Giro d'Italia logoMaths was never my strong point but I make today’s Stage 11 to have been 249 kilometres in 5 hours 48 minutes – that’s 42.93 kph with two second category climbs along the way over virtual full Classic distance.

Wow!

It should have been a day for a ‘harmless’ break to ride off towards the horizon, never to be seen again whilst the GC boys agreed a truce – but VeloVeritas chum Gianni Savio who’s manager of Androni Giacottoli-Venezuela was highly disgruntled about the fact that when the escape did go – his squadra missed it.

The race ‘must be honoured’ so his boys had to sharpen their picks and head for the coal face – they chased for most of the day making what should have been an controlled stage a very tough one.

Mick Rogers
Androni pull the field for most of the day. Photo©Fabio Ferrari

And at the death not an Androni rider to be seen.

But here I am writing about his team – so job done.

Mick Rogers, a ride-and-a-half – especially given the Giro is only his second race back from the ‘clebuterol carry on.’

He must have looked after himself really well during his hiatus.

Mick Rogers
Mick Rogers, Stage winner. Photo©Marco Alpozzi

If you count the 2000 season when he was a stagier with Mapei, this is his 15th pro season, he was with Mapei ’01 and ’03; QuickStep ’03, ‘04 and ’05; T-Mobile ’06 and ’07; the various incarnations of High Road/Columbia/HTC ’08, ’09 and 10; Sky ’11 and ’12 and Saxo/Tinkoff last year and this.

His palmares are huge and broad – we’ve taken one result from each year to give you a feel for them:

  • 96: Aussie Junior TT champion.
  • 97: World Junior Team Pursuit Champion.
  • 98: Commonwealth Games Team Pursuit Champion.
  • 99: 2nd Worlds U23 TT.
  • 00: 3rd Worlds U23 TT.
  • 01: 3rd GP Merckx.
  • 02: 1st overall Tour de Beauce (Canada).
  • 03: World Elite TT Champion.
  • 04: World Elite TT Champion.
  • 05: World Elite TT Champion.
  • 06: Stage Regio Tour (Germany).
  • 07: 2nd overall Tour of Catalonia.
  • 08: 2nd overall Tour of Missouri.
  • 09: Australian Elite TT Champion.
  • 10: 1st overall Ruta del Sol.
  • 11: 12th overall Paris-Nice.
  • 12: 1st overall Tour of Bavaria.
  • 13: 1st Japan Cup (subsequently declassed)

We’ve already ranted about his ‘free pardon’ on the Japan Cup wrap so won’t repeat ourselves.

But a thing which we still wonder about was why he left Sky – where he was highly valued and instrumental in Wiggins’ Tour win – to join Big Bjarne at Saxo.

The ‘word on the street’ was that it was because of the fact he ridden for ‘a certain team in a certain era.’

The man himself says it was purely financial.

I guess that sounds about right; the richest team in the world weren’t going to pay him as much as Bjarne – who was permaskint until a certain Russian chap got involved.

As old paw Hood might say; ‘and the band played, “Believe it if You Like!

Mick Rogers
And the band played… Photo©Marco Alpozzi

Nonetheless a great ride today for the Tinkoff man albeit helped by the fact that Cadel and BMC were content to just charge rather than rampage in the finale – with the distance and climbs all of the kamikazes were out of the red kite mix, ‘back in de boos’ as Sean might say; so it was going to be pretty safe.

And all those watts GreenEDGE have left so gloriously on the roads of Ireland and Italy have finally taken their toll with Matthews DNS and Durbridge a crash victim.

Durbridge was listed a favourite for tomorrow’s chrono but a broken collar bone has put paid to that.

Evans apart, the other big favourite for tomorrow ended up in a ditch and crossed the finish line looking like the Swamp Thing – Movistar’s Adriano Malori.

Mick Rogers
Adriano Malori. Photo©Fabio Ferrari

Malori was Italian, European and World U23 Champion in 2008; the following year he was ‘only’ fifth in the U23 Worlds but had a raft of good rides in Italy.

In 2010 in the colours of Lampre he was second on GC in the Tour of Bavaria and in 2011 took the Italian Elite TT title as well as the TT in the Coppi Bartali.

Dario Cataldo beat him for the title in 2012 and he slipped to third last year behind the remarkable Marco Pinotti and an unlikely Stefano Pirazzi – but it was a hilly parcours.

But last year the bigger results began to come – the TT in the Coppi Bartali and the TT in the Tour of Bavaria which springboarded him to the overall title.

This year he’s won the TT’s in San Luis and Tirreno – the Movistar soigneurs will be working overtime on him, tonight.

If everyone rides to expectation then Evans should win it.

Mick Rogers
Nico Roche gave it a good go today. Photo©Fabio Ferrari

It would have been interesting to see how a fully fit Ulissi would have gone in the chrono – but he too bit the dust and has dropped out of the top ten allowing Ivan Basso to move up to tenth.

But whoever wins, the GC won’t look the same as it does today, ‘that’s for sure, eh?

As the Euro Pros say.

Mick Rogers
At the other end of the TInkoff rollercoaster, Chris Anker took a tumble. Photo©Fabio Ferrari

And in the Colombo, ‘just one more t’ing’ file; I know it’s been a while Mick, but zip-up your jersey next time, son.

Ciao, ciao.