Wednesday, May 8, 2013

STAGE 6 Preview 2013 Giro


2013 GIRO D’ITALIA Stage 5 wrap and Stage 6 preview:
Wed. May 8, 2013 5pm EDT (UTC -4)

Today’s stage 5 went almost exactly as I expected—except for that catastrophic crash in the last kilometer that vaporized every rider’s chance at the sprint—every rider except two: the lone leader through the turn, and the eventual winner (John Degenkolb) whose teammate caused the crash.
Despite all the rain and another 200+ kilometer stage, and the little bumps in the road toward the end, the sprinters’ teams were able to control the break and almost have their day. 

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The decisive crash

Coming round the last 90-degree left hand turn, Bardian’s Marco Canola led the peloton onto the 800-meter long rise to the finish. Directly behind Canola, Argos-Shimano lead-out man Luka Mezgec skidded out on the turn causing several crashes behind him and delaying everyone except his strong-finishing team leader, John Degenkolb. Degenkolb swiftly ate into Canola’s seemingly unapproachable lead and took the win.

A clever and more sinister strategist might plan such an event, with careful placement of the key riders and practiced timing. Is it fishy that the winner is a teammate of the guy who caused the near-total crash? Hmm.  In reality of course, I’m sure no such thing happened. No sane cyclist would throw himself to the road like that with a hundred other cyclists about to run into and crash over him at full speed—and it had rained all day, after all. Unfortunately that is pretty much what happened (coincidentally, I’m sure), and the odds-maker’s favorite came away with the stage win.

Tomorrow’s stage 6 takes the riders 166 km north, up the Adriatic coast to Margherita di Savoia, sort of zipping up the back of the boot. Wouter Weylandt, who died on the road on this day in the 2011 Giro, will be remembered tomorrow. The stage is mostly flat and ends on a nice long, flat straightaway surely to entertain the pure sprinters in a bunch sprint. The weather is supposed to be much better than today, as they ride into a nice sunny day. Crosswinds could be the only spoiler if they cause splits in the exposed peloton, but I think the favorite for stage 6 will be unanimous for the Manx Missile.

The late and ever-present Wouter Weylandt

LIKELY PICKS: Mark Cavendish, Matt Goss, Ella Viviani, Nacer Bouhanni
DARK-HORSE PICK: Roberto Ferrari
MY PICK: Mark Cavendish


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