at least – I feel there could be fireworks between them later in the race so am looking forward to it.

    Admittedly one could fly away and be the easy winner just as much as Remco could have enlived everything if my hunch above was wrong though!

    Small aside – personally I don’t think teams should take riders out for COVID any longer.

    I realise COVID remains at large in people’s minds but in truth despite being nasty to catch for many and serious for some it’s so prevalent now and fading in lethality, plus there are vaccines to stop the worst effects of the original strain, that it seems silly to be racing as if we’re in 2021 still? For many it’s the equivalent of a bad cold now (and to be clear I’m not saying that in a Trump ‘like flu’ sense, times have moved on) and for years cycling fans and commentators have said Grand Tours are a test of your immune system (even if I’ve regularly though that means luck as much as anything) as much as your cycling legs so this is just another part of the test? Why take people out?

    To me the era of super spreader events is over (and we were right to prohibit them two years ago) and we’re now just living with the virus and riders shouldn’t have year long goals ruined if they think they can ride through it.

    • Larry T Monday, 15 May 2023, 11:24 am

      Geez, really? As long as you’re entertained, who gives a s–t about the rider’s long (or short) term health, eh? Should they just pump ’em full of steroids, EPO and whatever else to keep ’em going through whatever illness they pick up? I’d hoped the sport had moved on from “The Convicts of the Road” daze….but maybe not?

      • Colin Evans Monday, 15 May 2023, 11:56 am

        Your best ever post Larry

      • jc Monday, 15 May 2023, 11:59 am

        Dont think anyone is suggesting pumping the riders with various pharmaceuticals simply to keep them from falling over. Bike racers have always been vulnerable to bugs of one form or another whether of the respiratory variety or stomach ones picked up from the muck on the road, not the healthiest of endeavours. However when even the WHO has declared the whole pandemic thing over and most people simply ignoring it (yes I know some folk are still doing tests etc) is there really a case for cyclists doing so unless they are showing other signs of ill health. Viruses of all varieties can have bad long term effects (how long did it take for Cav to adjust to having Epstein Barr – that never goes away) and riders health is important but perhaps the moment has come to move on unless there are signs of health issues (which there clearly were in Remco Evenepoel’s case).

        • KevinK Monday, 15 May 2023, 1:05 pm

          Don’t want to derail this blog into COVID bs, but the WHO declared that COVID-19 pandemic was “no longer a global health emergency.” There’s a world of difference between an endemic virus that continues to have serious consequences (without overwhelming health-care systems), and a global health emergency in which basic medical care for other illnesses is compromised because entire health systems are completely overwhelmed by the effects of a new virus.

        • oldDAVE Monday, 15 May 2023, 1:10 pm

          Thank you jc – yes I wasn’t suggesting forcing people to ride till they drop obviously.

        • hoh Monday, 15 May 2023, 1:35 pm

          I think Romeco is showing symptoms. We as outsiders has no idea about its severeness.

          More importantly, with COVID, you never know who you would pass it to and what symptoms they would have. What is nothing worse than flu for one person could well kill another or drop them into long COVID.

          Lastly, initial COVID symptoms also seems to bear little relation to its long term effects.

          All in all, if you know you have COVID, that’s the right thing to do.

      • oldDAVE Monday, 15 May 2023, 1:12 pm

        Thanks Larry.

        It’s difficult to speak with you sometimes because you read what you want to read rather than what’s there.

        I’m not vaguely suggesting any of this – my post below more fully explains what I thought was obvious. I apologise that it was not – that’s my fault for poor phrasing.

        • Larry T Monday, 15 May 2023, 2:44 pm

          “…you read what you want to read rather than what’s there.” says the person who wrote the thing that offended someone. You WROTE (I didn’t read what I wanted to read) “For many it’s the equivalent of a bad cold now (and to be clear I’m not saying that in a Trump ‘like flu’ sense, times have moved on) and for years cycling fans and commentators have said Grand Tours are a test of your immune system (even if I’ve regularly though that means luck as much as anything) as much as your cycling legs so this is just another part of the test? Why take people out?”
          Which makes it seem like you don’t give a s–t about the rider’s health as long as you are entertained. How does it not?

      • Greg Monday, 15 May 2023, 7:07 pm

        I don’t say it often or ever again, but Larry’s right. It’s still more than just a flu (from which people also still dying in thousands a season btw, but nobody talks about it much), long term consequences of Covid can be horriblle, and a rider can still infect team mates staff and others. But that’s nothing for someDAVE, take an Ibu and ride for money, my monkey!

    • KevinK Monday, 15 May 2023, 11:55 am

      I think “fading in lethality” and “nasty for some” are the wrong metrics regarding teams not taking riders out for incidental COVID positives. This is somewhat how this has been framed by the team: we did this test for the hell of it, just because, and it happened to be positive, so in an abundance of caution we pulled our rider. Would SQS have tested Remco if he weren’t feeling bad, if he hadn’t performed in a mildly subpar manner in both stages 8 and 9? And if it were a routine test, would they have announced it without doing a PCR rest during the off day?

      What we saw is they immediately pulled him after a single rapid test. The false positive rate for these tests depends entirely upon the underlying prevalence of COVID, so we don’t know how likely it was to be a false positive, but we do know a false positive is a real possibility, and the team had zero time pressure not to do more thorough retesting.

      Looking at how Evenepoel could not respond at the end of stage 8, and that he didn’t take the full minute on everyone as he and his team expected in stage 9 (and how he looked in photos after the ITT yesterday), it’s hard not to conclude that he was ill, and possibly feeling progressively more ill. Even Lefevere said “That explains everything.” So either he was feeling crappy for other reasons and this was a way to let him step away from further expectations (I think this is unlikely) before we could possibly see him crack badly in later stages, or he not only has COVID but he’s actually symptomatic and his performance is genuinely degraded. Remember that COVID is a lower respiratory illness – even when it feels like “just a cold” to someone who isn’t exercising vigorously, it IS affecting pulmonary capability if one is ill enough to have even mild apparent symptoms. And some people with no obvious symptoms have actual pulmonary impairment that is only noted with pulmonary function testing or vigorous exercise.

      • oldDAVE Monday, 15 May 2023, 5:20 pm

        Hey KevinK I wrote my second reply here really poorly and didn’t give enough thought to the points you raised.

    • Jean Monday, 15 May 2023, 11:56 am

      A total irresponsible reaction ! Against all scientific findings.
      With strong efforts with Covid, even more than with the flu, there is a real risk of a heart muscle infection. So you don’t make any (strong) efforts if you are covid infected. Even if you have no or few symptoms (and Evenepoel had and has symptoms).
      Allowing riders to continue competing with a covid infection, as happened in the past and according to rumors in the Giro, is irresponsible and unprofessional. Then we are not yet talking about the risk of infection.

      • oldDAVE Monday, 15 May 2023, 1:09 pm

        Well I stand corrected (lol)
        (thank you for the thoughtful response KevinK)
        I think it’s a funny question this one.

        Geraint has ridden with a fractured pelvis.
        Riders often get to weights that are clearly unhealthy and can have long term negative effects.
        Similar to a range of illnesses they suffer with during Grand Tours and not to mention the possible long time implications of drugs taken previously.

        I’m not saying any of these are right or wrong but covid is clearly an understandable anomaly and fixation because of the last few years and deserves more thought than just saying ‘you’re out!’ to every positive.

        To be clear – I am not saying this a question of ‘for my entertainment’ slave driving – I’m simply saying I feel like we can leave it to riders, teams and doctors to decide without mandatory ejections or teams feeling the need to pull riders once infected.

        Riders will stop if they break their legs.
        Or get bronchitis.
        Or get a range of other conditions, many of which can have heart implications etc etc.
        And I assume many would stop with covid.

        (Small note, endurance athletes as far as I understand often have misshapen hearts from over exertion so cycling at this level itself could be considered to cause a heart risk)

        I just feel in all walks of life black and white rules of in/out are often the wrong approach and think where appropriate we should allow a level of case specific decisions/independence to be taken by those closest and in the know rather than dictating this is the only way and that’s that.

        For me covid has long been over that tipping point where we can allow people to make their own decisions – this isn’t any more irresponsible than riders continuing with serious injuries for the last hundred years of cycling.

        Remco would likely still have (understandably) abandoned and maybe some others might not.
        It’s not about bludgeoning people for our pleasure it’s about trying to find a balance where people do not feel forced to compete or put their health at risk but can continue if they choose and feel comfortable enough to.

        Personally I’m a bit confused what sport people think they’ve been watching if they haven’t been aware the risks riders have been taken for their entertainment for years preCovid (many of which I disagree with, in a similar way I do in other sports like head injuries in American Football and Boxing) but now seem aghast if someone says ‘let the riders and team doctors decide if they should continue racing’?

        That’s what all us fans have been doing for decades?

        If you position is withdraw anyone with X range of illnesses/injuries that’s fine and consistent but clearly it’s unworkable and overkill so we’re best to just leave it to a case by case basis as it’s always been – and that’s all I’m arguing for.

        • The Inner Ring Monday, 15 May 2023, 1:15 pm

          Note the team doctor decided to pull Evenepoel and that’s it, nobody is arguing (except fans online).

          The difference here is team doctors don’t have much knowledge, experience and data of the post viral effects here, unlike racing with ‘flu where there’s plenty of experience. As for crashing etc, an actuary could calculate the mortality risks of crashing on a descent, it’s all known. But the long term effects of Covid for elite athletes aren’t known so team doctors, along with a panel of other medics, ride reps, race organisers, the UCI etc have agreed this stance.

          • Jean Monday, 15 May 2023, 2:25 pm

            Studies showed an increase of myocarditis by athletes who had a covidinfection (without knowing it or only afterwards the race). But in the case of athletes deliberately competing with a covidinfection and with symptoms, the number of myocarditis rose spectacularly. And the side-effects afterwards (months after the healing of the myocarditis) were (are) also spectacular. 60 to 80 % more risk of a hart attack, cardiac arrhythmias or heart failure.

          • oldDAVE Monday, 15 May 2023, 5:07 pm

            Thank you INRNG.
            Apologies for starting a flare up. This is my fault and wasn’t intentional.

            I knew the QS doc took him out and he or she clearly would’ve withdrawn Remco whether it was a mandatory policy or not, I’m just in favour of some independence being left with riders/docs now as we’re living with virus now and cannot let it continue to dictate our lives.

            It seems like many people on the anti-vax side as well as the cautious side are all to happy to quote reams of science at us, that mostly both speaker and listener do not understand and there seems substantial evidence on both sides of the argument which is why I’m in favour of a middle ground.

            But you are right the truth is no one knows at this point, and caution would usually be my preferred course, it’s just we can’t always be cautious when we’re years on and people are regularly competing at high level sport with known/unknown covid so it’s now seems unfeasible/unreasonable to keep chucking every asymptomatic suffer out of their events.

            As for Larry’s AIDS, Leporsy, Norovirus… I mean. I don’t know where to start. I’m only in favour of being reasonable and hopefully my position above is now clear, it’s not extreme or baiting people to argue even if people may disagree. In terms of broken limbs and cycling risks, I was only making the point that even though I’m not in favour of asking cyclists to endanger themselves we must be honest with ourselves as fans that we have watched for years as riders do so with some risks being contagious and some non-contagious – clearly COVID is a unique case though and I should have acknowledged this more clearly before offending people.

        • Larry T Monday, 15 May 2023, 2:51 pm

          So where do YOU draw the line with communicable diseases? TB? Leprosy? AIDS? Norovirus? Last time I checked a cracked pelvis wasn’t contagious unless the guy took you out in the same crash that broke his. Being too skinny isn’t contagious either as far as I know so how can you compare them? Some people’s desire to compete (or be entertained) clouds their judgement so “mandatory ejections or teams feeling the need to pull riders once infected.” is certainly warranted when long-term health effects from easily transmitted disease is a possibility.

          • oldDAVE Monday, 15 May 2023, 5:14 pm

            Hey Larry, maybe we should agree to not reply to one another’s posts for a while.

            I have no issue with you and hope you live a happy and fruitful life but I’m aware we’re butting heads here once too often and likely turning other uses off these comments.

            I feel like the internet can regularly make it seem like those with the loudest voices hold the majorities opinion which is rarely true and between you and me on INRNG we’ve probably been the loudest voices recently so should maybe take some time to listen.

            I’m sorry if I offended you above and even I do feel like you misunderstood what I wrote and selectively quoted – at the same time it’s as much up to me to make my points clearer and most succinctly in future.

            Have a lovely week and enjoy the upcoming stages.

  • Cycling Nut Monday, 15 May 2023, 11:18 am

    Remco needs to do the Tour next for experience of the pressure, which the Giro cannot match, or go for the win. It would be a good experience either way, finishing or not. It will be better prep for the tdf next year than winning the Giro or another Veulta.

    • Jean Monday, 15 May 2023, 12:03 pm

      Agree. Just the experience. Not too much pressure. Without a climbing team, just try to win a stage. Not participate at the Clasica, just a few days rest and prepare for the Worlds TT. That is perfectly possible.

    • KevinR Monday, 15 May 2023, 12:37 pm

      The problem with that is the expectation from all – public, media, the rider – around Remco. And even if they framed it as ‘along for the ride and the fun plus a few digs at stage wins’ he would have a tough time from them when sitting 35th in GC.

  • Jean Monday, 15 May 2023, 11:42 am

    I don’t understand some reactions. It was obvious Evenepoel wasn’t on his best the last two days. So, not (only) because of his crashes, but because a starting viral infection. After testing on covid, no doubt anymore. But why focus just on a positive covidtest and the protocol ? One could see that Evenepoel was in bad shape after the finish of the TT. The “bags” under his eyes. A “low” voice due to a cold. In addition a video where Remco’s wife noticed a cold score on his lip. Evenepoel replied with : i’m afraid I’ve caught a cold. In those circumstances the only option was to test Evenepoel.
    Some nitwits suggest Evenepoel should wait and not leave the Giro, take profit of the restday….. and continue the competition afterwards. That’s just insane. Already competing with a cold is not wise. But strenuous exercice with the flu and even more with a covid-infection is irresponsible and even dangerous. With every viral infection, inflammation of the heart muscle is always threatening, in addition to other side effects. With Covid much more. The pandemic and scientific studies have proven that. So stop minimizing covid now. The discussion here should be about the organization’s lack of measures. For example, the pre-press conference in which riders and journalists were crammed together in an unventilated space that was far too small. The Quick-step team was one of the few to criticize this. They wore mouth masks themselves at the time. The ski lift joke after Gran Sasso, and a total lack of (covid)protection of the riders from the public, journalists and organizers. In the meantime, we also know that there are some riders who have mild symptoms and who have also tested positive, who have continued the Giro. Irresponsible.