Giro Stage 13 Preview

The traditional Emilia-Romagna sprint stage. There’s not much to preview as you can surely already tell from the preview above that it’s a sprint stage and Jonathan Milan is the pick.. but we can review as well.

Al commando: an anarchic stage saw many attempts to get in the breakaway. No soon had the main move established itself did the attacks fly as the group was too big.

Julian Alaphilippe and Mirco Maestri took off with 127km to go. Madness? On paper yes but behind the group was so big and chaotic that every chase attempt doomed itself. If Filippo Ganna took a long turn to help Jonathan Narvaez then others were sitting on for free. If riders attacked hoping to form a smaller group of more committed riders, others closed it down. This chaos went on for hours all while Alaphilippe and Maestri shared the work ahead, often with just a minute’s lead but enough to be clear of the chaos behind, a gap they couldn’t close.

Further behind Bahrain towed the peloton, again to defend Antonio Tiberi’s fifth place as Jan Hirt was up the road and gaining time. At one point they accelerated hard to try and exploit crosswinds but it didn’t last. It shows the slim pickings behind Pogačar have their value.

On the final climb of the day, the hardest, Alaphilippe rode away from Maestri while the chasers were closing in, including Jhonathan Narvaez. Alaphilippe crested the climb solo and stayed away for the win and now has a stage in all three grand tours, among all his other wins. It was a masterpiece of a ride but also marked a change, the rider once able to leave rivals drowning in their own lactic acid up short climbs went long. Peter Sagan’s raid to Tortoreto in the 2020 Giro came to mind; ditto Philippe Gilbert’s Paris-Roubaix win.

It was a lively day with end-to-end action, but no movement among the GC contenders needed to make it a stage for the age. Pogačar’s weakness, if he has one, is to come in the very high mountains.

The Route: 179km and 150m of vertical gain, a number boosted by bridges over railways and the autostrada. It’s as flat as a piadina, the local dish.

The Finish: flat of course, but with a series of corners. They’re not the kind where anyone has to stop pedalling, even braking might be optional but they’ll line out the peloton in the streets of Cento.

The Contenders: a stage for the sprinters, there’s only Stage 18 and 21 left for them so their teams will be keen to get a chance today. Jonathan Milan (Lidl-Trek) is the obvious pick, two stage wins and his team are providing a valuable assist. Tim Merlier (Soudal-Quickstep) and Kaden Groves (Alpecin-Deceuninck) are running him close and they’ll be queuing to be on Milan’s wheel. If Milan is one of the top sprinters here he could be the most valuable lead out rider ever with his speed and size but of course that would be a step back.

It’s hard to pick another name to get past all three but as ever things are hectic and we’ll have to see.

Merlier, Groves

Weather: sunny and 22°C, almost no wind.

The race feels far away but northern Italy is struggling with heavy rain and the risk of flooding and the Giro is getting closer to the mountains.

TV: KM0 is at 1.10pm CEST and the finish is forecast for 5.15pm CEST. Tune in for the sprint finish.

Postcard from Cento
Cento is not famous for much but it does have the Fava factory. Fava? It makes industrial pasta machines, the kind where flour and water go in one end and out come dried fusilli, penne or conchiglie. In the case of Fava, 12 tonnes per hour from their biggest unit. Chances are if you’ve bought pasta in a supermarket it went through a Fava machine.

Cento is a pleasant town, nothing fancy but charming. It’s one of those places where if the sun is shining and you add some pink decoration it looks just great. It’s the place take a stroll around town, buy a copy of La Gazzetta Dello Sport and stop at the Piazza Guercino to sit down and soak it all in, literally with a coffee.

Gazzetta is the house newspaper of the race, owned by RCS which organises the Giro. The maglia rosa is pink because Gazzetta is printed on pink paper. Yet despite all this, coverage in the Gazzetta is brief, typically three or four pages, although today has five. It can take longer to leaf through the thirty or more pages of football coverage to get to the Giro bit than it does to read about the race once you get their. Plus their chief reporter Ciro Scognamiglio tweets all the transfer gossip so you don’t have to buy the newspaper to read the scoops.

All this is wistful lament. It’d be ideal if La Gazzetta was required reading and an essential part of the Giro routine for two reasons. First as a definitive account of the race written on the ground, but second because La Gazzetta is the most widely read newspaper in Italy. If the Giro had ten pages then this would signal greater popular interest in the race.

It’s a subject discussed in yesterday’s post-stage Processo alla Tappa show on Italian TV: why did France’s L’Equipe put “VPP” on the front page but when Milan wins he didn’t feature on the front page of two of the three sports newspapers in Italy, and on La Gazzetta he just got a small mention (screengrab above). So buy a copy of La Gazzetta but if you order a coffee to accompany your reading, perhaps make it an espresso.

21 thoughts on “Giro Stage 13 Preview”

  1. It was great to see Alaphilippe take a stage with such a strong ride after trying multiple times this race already.

    As always your blog is the only place I need to come for predictions, summaries and local cultural info as well.

    Thank-you again, and keep up the great work!

  2. Hopefully there will be no or no serious crashes on this supposedly easy stage. Serious crashes unfortunately have happened too often in the past on stages like this where concentration drops as there is nothing to focus on and fatigue kicks in or everyone thinks there is room for everyone on the open roads until there is not.

  3. “It’d be ideal if La Gazzetta was required reading and an essential part of the Giro routine”

    Well, that’s what this blog is. I may not be sat in the sun in a piazza, having first dressed in the careful art of sprezzatura, but in a world of overblown media gaze this succinct daily summary is a central part of my enjoyment of the Giro.

    A few well chosen lines, a keen analysis and observation, wrapped up with a little whimsy and a flavour of Italy, is the perfect start to the day and whets the appetite for the stage ahead.

    Bravo, Inrng

  4. A bit of a classic from Alaphilippe. The way he used Maestri for as long as possible reminded me of that quote about licking everyone else’s plate clean before you start on your own.
    Although Milan is the favourite today all this sprints have been pretty close so its not necessarily a walkover.

    • I suspect that something might ting in Maestri’s plate from Lefevere’s hand anyway, at least if things are still as in the ol’ times… of course, with no offence for anyone, just good cycling.

      • I loved seeing their hug after the stage – Alaphillippe is definitely a showman and I can see why people would find him frustrating but life would be so boring without some stardust from these kind of characters, reminded me of Cav’s kisses to teammates after stages.

  5. As with Merckx, Sagan, Cavendish and now Alaphilippe the victories are easier to enjoy when they come less easily. One to relish, and done in style.

    • I don’t know why but I have the feeling that he pops up for the win when fatigue is really starting to hit the peloton. Could be wrong.

      • Ha – I heard this! Him never winning on a stage that has a climb so Friebe’s pick for today.

        Excellent episode of podcast today – the argument of Friebe flogging a dead horse, the heartwarming story of a restaurant staffed by waiters/eeses with Down syndrome, and the Dianese pick, loved listening.

  6. A small footnote to the Gazzetta mention, if RAI TV’s “Processo alla Tappa” berated Gazzetta for not giving Milan the front page treatment yesterday… this morning’s Gazzetta had an article saying RAI TV’s ratings were good… but the Processo show was “un flop” which doesn’t need much translation 😉

  7. I have to say this Giro coverage has taken your blog to a new level. It’s just so profoundly enjoyable.

    My question: when are people going to start calling Milan selfish or greedy? He has won as many stages as Pogacar!

Comments are closed.