Lest I fall short of my own impeccable standards, I must discuss the Giro at least once today. And there is, frankly, still a lot to talk about. Specifically, yesterday’s GC reshuffling.
The finger-pointing began as soon as the riders crossed the line. This is the juncture where I’d normally poke fun at Cadel Evans for whining, but after seeing the man’s face when he staggered across the line, that’s just not going to happen. Anytime you see riders rocking the baggy coats, it’s not for style—it’s for not freezing to death.
I’ve heard riders complain about conditions before, but never in the terms that came up yesterday. The train of haggard human wreckage that trickled across the finish line on Stage 11 was enough, at least for a few hours, to inspire faith in clean bike racing.
How’d it happen? Here’s my take—the field splits. It’s a big group. Everyone sees it and thinks “eh, they’ll never let it go.” The break gets a bigger gap, CerveloTestTeam, Sky, and SaxoBank realize the move has a chance of staying and go all-in driving it.
According to Vino’, Astana, BMC, and Acqua e Sapone did do some chasing, but 56 riders can put out a fair number of watts. Working with a reduced team on a senselessly long stage with a few KOMs, and in miserable weather, plus a looking at some upcoming stages not exactly tailored to their stengths, Astana pulled in the colors.
BMC, itself down to five riders, certainly wasn’t going to do the laundry for Vino’, and Liquigas, whose GC men Basso and Nibali seemed best placed to profit over this weekend’s misery, weren’t going to be suckered into tiring their squad out before the big event. Besides, Liquigas had two riders the breakaway—even if they missed the stage win or the maglia rosa, the completely reordered GC might just play out in their favor come Verona.
And so 56 riders pulled clear, and most buried themselves the for the cause, before a handful of gut-wrenchingly exhausted attacks and counters—the most painful-looking since Ian Stannard’s ill-fated moves toward the end of Gent-Wevelgem—sent Evgeni Petrov across the line. 46 minutes later, the last bunch rolled in, leaving us with one of the most upended Grand Tours since Jens and Oscar flew the coop in 2006—and we all how that one turned out.
After all that, today was custom-tailored be a classic piano-style stage, but while you might have gotten a different impression from Robbie McEwen, it still refused to follow the script. Vino’ sensed weakness and made a dash for time with 12km to go. While it put Cadel back into BEAST MODE, Vino’ only managed to gain ten seconds, and his manuoever ended up giving Italy a reason to celebrate, and the rest of us a welcome antidote to the big story of the day.
You can read up/watch up on more of yesterday’s Giro action over at Podium Cafe, where they had some great feet-on-the-ground coverage.
thoughts on “Meanwhile, Back In Italy”
This giro has been amazing so far and we really haven’t seen the hard part yet. The profile for the last week looks ridiculously hard and that GC is going to be shaken up and look nothing like it does now. I haven’t seen much of the Tour of California but Armstrong’s ridiculous assertions about it being the second best race after the Tour De France look weaker and weaker when you see the unpredictable Giro this year.
This has been the better race to follow until now. (But how fortuitous is Lance’s crash! Blood shed too , nasty) a least we can see some really unreal racing on the continent, (not sponsored by a medicinal remedy supplier, if that wasn’t so bizarre in itself! the unreality is how this allowed to happen in the first place Paddy Mc?, especially with the product line they produce)
I’ve invested too much personal hope in Cuddle to give up now, but the frustrated digger is resurfaced today to collective shame. At least Porte has managed to hold on to the maglia rosa longer that Cadel has.( See Cuddle it is possible for an Ausi to be in the pink jersey for longer than a day!). Can’t wait for the final week! as long as Vinokourov doesn’t fight back, go solo and regain 10 + minutes on the peloton, now that would be too much for Russian 2 Bear after a night on the vodka.
Hard to understand how 56 racers can go down the road with radios in the cars! Each day we see a break go away and Ian Mc Kenzie some years ago being let go because Robbie kidded the others that this “nebie” would run out of steam, serves as an example of the kind of misjudgement that occurs only too often.
I find it hard to believe that the likes of Wiggins & Sastre etal being in a break was overlooked as of no concern.
What was the punch up with cadel about yesterday, watching german eurosport does nothing for my appreciation of the nuances of the race but helps when the commentators get on to the subject that should have been buried 4 years ago!
Hoping that Saxo get Richie to the line in pink today but Mt Grappo tomorrow is a worry as i remember going over it on a previous Giro in better form as it came earlier in the day’s ride that time. 15% is not an easy grade to handle in good shape let alone after a week of solid riding as Richie has had to tackle this past week. As for sunday who knows what will happen then, perhaps Cadel will recoup some time between now and then but Carlos is unlikely to allow too much time to be lost on the way to the podium!
@Rainbow: We’ll see if Vodka can accomplish the same effects as Jack Daniels.
@ Chris E
“I haven’t seen much of the Tour of California but Armstrong’s ridiculous assertions about it being the second best race after the Tour De France look weaker and weaker when you see the unpredictable Giro this year.”
In the interviews with Lance that I saw he said the Tour of California is the second most important race of the year for Team Radio Shack. Big difference, and understandable for a new US based team.
Not even Lance has the ego to call California the “second best race”.
Of course, everyone knows the Giro is not the second best grand tour of the year. That honor clearly goes to the Tour de France!
All those guys look so good in pink!
Kudos to the Giro.
It is going to make kuntodor’s third winnin France really boring.
All written already, cavenduche’s green jersey, cancellara proplogue, astana ttt, long endless rides through flatland…they can just replay last year’s edition…
This Giro has simply been epic so far. And the finishes, up until the last few days, have been epic and at times bizarre. The way racing should be and IS when everyone is near on-form and has the same things going into their bodies. You also see it in the breaks and splits I think.
The sheer grandiosity thus far is pretty amazing. I think the Giro is still only second to the Tour. RadioShack is calling this second to the tour both because of sponsor issues and the fact that Levi is the “Golden Bear”, Californians actually know the dudes name…its good for the organizers for sure to have them there, Lance doesn’t hurt…or didn’t, anyway…
Its a great race to want now, especially since it seems like every stage is actually being raced in the Giro. Unlike the typical, tool along at 40kph until 20 k to go and then roll out the Cipo lead out train…with all the Italian squads waiting for the mountains.
That is the other great thing, zeee mountains are a comin’ There are going to be some crazy epic battles up there. I see Sastre getting a shot this year. He is a rider that needs enough luck to be in a position where he is confident about his chances, then he does very well. I hope he gets his chance this Giro.
I also hacked a piece on this phenomenal early season and this Landis debacle.
I’m curious to hear Cosmo’s take on the whole thing in depth at some point.
P.S.-Glad to see someone else thinks Cavendish is a total douchenozzle as well. I hope Greipel is allowed to go to the TdF and mops his ass up in the sprints.
That will teach me to rely on second hand information (in this case being EuroSport’s coverage of the Giro). Clearly what you describe is far more sensible, after all Radioshack is a US team. Thanks for the correction.
Giro was & still is the best of the Grand Tours, it requires far more effort from the racers in the mountains than the other Grand Tours but suffers from lack of Sponsors and visitors as it happens outside the regular holiday season.
Of course running the Giro in July/August with the normal weather would make it a far more exhausting event if the TDF did not exist.
Travelling from overseas with only a months holiday each year many visitors plump for TDF for the spectacle but i would choose the Giro as you have greater access to the riders and their equipment.
Who wants to fight through a crowd at TDF to be fenced off from the teams equipment and riders unless you have paid some etxortionate amount for the tape around the kneck when you can simply stroll into the team bus compound at the Giro and strike up a conversation with a team worker whilst awaiting the racers to appear.
@skippy: from reading elsewhere, apparently DS’s heard about the split, and were waiting for an update from the organisers….which ended up taking ages, and by that time the front group already had 8 minutes on the maglia rosa group.
If this doesn’t show the shocking side effects of relying on radios, I don’t know what does. Imagine, Cadel must have seen at least part of the exodus, but he’s guided/schackled by his DS and earpiece. If he wasn’t relying on those, what would he have done? I imagine he would have grabbed a BMC boy or two (hey, it’s not much but it’ll do), and jumped over to the front group to see who was there.
Once they waited though, well I guess I can see why BMC didn’t bury themselves to re-join the stage leaders – ie. because it would have wrecked them, and Cadel needs them to be ok for the mountains? Otherwise, really….i mean…. (sigh)
On other notes, I too think Cav is a moron. Of course he’s young and under massive pressure – but he actually disrespects his team mates when he mouths off about how good they are (Greipel), or trains after dental operation when he’s supposed to rest, resulting in dental infection and messed up start of the season. The of course there’s that stupid salute….such a massive chip on his shoulder eh.
Luckily, this gives Mick Rogers more room to race for himself – go Mick! (and Gossie!)
I also think Cervelo showed how to mess up the HTC train at ToC the other day, and Tyler Farrar is doing very well – I don’t think it’s a sure thing at TdF for Cav at all this year. Tyler or another sprinter could also do what Thor did last year and get ahead on intermediate sprints too – no green for poor Cav lol.
Greipel of course has expressed intention to ride on a team other than the same as Cav’s as of next year – I like the dude, but he seems to have peaked early in the season, as per the schedule given to him by HTC. Will have to wait til next year with a new team and schedule to see what he can do against the Manx Muppet.
Last (and least really), Cuddles and Righi’s sparring match – the video on youtube probably cuts in a little bit late, Cadel says he was holding up the chase, Righi says he was just doing his job “controlling the chase”, didn’t brake….but maybe he was just coasting, boxing Cadel in? Skippy, Cosmo, any thoughts on this?
Cav needs to learn to be a sprinter. That means being gracious and always recognizing the unbelievable sacrifice your team makes for you. The amount of work that goes into controlling a race at the end of 200+ km’s surrounded by world class talent is simply immense. His comments about the sprints at the TdF last year about it being, “like a juniors race”…are inappropriate. It probably seemed like that when you had a train of cycling Gods leading you out. I mean, seriously, there was some unbelievable talent delivering him to a launch point last year.
Cav has a great power to frontal area/drag ratio. The dude isn’t big. Where he loses that advantage is when raw power is needed. In the Thor / Farrar mold. The Barcelona finish last year is a good example of this.
We shall see how the HTC train works this summer, but I wouldn’t not be surprised to see a Garmin really kick the spurs, particularly if they are looking iffy on GC.