By David Hunter
Stage 12 Recap
Rigoberto Uran delivered one of the most impressive TT performances, in a grand tour, for a long time. He blew his rivals away, with good climbing and descending. He, and the other late starters, benefited from much better weather conditions but it was still a great ride. A bigger surprise was the rider in 2nd place, Diego Ulissi. A day after crashing and hurting his knee, the Italian also put in his best every ITT performance. Cadel Evans was steady as ever, finishing 3rd. Uran put 1:34 into Evans and moved into the pink jersey. He now leads by 37 seconds, as we head towards the mountains.
Stage 13 Fossano – Rivarolo Canavese 157km
After the GC battle on stage 12, the riders head through Torino, for a sprint finish.
Unfortunately the weather forecast says that there is a chance of rain.
The first thing to notice about the stage, is the location of the intermediate sprint point. At only 13km before the finishing line, it represents a chance for the sprinters to pick up some points before the end of the stage. It will be very interesting to see how hard they ride for it, as most of them won’t want to waste too much energy, so close to the end of the stage.
The other thing to note is the short length of the stage. At only 157km, it gives the GC riders a chance to rest up before the weekend in the mountains.
We have 1 cat 4 climb, it’s 1.9km at 3.1%. So it’s not going to cause any problems.
The stage finishes with a 22km circuit, which gives the peloton a chance to ride through the finishing line once before the real deal. Interestingly, the road rises at 3.5% for 400 metres, from 0.9km to go until 0.5km to go.
The final kilometre is very typical of the Giro. Although the first two corners will be able to be taken at speed, before a decrease in speed for the final right hand bend. After that there is 250 metres left.
Yet again, positioning and preparation is crucial. Before a sprint stage FDJ have a member of staff filming the final 10km of the stage. This is watched by the team before the stage. This is fairly common with big sprint teams, and it seems to be working for Bouhanni. This stage is great opportunity to win a 4th stage and take a more commanding lead in the red jersey classification. His team are excellent at positioning him, and he can also use his elbows to stay in position. Can anyone stop him?
We will have the usual contenders trying: Nizzolo, Viviani, Swift, Mezgec and Ferrari. Of these riders, only Viviani can sprint as fast as Bouhanni. He has been unlucky with crashes and has been suffering with a fever. His main failing is his terrible positioning, but if he can get it right, he could beat the Frenchman.
The other riders just don’t seem fast enough. The move by Team Sky, to try and eliminate the sprinters, on stage 10, was a sign that Swift doesn’t believe he can outsprint his rivals. I was surprised by this, as he was quick enough in Dublin. If he is to win, he must have Boasson Hagen delivering him into the last corner, 2nd wheel. Anywhere else, and he’s no chance.
Nizzolo has 4 podium places to his name, but he cannot match Bouhanni’s speed.
Mezgec, still has the best train but needs to deliver a better sprint.
Ferrari basically has no chance!
Win number 4 for Nacer Bouhanni. Having picked him for the red jersey, before the race, I have been delighted with his performances. In 2013, Cavendish won 5 stages en route to the red jersey. Bouhanni can equal or maybe better this achievement. It certainly will help with any future contract talks.
Related: Giro 2014 general preview:https://bicis.frangandara.net/giro-ditalia-2014-general-preview/
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