Tuesday, May 14, 2013

STAGE 11 Preview 2013 Giro d'Italia

 Stage 10 wrap-up

Carlos Betancur on the attack
We were treated to another great stage today with the General Classification contenders attacking each other on the final category 1 climb up to Altopiano del Montasio. Vincenzo Nibali did a great job defending the Maglia Rosa, and Sky’s Rigoberto Uran climbed his way to the stage win and third place overall. Rafal Majka, with an inspired climb reclaimed the young rider's jersey.

Androni’s Jackson Rodriguez was the main animator and road leader for much of the stage—until the contenders organized for the final climb. Bradley Wiggins looked to be struggling to stay on terms in the last, steep kilometers to the finish near the Slovenian border. But he stayed in his rhythm and limited his losses, finally conceding 49 seconds to Nibali, with the :08 time bonus calculated in that Nibali got for 3rd place today.

My pick for today, Michele Scarponi of Lampre, looked great for most of the climb, but struggled to keep contact with the select Nibali group that got away in the last kilometers to chase Uran to the line. That group consisted of Nibali, Evans, Pozzovivo, Betancur, Majka, and for a while, Kiserlovski. Scarponi and his teammate Niemiec came in just behind 10th place Wiggins. It was good to see my dark-horse pick, Trofimov, right in there at the end finishing along with Scarponi and Niemiec.

Sammy Sanchez and Giampaolo Caruso lost significant time, but the big loser of the day has to be last year’s champ Ryder Hesjedal. The Garmin climber started to fall behind on the day’s first climb, but was able to rejoin the lead group for a while before really beginning to suffer on the final climb. Hesjedal finally came in 71st, in a group almost 21 minutes behind the winner. There go the Canadian’s hopes for a repeat victory (or even a top 10 finish), up in flames. 
Several riders are still dealing with illness after the cold wet stages, today young Nibali helper Fabio Aru reported ill.

 The 3rd place to 6th place riders on GC are all within ten seconds of each other, and a few others who might have something to say about a podium spot are not far behind; so we will continue to see heated attacks in pursuit of Nibali’s prized shirt, and a podium position in Brescia. 


Tomorrow’s stage 11 also ends with a climb to the finish. This one will not match stage 10’s finish however. Tomorrow’s cat. 2 finish climb to Vajont is neither as steep nor as long. A long cat. 2 makes up the middle of the stage and, along with the finish, may encourage another successful breakaway. From the summit of the mid-stage climb (the 1790m-high, 30km long Sella Ciampigotto) the riders have 55 km of mostly descending to the base of the final climb at Codissago. The Diga del Vajont climb at the end is basically 7km at 5% avg. with a brief max at 9% around 2km in, and a short descent to the finish.

The STAGE 11 Finish
The GC favorites can’t expect to gain much, if any time on their rivals on this finish, so expect a successful breakaway--whether from an early escape group or a late break.
I could see Sky’s Dario Cataldo being unleashed for a stage like this, or BMC’s Steve Morabito maybe.


LIKELY PICKS: Peter Weening (OGE); almost anyone from Euskatel.
DARK-HORSE PICK: Simone Stortoni (LAM)
MY PICK: Fabio Duarte (Colombia)

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