Tag Archive for ‘Giro d’Italia’
Giro d’Italia 2016 – Stages 19, 20 and 21; Kruijswijk’s Crash, and Nibali’s Resurgence (Comments Off)
Kruijswijk’s crash, would you have waited? Wee Esteban says: “I’m very sorry for the crash of Steven (Kruijswijk), unfortunately it’s a part of bike racing and he was unlucky today.”
Either way, it was a horrible crash – the Dutchman seemed paralysed with fear, it didn’t look like he even tried to steer round that bend. Ed rounds up the last three stages roadside.
It looked like Pippo was going to send Italia into raptures on Wednesday’s Stage 17 – but big, bad Six Day man and omnium specialist, Roger Kluge (IAM & Germany) spoiled the dream, jumping early from an uncontrolled peloton to take a beautiful stage win.
IAM are folding at the end of this year but Rodge will have no bother finding a contract.
With so many of the big sprinters gone – Kittel, Greipel, Demare, Ewan, Mezgec and Viviani – there was no one capable or willing to control the last kilometre except Lampre for Modolo and/or Trek for Nizzolo.
It wasn’t a good day for Chaves on Tuesday’s Stage 16, he lost time to Kruijswijk and Valverde. With three minutes in hand over the Colombian, the Dutchman is going to take a bit of shifting; and there’s a danger that Valverde might leapfrog Chaves, too – he’s now just 23 seconds in arrears. Nibali lost time, too. He just doesn’t seem like his old self in this race.
We were at the GreenEDGE hotel on the rest day – whilst the likes of Tuft and Plaza went out for a couple of hours on the road, Chaves sat on the turbo, smiled and chatted to journos. It’s not for us to say but we think that perhaps Chaves’ rest day programme wasn’t the best?
Greipel had just blasted the field to win his first Giro stage the day before; surely there’d be a good write up in the Guardian? I guess he got around 100 words?
I used to get more of a word allowance to write up races for “The Comic” [Cycling Weekly] back when Scottish racing got a bit of coverage. Meanwhile said Comic and British Cycling continue to tell us that cycling is now mainstream…
Giro d’Italia 2015 – Stage 21, Turin – Milan; Eeeel-yoh! (Comments Off)
Well, as our amigo Dave is won’t to say at this stage; “our creds are no good to us now.” Just a curiosity on the windscreen; the Giro is won and lost, Contador confirmed as one of the all time great stage racers – he’s won all three Grand Tours – one of only six men in history to do so, along with Nibali, Gimondi, Anquetil, Hinault and Merckx, and now stands fourth in the all time Grand Tour winners list.
The route from Torino to Milano today was as bland as you could get but Radio Nostalgia was cool and our coffee stop was a cracker. The Milano circuit was similarly bland and it’s one aspect where the Giro doesn’t quite get it right but Iljo Keisse and Luke Durbridge delivered an exciting finale as you get.
It was a privilege to be there and great to be part of it all on Stage 20; a marvelous spectacle on the ‘sterrato’ without doubt – but is it sport or simply a circus? The cameras love it and it’s great copy – maybe I’m being too harsh? Paris-Roubaix throws back to the old days so why not have stages like this, many would say?
Albeit I still say there were too many mountain days in the race, just too hard. The Giro is a marvelous race but it’s not the Tour – nothing is, can or will ever be. The Italian race organisers have decided that if they can’t match/best the French race on organisation, prestige and scale then their race will be the toughest around.
They’ve achieved that.
It was nice to wake up in the shadow of the Matterhorn this morning; imposing, snow capped and stunning against a picture post card blue sky. Yesterday? There’s a clue in what Contador, Aru and Landa call themselves; “professional” cyclists. It’s a job, a commercial enterprise, a way to make money for riders, sponsors and organisers.
The way we read yesterday is that Alberto is due a big favour from Astana whilst Landa is due one from management and Aru. Alberto is happy; he’s still going to win the Giro and absloutely nothing has changed in his world, the organisation is happy with Aru in second and Aru is happy – especially since he’s been wasted for days.
Monte Ologno, high above Lago Maggiore, Thursday 15:00 hours; we had to get up here early to beat the road closures; we got a slapped wrist from Vancouver for ‘missing the cut’ on the Mortirolo so no slip ups, today. The stage describes a big curve from Melide near Lugano to Verbania on Lago Maggiore; but there’s a late surprise – which we’re sitting at the top of.
It’s a nasty one; 10.4 K @ 9.0% average with a max of 13% makes it Category 1 and very tough. Where we are – 450 metres to go – it’s scenic with wonderful vistas across the lago but lower down it’s not unlike the Mortirolo in that much of it is a tunnel through the trees.
If you’re working the race it’s really hard to see a stage finish – the best spots get grabbed hours before. The answer is to find a good bar with a big tele, order a beer and enjoy the racing. That’s what we did today, we were at the start then on the big climb and that was about all we could cram in.
The traffic around Milan/Como/Lugano is absolutely horrible and to get from points A to B takes forever. There was no way we could make the finish, so a bar it was – on lovely Lake Como side, Bellana with cool beer and a nice TV…
You forget how gruesome the climbs are here in Italy; I’d never been over the Mortirolo before but it was an eye opener – 11.9 kilometres (that’s more than seven miles) with an AVERAGE gradient of just under 12% and a maximum of 18%.
Lance reckoned it was the toughest climb he ever raced and ‘Bert’ was on 34 x 30; ’nuff said !’
On most of the big climbs there are sections where it eases a little; not on this swine, it’s unrelenting and unforgiving – ask Fabio Aru …
Mezgec’s sprint was timed to perfection in what was a real free-for-all of a finish. And isn’t that Giant jersey livery just so effective? – there was no doubt about which kind of bike had just won as Big Luka crossed the line.
Nacer Bouhanni (F des J & France) didn’t seem his usual desperate self, he said later he was too concerned about crossing the line upright and preserving his red points jersey; Tyler Farrar (Garmin & USA) simply isn’t as rapid as he once was and Giacomo Nizzolo (Trek & Italy) must be wondering what he has to do to get a win – four second places.
That final horrible grind up the mountain didn’t affect the GC much at all but Michael Rogers’ (Tinkoff & Australia) ride was wonderful to watch. It looked very much like he had the better of fellow breakaway survivor Francesco Manuel Bongiorno (Bardiani & Italy) anyway, but we were denied their duel going any further by the moron who gave the man in green a push.
Already sitting close on the wheel, Bongiorno touched Rogers back tyre and had to unclip to avoid a crash – his rhythm and concentration broken the Italian couldn’t get back on terms with Rogers and it was left to the 34 year-old former Junior Points Race World Champion from New South Wales to take his most spectacular victory in the grand manner, alone, arms high in the air.
Il Giro d’Italia 2014 – Stage 19; Bassano del Grappa – Cima Grappa (ITT), 26.8 km. Nairo Quintana Excels (0)
Today, the race started at 123 metres above sea level and finished at 1,712 metres above sea level – that’s an elevation of 1,589 metres. The climbing part of the race went on for some 12.5 miles with Quintana’s average speed – but with four/five miles of flat road in there which the ‘Bigs’ were covering at around 27 mph – an average 16.5 miles per hour.
Last finisher was Jeffry Johan Corredor (Colombia & Colombia) @ 18:00 minutes. Enough said, I think?
Is it me or is Quintana just TOO pink; he looks like something from Toy Story gone feral – but when you can climb like he can then you can get away with pretty much anything, I guess? It looks like the Giro is won; even if he has an off day in the mountain test or Zoncolan it’s unlikely the little chap will concede 1:41 to Uran and even less likely he’ll drop 3:29 to Rolland & Co.
It’s been a great race and even though it’s now pretty much certain that the small gentleman from Tunja on the Pan American Highway in Colombia will win and Uran will be second, the battle for the third spot on the podium – and just maybe the second one, too – rages on.
The other day we had the score down as 2:0 in the Bardiani v. Sky match – well, it’s now 3:0 as the versatile Stefano Pirazzi demonstrated the desire, desperation and grinta you need to be a Giro stage winner.
As well as being a former Tirreno and Giro King of the Mountains, he’s been a medallist in the Italian TT Championships. This is his fifth full pro season – initially with Colnago and remaining with the team as it morphed into Bardiani.