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

Advertisements
Le Tour de France 2017

Le Tour de France 2017 – Stage 16 Preview

Course:

The first stage back after a rest day always generates a degree of trepidation for the riders, as some return feeling fresher after a day free of the rigours of racing, while others sense their form begin to go off the boil. Signalling the return to the saddle for the peloton is an 165km trip from Le Puy-en-Velay to Romans-Sur-Isère, offering little in the way of easing the riders back into the swing of things with its immediate uphill start. The opening rise forms the Category 3 Côte de Boussoulet, a 4.5km long ascent which averages a hard to ignore 6.3% gradient throughout its slopes. From its summit the road continues to roll for around another 40km, eventually tackling the relatively short Col du Rouvey and its subsequent fast descent. After dropping into the valley, the road does not feature a great deal of topographical challenges, though crosswinds could play a pivotal role in deciding the composition of any leading group late in the day. Whoever does reach the final kilometre first will face a very technically demanding run into the finishing line itself, with tight turns and roundabouts packed in to make things even more stressful. It may even prove tempting for some sprinters to chance their luck in the day’s breakaway in order to avoid such a hectic conclusion to Stage 16.

Le Tour de France 2017 - Stage 16 Preview

Contenders:

Alexander Kristoff is a master at measuring his efforts when the crosswinds begin scything apart the peloton, even going as far as to say he enjoys their destructive nature and the familiarity it brings having spent much time cycling along the Norwegian coastline. His main goal will be to survive the opening climb within touching distance of his main rivals for Stage 16, after which if successful, there will be a great chance for him to collect a Tour de France victory in 2017. With the winds potentially turning this into an arduous return to racing, combined with a technical finale, Kristoff should be able to emerge as a major contender for stage honours here.

Michael Matthews and his team will appreciate how crucial today could prove in the battle for the green jersey, having already secured a brilliant stage win in the absence of Marcel Kittel before the rest day. Stage 16 is another chance to turn the screw on the dominant German sprinter, likely aiming to make racing hard from the very start and hoping to drop Kittel as soon as possible. Though not renowned for his prowess in crosswinds, his teammates do offer plenty of experience in surviving the challenges it throws their way, so Matthews is likely to be in safe hands. A harder day will blunt the top end speed of his faster rivals, while the late turns and road furniture could derail a few leadout trains too, but he will need to be in the leading group before he can worry about victory. Matthews will be contesting this on an almost flat finish, so everything will need to fall perfectly into place if he is to stand a chance of winning and cutting the lead of Marcel Kittel upon the maillot vert.

Greg Van Avermaet could prove to have eyes upon joining the day’s breakaway if able to muster the sort of form we have previously seen from the classics specialist at Le Tour de France. He knows that life will be hard if a bunch kick ends up deciding the day, especially given the lack of incline, but the Belgian has a great chance of being the fastest rider present if he smuggles himself aboard a successful move. Unlikely to fear life in the crosswinds, Avermaet will know how to look after himself as best as possible and even identify the riders who are most likely to contribute towards forming a breakaway which will survive a day out front.

John Degenkolb looks to be on the up once again and Stage 16 does provide an opportunity which suits him more ideally than those which have already been sent his way. A powerful rider, Degenkolb is capable of producing the efforts required to make the cut if echelons form during the day; his immense strength a huge asset over his lighter weight sprinting rivals. Much like his countryman Marcel Kittel, his greatest challenge will be hauling himself up the opening climb of the day and ensuring he has enough left in reserve to battle it out in the final kilometres. He lacks team support to help him navigate the technical run into the finish, but a hard race could thin the ranks enough to give Degenkolb a better chance at victory.

Edvald Boasson Hagen shall certainly want to see his current form put to good use and is another rider who could potentially join the breakaway if he does not fancy his chances in a larger sprint at the end of the day. He can certainly climb well enough on his day to make the key moves, has the strength to manage life in the crosswinds and is often one of the freshest at the end of a tough race. Team Dimension Data have been working hard to produce a good result since the departure of Mark Cavendish, so should view Stage 16 as an opportunity to finally see their determination secure themselves a taste of victory once again.

Nacer Bouhanni has proven incredibly tough to gauge during this year’s Tour de France, though if he is returning to top form, then this will be the day to demonstrate so. With its anticipated nature and technical finale, Bouhanni has the tenacity required to ensure he finds himself stuck to the right wheel throughout Stage 16. Another fast finisher who lacks a convincing team support on days such as these, the Frenchman will no doubt see his chances of winning improve if the number of riders able to contest the outcome is greatly reduced by a hard race.

Other names to consider for both sprint and breakaway are Ben SwiftSonny ColbrelliStephen CummingsMarcel KittelDylan GroenewegenAndré Greipel and Davide Cimolai.

Outcome:

1st Michael Matthews 2nd Edvald Boasson Hagen 3rd Greg Van Avermaet