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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Abu-Dhabi-Tour-Stage-4

Abu Dhabi Tour – Stage 1 Preview

Course:

The suggestion of a few bumps during today’s racing will seem like mountains in comparison to the other sprinters’ stages on offer this week, stretching uninterrupted for miles on flat tarmac roads through the desert landscape. Stage 1 is an 147km out and back trip from Madina Zayed, taking in a few meters of climbing as they roll over dune styled hills, ultimately spending the most part of the day on featureless terrain. A smattering of turns appear in anticipation of the finish line, though the last kilometre itself is a wide finishing straight which should favour those who often dominate a drag race to the finish.

Abu-Dhabi-Tour-Stage-1

Contenders:

Mark Cavendish will wish to return to winning ways after having to settle for silver in Doha last weekend and is no doubt highly motivated to do so. The British sprinter does not possess his full arsenal of team support for the sprints, but a combo of Mark Renshaw and Bernhard Eisel has seen him through plenty of days in the saddle safely enough en route to victory.

André Greipel was initially seen as a favourite for the world title in Qatar, but the potent tactics of the Belgian teams meant the desert wind cut him from the lead group and immediately ended his hopes of a medal. Greipel’s leadout train is far from the familiar wheels he normally follows in the final kilometres of racing, but the simple finishing straight should prove perfect territory for him to hammer out the watts.

John Degenkolb had initially made it across to the front echelon in Doha after the race was blown to pieces, yet suffered a mechanical and ultimately drifted back to endure Germany’s failings with his teammates. He arrives in Abu Dhabi with Koen De Kort and Ramon Sinkeldam to set him up in the sprints, eager to rectify his dose of misfortune at the world championships by picking up a stage win.

Giacomo Nizzolo performed better than expected in pursuit of the rainbow bands last weekend and looks to be in great form as the season reaches its end. The Italian may struggle with the lack of technical finishes at this race, so will need to deliver his sprint perfectly if he is to challenge the likes of Cavendish and Greipel.

Elia Viviani picked up two wins here last year, bringing with him fast finishers Owain Doull and Danny Van Poppel on this occasion in hope of repeating his success. Much of 2016 has been spent focusing on track racing ahead of the Olympics, resulting in a gold medal, so there is uncertainty as to his road form right now.

Magnus Cort Nielsen announced himself to the pro ranks by snatching two stage wins in the final week of this year’s Vuelta a España. He will however be sharing duties with Michael Matthews in Abu Dhabi and there is a reasonable chance they shall look to support the Australian instead today.

Other riders hoping to feature in the mix for the win are Sacha ModoloAndrea GuardiniJean-Pierre Drucker and Steele Von Hoff.

Outcome:

1st André Greipel 2nd Mark Cavendish 3rd John Degenkolb