By David Hunter
Stage 13 Recap
The peloton decided to play some games today. FDJ were fed up of doing all the chasing, so they stopped after the intermediate sprint point. They looked to Giant, Cannondale and Trek to do some work of their own. The other teams tried to play poker with them, but lost. Bouhanni already has 3 stages and the red jersey, so the pressure is off his team. The others are yet to win a stage but still decided to play out this crazy tactic. In the end, Garmin, tried to chase but it was too late. The stage was won by Marco Canola of Bardiani, after he outsprinted Jackson Rodriguez and Angelo Tulik.
Pink – Uran, Red – Bouhanni, Blue – Arredondo, White – Majka
Stage 14 Aglie – Oropa 164km
Time for the mountains!
The dust has just settled on the ITT and now the GC boys really come out to play.
At 164km it’s a short stage but very difficult. The cat 3 climb, at the start of the stage is 6.8km at 4.9%. The real climbing is all in the 2nd half of the stage.
The climb of Alpe Noveis is difficult! 8.95km at an average of 7.9%, but take a look at the middle section of 11,4% for 4.5km.
The cat 2 climb to Bielmonte is a bit of a monster, 18.35km at 5.6%. Such a long climb will really hurt the legs of the peloton, especially with a 7km section at 8.3%.
The final climb is 11.75km at 6.2%, it ends with 6.75km at 7.9%.
As entertaining as the open 13 stages have been, this is when the real racing starts. Rigoberto Uran and his OPQS teammates will have some hard racing to cope with. There are a number of riders looking to gain time on him. Still in the frame for the overall win is Nairo Quintana, Domenico Pozzovivo and Cadel Evans.
Quintana has the most ground to make up and has to attack. He has been suffering from a cold, but is reported to be much better now. He likes to attack from distance and I would not be surprised to see a long range attack from him. If he is still not 100%, he’ll stay in the wheels and hope for better days in the final week.
Domenico Pozzovivo has already shown he is capable of attacking and getting a gap on his rivals. He will find it much more difficult to be allowed freedom, but he will try.
Cadel Evans is the closest to Uran on GC, at just 37 seconds behind. There has been a lot of negative press about Cadel but he is in good shape and perfectly positioned to strike. He has the luxury of waiting until the end of the stage before attacking. He will hope that the other riders will attack and gradually begin to wear down Uran. OPQS don’t have a great mountain team with them and will expect a lot from Brambilla and Poels. Will they cope with the pressure applied by AG2R, Movistar and BMC?
What about Diego Ulissi? When I spoke to him, pre-race, he told me that he would target medium mountain stages. Circumstances have pushed him forward as Lampre’s only GC hope. He wants to become a GC rider, in a few years, but he has an opportunity to see how far he can go. What’s for certain is that the other riders will not want him brought to the line, as he’ll win the sprint.
Pierre Rolland looks in great shape. He lost time in the TT, but he is rubbish in this discipline. Being slightly further down on GC, he will be given some freedom when attacking.
Ivan Basso is slowly building up some form. The Italian doesn’t like a lot of attacking on the climbs, he prefers a steady tempo. Can he roll back the years with a stellar performance?
Rafal Majka has certainly progressed well from last year. He is sitting 3rd on GC, but still not expected to challenge for the overall win. His team, Tinkoff – Saxo, is strong and very attacking. They will certainly try to attack Uran and the other riders will sit back and try to take advantage.
The other riders who should stick with the leaders are Kelderman and Aru. Both are young and excellent prospects for the future, could they spring a surprise?
Will Pirazzi, Kiserlovski, Moreno, Landa, Pellizotti or Duarte be in the mix at the end of the stage?
The interesting thing about the stage is that the first climb is the hardest. The cat 2 climb will be easy for the main riders, and only the final 5km of the final climb will challenge them. With much harder stages to come, will the stage be a disappointment as the GC boys wait for the final kilometres before attacking?
Will a team try and isolate Uran on the opening climb of the race? Both Movistar and Tinkoff – Saxo are capable of such tactics.
Cadel has the strongest teammates, with Sami Sanchez and Steve Morabito. The Swiss rider, has been in outstanding form and shouldn’t be underestimated.
What about Julian Arredondo. If he goes in the early break, he will pick up points, but jeopardise his stage chances. The Colombian rider really wants a stage win, but will the blue jersey be a bigger pull?
I don’t think the break will stay away as too many teams want the stage and the bonus seconds that go with it.
At this stage of a grand tour you have to ask, who is in form?
We have Uran, Pozzovivo, Evans, Arredondo, Ulissi, Majka and Rolland. The winner has to come from these riders.
The problem for Pozzovivo is his lack of sprinting qualities. If he is to win the stage he has to win it solo and I don’t think the final climb is hard enough for this.
I think Ulissi will begin to suffer and Arredondo might burn himself out by going for earlier mountain points.
That leaves Uran, Evans, Majka and Rolland. I don’t think the young Pole is at the top, top level yet and he’ll struggle to lose his rivals.
Rolland could do it. His success will depend on how many teammates the big riders have on the final climb.
Quintana has been suffering from illness and I can’t see him recovering enough to win this stage, although he should be able to stay with his rivals.
I think the stage will come down to Uran v Evans!
Cadel was once thought of as a defensive rider, but the rainbow jersey seemed to liberate him. He has to try and attack, but will leave it late. By that time Uran will have covered a few moves himself and should be slightly tired. It’s an unpopular decision but I’m going for Evans. He needs to strike now, before any signs of his form fading.
Related: Giro 2014 general preview:https://bicis.frangandara.net/giro-ditalia-2014-general-preview/
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