Monday, June 2, 2014

Quintana gana...

Congratulations to Colombian Nairo Quintana on winning the 2014 Giro d'Italia!
Probably the first of several Grand Tours that he will win.

The 2014 Giro d'Italia podium

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

2014 Giro d'Italia Stage Summaries, Part 1

2014 Giro d'Italia Stage Summaries

A lot of rain in first week, with mostly cool temps = many crashes and some fevers (Kittel DNS stg 4 with fever).

Sorry I don't have detailed summaries for the first few stages.

Stage 1:
Dan Martin's wheel slips out going over manhole cover in rainy TTT, brings down half the team. Martin and K. Fernandez out with injuries (both collarbones).
Movistar and Katusha have bad TTT's, lose time.
1, 2, 3: Orica, OPQ, BMC.

Stage 2:
Kittel wins sprint.
1, 2, 3: Kittel, Bouhanni, Nizzolo.

Stage 3:
Kittel wins sprint.
1, 2, 3: Kittel, Swift, Viviani.

The 3 Irish stages were great! Really great to see all the fans who came out Rain, and unfortunate crashes aside, I'm sure the Giro wouldn't hesitate to come back.

TRANSFER: Back to Italy:
(From the boot-heel)

Stage 4: Lots of crashes toward the end; fresh rain = slick, wet roads.
1, 2, 3: Bouhanni, Nizzolo, Veelers.

Stage 5:
1st uphill finish (short and punchy).
1, 2, 3: Ulissi, Evans, Arredondo.

Stage 6:
More rain on typically dry roads caused crashes right before final climb.

Evans (riding up front) broke clear in a group of 8 or 9.
KAT: G. Caruso (hurt, nothing broken) taken from stg 6 crash in ambulance;
Vicioso (37 yrs old) broke femur in 3 places;

*J-Rod DNS stg 7. Withdraws after stage 6 crash, with 3 broken ribs and thumb (apparently, one rib was already broken, and today he broke 2 more). Two real contenders are out before the race even reaches the first real mountain stage (Martin and Purito).

Brett Lancaster finished, but also DNS stg 7 with broken hand.
Carretero (COL) also injured and DNS stg 7.
Brajkovic out with broken elbow.
Villella (CAN) broke collarbone.
Flens (BEL) broke finger and Kruijswijk broken elbow, both are riding on.
Tuft: lots of cuts, hip, elbow, and knee: still riding.
Anacona and Cunego also shed blood, but continued.
*Roche whole left side road-rashed and cut up, continued, lost a lot of time. The Irish are not having it easy this year.
Stage 6 Finish:
1, 2, 3:  Matthews, Wellens, Evans.


Stg 7:
[into] Umbria
Mederel abandons after 9k.

Break  (5)= Anacona (LAM), Chalapud (COL), Haas (GRS), Thurau (EUC), Boem (BAR).  At -90k Lead = 5:42.
-67k lead is 4:20.
At -26k the lead is still 3:41. Pretty much flat to the finish, so these 5 guys could stay away.
-16k Lead down to 1:53... Touch and go.
Farrar is brought back to the rear of peloton at ~ -15k
-13k: passing Trevi
-10k: lead = 1:17...
-8k  -:47
-6k -:30
~ -5k. A few get frisky on front of peloton. Evans and Matthews look safe near the front.
-2.8k: Break caught.
Then Ventoso crashes hard. He's an important domestique nowadays.

*Sprinters hash it out and BOUHANNI takes his 2nd race win in a bunch sprint, ahead of Nizzolo and Mezgec.

Mountains start tomorrow!

With the withdrawals of Dan Martin and Joaquim Rodriguez, the remaining climbers/GC hopefuls include:

1.     Evans
2.     Uran
3.     Quintana
4.     Pozzovivo
5.     Scarponi
6.     Majka
7.     Duarte
8.     Ulissi
9.     Niemiec
10. Aru
11. Hesjedal
12. Roche
13. Kelderman
14. Rolland
15. Basso
16. Geniez
17. Santaromita
18. Moreno
19. Rabottini
20. Kiserlovski
21. Arredondo
22. Pellizotti
23. Rogers
24. Poels
25. Cataldo

...and some of the support/secondary climbers/domestiques (by team):

AST-Landa, Brajkovic, Agnoli
ALM- Dupont, Montaguti, Bouet
BAR-Pirazzi, Zardini, Battaglin, Bongiorno
BEL-Kruijswijk, Keizer, Tjallingi
BMC-Sanchez, Morabito, Hermans, Quinziato, Bookwalter
COL-Pantano, Rubiano, Chalapud, Avila
GIA- Preidler, Geschke, Ludvigsson, De Backer
GRS-Cardoso, Wegmann
KAT-Losada, Gusev, Belkov, Vorganov, Paolini
LAM-Cunego, Anacona
LTB-Wellens, Monfort, Hansen
MOV-Anton, Capecchi, Amador, Herrada, Izaguirre, Malori
NRI-Monsalve, Colli, Fedi
OPQ-Pauwels, De Gendt, Brambilla
OGE-Weening, Cam Meyer, Tuft, Hepburn
EUC-Sicard, Malacarne
SKY-Deignan, EBH, Siutsou, Seb. Henao
TCS-Rogers, Rovny, Petrov, Poljanski
TFR-Zoidl, Fellini, Alfaci


Montecopiolo- MTF
174 k Hi Mts.
SUNNY! temp 55-65 f, depending who you ask.

DNS: Cam Meyer (OGE)

Break (9)=  Arredondo (TFR), EBH (SKY), Berard (ALM), Bandiera (AND),  Quemeneur (EUC), Pirazzi (BAR),  (CAN), Quintero (COL), Cattaneo (LAM), Finetto (NRI), Vorganov (KAT).

At -90k lead =7:30
-73k: Chicchi crashed into and over guardrail into field. He's back up and riding.
-60k: -6:00
-48k: Pirazzi accel. followed by Quemeneur and Quintero; others quickly distanced by :10.
Peloton splits on climb.
EBH doing well riding with Quintero now inside -40k

-40 - -30k:
Leaders split on 1st big climb [Cippo di Carpegna - 1358m]...
Arredondo drops Pirazzi, and they are 1st and 2nd over the KOM.
Behind, the peloton is splitting apart on the narrow roads of the climb.

Rolland escapes from the pack. At -27k he is 1:40 behind the leader, Arredondo, who is descending the other side. EBH still in between.
Impressive riding from EBH.

Everyone's descending now, toward the final climbs to the finish.

-18k: Arredondo leads; EBH chasing solo, probably at about +:45;
Next chase group is Rolland and dropped erstwhile leaders Pirazzi, Quemeneur, and Quintero.

Finish is a double climb, staircase-style.
First comes the cat. 2 Villaggio del Lago at ~ 6.5%, to 1358m, max ~ 11%, has a flattish "step" before halfway up.
Then they descend for about 3k, before the final push to the summit finish.

The 1235m high Montecopiolo, above Villagrande, is about 5.5k with a 13% max at the top, and averages about 6.5%? The steep summit will add to the time splits.

-16k: Pirazzi accelerates and Rolland goes with him.
Arredondo has 1:10 to his nearest chaser (EBH?);
The Peloton is at + 2:40.

EBH has dropped back with Quemeneur. They're picked up at -13.6k

Pirazzi and Rolland are the 1st chasing group still over a minute behind Arredondo.
Scarponi is in a group of riders losing distance from the peloton.
ALM leading the peloton chase with about 30 riders or so.

~-13.7k: Rolland drops Pirazzi and chases alone now.

-10k: Arredondo leads up the mountain.
Rolland chases at +1:02
Pirazzi at 1:50
Peloton at 2:00

Inside -3k Rolland catches Arredondo up front; peloton now chasing at about +:40.
-2k all the vehicles come out from the gap...
Morabito's been driving hard in front of peloton for a while for Evans.

-1.8k Rolland edges away from Arredondo, the peloton is inside :30 behind...
Rolland is losing steam.
-:17 under the red flag!
The road levels out at the top for about 500m.

Kiserlovski, then Ulissi blast out of the pack.
They pass Rolland inside -250m!
Ulissi digs in and sprints across the line to take his 2nd win of this race!

1. Ulissi  2. Kiserlovski  3. Kelderman  4. Quintana  5. Evans


174k from Lugo to Sestola; MTF
Temp: 61 F;

DNS: Chicchi - NRI

Break (14)= Berard - ALM; Jx Rodriguez, Bandiera - AND; Barbin - BAR; Tanner - BEL; Gatto - CAN; Duque - COL; Bono -LAM; Van Der Sande - LTB; Monsalve - NRI; Weening - OGE; Malacarne - EUC; Vorganov - KAT; Puccio - SKY.

km 43: Matthews crashed (right hip all road-rashed and bruised), with Godoy, Eijssen, Castroviejo, Rosa, Poljanski, Gusev, Jensen.

Took a while for break to form.
At -85k their lead is 6:14.
Inside 60k to go the lead is 7:51. The flat, first two-thirds of the stage are behind them, as they approach the hilly remaining 60k. Ahead are a cat 3, a cat 4, and the cat 1 summit finish.

It is increasingly likely that the GC guys will let the break go.

-50k, lead is 6:29.
Kruijswijk abandoned (been riding on broken shoulder).
-28k 4:37;
-25.6k: Tanner escapes the lead grp.

Tanner reeled in and Weening attacks.
Malacarne has also ventured out.
At -18k he has ~3:30 over the peloton. Is this the winning move?

-8k Weening and Malacarne have 3:53 on the peloton; and I think about 1:30 to 2:00 to the chasing, erstwhile lead group.
Kirby says the temps are up to 20c.
Pozzovivo escapes the bunch and gets on his teammate Berard's wheel. Other GC favs follow...

The 2 leaders have 3k to go; Pozzovivo is about 2:00 back...
Pozzovivo drives on alone...he's got :30 on the Pink Jsy grp.
Behind, Evans can just follow wheels;
Pozzo catches and passes Barbin.

Malacarne and Weening sprint for the win...
Weening takes it at the line!
Malacarne is of course, second.
Pozzovivo gets 3rd at +:42, and gains : 26 on the small GC grp. (plus 3rd place time bonus).


REST DAY 2; Monday 5.19.14


5.20.14: STAGE 10
173k from Modena to Salsomaggiore Terme.

Break (2)= Fedi (NRI-3rd time in Brk), and Bandiera (AND - in his 4th Break!).
At -85k their lead is about 6:30;
The lead maxed out at around 8:35.

At -50k the lead is 3:00.

Still about 3:30 with about 20k to go.
Crash: Rovny, Eijssen

-9k: The peloton brings the break back quickly, and Cataldo takes up pace-making for SKY in front of the peloton; Boasson-Hagen takes over next.
Bouhanni is dropped, but he manages to get back on with about 2k to go.
Guided by one lone teammate, Bouhanni makes it up to the front for the sprint...
...and takes another win!
1. Bouhanni  2. Nizzolo  3. Matthews


Wed 5.21.14            249k from Coreggio/Collechio to Savona (into Liguria).
Includes 2 cat-2's, 1 early, 1 late, before a 13k descent to the finish sprint.

Now this is the 2nd-longest stage, since landslide made stage six 10k longer.

Matthews DNS; Durbridge (collar bone) and Wegmann crashed out (Wegmann completely tore left hamstring muscles in crash at around km23 [a detached tendon of the right biceps femoris muscle]): taken to hospital. Rubiano also abandoned.
Ulissi was in the Durbridge crash.

Break not clear til almost 80k in.
*Break (14)= Roche (TCS), Arredondo (TFR),
Moreno, Vorganov (KAT), Bongiorno (BAR), Moser (CAN), Preidler (GIA)Monsalve (NRI), Barbin (BAR), Mourey (FDJ), Thurau, Quemeneur, Sicard (EUC), Deignan (SKY), Rovny (TCS).

4 had gotten clear, but by -87k all 14 are back together in front.

Km 66: over cat 2 Passo Cento Croci
Km 151: Through Genova (Genoa).
-83k, the lead is 4:26

Puccio also crashed, continued, very scraped up; Serry has been down, too.
Sutton, Siutsou and Cataldo (all SKY) crashed earlier, and are all up.

-74k: crash mid peloton, in town. Morabito, Vanendert, Ponzi, Zeits, Monfort, Swift, Cataldo, EBH... Morabito (Evans #1 SD) looks a little hurt, but he's back up and riding.

Evans asks the Androni riders, who are driving the pace in the front of the peloton, if they might slow up to wait for his lieutenant. Negative. (Probably not much goodwill after Evans kept the pace up after the big peloton crash on stage 6).

Other crash victims: Sorensen, Malori,

-53k: Deignan, wheel change. Trying to catch back up to the break, but the peloton are closing the gap now...

-50k: Peloton trails by 2:08. Deignan is about :25 behind the leaders.

-40k lead= 1:18, on early ramp up to the final climb.

cat 2 Nasso di Gatto 7k at 8% section, shallower at bottom and top.

Morabito is back with the BMC guys, who are now pushing it at the front of the peloton.

On the climb:
Bongiorno leaps from the break, Roche chases and passes him in front...
Moreno and Preidler get on...

-34k: Arredondo escapes the pack! He's quickly passing guys from the break.
-32.8k: Arredondo catches on with the 4 leaders--now 5. The pink jersey is :32 behind.
-32.6k: Roche accelerates away from the lead group, Now it's Arredondo, Preidler, Roche stretching out...
Roche losing ground to the other 2...
Chalapud jumps from the peloton, momentarily.
Preidler out of the saddle most of the way, trying to hang on to Arredondo's wheel..Arredondo seated, smooth cadence...
BMC lead the peloton chase up the climb.

Ulissi is suffering since the early crash...

Zardini makes a move from the pack.
-30.4k: Zardini passes Roche.
-29k:Losada, Rolland, and Pellizotti are together chasing Zardini.
The lead was down to :15, but Arredondo is opening it up again...
Preidler loses Arredondo's wheel near the top.
Zardini closes in on Preidler.

-28k: Behind, Zardini is picked up by Rolland, Pellizotti, and Losada.
Arredondo is 1st over the summit. Preidler 2nd, Pellizotti 3rd.
The front six come together on the descent.
Leaders (6): Arredondo, Zardini, Rolland, Pellizotti, Preidler and Losada.

-24.5k: Peloton about to catch leaders, Rolland still puching up front. By -24k it's gruppo compatto.

-21.3k: Mick Rogers attacks on the descent.
-20k: Rogers is building a nice gap.
Ulissi has been dropped.

-16K: Rogers has -:41 and growing.
-10k: Rogers -:36.

After this descent there are about 3.8k of flats.
-5k: Rogers has :35 on the Maglia Rosa grp.

-1k: Rogers still has :20!

*Michael Rogers, who came into the race with just one racing day in his legs, wins stage 11.
1. Rogers  2. Geschle at +:10  3. Battaglin ST

Appollonio and Ruffoni OOT.

Ulissi comes in at +4:31! (he punctured after rejoining the peloton before the finale); says knee is not bad.

Malori, tomorrow's TT favorite, has injuries from crash listed as " trauma to his right arm and shoulder, and bruises to his thorax and knees."

Sorensen looked really banged up. He got a concussion.

42k rolling ITT

DNS: Sorensen
1. Uran  0:57:34
2. Ulissi +1:17
3. Evans 1:34
4. Majka 1:39
5. Brambilla 1:53
6. Poels 2:00
7: Kelderman 2:03
8. De Gendt 2:06
9. Pozzovivo 2:09
10. Gretsch 2:12
Other notable:
11. Cataldo 2:23
13. Quintana 2:41
14. Rogers ST
16. Aru 2:55
20. Hesjedal 3:22
21. Geniez 3:29
28. Rolland 3:46
29: Kiserlovski 3:49
30. Basso 4:05
33. Duarte 4:14
36. Monfort 4:17
37. Zoidl 4:23
41. Pellizotti 4:49
54. Scarponi 5:27
72. Santaromita 6:08
73. Niemiec 6:12
86. Landa 6:40
97. Malori 7:09
106. Tuft 7:32
125. Roche 8:03
127. Hepburn 8:06
137. Weening 8:20
151. Castroviejo 8:47
157. Dan Moreno 9:33
174. [last place] Bouhanni 12:56

DNF: Ludvigsson

GC after 12:

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

Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC Racing Team

Rafal Majka (Pol) Tinkoff-Saxo

Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) AG2R La Mondiale

Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Belkin Pro Cycling Team

Nairo Alexander Quintana Rojas (Col) Movistar Team

Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana Pro Team

Wout Poels (Ned) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team

Steve Morabito (Swi) BMC Racing Team

Robert Kiserlovski (Cro) Trek Factory Racing

Ivan Basso (Ita) Cannondale

Pierre Rolland (Fra) Team Europcar

Gianluca Brambilla (Ita) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team

Diego Ulissi (Ita) Lampre-Merida

Matteo Rabottini (Ita) Neri Sottoli - Yellow Fluo

Ryder Hesjedal (Can) Garmin Sharp

Maxime Monfort (Bel) Lotto Belisol

Kanstantsin Siutsou (Blr) Team Sky

Alexis Vuillermoz (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale

Damiano Cunego (Ita) Lampre-Merida

Alexandre Geniez (Fra)

Franco Pellizotti (Ita) Androni Giocattoli

Hubert Dupont (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale

José Herrada Lopez (Spa) Movistar Team

Samuel Sanchez (Spa) BMC Racing Team

Fabio Andres Duarte Arevalo (Col) Colombia

Georg Preidler (Aut) Team Giant-Shimano

Michael Rogers (Aus) Tinkoff-Saxo

Davide Malacarne (Ita) Team Europcar

Serge Pauwels (Bel) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team

*Many of the TT specialists were either hurt or committed to domestique duties, so they did not put in the kinds of good times they are accustomed to.


Sunny at start, rain expected

Break (6)= Jxn Rodriguez (AND), Corredor (COL), Dockx (LTB), Tulik (EUC), Canola (BAR), and Belkov (KAT).
-100k lead at 2:27

-60k at 3:27
Raining now.
Peloton turn up the pace inside -45k
-40k: 2:56 lead.

about 2:00 at -20k

Heavy hail on the road blanketed the ground with white, causing everyone to slow down.

Rodriguez, Canola and Tulik drop the other 3 from the break.

Seemed the pel were giving up the chase with about -13k, but soon they're closing the gap again...

-1k lead maybe :30 tops;
The peloton can be seen barreling down on the 3 leaders in the last few hundred meters...

But the 3 stay clear,
and Marco CANOLA (BARDIANI) takes the sprint!
Rodriguez and Tulik round out the stage podium.

No change in GC.

MTF tomorrow.


Agliè to Oropa 164k, MTF
weather: mostly cloudy, cool, 17 c, Wind S at 7kmh; 56% humidity;
Incl. 4 climbs:
1. A cat-3 at km30 (La Serra);
2. cat-1 at km 93: (Alpe Noveis): 1099m;
3. cat-2 at km 120: Bielmonte;
4. And the cat-1 summit finish at Oropa (Biella)

DNS: Vanendert and Belletti.

Break (9) by km 15, joined by 12 more: Cataldo; EBH - SKY; Roche - TCS; Agnoli - AST; Sella, Frapporti - AND; Domont - ALM; Battaglin - BAR; Keizer - BEL; Quinziato - BMC; Longo Borghini - CAN; Pantano - COL; Cattaneo, Polanc - LAM; Quemeneur - EUC; Timmer - GIA; Wellens - LTB; Monsalve - NRI; Vermote - OPQ; Santaromita - OGE; Hondo - TFR.
Lead is 2:30 with 139k to go (at ~km 25).
Lead up to 3:30 quickly...

*Wellens is first over 1st climb (cat 3 La Serra), ahead of Hondo, then Monsalve.

-105k: crash in pel. Siutsou, Weening, 4x NRI riders; 3 x SKY; Arashiro EUC, looks hurt.
*Siutsou and Weening abandoned.

2nd CLI: cat-1 Alpe Noveis: About 9k, with a 711m drop, up to 1099m elev; 1st 3k are easy, then 5k of steeps, averaging 11.4% and maxing out around 16% early on; the top has a dip for respite, and then 10% kick up, before leveling off in the final few hundred meters.

-72k: 8:09 lead on the climb...

*Wellens pips Monsalve over cat 1 Noveis summit. Longo Borghini is 3rd; then EBH, Agnoli, Domont, Santaromita, and Quemeneur.

*3rd CLI: Onto the Bielmonte climb: 1482m high; ~18k (1st 5.5k ~ 5.1%, next 5.6k avg 8.3%, next 3k: ~ 5.1%,  then ~ 1.5k of -3.3% descent, and the final 3k to the summit ~6.1%); Max: 13% at around 10k into the climb;

-50k: Rolland, Tulik and Thurau are chasing;
Hesjedal and Izaguirre pursue, :30 behind the Rolland grp.
Rabottini ventures out behind Hesjedal;

-45k: 1st chase grp at +4:40 is Hesjedal, Rolland, Thurau, Izaguirre, Zoidl. 5:19 to 2nd chase grp.

Now they're saying Rabottini is in that group too. ?
Now they're saying he isn't. He's been distanced.

*Roche attacks from the front.
-44.6k: Pirazzi and Zardini (both BAR) attack from the pack.
-43k: The BAR guys catch Rabottini.
-42k: Roche is building a gap out front.
A 30k descent follows this summit, before the climb to the finish.

*Roche summits with a :10 gap to Wellens and the rest.
5:03 back to the BAR boys.
5:48 to the peloton.

The descent could be critical to the leaders.
beIN tV's delayed [Saturday] coverage cuts ahead in the action:

*Onto the final climb to the finish:
cat-1 Santuario di Oropa: 11.8k from 409m up to 1142 m (733m drop); Max  13.5%; steepest in the middle; the first 5k are very easy, the remainder averages about 8% along a staircase climb of continually varying grades.

Roche has been reeled in by the other leaders.
Timmer must have gone off the front.

2nd chase grp: Hesjedal, Rolland, Izaguirre, and Zoidl.

-5.3k: Cataldo and Cattaneo accelerate off the front.
-4.7k: Wellens and Roche get on with them. and Pantano?
Behind, Quintana and Pozzovivo lead the pel. chase.

Pantano may be pulling away...
Wellens is in the lead now.
Santaromita may be chasing?
No time gaps available..

Contrary to the published profile, Carlton Kirby is saying the road flattens out in the last km.

-4k: Wellens leads, 1st chase at  +:36; 2nd chase at 3:31; Pink Jsy grp at 4:15.
-3.7k: Cataldo and Cattaneo close in on Wellens in front..
*...and Pozzovivo attacks the GC group!

He's chased by Majka and Uran. Quintana and Kelderman chase, too...
Pozzo begins to pull away, suddenly Quintana gets on with him. Just behind, Evans gets on with Uran...

 -3.5k: Pozzovivo leads Quintana and Izaguirre;
behind, Kelderman is in the gap; then Majka, Uran and Evans...

Ahead, Cataldo has dropped Cattaneo, and been joined by Pantano. They pick up Timmer. They're being called the lead group, so Wellens must have dropped back;
[This is pretty poor TV coverage of all this action, but there are riders scattered all over creation.]

Rolland and Hesjedal are chasing somewhere
Pozzo and Quintana are moving...

-2k: Cataldo attacks the leaders; Pantano chases on. He can't drop the Colombian;
Pantano takes over, then sputters. Cataldo looks stronger.
Behind, Pozzo and NQ are building a nice gap to the other GC guys.

-1k: Polanc has gotten back on with the leaders!

The 4 are sprinting as the road does level out somewhat;
Polanc takes the lead; all 4 still together. Timmer is working really hard to stay w the other 3..
-700m: Polanc accel; Timmer is dropped.
-600m: Suddenly, Battaglin and Roche et al, are closing in behind!

Only a 2.5% grade at the top;

Cataldo is watching the other 3, as Polanc drops from the front.
Looks like Cataldo is about to spring!

Polanc is distanced, then Battaglin;
Cataldo leads Pantano up the cobbles to the line...
~ -150m: They round a 90-degree left-hander;

-100m: Pantano turns on the gas...
-75m: ...but Cataldo jumps ahead, chased hard by Battaglin!
-50m: Battaglin passes Pantano!
Battaglin is coming back strong. Can Cataldo hold him off?

*-20m: Carlton Kirby nearly has a stroke on the mic, as Battaglin burns past Cataldo and takes a very impressive win at the end of a very climb-y stage!
What a great victory for the 24-yr-old Enrico Battaglin and the wildcard Pro-Conti Bardiani team!


Cataldo, then a very spent Pantano follow.

Many from the break are still ahead of the chasers. They roll in little by little.

Here come the GC guys...
Pozzovivo and NQ approach the last few hundred meters. They pick up some other stragglers.
Hesjedal comes in at +2:22.
Rolland at 2:26.

Quintana (15th) pulls ahead of Pozzo, and crosses the line at +2:39;
Pozzovivo and Aru at +2:43;
Kelderman and Majka (18th and 19th) at 2:47;
Poels and Evans (20th-21st) at +2:59;
Uran is next at 3:04.
EBH at 3:22!
Kiserlovski and Landa (28th-29th) at 3:36;
Ulissi is 32nd at 4:01;
Pellizotti and Basso (33rd and 34th) at 4:02.

Rabottini (44th), Monfort (45th) and Morabito (46th) are over 5 mins down.
Moreno at 8:24; Sanchez at 9:01;
Arredondo at 11:44; Pirazzi at 17:48.

Uran keeps Pink, but concedes some seconds to most challengers.

Quintana seems to have gotten over his flu or whatever respiratory ailment was holding him back the last couple of days.

*Pozzovivo criticizes NQ for not doing his share of work on the climb.
They both need to gain time on Uran, and NQ claimed he was on his limit, despite passing him at the line.
He (Pozzo) also says he showed he's strongest in the climbs.

170 riders finished.

Another MTF tomorrow.

NQ says same strategy tomorrow (follow leaders and try to gain at the end).
Rolland deciding whether to go for GC or stages.


Stages 16-21 are on the next page...