Giro d'Italia 2018

Giro d’Italia 2018 – Stage 9 Preview

Course:

Totalling 225km, Stage 9 is the first serious day of racing we can expect to see amongst the general classification riders, given that it finishes atop Gran Sasso d’Italia at the end of the stage. Having left Pesco Sannita earlier on, it is nearly 100km before the peloton reach the first of the day’s three categorised climbs, though it almost immediately then sends them back down to the valley floor. From here they face nearly 50km of constantly rising terrain, anticipated to thin the ranks of the peloton gradually, until the big names are left to fight amongst themselves en route to the summit finish.

Giro d'Italia 2018

Contenders:

Domenico Pozzovivo suits this day particularly well, and given his stunning form in 2018, it is difficult for him to not catch the eye of those seeking to predict the day’s winner. He should feel assured of matching his rivals all the way to the summit finish, though it is his explosive turn of pace at the end of such a day which is likely to secure him the win. Long since styled a nearly man by many, this is an opportunity for the diminutive rider to finally shake that monkey from his back.

Thibaut Pinot appeared ready once again for fireworks amongst the maglia rosa contenders yesterday, but ended the day with having kept his powder dry ahead of today’s rigours. The Frenchman will like the look of this long ascent towards the day’s summit finish, well suited to his talents for sustaining a strong tempo right to the top, before then breaking out for the win with his trademark sprinting capabilities.

Esteban Chaves looked to be the best climber on Mount Etna, even though he had spent nearly the entire day within the stage’s breakaway, justly rewarded for his prowess by his team leader Simon Yates. Stage 9 would normally prove a particularly appealing prospect yet again, however the team dynamic has now changed since taking the leader’s jersey and the Colombian could be kept on a tight leash for the benefit of his British counterpart.

Simon Yates may well have gained even more time upon the Mount Etna finish, had he had the confidence to attack earlier, a tendency for hesitation which has been documented several times throughout his career so far. Regardless, the team and himself will be wanting to defend the pink jersey ahead of the rest day, though his current form suggests he may even be able to extend his lead. With such a strong array of riders at his disposal, it seems unlikely he shall become isolated late in the day, instead he should be confident of finding himself in a position to seize a tighter grip on the general classification.

Miguel Angel Lopez will be aware of the need to make up time as soon as possible, therefore could be tempted into action if the opportunity to do so becomes apparent. Almost unmatchable on his day, it is still not quite clear how great his condition is right now, though no rival will feel certain of being able to match the Colombian’s best on close to his favoured terrain.

Others to consider are George BennettDavide FormoloBen O’ConnorGiulio Ciccone and Fabio Aru.

Outcome:

1st Thibaut Pinot 2nd Domenico Pozzovivo 3rd Simon Yates

 

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Giro d'Italia Stage 20 Preview

GIRO D’ITALIA 2016 – STAGE 15 PREVIEW

Course:

Yesterday’s monstrous Queen Stage of 2016’s Giro d’Italia confirmed that Esteban Chaves, Steven Kruijswijk and Vincenzo Nibali look to be the strongest climbers from the general classification contenders as we approach the third week. Stage 15 throws another potential banana skin beneath the wheels of the favourites today with a 10.8km uphill time trial from Castelrotto to Alpe di Siusi. The almost constant ascent from start to finish is poised to truly begin opening the gaps up on the general classification, potentially extinguishing the ambitions of some riders upon its slopes.

giro-ditalia-stage-15-preview

Contenders:

Esteban Chaves made yesterday’s victory look much easier than it actually was, gauging his efforts neatly within the chasing group to close down Darwin Atapuma and eventually sprinting to victory with a late surge to the line. Given his performance, it is easy to see him as the favourite for Stage 15’s time trial, especially as the contest is more about climbing talent than it is technical time trialling prowess. Assuming that Chaves recovers well overnight, the Colombian has a fantastic chance of making it back to back wins at a grand tour with an impressive climbing performance against the clock.

Vincenzo Nibali may have struggled to follow the day’s decisive move, but given the huge demands and efforts required, it is possible to suggest he has identified today as a way of recouping time having limited his losses yesterday. The biggest issue however is that he did not look like a man in control of his suffering on Stage 14 and instead genuinely looked unable to summon the required strength to follow the likes of Chaves and Kruijswijk when it mattered most. Nibali attacked earlier than expected too, potentially hinting at anxieties regarding his condition by using offence as the best defence. Regardless, this course suits him well and he cannot be discounted purely due to a single off day in a three week grand tour.

Steven Kruijswijk is currently turning in the level of performance which has long be anticipated from the talented Dutch climber and is certain to be one of the fastest home on Stage 15. The trouble for Kruijswijk is that this short time trial is likely to make it difficult for him to truly lay down the power and challenge his rivals. Being a larger and more powerful climber should allow him to gain time on the opening section and later false flat sections though, which could potentially equal enough to give him the win.

Rafal Majka has a good history for performing on days like these and has been one of the stronger climbers at this year’s Giro d’Italia beneath the top tier of Chaves, Kruijswijk and Nibali. The Polish rider is well skilled in measuring his efforts, ranging from time trials to breakaways, so is worth keeping an eye upon here.

Ilnur Zakarin‘s showing thus far has been rather mixed, showcasing a threatening sharpness in the first week, before then diminishing somewhat after several crashes during the earlier rain-soaked time trial. Unlike Nibali, Zakarin did appear to be pacing himself in the wake of the attacks today, so potentially stands to be one of the fresher GC contenders on Stage 15. The Russian is a time trial specialist who has grown to become a convincing climber, so today’s task should play to his strengths perfectly. His time here is likely to provide us with a strong indication of his chances of finishing the third week with a chance of a podium place too.

Alejandro Valverde was one of the first to be dropped after Nibali, Chaves and Kruijswijk all exchanged attacks and sent him sliding out the back door. The Spanish rider has done little to convince people of his form at this Giro thus far, but given his time trialling capabilities, he should turn in a respectable time; even if it does not threaten for the win.

Sebastian Henao, Domenico Pozzovivo, Primoz Roglic, Michele Scarponi and Stefano Pirazzi are all names likely to fill the day’s top ten placings.

Outcome:

1st Esteban Chaves 2nd Vincenzo Nibali 3rd Steven Kruijswijk