Giro Stage 18 Preview

A likely sprint stage but the last chance for the breakaway among riders who fear the Alps.

Try, try again: Giulio Pelllizari won the Cima Coppi ahead of Nairo Quintana at the Passo Sella and their sprint helped a group form over the top which went away on the descent and more come across including Georg Steinhauser. Romain Bardet had been in the mix but was caught and this mattered as DSM Firmenich took up the chase mid-stage on the Passo Rolle and rode down the breakaway.

It looked like once again teams were conspiring to serve up the stage on a platter for Tadej Pogačar.
But Steinhauser jumped away with Amanuel Ghebreigzabhier and the pair started the first ascent of the Passo Brocon together. Ghebreigzabhier’s shoulders were rocking and soon Steinhauser was away solo.

Behind there was little chase. DSM folded. Bahrain set the tempo but Steinhauser was taking time on them. UAE were passive, they’d wanted the breakaway to go away the previous day and seemed as relaxed this time.

This meant Steinhauser started the final climb with a big lead and could finish it with a big smile. Behind the suspense was for the podium race. Ineos set the pace almost out of tradition and this cracked Ben O’Connor among others, now Antonio Tiberi closing in on the Australian’s fourth spot. Dani Martinez made a move but he couldn’t get away.

Then Pogačar sauntered away. He looked like a boy who’d finished school and was pedalling home to get a glass of milk in time for his favourite cartoon on TV. Sure he’s a 25 year old man but it was the carefree style, he just floated off to take a nonchalant twenty seconds while the others were using everything they had to take a second between them.

The Route: 178km out of the mountains. The climb to Lamon is a real deal, the course turns off the main road to ride up into the town. Then lots of familiar roads from past Giri including Valdobbiadene amid the prosecco vineyards.

The course looks featureless from the profile after the last sprint point in Martellago but it does snake left and right a lot. It’s no maze, just that if a breakaway isn’t brought to heel by this point then it could have more of an advantage that you might first think… but only just.

The Finish: all flat with a sprint in the city centre amid the baroque architecture. A right turn with 500m leads onto the finishing straight.

The Contenders: Jonathan Milan (Lidl-Trek) is the obvious pick, he’s bossing the sprints and his team look the strongest. Even coming off his wheel to go around looks hard. But he has gone long and the risk is he goes too from too far and someone manages to come around. Tim Merlier (Soudal-Quickstep) and Kaden Groves (Alpecin-Deceuninck) are the obvious second picks and we’ll see if Caleb Ewan (Jayco) can surprise.

Tomorrow’s stage suits breakaway specialists more making it hard to identify riders who fit the Venn diagram of: not being confident for the semi-mountainous stage tomorrow; having the brute force to stay clear; and being on a team where they can be released for the day because they don’t have a sprinter. Filippo Ganna (Ineos) fits the bill but it’s hard to see.

Groves, Milan
Gaviria, Dainese

Weather: sunshine and 22°C. Rain is expected after the finish but could arrive early.

TV: KM0 is at 1.10pm CEST and the finish is forecast for 5.15pm CEST. Tune in for the sprint finish but keep an eye on things in case there’s a breakaway with a chance.

Postcard from Treviso
Just north of Treviso is Villorba which will see an intermediate sprint today. It’s home to Cicli Pinarello.

Giovanni “Nani” Pinarello trained as an apprentice frame builder before a brief stint as a pro cyclist. Then he started Cicli Pinarello in 1953. For the next 50 years the company grew but remained an artisan effort, hand-built steel fames made in Villorba.

Along the way the manufacturing business became a brand and a virtuous effect where as the business grew it could recycle money into sponsoring pro teams which gathered more publicity which sold more frames. Their frames saw grand tour wins in the 1970s but the business took off in the 1980s and in the 1990s it backed the Banesto team during Indurain’s reign, Telekom with Riis and Ullrich, the 2000s with Valverde and more recently Team Sky and Ineos.

Today Pinarello has become a luxury brand. Villorba isn’t a workshop where artisans work blowtorches and files but a slick showroom where celebrities pose for an Instagram ad before walking out with their bike. The actual business of making things is outsourced to third parties, the frames are made in Taiwan. It’s a big business too, the the Pinarello family sold the business in 2016 to US private equity firm L Catterton linked to the LVMH luxury goods group in 2016 and Catterton it on in 2023 to an unnamed buyer, at least not mentioned by Catteron. But La Gazzetta confirmed the whispers with a report that it was bought by Ivan Glasenberg, the mining mogul who has also invested in the Q36.5 brand of clothing and a convert to road cycling. Sales have been booming with double-digit growth in recent years.

It’s a business case study where Pinarello has thrived, arguably because of this push into becoming a luxury brand at the very top of the market, a story similar to Colnago too and both are enjoy booming sales, a “Made In Italy” success story.

16 thoughts on “Giro Stage 18 Preview”

    • Funnily enough Caleb seems as strong as he’s been in a grand tour for years but is nowhere in the sprints. Just a confidence thing? But just compared to last year in the Tour when he was off the back in big mountain stages almost from the word go he looks so much better.

  1. How do you write about Giovanni Pinarello in a blog about the Giro without mentioning Pinarello’s connection to the Giro? Last winner of the maglia nera, was so bad he got fired from his team, parlayed the severance pay into a framebuilding shop, the rest is history (or so they claim)…

  2. Top ride by Steinhauser and a new addition to the likeables. In relation to Pogacar what you mention just seems to be his new approach this year. Instead of blasting away he just does enough to get clear air and then maintain a demanding pace.

  3. Funny thing is that Georg Steinhauser is Jan Ullrich‘s nephew as his dad (and former pro) Tobias Steinhauser is the brother of Ullrich‘s former wife Sara.
    Georg Steinhauser seems to be a nice guy riding crits in his home region when the racing calendar gives him a chance to have some fun.

  4. Somebody mentioned yesterday Campagnolo, which are reportedly trying the same move, but with much less success at least in the short term. Not the same exact sort of business, either. Colnago had their (relatively) gloomy moments in Italy at the beginning of the 2000s when it was commonplace to hear comments like it was a bike for the 50 to 60 years old «bauscia», you paid for the brand, history and marketing but with little or none added value when compared to, say, Wilier. Their insistence on a mix of too old (carbon frame lugs) or too new techs (early disc brakes) created a list of then-angry high-spenders. Later, things changed, and probably nowadays if forced to buy a «modern» bike, some Colnago would be among my top choices. If only I could afford ’em, I mean 😛
    Jokes apart, I wish something on the same lines for Campy, too. They now look stuck in the thorny part any transition usually has, which is a shame because unlike bike frames it’s not like there’s a nice quantity of alternatives around for groupsets (wheels offer more option, although if you think alu wheels uhmmm). Currently, if you want a fast, precise, consistent road groupset it’s more or less Dura Ace or Campy, full stop. If the latter exits the broader market, ouch.
    Curiously, Pinarello always did things «their way» (think frame weight) and kept themselves quietly «up there» despite the inevitable occasional fiasco, so at the end they became luxury in a more natural and casual way. Many years ago, my father knew little about cycling but when working in Treviso had noticed the workshop, so he thought it was the typical artesan and walked in to ask for a children bike… they explained him in a kind and nearly apologetic way that they were so sorry but it was not the sort of bicycle they made. Obviously my father understood the situation only some ten years later or so ^___^

  5. Impressive the slow pace by INEOS, out of tradition, really, Steinhauser was gaining time on them as they burnt out one by one. I thought that G wasn’t feeling well and this was the old go on the front and climb steady if your leader isn’t fine, but he actually had good legs. I even suspected that it was about letting the bonus secs slipping away as Dani is more punchy. OTOH Martínez saved indeed a dangerous day, he had struggled earlier on and his team normally quite solid this time had imploded through the stage.
    I can’t really understand DSM, just copycat of Movistar yesterday I guess, i.e. your leader feels good then suddenly no more and you confusely try to adjust strategy on the spot.

  6. The last twenty Ks were quite something. Narrow roads, roundabouts, excited crowds and pinch points a plenty. Must have had Hansen and his mates trembling! BUT there were no untold incidents, and the whole thing was finished with a thrilling sprint. bike racing and sprint finishes at their best!

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