Pippo Pozzato gets a new nickname after today’s stage: Cassandra. He predicted the action pretty much to the letter (Evans winning, Sastre, Basso losing time) but was unable to do anything about it himself—possibly, some have suggested, because the weather was too grim. At any rate, the nickname is certainly inline with scope of the stage, which drew Gavia comparisons pretty much from the word go.
While I took in today’s action in a slightly atypical fashion, I’ve got to say, I was thrilled with what I saw. GC riders and stage contenders took chances throughout the day: Dario Cioni made an ambitious first move, then Linus Gerdmann came through with an aggressive climb-and-descent attack, during which a dreaded spike in PSL took out race leader Vincenzo Nibali, who was in a fairly select pack pursuing the break.
Nibali was slow to remount and lost time on the day, ceding the GC lead back to Alexandre Vinokourov. This lead to some criticism of Vino’s post-crash aggression in the press. While I may have been watching in non-ideal conditions, my visibility wasn’t cataract poor by any means, and it’s my assertion that Evans drove the race as much, if not more, than Vinokourov.
In fact, Evans’ rainbow-clad dictation of the closing kilometers was one of the high points of the race for me. In a very tricky final climb, descent, and narrow, cobbled, uphill sprint, the World Champ went to the front and essentially said “If you want it, you’re gonna have to take it from me.” Watching him stomp away from Damiano Cunego—no slouch at this sort of finish—and calmly point to his jersey after finishing with a three-second gap was a pretty class effort, and only added to the enjoyment of a stage I won’t soon forget.
The day was not without its detractors, though—Vinokourov, despite his successes over the take-no-prisoners parcours, questioned whether stages like this should be in Grand Tours, calling it “harder than Paris-Roubax“. I think think, despite the rough conditions, that the stage’s single DNF barely puts it in the same sport as Roubaix, let alone the same league.
As a racer, stages like today’s (scaled down to my humble abilities, anyway) are the races I love the most—all the more so if the weather’s bad. Granted, I’m not firing them off for twenty days running, but if the tweets of most of the riders I follow are any indication, it was a rough day at the office, but hardly unbearable one. It’s rumored that some may even haveenjoyed themselves.
thoughts on “A Stage For the Grandkids”
Evans’ finish was masterful. When Cunego locked onto his back wheel I was sure he was done for, but, lo and behold, Evans slowly cranked up the power and that was as close as anyone would get. It wasn’t a sprint, it was just a hierarchy of strength. May this reverse-curse of the rainbow jersey continue!
Vinokourov is known as a hard-man. He needs to obey Rule #5 https://www.velominati.com/blog/the-rules/#5. So Nibali binned it a 30k to go, why should people wait for him. Ridiculous idea . Didn’t look like Liquigas were waiting for Cuddles on stage 3
After watching today’s stage, it’s made me want to go off to the outlaws farm in the persistent heavy rain here today, zip up and down the cow race (Strada Pooppa) a few times and immerse myself fully in the Giro! sic. (Or I could stay at home and drink another cappuccino in front of the fire). Thank God for steephill.tv!, and thank you Cosmo to pointing it out on your blog a few months ago. A good/epic win to Cuddle, its good to see a southern hemisphere rider put the curse of the rainbow jersey on its head.
Don’t think the number of DNF’s is comparable between Roubaix and yesterday – if it were a one day race i guess you’d see many more stop. Since it’s a stage race they finished.
When will Simoni find it in his heart to dnf, he’s haemorrhaging more time than Dr Who.
Simoni will stick around as he has a shop to “promote” in Trento and wants to finish the Career with a semblence of success!
Home territory will see him utilise the energy he has been saving from helping Lampre Team to as he hopes take a final etappe!
Rode with Cadel to the start on friday talked of “Pistolera” amongst other things, he agrees that there will be “payback” at TDF but judging by yesterday and today he will be up for the challenge.
Told Lloydie to give “Disabled Sport” some publicity when he gets on the podium, happened sooner than i thought. Also spoke with John Murphy with the same theme though he doesn’t expect such luck.
Lousy “unlicensed refugee driver ” skittled me on thursday so that i was barely able to ride to the finish at Novi Liguri, woke up friday unable to walk although able to pedal around the team parking area.
Back here in Austria the weather is as bad as that at the Giro but been able to follow “all Auslralian Sports Success” this weekend on Eurosport, seems like we are on a roll once again
It seemed to me that Evans did a lot more marking of Vino’s wheel during his frequent attacks than driving the pace after the Liquigas crash, but maybe my perspective was skewed. Either way, Basso deserves as much, if not more of the blame, than either Vino or Evans in failing to protect his leader and bonking when he was most needed to pull Nibali back into the race… or at the very least, help him minimize his losses. I was yelling at Basso while i watched the finale, not Vino.
If you don’t mind the Italian commentary, I recommend http://www.gazzetta.it for live feeds. I watched this stage and the streaming was of excellent quality, there was no buffering and the commentators even spoke with ‘Stefan’ Roche and Mario Cipolini.
Re Nibali’s crash; as Vino pointed out, it’s a bit hard to be a gentleman when the everyone is balls out trying to be the first to the dirt section which is only a few km’s away. If the leaders sat up, i suspect the non GC riders would have attacked for the stage win.
It was a classic stage and made great viewing. Cadel impressed me with his win. He followed Vino’s attacks and then to lead Cunego et al in the last km and hold them off for the win showed confidence he has in his abilities.
Us Aussies really have to work on our celebrations though; Matt Lloyd and then Cadel Evans looked like they’d just won a basket full of pasta for 5th prize in the local raffle.
Looking forward to the rest of the Giro.