Giro d'Italia 2018

Giro d’Italia 2018 – Stage 16 Preview

Course:

The longest time trial at this year’s Giro d’Italia is a 34.2km run from Trento to Rovereto, a course which should suit the more power based riders in contention for the day’s honours, as there is not truly enough ascending to bring the featherweight cyclists into contention. Weather is always crucial when it is a race against the clock and the expectation is that the wind could prove pivotal if it changes direction as anticipated, leaving those who head off earliest with an advantage on Stage 16. 
Giro d'Italia 2018

Contenders:

Tom Dumoulin is reigning world champion in the individual time trial and has long been predicted to win this stage as he seeks to take a sizeable bite from Simon Yates’ current lead, if not consume it entirely and begin cementing his ownership of the maglia rosa. Perhaps more so than ever at a grand tour, Dumoulin has ridden within his limits as often as possible, no doubt realising that the absence of favourable terrain to attack upon in the final week, makes this time trial the cornerstone of a genuine bid at the title. This added freshness will only help him to call upon further firepower as he hopes to execute a crushing victory and set the third week of racing up to be a dramatic battle royale.

Rohan Dennis knows he is capable of matching the Dutchman Dumoulin on such a course, though after an already tough two weeks of racing, Dennis is likely to find it difficult to produce his absolute best today. Another of the time trial specialists whose talent is rooted in being able to sustain as much power as possible for the entirety, Stage 16 is an ideal platform for the Australian to place himself in the frame for a victory during this Giro d’Italia.

Chris Froome must feel like a pendulum as his form swings from one extreme to the next during this race, left to hope that today is a stage where it swings in his favour, which certainly should be the case given his previous dominance of grand tour time trials. However, there is not enough climbing to truly benefit the Team Sky captain and his work will be cut out if he seriously wishes to take a win today. With question marks still remaining as to his current condition, Stage 16 ensure there shall be nowhere to hide if cracks begin to appear, the day ending with certainty as to his general classification hopes.

Alex Dowsett looks to be in his best shape since moving teams during the off season and performed strongly in the opening time trial of this year’s Giro d’Italia. This long power-based course plays to his strengths well, while his current placing on the general classification means he shall be down the start ramp earlier than others here, hopefully taking advantage of favourable weather conditions. The British rider already has a Giro stage win under his belt and there is little to suggest he cannot at least feature in the mix for today’s honours.

Ryan Mullen has long been a specialist when it comes to this drag race style time trials, where it is all about producing as many watts as possible and sustaining that level of power all the way to the finish line. The Irishman has been performing well at this brutally tough edition of the Giro d’Italia, yet there is no doubt that the previous two weeks of racing will have impacted his ability to perform today and could be what hampers him most. However, he is perhaps the only contender here where the distance and terrain suit him almost perfectly, something which a fresh Mullen could certainly convert into a stage win.

Outcome:

1st Tom Dumoulin 2nd Rohan Dennis 3rd Alex Dowsett

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Giro d'Italia 2018

Giro d’Italia 2018 – Stage 15 Preview

Course:

Before the riders are able to enjoy the second rest day of this year’s Giro d’Italia, they must first survive another onslaught of mountainous terrain, courtesy of Stage 15’s 176km trek from Tolmezzo to Sappada. Climbing immediately from the start, we can expect to see the type of fierce fight to join the breakaway which has become a regular feature during the opening half of the race so far. Four categorised climbs feature during the day, including a trio of Category 2 ascents in the second part of the stage, making for a draining run into the base of the uphill finish which shall decide the winner.

Giro d'Italia 2018

Contenders:

Simon Yates has ridden with immense flair during his time in the maglia rosa thus far and shall be favourite to extend his ownership of the jersey with another swashbuckling attempt at victory. He impressed many with yesterday’s performance upon the intimidating Monte Zoncolan, riding with experience beyond his years and measuring his efforts to near perfection by the time the finish line was in sight. He does not shy away from the chance of a stage win as current race leader and knows that he is likely to be the fastest amongst many riders who may form an elite group which decides the day’s outcome.

Thibaut Pinot will believe this to be an ideal stage for his strengths, with long ascents and relatively controlled gradients, he will be eager to begin taking back time on his rivals ahead of the second rest day. Despite the uphill rise to the finish, the incline actually softens dramatically in the approach to the line, meaning the Frenchman will have a chance to utilise his powerful sprinting capabilities; something which perhaps only Simon Yates could better.

Chris Froome once again seized upon the first serious mountain stage to demonstrate his power and stake his claim to the overall title at this year’s Giro d’Italia. There is no denying his classy performance on Stage 14, though the Sky rider was able to take advantage of the ludicrously challenging nature of the gradients, which he will struggle to repeat on today’s parcours. Regardless, if he really is beginning to hit peak form ahead of the final week, then a dominant performance could be close at hand.

Michael Woods and Miguel Angel Lopez are two riders to consider for victory, as both have the attributes to ride strongly on the climb to the line, while also possessing a decent turn of pace to beat most rivals after another tough day at the Giro d’Italia.

Outcome:

1st Thibaut Pinot 2nd Simon Yates 3rd Miguel Angel Lopez

Giro d'Italia 2018

Giro d’Italia 2018 – Stage 14 Preview

Course:

After plenty of action during the opening week and a half of racing, we finally reach the first serious mountain stage of 2018’s Giro d’Italia. The 186km route from San Vito al Tagliamento to Monte Zoncolan is bound to prove the first vicious exchange of attacks amongst the general classification contenders for this year’s race. There is plenty to soften up the peloton’s legs during Stage 14, though it is the ascent of Monte Zoncolan which is anticipated to cause a serious stir amongst the general classification.

Giro d'Italia 2018

Contenders:

Thibaut Pinot has been eager to keep his form under control during the opening half of this year’s Giro d’Italia, focusing on avoiding the dangerous early peak which can affect general classification riders. The Frenchman has avoided digging too deep during this opening half of the race, though is certain to be eager to establish his dominance during this part of the race. If the day unfolds as planned, there is a great opportunity for Pinot to improve his position within the general classification and he is unlikely to say no to such a chance.

Miguel Angel Lopez still needs to take back time and may well begin his campaign with  serious endeavour as of tomorrow. Though the bunch shall be keen to keep an eye upon him, there is doubt he shall be easy enough to control, more likely becoming a main protagonist during the final moments of Stage 14.

Domenico Pozzovivo is enjoying the form of his life and will be all too aware that a strong performance here is likely to be required ahead of the individual time trial and the rivals which it brings down upon them. The diminutive climber shall not be afraid of shaking things up and is likely to prove a fuse ready to be lit.

Simon Yates has proven to be an aggressive custodian of this year’s maglia rosa, though will still be eager to cement his placing amongst the major names for the overall open win. If the race pans out as ideally as possible, then a late attack from him is definitely expected, one which may lead to victory.

Outcome:

1st Thibaut Pinot 2nd Tom Dumoulin 3rd Simon Yates

Giro d'Italia 2018

Giro d’Italia 2018 – Stage 13 Preview

Course:

Another day for the sprinters to contest amongst themselves, Stage 13 is a 180km jaunt from Ferrara to Nervesa della Battaglia, an almost entirely pan flat affair with little to worry about. A Category 4 ascent is present within the final moments of the day, though it is unlikely we shall see the same amount of skirmishes and fractured riding as witnessed ahead of yesterday’s approach into Imola. Assuming the peloton avoid another deluge, this should be a great opportunity to observe which of the main contenders for the maglia ciclamino look best prepared before the race turns towards a brutal barrage of mountains stages.

Giro d'Italia 2018

Contenders:

Sam Bennett monstered the final few hundred metres of yesterday’s stage and has now made the battle for the points classification far closer than many anticipated after the opening week of racing. The Irishman is an incredibly powerful rider, one who appears to take the greatest advantage as those around him begin to fatigue and suffer in the difficult weather conditions. He will once again expect his teammates to make the race as tough as possible in the final 30km, aiming to apply pressure to the key rivals and set Bennett up for a hat-trick of Giro d’Italia stage wins.

Elia Viviani was unlucky to be snarled up behind the chaos as the rain began to pour down yesterday and even appeared to witness his own teammates increase the tempo on the front of the bunch, without them realising he had slipped out the back. Regardless, he soon called time on his efforts and will have decided that his energy was best kept for today instead. Potentially fresher for having avoided going head to head with Bennett, the Italian will be eager to return to winning ways on Stage 13.

Danny van Poppel is beginning to see things fall into place as he targets a stage win, his teammates have been improving their leadout and the Dutchman himself is looking a resilient force in this second week. He will need a portion of good fortune to get the better of both Viviani and Bennett, though it is not impossible, the odds are certainly stacked against him.

Niccolo Bonifazio will fancy his chances if the final kilometres are ridden at an intense tempo to shift the thoroughbred sprinters, allowing him to utilise his strength to survive the cut in a better condition than others here. Though his team are unable to offer much in support, he is adept at surfing the wheels and has the potential to cause a surprise here.

Outcome:

1st Elia Viviani 2nd Sam Bennett 3rd Danny van Poppel

Giro d'Italia 2018

Giro d’Italia 2018 – Stage 12 Preview

Course:

A 214km blast from yesterday’s finish of Osimo to Imola on Stage 12 looks to be a surefire opportunity for the sprinters to take glory for themselves again. With little of note until a tame Category 4 climb 8km from the finish, it is difficult to imagine any outcome beyond a bunch kick, especially given the broad mix of teams with an interest today.

Giro d'Italia 2018

Contenders:

Elia Viviani will be able to reignite his campaign upon the points classification and has worked hard to avoid working much at all in recent days; however much a juxtaposition that may sound. He appears to have looked after his condition well, confidently eyeing up another win on Stage 12, where he shall be the favourite for many to secure the honours. His rivals will seek to up the tempo over the late Category 4 climb, but with years of track experience when it comes to recovering quickly to go deep once again, Viviani will be a tough nut to crack.

Sam Bennett finally got the monkey off his back and took the first grand tour stage of his career, though will now be eager to increase that tally as soon as possible. With plenty of firepower in support of him, they will make the race hard late in the day, but perhaps do not have the topographical ammunition required to truly make the Irishman’s rivals suffer. With the first half of the Giro d’Italia now heavy in the legs of many, Bennett could though prove the most resilient of all the fast men here.

Niccolo Bonifazio is a another rider who is likely to want to utilise the rise in the road during the run into Imola as a tool to diminish the odds of Viviani taking another stage victory. He has worked hard within his team to support the ambitions of leader Domenico Pozzovivo, which means unlike others mentioned here, he does not benefit from the luxury of being a protected rider throughout the Giro. Despite this, the strength which he has shown so far is encouraging and a podium placing is well with his grasp.

Sacha Modolo has not impressed as much as expected so far, but has the potential to be one of the least fatigued during the latter half of his home grand tour. Though his team does support him to an extent, there is no depth to his leadout and he will need to surf the wheels intelligently in order to compensate for this. Luckily, this is certainly a talent for him and could prove pivotal when combined with his ability to deal with the climb before Imola, increasing the likelihood of a win.

Outcome:

1st Elia Viviani 2nd Sam Bennett 3rd Niccolo Bonifazio

 

Giro d'Italia 2018

Giro d’Italia 2018 – Stage 11 Preview

Course:

Another day which is bound to prove a tug of war amongst the bunch and the breakaway, Stage 11’s 156km from Assisi to Osimo is likely to be explosive and fractious once again. Rising steadily from the start, it will take time for the day’s breakaway to form, though it would not be surprising to see this early move scuppered and reformulated mid-stage like yesterday, yet the main focus shall undoubtedly remain upon the finish itself. The final 5km starts with a rise of 16%, then sends the riders plunging immediately back down, before playing out the last 2.5km entirely uphill; featuring another ramp of 16%. It will take a gritty performance to take the stage honours in Osimo, with plenty of grimacing faces as the riders cross the line.


Giro d'Italia 2018

Contenders:

Diego Ulissi shall look upon the finale of Stage 11 gleefully, confident that he has been successful upon this type of terrain on numerous occasions before. His form may not be comparable to his historic best, but class is permanent and he is more than worthy of being picked out as a key player in the final moments of today.

Gianluca Brambilla was surprisingly anonymous yesterday, though still finished in ninth place, seemingly happy to allow his teammate Jarlinson Pantano a shot at breakaway success instead. The course suits the Italian well, providing him with opportunities to join an initial large break, before then seeking to whittle the group down in the final kilometres. Relatively quick against a strong gradient such as today’s, he could finally put to bed the illness and misfortune which has seen him fall from people’s radars in the last year.

Enrico Battaglin made a clear effort to sweep up the final points in the sprint competition on Stage 10 and knows he has the form required to win Stage 11 to step up the seriousness of his campaign upon the maglia ciclamino. Having already won at this year’s Giro d’Italia, he has far less pressure to perform and will enjoy the ability to monitor his rivals ahead of reaching out for his own glory.

Michael Woods looks to be the most likely contender amongst the general classification riders, as the final sharp run to the line is reminiscent of the Ardennes terrain which we have seen the Canadian do so well on previously. With his ambitions of a strong overall performance looking precarious, a victory today would be a great confidence booster and there is no denying he has the talent to do so if interested.

Outcome:

1st Diego Ulissi 2nd Gianluca Brambilla 3rd Enrico Battaglin

Giro d'Italia 2018

Giro d’Italia 2018 – Stage 10 Preview

Course:

Returning to the fray after a day off, this year’s Giro d’Italia offers up another opportunity for the breakaway to succeed, as the race heads from Penne to Gualdo Tadino. Totalling 239km, this is the longest day in the saddle for the riders at 2018’s edition, but should prove relatively manageable for those outside of the breakaway battle royale. Starting immediately with a tough Category 2 ascent, the contest to make the day’s cut is going to be a fierce affair, as it is unlikely the bunch will wish to work hard to reel back the morning’s move once it is away. The finish itself is somewhat rolling and technically demanding, though never becomes steep enough to truly favour the talents of pure puncheurs nor those with a strong uphill sprint. As with any lottery, on Stage 10 at this year’s Giro d’Italia, you have to be in it to win it.

Giro d'Italia 2018

Contenders:

Diego Ulissi now looks to be peaking well as the race enters its second week and will not wish to let such good form go unrewarded. A strong enough climber to follow the decisive moves early on, the Italian will be extremely confident of beating most of his likely fellow escapees in a sprint to the line, especially as the stage does not offer many clear opportunities for a rider to splinter from the beak in the final 40km. The only negative for Ulissi is that the day’s potential sprint finish is not contested at a noteworthy gradient, as he is often unmatchable when striking out for the win uphill.

Gianluca Brambilla may now be approaching the level of form which has previously delivered him grand tour stage victories and will look upon the difficult start to Stage 10 eagerly. A competent breakaway rider who climbs strongly and packs a competitive turn of speed, Brambilla is certainly a contender whom many others will wish to shake loose late in the day.

Giovanni Visconti is somewhat of a specialist when these long grand tour stages appear on the route, though is likely to have preferred a greater number of serious climbs to really make his rivals suffer on the day. Anticipated to be one of the instigators who helps to shape the breakaway, he knows how to survive such a stage in as best condition as possible and may prove to be one of the few strong enough to go solo during the latter half of the day if able.

Fausto Masnada and Natnael Berhane could both be enticed into action on Stage 10, knowing that a decent performance could deliver them some time in the King of the Mountains jersey, regardless of whether either seriously contests the day’s outcome.

Outcome

1st Gianluca Brambilla 2nd Giovanni Visconti 3rd Diego Ulissi