Wednesday, July 28, 2021
HomeRaceRace ReviewsIl Giro d'Italia 2014 - Stage 21; Gemona - Trieste, 169 km....

Il Giro d’Italia 2014 – Stage 21; Gemona – Trieste, 169 km. Luka Mezgec Takes the Finale

-

Giro d'Italia logoIt’s over – and Monday will feel empty. First things first; Luka Mezgec (Giant & Slovenia); and again we proved we’re not bad a spotting the ‘hot ones’ – we were one of the first to talk to the new sprint sensation, interviewing him here on VeloVeritas back in April.

VeloVeritas friend and pundit Ivan – a man with great knowledge of East European cycling – commented thus;

“A cracking result for Luka Mezgec to win in Trieste; Trieste has always been a city the Slovenes regard as being Slovene, in Slovene it is called Trst.”

Reminding us that it’s not so long since cycling and politics were inextricably linked in the East, he continued:

“One of the first ever stage races after the war was the Trst-Varna stage race, Varna is in Bulgaria on the Black Sea, the race was run only once, in 1945, from Trst to Varna across the Balkans, Varna was called, literally, Stalin, from 1948 to 1956.”

Luka Mezgec
Luka Mezgec took the final stage. Photo©Marco Alpozzi

And on the subject of Trst; Dave Duffield was stationed there just after the war (WW2 that is) and I remember his ramblings about his days there during his commentary on the 2009 Giro as we awaited Ale Jet destroying everyone at the line – sometimes I miss old Duffers.

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.

Luka Mezgec
Nacer Bouhanni. Photo©Fabio Ferrari

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.

It’s always good to have a demented/cool/outspoken Italian sprinter on the race – Marino Basso, Paolo Rosola, Mario Cipollini and Ale Jet Petacchi in his prime are all sadly missed here at VV.

Luka Mezgec
Nairo Quintana with his prize for the overall victory. Photo©Fabio Ferrari

The finishing circuit was a good one, exciting and challenging – but fortunately the rain stayed away until the jersey presentations or it could have been a blood bath.

As I said, the finish was a real dog fight with really only Bouhanni having a proper lead-out.

Sky were drilling it earlier – with Phillip Deignan in particular looking very good – but it was too much, too soon just like on Stage 10 when they wasted their sprinter Ben Swift as well as most everyone else on the little ‘lump’ in the closing stage.

Luka Mezgec
Phillip Deignan. Photo©Fabio Ferrari

It was a poor last stage and Giro in general for Cannondale with their fast man Elia Viviani coming away with nothing; Moreno Moser invisible and Ivan Basso sadly on a ‘season too many.’

But good to see GreenEdge’s Svein Tuft (Canada) and Michael Hepburn (Australia) off the front, showing the team colours and ‘honouring the pink race’ despite being on their knees.

Luka Mezgec
Quintana messes around with his teammates. Photo©Fabio Ferrari

On the subject of colour, Ivan suggested that Nairo Quintana (Movistar & Colombia) be face painted pink and also that little bit of leg which shows between his over-long shorts and knee-length overshoes.

We emailed Movistar head man Eusebio Unzue with this suggestion but haven’t had a reply, yet…

Seriously, a sensational Giro for the men from the Southern Hemisphere with Quintana’s GC win and two stage successes; Rigoberto Uran (QuickStep) in second spot with a stage win and the King of the Mountains and a stage going to Trek’s Julian Arredondo.

Luka Mezgec
The jersey winners; Aru, Bouhanni, Quintana and Arredondo. Photo©Fabio Ferrari

And let’s not forget the Aussies – three stage wins courtesy GreenEdge and Michael Matthews (GreenEdge) and spells in pink from Matthews and Cadel Evans (BMC).

Whilst Evans rode an excellent first half of the race he was found out in the high mountains and maybe it’s time to think about spending more time driving that lovely old Ford Mustang which he has in the garage?

Luka Mezgec
Cadel Evans. Photo©Gian Mattia D’Alberto

But despite Quintana making it clear eventually that he was ‘the man’ – and also well capable of the Monkeydom that’s sometimes required to win big, remember the Stelvio ? – the race didn’t have an air of inevitability about that fact until well on; for spells it looked like Evans and Uran would take a bit of shifting from the jersey.

Luka Mezgec
Quintana’s bike is pink, naturally. Photo©Fabio Ferrari

It wasn’t a bad Giro for the home nation either – with Fabio Aru (Astana & Italia) a real revelation and white hope for the future.

He’s no flash in the pan – his progression up through the U23 ranks was solid and his feet seem to well rooted to the Sardinian soil.

Luka Mezgec
Fabio Aru and Rigo Uran. Photo©Daniele Montigiani

But let’s not forget Bardiani’s role in preserving Italian honour; three stage wins – respect, gentlemen.

And despite the fact that I keep getting told that cycling is now a major sport in the UK and a Media favourite, Monday’s Guardian managed the first ten on the stage and GC – not a word of reportage or comment.

I know, ‘it’ll all be different come the Tour!’

But the Tour de France will have to go some to match the 2014 Giro – a wonderful bike race.

Next up we have the Dauphine and Suisse; but they’re just not the ‘pink race’ are they?

Luka Mezgec
A great race for the Movistar team and Columbia (the country). Photo©Fabio Ferrari

Ed Hood
Ed's been involved in cycling for over 45 years. In that time he's been a successful time triallist, team manager, and sponsor of several teams and clubs. He's also a respected and successful coach, and during the winter months can often be found working in the cabins at the Six Days. Ed remains a massive fan of the sport and couples his extensive contacts with an inexhaustable enthusiasm for the minutiae and the history of our sport.

Related Articles

Giro d’Italia 2013 – Stage 2: Ischia – Forio (TTT), 17.4km. Sky Win.

Sky’s Salvatore Pucccio pulled on the pink jersey at the end of the second stage TTT as specialists Garmin never got to grips with the tricky parcours and Sir Brad got his Giro campaign off to a great start. Pucci is 23 and doesn’t have much of a pro palmares – but he’s a worker for Sky, not a winner.

Il Giro d’Italia 2014 – Stage 16; Ponte di Legno – Val Martello/Martelltal, 139 km. Snow on the Stelvio

Stage 16 will enter legend – Quintana’s long distance attack to take pink was straight out of the top drawer. There is a big ‘but,’ however; the confusion created by the Giro organisation with their much debated radio announcement to the teams regarding the dangerous descent of the Stelvio Pass.

Giro d’Italia 2013 – Stage 1: Naples, 130km. No Caveats, Cav’s the best.

Goss had a perfect lead out on Stage 1 of the Giro d'Italia; Viviani can beat his ‘bars all he wants - but Cav is King. The QuickStep boys did their job early but it all went mass critical on that last lap. Steegmans was with Cavendish coming into the final, then seemed to have a mechanical - it was all down to Mark.

Giro d’Italia 2012 – Stage 15: Busto Arsizio – Lecco/Pian dei Resinelli 172km. ‘Plane Crash’

It's the Scottish Road Championships today - damn this Giro and it's climbs around Busto Arsizio in beautiful Lombardy! But Martin was telling me that the sun was out in Balfron and the jackets were off, so Scotland certainly had the last laugh - the weather here in Italy was grim.

Il Giro d’Italia 2014 – Stage 4; Giovinazzo – Bari, 121 km. Rain (almost) Stops Play, Nacer Bouhanni wins

A few years ago in that much missed part of Scottish cycling history which was the Girvan Three Day - old timers like me still want to say; ‘Grants of Girvan,’ the race originally sponsored by that purveyor of the water of life – a stage was curtailed because of snow. The journos did the rounds of riders such as Nacer Bouhanni, management and officials who all said broadly the same thing, that given the conditions it was a wise decision.

Il Giro d’Italia 2014 – Stage 19; Bassano del Grappa – Cima Grappa (ITT), 26.8 km. Nairo Quintana Excels

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?

At Random

Grenoble Six Days 2011 – D minus 1

It's a grey morning in Grenoble; we can't unload until 11:00 am and then we have to drive up to Lyon and collect Jesper and Marc off the plane. In the stadium office they have great old black and white photos of the stadium under construction; it really is a gem of a building, if you like modern architecture.

Grant Thomas – British Legend

Team Raleigh's Dan Fleeman has set the interview up for us, and we're sitting in the "Hotel Anonymous" in Walsall. A dapper, trim figure in blazer and slacks bounds up the stairs; it takes a moment to register - it's our man, Grant Thomas.

World Road Championships 2007 – Day 3: Road Race Parcours Preview

I got my Hugh Porter interview here at the World Road Championships 2007, it's not often that you get the chance to meet your hero, sometimes they disappoint, not Hughie, a cool guy who certainly doesn't live in the past, like many old pros do. Today was "course preview" day, I had hoped to borrow a bike, but eventually I thought; 'ach, I'll just walk!' for the first couple of hours this was fine, especially since there was lots to see; not least 'still banned' Danilo Di Luca, training with the Italian team.

The Girvan 2007 – Day 2, Stage 3

Sunday stage on the The Girvan 2007 started at 12.01am in the Roxy, Girvan's answer to Stringfellows. We drank cocktails, there was Bobby Darrin on the sound system, and the talk with the Prada-clad lovelies was of moving to Saint Tropez for the Spring.The scent of Chanel filled the air. Na - you know what it was really like; but we only had three beers, so there are no war stories.

Bremen Six Day 2012 – Day Six

I'm tidying this Bremen Six Day 2012 piece up on Thursday, we got back at the crack of dawn on Wednesday and I launched straight back into the 'real world.' I didn't have much time to think about anything other than getting round my calls.

Garry Clively – Part One: Aussie Pioneer and Grand Tour Top Ten

As Michael Matthews and Cadel Evans turn the Giro into a pink Aussie ‘barbie on the beach’ we thought we’d use the rest days to take a look back at one of the men who paved the way for Phil Anderson, Alan Peiper, Cadel Evans, Simon Gerrans and all the other Aussies who now contribute so much to European and world road cycling. Garry Clively rode two-and-a-bit seasons for Magniflex in the mid 70’s, turning pro on the back of a brilliant fourth spot in the 1975 amateur Worlds road race.