Monday, June 2, 2014

2014 Giro d'Italia stage summaries, Part 2

2014 Giro d'Italia stage summaries, continued:

**STAGE 16
139K from Ponti di Legno to Val Martello; High Mts;
cold (40s down low, 30s up high), and rainy.
Last night it was decided, and today verified, that the race will stick to the planned route despite the weather. It is not nearly as bad as last year, but it is cold and snow is expected on the Stelvio.

*Pozzovivo has bronchitis.

A short 5+k descent from the start takes the race right to the base of the Gavia.

*Break: Chalapud (COL) is out alone.

cat-1 Passo di Gavia: 16.5k, from 1298m up to 2618m (1320m drop); Maxes out around 16% at ~ -9.5k from the summit. Overall about 8% avg grade, but most of the climb averages over 8.5%.

Chalapud leads by :30 with 120k to go, two-thirds up the Gavia;

Movistar is leading the dwindling chase group, with Arredondo near the front...

*Chalapud is 1st over Gavia. Then Arredondo...
...a gap, then Pantano, Swift, Losada, Capecchi, Hesjedal...
Arredondo is picked up on the descent.

*Snowing on top of the Stelvio now, temp is 32 f.

*The Stelvio Pass is 21.7k long, climbing up to 2758m (~ 9050 ft), averaging close to 7%, max of 12%, and is, of course, the Cima Coppi of this year's edition.

Riders about one-third the way up the Stelvio now.

New leaders (3): Pellizotti, Cataldo, Vuillermoz.
Lead is 2:40 at -87k.
1st chase grp (just a few meters back)= Pantano, Dupont, Chalapud, Kiserlovski, Niemiec, Rosa.

Rabottini on the attack.
Geniez attacks from the bunch.
Chasers are scattered all over the mountain now.

-83.3k: Chalapud rejoins 1st chase group.
Geniez is riding solo about halfway btw the pel and leaders.

The Pink Jersey group is currently about 33-35 riders strong, at +2:35.
The 1st chasers catch on in front;

*-82k (abt halfway up Stelvio):
New lead grp (9)= Pantano, Dupont, Chalapud, Kiserlovski, Niemiec, Rosa, Pellizotti, Cataldo, and Vuillermoz.
Geniez at +1:34
Peloton at 2:54.

-80k: Geniez at + 1:08, and closing..
Peloton at 2:56, and closing..

Geniez is inside :30 to the leaders; pel around 2:30.

-76.4K: Rolland jumps to the front to pick up pace in Peloton.
Geniez has caught up to the leaders.

Tinkoff-Saxo send a couple guys up to help pace (for Majka).
In the back, Agnoli has been struggling to hang on for a long time.

It's sleeting/raining on the riders. They are getting cold.

-73k: the 10 leaders have just :30 on the GC group.
*Reports of snow at the top of the Stelvio. There is talk that the organizers might put a pace car in front for the descent. They would all get their times from the summit.

*-72k: It is now snowing on the leaders.
*Cataldo attacks and escapes the lead group.
*Radio CONFIRMATION that the pace will be restricted on the descent.*

-70k: total white-out, snowing and wind and snow everywhere as Cataldo cuts a lone black swath through the blanched purgatory.

*~ -69k: Cataldo summits the Cima Coppi Passo di Stelvio at 2758m alone.

~ +:23 to Chalapud, and then Dupont is 3rd. Others from the break summit over the next two minutes...
...Pantano, Geniez, Rabottini, Vuillermoz, Niemiec, Rolland...
...and the peloton crosses over about 2:00 behind the leader, Cataldo.

Cataldo is making swift time down the Stelvio, but there is confusion as to the state of the "neutralization".

1st chase grp at -59 k (still on the descent) [4]: Dupont, Pantano, Geniez and Vuillermoz.

*Rolland and a teammate (Sicard) move ahead of the pack, down the mountain...
-58k: Quintana has a mate (Izaguirre) leading him down the slope at a fast clip, in chase. We couldn't see who attacked first.

Uran is also chasing.

*Rolland, Quintana and Hesjedal have gapped the other GC guys on the descent.
There is controversy as the attackers seem to have ignored the original announcement about no racing on this descent. I wonder if they got the instructions.

[The way I see it, assuming they all got the instructions, if the riders want the races to look out for their safety, then they should not flout the rules that seek to do so.]

*-57k: Apparently they have gotten word that the time neutralization has been nixed. Now everyone is racing.

The snow is behind them, and they are riding under a steady rainfall.

-54.5k:" Catldo leads.
1st chasers (4) are at +:50.
Chalapud at 1:18;
GC grp is at 2:55.

-46k: Cataldo has 3:40 on the Pink Jersey. The GC guys are spread out on the road as they near the bottom of the descent.
-42k: Dupont, Vuillermoz and Pantano are still chase 1 (at +:44).
It's about 20k to the final climb, which is about 22k long.

Quintana chases in a group of 6, with Izaguirre, Hesjedal, Rabottini, Sicard and Rolland.
Uran is not far behind.

*the Uran group (race leader) is about 2:00 behind the Quintana group [NQ grp trails Cataldo by 2:05; Uran grp at 4:05]!

-35k: Cataldo in TT mode on the flats, has 1:00 on 1st chasers, 1:50 on chase 2.

*INT SPR: 1. Cataldo  2. Dupont  3. Vuillermoz  4. Pantano,  5. Izaguirre

-32k: Rolland drops out of the chase 2 group to ride his own pace; abt 10k to the base of Val Martello.

Chase-2 catches chase-1 (with Rolland). Chase 1 is now 9 riders strong, and 1:30 behind the leader, Cataldo.

*-21.5k: Onto the final climb:
Val Martello (22.35k, Avg ~6.5% (it's a staircase); Max 14% in a couple sections, one near the top; climbs from 661m to 2059 (1398m drop). After the 3k-long plateau and descent (that starts at about -4.5k) and before the final couple hundred meters to the line, comes a 1k-long incline averaging over 12.5%.

Chase 1 has dropped one rider (Chalapud), they are now 8 [with Quintana, Rolland, Hesjedal, Rabottini, Dupont, Vuillermoz, Izagirre [doing lots of driving], and Pantano].
Pink at +3:13.

-19k: Cataldo has sun on his face.
-18.5k: NQ and Rolland accel off the front, gaining space, Hesjedal tries to get on, with Pantano..
-17.7k: Quintana and Rolland catch Cataldo in front.
Hesjedal has been gapped.

-17.45k: 3 leaders have 1:55 on Pink Jersey grp (10: Uran, Evans, Majka, Kelderman, Aru, Pozzovivo, Rogers, Landa, Kiserlovski, Seb Henao);

-17.2k: Hesjedal is back up with the leaders now [4].
-17k: NQ and PR drop Hesjedal and Cataldo, temporarily.

-13k: 1:40 from 3 leaders (Cataldo has been dropped) to GC grp.
-9.6k: the lead is 2:00.
-8.7k: Cataldo has been picked up by the GC chasers, and he settles in the back behind his teammate, Henao.

IN FRONT, Quintana is within a few seconds of taking the virtual race lead.
Quintana has been accelerating each time the road kicks up from around 7-8% to 9-10%. Rolland looks smooth, staying with NQ. Hesjedal is working to maintain a rhythm and still stay with the other 2.

-7.2k: NQ accel's again on a 10% switchback, and starts to show some potential to get away.
3 still lead: NQ, PR, & RH.

*NQ is now in the virtual race lead.

-6.4k: the GC group is attacked by Majka (maybe on the same bend that NQ moved on). Kelderman gets on his wheel, followed by Pozzovivo.
They have a gap.

Evans is getting distanced by the rest.

-5.6k: The 3 leaders are pulling away. NQ's pace has hurt everyone.
Behind, Majka, Uran, Kelderman, Pozzovivo, Kiserlovski and Aru are chasing at 3:08.

*-5.4k: Quintana gets a gap on Rolland and Hesjedal...
-5.2k...Rolland cracks!
Uran and Majka are gapping Kelderman, Kiserlovski, Evans, Aru, etc.
 -4.9k Hesjedal gets on with NQ.

-1.1k: Quintana finally drops Hesjedal on the steeps.
1. Quintana  4:42:35
2. Hesjedal + :08
3. Rolland 1:13
4. Kelderman 3:32
5. Pozzovivo 3:37
6. Aru 3:40
7. Majka 4:08
8. Sebastian Henao! at 4:11
9. Uran ST
10. Evans 4:48
11. Kiserlovski ST
26. Pellizotti 19:58
33. Roche 26:35

GC after 16:

Nairo Alexander Quintana Rojas (Col) Movistar Team

Rigoberto Uran Uran (Col) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team

Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC Racing Team

Pierre Rolland (Fra) Team Europcar

Rafal Majka (Pol) Tinkoff-Saxo

Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana Pro Team

Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) AG2R La Mondiale

Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Belkin Pro Cycling Team

Ryder Hesjedal (Can) Garmin Sharp

Robert Kiserlovski (Cro) Trek Factory Racing

Alexis Vuillermoz (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale

Alexandre Geniez (Fra)

Ivan Basso (Ita) Cannondale

Maxime Monfort (Bel) Lotto Belisol

Matteo Rabottini (Ita) Neri Sottoli - Yellow Fluo

Hubert Dupont (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale

Franco Pellizotti (Ita) Androni Giocattoli

Michael Rogers (Aus) Tinkoff-Saxo

José Herrada Lopez (Spa) Movistar Team

André Cardoso (Por) Garmin Sharp

That was a cold one.
160 riders finished.
7 DNF's, incl: Scarponi, Petacchi, Finetto...

Bookwalter tweeted after: "Searching for words.. Frozen, Pain, frustration, thankful, fear, anger, insane, perplexed… I hope those watching enjoyed."

Nathan Haas: "That was colder than the time when I stared Chuck Norris in the eyes."

And, of course, JV:
"Once again, cycling fails to protect its own athletes. Finance and interests precede riders' well being."

Bernie Eisel (himself a UCI rider rep):
"I'd don't think we've achieved anything by racing today,"
"At the end of the day the stage became like ancient Rome or like modern Hunger Games. I'm actually surprised that winner of the stage doesn't have to fight with tigers. It was just a show for television, for the fans, like in ancient Rome. I think it's sick. I got up there OK and we're not afraid of fighting in a race and giving everything but when it's just about seeing people in the snow, it's stupid."

**Many teams protested the results, contending that Quintana, Rolland and Hesjedal gained an unfair advantage on the descent of the Stelvio (2nd climb), as a result of the confusing directions coming across race radio from the race officials, due to the weather.

The radio announcement:

“Attention: A communication to directeur sportives. The management of the organization have planned to put ahead of the head of the riders, depending on the situation, of course, after the top, to place in front of various groups an organization moto with a red flag. All to avoid having attacks on the descent and after this to ensure that the riders remain in their positions and to prevent taking big risks and, for all, to remain in this position until the security agents lower the red flag.”

The word "neutralized" never appears, but a tweet on the race’s official twitter feed stated: “Stelvio descent neutralized due to snow.” The tweet was later deleted, but not before some fans were able to take a screen grab of it.
After the race, organizers RCS denied that they had ever intended to neutralize the descent of the Stelvio. RCS sport boss Mauro Vegni, said that the confusion was down to misunderstanding on the side of the teams and riders. “No one ever spoke of neutralization. To protect the riders, in conditions of poor visibility we decided to place the bikes to indicate the trajectory.”

Urán finished the stage 4:11 behind Quintana, falling to 2nd place overall, 1:41 back.

"I think in normal circumstances the story of the race probably could have been different,"
"Now I am 1:41 minutes down from Quintana in the overall classification. But the Giro is not finished yet. We will keep going, we will try to take back the maglia rosa. We are not done fighting for pink."
Omega Pharma-Quick Step DS, Davide Bramati gave his riders the latest info from race radio, and told them to watch out for any possible attacks.
"On the Stelvio I heard from Davide Bramati that the downhill will be controlled by motos with a red flag for the safety of the riders, and that we could have maintained our position on the descent without attacking," Urán said.
"He told me to put on my rain jacket and pay attention in any case. At 300 or 400 meters I had my jacket from one of our masseurs. I managed to wear my jacket before the top so at that point I didn't stop at the top like a few of my colleagues did. I then started descending, but I didn't see any motorbike."
"During the descent riders came around me. I saw [Rafal] Majka and other guys but I didn't realize Quintana wasn't there," said Urán.
"I only did a few kilometers when Bramati told me the gap was already significant. So, we then organized our chase. That is how it went."

[Editorial: The riders may have gotten instructions from their DS's to ignore the race radio announcement; or they may have never gotten clear directions on the situational instructions--or received no instructions--or they each may have a different reason for what actually transpired. Several possibilities exist. Regardless, I don't see how they (the escapees) can be comfortable with an advantage gained unfairly. If they understood and ignored the instructions, then they are culpable, but ultimately I think this is the race officials' mistake.
The officials blew it by confusing the issue, and sending arcane and (ultimately) conflicting directions to the teams. They should have been more decisive and clear. The rules say they can't take time off later (after the stage results were posted), so there was no way to solve the issue with universal fairness; but they ought to have recognized the unfairness of the downhill attack and taken measures during the race. Most folks probably would admit that Quintana was masterful on the final climb, and deserved the win, but they [the Stelvio descent attackers] should all have about a minute shaved off their time.]**

**See stg 17 summary for more...


Wed May 28, 2014

Stage 17:
204k from Sarnonico to Vittorio Veneto;
mostly flat, some scattered short, steep kicks in the last 60k for launchpads; flat finish on a slight incline.
Weather: on-and-off rain, mostly in the latter half of the stage.

Break (26): Large break is allowed to go clear, collect a big gap, and succeeds.

1. Pirazzi  2. Wellens  3. McCarthy  4. De Gendt  5. Montaguti

I'm going to forego a detailed stage description and summary, and talk about the controversy instead.

Fallout from yesterday's Stelvio descent attack controversy.

PATRICK LEFEVRE (Omega Pharma-Quickstep Director) calls for RCS race director Mauro Vegni's resignation:

“Remember San Remo last year, the Giro last year, and now yesterday. Mr Vegni should go home. For me he should resign. He’s not from this cycling any more. He doesn’t care about the riders. This isn’t the first time; it’s always him. I pay the riders, not him, and I had a few million Euros riding around and they give us shit, 60,000 to ride the race. We put a lot into riding that race.”
The men in charge are the race organisers, not the UCI commissars and we have proof that on the top of the Stelvio the radio said there would be motorbikes with flags and that no risks would be taken and that at the end of the descent every group could start with the gaps they had at the top. Then afterwards the Giro d’Italia removed their Tweet about the neutralization. Then, and how can you be more of a coward than this, they put the guilt on the man from radio. It wasn’t his decision. I think they just changed their minds because they were happy that Quintana, Hesjedal and Rolland were in a break and it was nice for the Giro...
That’s not how you should manage a race. If you say something you don’t step backwards after you’ve said it. Call Riis, call [Trek Factory Racing team manager, Luca] Guercilena, call [Astana manager Giuseppe] Martinelli, and others. They were all upset because their riders were stopping on the Stelvio, changing clothes because of the things that were said.”
He went on:
“If you’re a Formula One driver and you pass the safety car then you’re automatically out of the race. A red flag is a red flag. It means that you don’t start racing before the flag is down.
No one can say they didn’t understand. We’ve all known Mr Eusebio Unzué for a long time. He never says yes he never says no and he’s not the most honest man.”
As to Vegni:
 “He’s even worse because he did something like this last year. The Giro hasn’t been stolen from us, but the pink jersey has. It’s not about whether Quintana is the best climber it’s about principles. Urán might have lost the jersey, he might have lost it later in the race. Cycling wants to become a big sport but it’s never going to become a big sport if it’s run like this.
“I saw a photo of Swift in the middle of no where, just standing there. Riders were crashing and I heard that Petacchi hit a car on the descent. He’s 40 year’s old and he’s had enough. We only see the break but we don’t see the misery at the back.”

**Before the stage, team managers met to discuss yesterday's big fumble by the organizers. Several teams asked for a time penalty of :55 to be taken from the riders who benefitted from the Stelvio descent attacks. They were denied.

The officials really did cause confusion with an ad hoc and ill-timed announcement that the riders would have to watch the leading motorbikes for a red flag, which would signify a slower pace on the downhill bends. It was done with the well-intentioned goal of protecting the riders' safety in bad weather, but broadcasters, at least, misinterpreted and relayed the announcement as a time-neutralization for the descent.

Riders doubtless received conflicting, if any, directions on race radio, so it is certainly possible that the attackers were unaware of taking any unfair advantage.  The officials only made the announcement near the Stelvio summit, so there was insufficient time for the teams to process and act on the announcement.


 ***Fallout still coming from the Stelvio debacle:
"The Stelvio Six": Nairo Quintana, Pierre Rolland, Gorka Izaguirre, Romain Sicard, Ryder Hesjedal and Matteo Rabottini (most notably Quintana, Rolland and Hesjedal, all in top 10 GC).

Rigoberto Uran (OPQ) lost the pink jersey to Quintana after the stage. He and Cadel Evans (BMC) are among the many who sat up at the Stelvio summit, many stopping to change clothes for the descent.

After protests by Movistar team DS Eusebio Unzue, team directors met Wednesday morning to discuss the stage 16 Stelvio attack controversy. BMC and OPQ were among the teams who understood the descent to have been neutralized, and are calling for justice. The AIGCP agreed to request :55 be subtracted from Quintana's overall time (and, I think the rest of the Stelvio descent attackers' times).

They then met with RCS (the Giro race organizers) directors, Mauro Vegni and Stefano Allocchio, and the race's UCI officials, to make an official request.

The UCI judges rejected the request, and the stage's posted times will stand.

Some perspectives:

QUINTANA: "Really, I don’t know if what they are saying is a joke," he said. "It makes me laugh, because in reality everyone present and everyone who watches on TV knows what really happened. It’s like I went down the Stelvio in a car or on a motorbike. I came down in a bike on the same roads everyone else came down and then I climbed well afterwards.
"If I’d come down in a car, or taken a short cut and they wanted to take two minutes off me, then I’d agree with that, but I did the same route as everyone else and I won. I don’t know why they would want to take time off me."

ROLLAND: “I started the descent of the Stelvio in the first few riders because on the way down the Gavia a lot of riders had attacked on the descent,” Rolland said. “I attacked it with my teammate Romain [Sicard] and we were first and second in the group. But we did the descent very calmly because we didn’t want to take risks; that’s all.
“Then Quintana came back up and was going very fast. Romain went after him and then I passed Romain just to follow Quintana. For a long time, it was just the two of us and then [Gorka] Izaguirre caught up and he did the whole end of the descent à fond – full on.”

He also mentioned that the riders had spoken earlier about neutralizing the Gavia, but after a Katusha rider attacked (Losada?), it was open season.

HESJEDAL: "Tell me what a neutralized descent is? Does everyone just stop?"
"If you're serious about the race and especially if you're in the pink jersey, you should have been at the head of affairs. End of story. Everyone rode down the descent and that was it."

As to the radio instructions regarding following a pace moto with a red flag to designate slowing/no attacking on the descent of the Stelvio climb:

 "I just followed the guys that were ahead of me on the GC. There was stuff and people everywhere. I just rode the descent. I was basically on my own for the whole descent. I connected with those guys (the Quintana, Rolland group) at the bottom."
"At that moment you're just trying to stay safe and get through it. I wasn't thinking about anything except my wellbeing and riding down the hill."

OLEG TINKOFF: "The results of yesterday's stages should have been neutralized, they should have cancelled them all,"
"That's my personal opinion. I was at the top of the Stelvio because I'd ridden up and I saw Quintana attack while the others stopped to get changed."
"If this sport wants to get bigger, it has got to change. What happened is incredible. We've got to have clear rules, a more professional race organization. At the moment it’s just a big mess.”



171k from Belluno to Rif. Panarotta (Valsugana)
High Mountains; MTF
Weather: rainy (on and off early), clear later. Temp 50s-60s.

3 climbs: cat 1 San Pellegrino, cat 2 Passo del Redebus, cat 1 Panarotta MTF;

The Route:
After the first fast 5k of the stage, the riders will climb 400m (from 374m to 774m) over a 30km distance (Avg ~1.33%?).  Then comes the 18.5k, cat. 1 Pellegrino climb. It averages 6.2%, and has a max of 15% about two-thirds of the way up. The first 9k avg about 4% only, with sections going up to 8-9%, and plenty of flat sections as well, for recovery. The next 3k avg close to 7%; then comes over 5k of steep climbing, averaging almost 10%--including the 15% max at -5k. The final km to the 1918-meter high summit levels out at around 3%.

Next they descend the Pellegrino for about 11k, and continue over rolling terrain until km 108. A punchy climb to a long plateau takes them to the base of the second categorized climb: the cat.-2 Redebus, which starts out very steep (~ 15% at the bottom). It climbs 411 m over 4.8k (avg 8.5%) up to 1456m of elevation, and looks like a great attack spot. (also listed as 4.6k at 8.7%) The summit is just over 48k from the stage finish atop the Panarotta.

A 15k descent follows, with about a 1000m drop, and then it's about 15k of relative flats to the base of the final climb.

From Levico Terme, the cat. 1 Rifugio Panarotta climb is about 15.8k long, with a 1260m drop, averaging about 7.9%, with a very steady gradient throughout (steephill lists it as 14.9k at 7.6%). It maxes out at 14%, and the final 3k average 8.4% (the final 2k a very steady 8.7%), and it tops out at the 1760m-high finish line.

*DNS: Ulissi.

BREAK: at -125k: Cataldo (SKY), Pellizotti, Sella (AND), Zardini (BAR), and Arredondo (TFR) get free. They are making time up the Pellegrino;

-120k: De Gendt, Deignan, and Rovny are catching up to the leaders...
Basso and Rabottini are chasing somewhere.
Also among the many chasers spread over the stage's big first climb are: Rubiano, Keizer, Wellens, Duarte, Losada,...
3k to the summit of the Pellegrino: Now 11 ride together in front.
Arredondo goes for the KOM...
...Deignan(SKY) chases on.
The 2 summit together first.
1. Arredondo [32 pts]  2. Deignan [20]  3. Cataldo [14]

-75k: The (now 14) leaders have a 7:44 gap to the pink jersey group.
14 leaders: Cataldo, Deignan (SKY), Pellizotti, Sella (AND), Zardini (BAR), Arredondo (TFR), Keizer (BEL), Wellens (LTB), Duarte (COL), Losada (KAT), Basso (CAN), Rabottini (NRI), De Gendt (OPQ), and Rovny (TCS).

Sun is shining as the riders make their way to the base of the 2nd climb.

*-60k: on the Redebus:
the lead is 7:49 to the peloton.

-50k: Arredondo accelerates off the front, Cataldo alone gets on his wheel around 2k from the summit.
Arredondo outsprints Cataldo to take the KOM atop the cat-2 Redebus.

-47k: the lead is 6:20 to Pink.
The peloton crosses over at +6:16.

Keizer joins Arredondo and Cataldo in front on the descent.
Behind, Basso, Deignan and ?? chase.

Basso, Sella, Duarte, and Wellens are descending together now. They are calling them the leaders on the road now.

-35k: the leaders are 14 together again, as they near the bottom of the descent.

It looks like the GC guys are going to let the break go.
-20k: the peloton trail by 7:23 (about 5k down the road).

Approaching the foot of the final climb...
De Gendt gets a gap on the rest as they begin the climb.
The peloton trails by 6:30; they are picking up the pace now. MOV and EUC doing the pace work.

Rabottini tries to get away.
Keizer, Deignan, Wellens, Rovny, Sella, Basso chase;
-13k the lead is down to 5:16.
-12k: Hesjedal accelerates to raise the pel pace.

Basso attacks the chase grp
-10k: De Gendt still leads; +5:00 to pel;
Cataldo (SKY) attacks; he, Arredondo (TFR) and Deignan (SKY) distance Basso and Duarte;

-7k: Duarte gets up to the SKY duo and Arredondo. Basso dropped.
Pellizotti passes Basso and joins the Cataldo group.

-6k: Arredondo and Duarte pass De Gendt and take the lead.
Deignan gets on terms with the Colombians; then De Gendt and Pellizotti inch back up as well.

Rolland attacks his group.
Hesjedal attacks;
-4.5k: Evans is struggling to hang on.

Arredondo rides away from the rest out front.
Duarte chases into the gap. Then Deignan.

-3k: Arredondo has 3:17 on the continually dwindling 12-man pink jersey group. Deignan trails Arredondo by about :20.

Rolland attacks again; and again, NQ, Uran and other GC guys chase him down, led by Poels (trying to preserve Uran's position).
Aru pulls clear of the other GC guys...

Up ahead, in front: Duarte passes Deignan, but neither can catch the Colombian King of the Mountains, Arredondo.

 Arredondo takes the win!
He topped all 3 mountains first, and took the win.

BREAK SUCCEEDS AGAIN. [top 8 finishers came from the early break]

Aru is best of the rest in 9th place, at +2:43
10. Quintana 2:46
11. Uran ST
12. Pozzovivo 2:49
13. Rolland ST
14.Majka ST
15. Losada 2:54
16. Hesjedal 3:023
17. Wellens 3:08
18. Kelderman 3:17
19. Kiserlovski ST
20. Poels 3:48
21. Evans 4:24...
...26. Geniez ST
35. Roche 6:15
45. Rabottini 8:25


Fri. May 30, 2014
Uphill ITT; Cima Grappa; 26.8k (mostly uphill [
Weather Cloudy; 18c; Wind NW 8kmh; possible rain.
Carlton Kirby reports a redolent smell of burning clutch at the summit when they rode up this morning.
1st 8k are relatively flat, then about 19.3k of climbing; 1538m drop; 8% Avg; Max 14%.
6.8kg is the current minimum bike weight.
Kirby says the "nutter quotient" is low today. (many dedicated cyclists on the mountain)

Hepburn (briefly) leads early at 1:17:21.
Kenny De Haes lost his chain and is getting manually pushed up the mountain by a helper, [until he finally gets a bike change?].

Boem holds the lead as the first real climbers take to the course.
Bardiani is setting the best paces now.
*Pirazzi crosses the line with a new best time of 1:10:11. The top 3 are all Bardiani: Pirazzi, Colbrelli, Boem.

All the riders have left the start gate by now.
*Wellens has taken the lead from Pirazzi, who is :34 back now; Zoidl is 3rd at :42; then Zardini and Mourey.

Cataldo comes in 2nd, :10 back at 1:09:47.

Sebastian Henao has set the best times at the 2nd time check and takes the lead at the finish.

Majka has a shaky start, and a clumsy bike change.
Pozzovivo sets the best time at the first time check.
Rolland sets a better one;
Aru beats that time.

Kelderman has lost 1:30 already, at the 2nd time check.

Pozzovivo sets the new best time at the 2nd check;
...and then Aru sets a better one.

Pellizotti comes in with the new best time at the finish.
Uran sets the 2nd best time at the 1st (km19.3) checkpoint, :28 off the top pace set by Aru.

8k to go for Aru. He is outpacing Quintana by about :14.

Quintana sets the new best time at the first time check! He's got :08 on Aru's time there.

1:10:03 is good for 5th place at the finish for Cadel Evans...for now.

Quintana is gaining time on Aru.

Pozzovivo is catching Hesjedal on the road, his 3-minute man.
Aru catches up with Majka, his 3-minute man, almost simultaneously.

Kelderman finishes with the current 10th best time: 1:10:29. 1:30 off the lead. Not so good.

Evans jumps Kelderman on GC.
Aru and Quintana are riding within a :01 pace of each other now.
-4.8k for Aru: he and NQ are in pace with each other.

Pozzovivo finishes with the new best time: 1:08:01.
Pellizotti currently 2nd at + :58
3. Henao + 1:24
4. Wellens 1:36
5. Cataldo 1:46
...but that's all about to change...

Hesjedal finishes at 1:11:16, 21st place, +3:15. Ouch. (He had a slipped chain requiring a bike change on course. He also opted for the road bike with aero bars for the first 10k instead of a TT bike, like most chose to use.)

Aru is coming in with a sterling time...
Aru: 1:05:54!
Majka rolls in a few meters behind Aru. He hasn't had fun today.

Aru takes the lead by more than 2 minutes!
Uran needs to finish faster than 1:07:44 to hold 2nd place overall.

Rolland is toiling through the last km...
Rolland finishes at 1:07:34 for 2nd place, at + 1:40.

Quintana is setting a very nice pace behind Uran, who is in the last km.
Uran comes in at 1:07:03. 2nd place currently; 1:09 back. He keeps his 2nd podium position on GC.

Here comes Quintana...
He is lapping up the final slopes...
Quintana comes in at 1:05:37! He wins the stage and stamps his dominance on the race.

Stage 19 ITT Results:

1. Quintana 1:05:37
2. Aru + :17
3. Uran 1:26
4. Rolland 1:57
5. Pozzovivo 2:24
6. Pellizotti 3:22
7. Majka 3:28
8. Henao 3:48
9. Wellens 4:00
10 Cataldo 4:10
11. Evans 4:26
12. Pirazzi 4:34
13. Zoidl 4:42
14. Zardini 4:46
15. Mourey ST
16. Kelderman 4:52
17. Battaglin 5:11
18. Geniez ST
19. Dupont 5:20
20. Torres 5:22
21. Kiserlovski 5:26
26. Hesjedal 5:39
27. Monfort 5:53
30. Poels 6:15
47. Basso 7:12
48. Landa 7:14

New GC going into the final mountain stage to the Zoncolan:

1. Quintana 79:03:45
2. Uran + 3:07
3. Aru 3:48
4. Rolland 5:26
5. Pozzovivo 6:16
6. Majka 6:59
7. Evans 9:25
8. Kelderman 9:29
9. Hesjedal 10:11
10 Kiserlovski 13:59

Rolland, Pozzovivo, and Majka will have their work cut out for them if they want to wrestle a podium spot away from Uran or Aru tomorrow on the Zoncolan.


Hi mtns; MTF
Weather: Clear and sunny.

This is the fifth time the Giro has visited the Zoncolan.
Previous winners:
2003 (1st Giro appearance): Simoni, ahead of Garzelli, Casagrande, Pantani, Popo, etc.
2007: Simoni again, ahead of Piepoli and Andy Schleck.
2010: Basso;
2011: Anton, ahead of Contador and Nibali.

DNS: Kenny De Haes broke his chain twice yesterday on the stage 19 mountain TT, at -5k and again at -1k. The team cars were attending other riders, and he received no neutral service support. A bystander helped him fix the first one, but we saw him being pushed by a team staffer through the final several hundred meters to the line. He lost a whole lot of time without support, and was disqualified for failing to finish inside the time limit.
That is outrageous.
Afterwards De Haes tweeted:
"Thx ‪@giroditalia! You've treated me like an animal on Gavia and Stelvio and now after 2 mechanicals I need to go home! Grande Giro di merda,”

Today's parcours: 1st 60k are relatively flat, but bumpy. Then comes 30+ kms of slightly ascending, rolling roads to the base of the first climb. The cat-1 Passo del Pura is 11.25k, averaging 7.7%, maxing out at 13% near the top, at 1428 meters of elevation (that's an 869m drop). A 7.4k descent takes them down to 984 meters for a 3k clip to the foot of the 2nd climb: the Sella di Razzo, a 17.25k staircase up to 1810 meters.
A long 28k descent follows, before the very brief approach to the final climb to the finish. The mighty and intimidating Zoncolan, the "Kaiser of Friuli", climbs 1200 meters over a distance of 10.1k. Most of the climb is in the double digits (5k in the middle average 15.4%), with pitches up over 22%. The summit finish is at 1730m of elevation.

A 20-man break forms.
Break (19): Cataldo - SKY, Roche, Rogers - TCS, Domont - ALM, Pellizotti - AND, Bongiorno - BAR, Bookwalter - BMC, Cattaneo - LAM, Monfort - LTB, Monsalve - NRI, Preidler, Geschke - GIA, Serry - OPQ, Belkov - KAT, Zoidl - TFR, Tjallingi - BEL, +3?.

On 1st climb: cat-1 Passo del Pura (see stats above). The first 4k only average around 5%, but the final 7 km steadily average over 9%, maxing out around 13% about 1500 meters before the finish. The road also levels out to under 4% in the last few hundred meters.

Hondo dropped on the Pura climb.
Chalapud is out alone chasing, just ahead of the peloton.

-66k: Lead group has 2:08 on Chalapud, and 2:15 on the peloton.

*Cataldo takes the 1st summit.
At 60k to go it's 2:30 to Chalapud, and 3:34 to the peloton.

Onto the 2nd climb.
The Sella di Razzo is an undulating 17.25k, with slopes ranging from flat to 15%. It has a couple of flat kms in the middle, before the steepest section, 3k averaging over 9%, with the 15% section near the top. That is followed by a flat--and even slightly downhill--couple of kms to the KOM line.  The summit is situated in a crater-like bowl, so the tifosi have lots of viewing positions.

Rogers: bike change; chain slipped off and wrecked gears.
15 still together in front: Cataldo - SKY, Roche, Rogers - TCS, Domont - ALM, Pellizotti - AND, Bongiorno - BAR, Bookwalter - BMC, Cattaneo - LAM, Monfort - LTB, Monsalve - NRI, Preidler, Geschke - GIA, Serry - OPQ, Belkov - KAT, Zoidl - TFR.

-51k: Wellens has joined Chalapud in chase ahead of the peloton.
The lead to the pink jersey group is around 6:00.
Pantano and a Katusha rider are having a discussion a few meters ahead of the peloton.
-47k: Zardini has joined Wellens and Chalapud.
Now Tjallingi's having another go, and gets on with the trio just mentioned.

8 Movistar riders lead the pack up the Sella di Razzo.
A few guys are trying to break away from the peloton.
EUC come forward to help pace.
At -46k the lead to Pink is 6:24. Chasers are at +:56. About halfway up the climb now.

Chalapud and Wellens are really putting on the gas. They've dropped Tjallingi, and are distancing Zardini.
-43.7k: Wellens catches up to the lead group. Chalapud gets on soon after.
-42.1k: Sicard and Rolland put in an acceleration at the front of the peloton.
 Movistar mark the move.
moments later Sicard launches again, catching Jackson Rodriguez from the early break. Pozzovivo and majka push out of the pack, as all the GC guys are looking around at each other.

Geschke is working on the front for the leaders--and his teammate, Preidler, as they approach the summit of the cat-2 Sella di Razzo.

*-41.2k: Cataldo takes the 2nd KOM ahead of Monsalve and Preidler.
Big descent ahead...

-40k the lead to pink is 4:10.

Majka and Pozzovivo are with Sicard, just 10 meters in front of the pack now. Movistar is reeling them back in.

From C-Cycling:
"Monte Zoncolan was first used in 2003 with Gilberto Simoni as the winner. For many, especially the Italians, the most memorable fight that day was between Stefano Garzelli and Marco Pantani. The two good friends and former team mates - looking almost identical - were struggling to catch Simoni and just to keep their bikes moving forward. You can re-watch the stage by clicking here."

Evans and Hesjedal are missing from the pink jersey group at the summit of the Sella di Razzo.

Monsalve and Bookwalter are soaring down the descent.
30k to go for the leaders. The GC group is 5:50 back, and not taking any risks, so the gap is growing.

-21k: The peloton trails by 6:44.

It is not looking like the GC riders are going to duke this out for the stage. The break has a solid lead approaching the final climb, despite its severity.


A large banner above and on both sides of the road, like a huge doorway, reads: "This is the gate of hell," a la Dante.

10k to go.
No team cars allowed on the Zoncolan.
Quintana, Anton, and Amador start the final climb with a big acceleration.

After the 22% section, Pellizotti, Rogers, Preidler, Bongiorno, and Geschke are the remaining leaders up front.  Others from the break are spread out along the mountain.

Aru is falling back a bit.
Hesjedal struggling.

-6k: Just Bongiorno, Rogers and Pellizotti in front now...
If Bongiorno wins today, I am going to suspect foul play from Bardiani. Many of them have been quite outstanding--particularly for a wildcard team.

Kiserlovski out of the saddle, accelerating slowly away from the pink jersey "peloton".
He's reeled in, but the group is down to about 10 riders now.
Aru is all over the bike trying to cling to the back of the GC group.

Quintana still has Anton (who won here last time, in 2011), then there's Uran, Rolland, Pozzovivo, Majka, Kiserlovski, Aru, Kelderman.

5k to go for the leaders. 6:04 to the GC grp..
Rogers and Bongiorno have gapped Pellizotti, but not by much.

-4k: Cataldo is moving up in the gap behind Pellizotti.
Pellizotti is closing in on the 2 leaders.

Anton is done.
5:42 back, Rolland, Pozzovivo, Majka and Aru are chasing just behind Quintana, Poels and Uran.
Aru might be getting a second wind. He's pedaling smoother now.

-3.7k: Bongiorno attacks Rogers in front. Pellizotti is not with them. He has faded back again. Rogers stays with Bongiorno.

**-2.9k Following an acceleration by Rogers, Bongiorno gets a push from a fan in a World Champ jersey, and it takes him off balance on the very steep grade. His left foot comes out of the pedal, and he loses Rogers' wheel! What a shame.
He takes a couple seconds to get his pedal and tempo back, but Rogers has gone ahead. What an unbelievable disaster for the Italian! The fan is upset with himself, but it's too late now. The gap is huge already. The (probably) Italian fan just handed the stage to Mick Rogers, by knocking his own countryman out; and in the process, robbing all the fans of the race for the win on the Queen stage to the Zoncolan. No doubt the Italian press will castrate this poor kid. But maybe it will wake fans up to the necessity of keeping themselves away from the riders. I can only imagine how Bongiorno feels.

-2k for Rogers.
Poels is still leading Uran up the Zoncolan, with Quintana riding wheels. Great show from Wout Poels today! They catch up to Serry (from the break). That's 3 OPQ riders, and NQ riding together now.
About :17 behind: Pozzovivo, Aru and Majka chase.

Rogers is getting furious with the tifosi. They are crowding him up the mountain. He yells a few words and emphatically swats them away.

Pellizotti cruises past Bongiorno in the last km.

Rogers pumps the air and celebrates his 2nd stage win as he crosses the line atop Monte Zoncolan!
The Aussie had just one race day in his legs before coming to the Giro and now he has 2 stage wins (stages 11 and 20), including the most prestigious one! Not bad Mr. Rogers.

+:38 to Pellizotti, in 2nd place.
:49 to Bongiorno, in third.
We can only wonder how else it may have gone...


It would have been nice to see the GC guys go for it today; but Nairo Quintana defended his overall lead, and will win the 2014 Giro d'Italia when he rolls into Trieste tomorrow.

Survivors from the break trickle in.
Roche is 4th at 1:35;
Holy shit! Brent Bookwalter crosses in 5th place at 1:37! Fantastic performance from the American!

6th is Chalapud at 1:46;
7. Preidler 1:52
8. Monfort 2:12
9. Cataldo 2:24
10. Geschke 2:37
11. Cattaneo 2:39
12. Monsalve 3:02
13. Zoidl 3:14
14. Domont 3:21
15. Belkov 3:46
16. Zardini  ST

Quintana crosses the line 17th at 4:45, with Uran right behind him in 18th.

19. Wellens 4:51
20. Poels 4:59
21. Majka ST
22. Aru 5:01
23. Rolland 5:05
24. Pozzovivo 5:10
big gap.
25. Kelderman 6:25
26. Kiserlovski 6:35
27. Serry
28. Duarte
29. Pantano
30. Dupont
31. Vuillermoz
32. Geniez
33. EVANS at + 7:20
38. Hesjedal 8:09

156 riders finished.

The GC after stage 20 (last mountain stage):

1. QUINTANA 83:50:25
2. URAN +3:07
3. ARU 4:04
4. ROLLAND 5:46
6. MAJKA 7:13
7. KELDERMAN 11:09
8. EVANS 12:00
9. HESJEDAL 13:35

Quintana also wins the Young Rider competition.
Bouhanni will win the points jersey, to no one's surprise.
Arredondo is locked into the KOM jersey.

Finish sprint into Trieste tomorrow.


1. Mezgec
2. Nizzolo (seems he's always 2nd, no matter who is 1st).  ST
3. Farrar
4. Bouhanni
5. Ferrari
6. Duque
7. Paolini
8. Van Der Sande
9. Bozic
10. Keisse


1. QUINTANA 83:50:25
2. URAN +3:07
3. ARU 4:04
4. ROLLAND 5:46
6. MAJKA 7:13
7. KELDERMAN 11:09
8. EVANS 12:00
9. HESJEDAL 13:35

156 riders finished the 2014 Giro d'Italia

1. Bouhanni
2. Nizzolo
3. Ferrari

King of the Mountains:
1. Arredondo
2. Cataldo
3. Quintana

1. Quintana
2. Aru
3. Majka

1. Ag2R
2. Omega Pharma
3. Tinkoff-Saxo

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