By David Hunter
Stage 16 Recap
Well, what a day! Snow, rain, sleet, wind and freezing conditions. An eager person in charge of the Giro twitter account, declared a go-slow down the Stelvio. Some of the teams claimed it was on the radio and others said it wasn’t. Rolland attacked on the descent and Quintana followed. By the time the dust settled(or the snow cleared) they had 2 minutes on Uran and the other favourites. With them was 2012 Giro champ, Ryder Hesjedal. They caught Cataldo and Quintana set a fierce pace on the climb. He eventually shelled Rolland, but Hesjedal clung on until the flame rouge. Eventually it was too much for him and Quintana soloed to a quite unbelievable victory. Hesjedal was 2nd and Rolland 3rd. Here is Quintana’s time gaps to the other GC riders:-
Rolland 1:13, Kelderman 3:32, Pozzovivo 3:37, Aru 3:40, Majka 4:08, Uran 4:11 and Evans 4:48.
It means that the GC now looks like this:-
2. Uran 1:41
3. Evans 3:21
4. Rolland 3:26
5. Majka 3:28
6. Aru 3:34
7. Pozzovivo 3:49
8. Kelderman 4:06
It looks like the battle for pink is over, but with just 45 seconds separating 3rd to 8th, the excitement continues.
Pink – Quintana, Red – Bouhanni, Blue – Arredondo, White – Quintana
Stage 17 Sarnonico – Vittorio Veneto 208km
After the craziness of stage 16, we return to a more relaxed day in the saddle, the last one until Sunday!
The bad news is, there could be rain at the finishing line. The last thing the riders will want.
One word can be used to describe the profile … bumpy! There may only be 3 cat 4 climbs in the stage, but don’t underestimate them.
Fastro – Scale di Primolano – 3km at 3.9%
Santo Stefano – 4km at 5.5%
Muro di ca’del Poggio 1.15km at 12.2%, with a maximum of 18%.
The final climb is only 20km from the end of the stage and is very, very steep.
The battle for the red jersey is still quite tight, with Bouhanni leading Nizzolo by 26 points. This stage has 50 points on offer, but will either of them be there at the end?
What is clear is that Nacer Bouhanni is climbing better now than he ever has. Finishing in front of the other sprinters on the mountain stages and climbing at the front of the peloton, early in stages. However, it is a dangerous tactic for FDJ to try and get a sprint finish. It is a much better tactic, to send a rider in the break and let the other teams work. At this late stage of the race, there is no way a threat on GC will be in the break.
The other sprint teams have not been keen on chasing during the race and they will have to, if they want a sprint. Looking at the stage it probably suits Ben Swift the best, but without Boasson Hagen and Siutsou, I’m not sure if they’ll have the stomach for the fight. All the sprint teams will happily try and get a man in the break and let the others chase.
Cannondale have disappointed throughout the whole race and so has Viviani. Can they turn things around?
Trek Factory Racing still have 9 riders but are trying to look after Kiserlovski and Arredondo, so Nizzolo won’t get much help.
Giant – Shimano have Mezgec, but they also have riders who will want to win from the break.
Most teams will be delighted if a break makes it, and I think it will. The contenders are: Adam Hansen, Francis Mourey, Matteo Montaguti, Nathan Haas, Matteo Bono, Simon Geschke and Luca Paolini.
The final climb will be decisive. It is short but very steep and will end the chances of many riders. If the break is small enough it will be possible for a rider to solo to the end.
The stage ends with a long, uphill drag to the finishing line. It isn’t much, but it will hurt!
The end of the stage is very straightforward for the Giro! 1 sharp bend and a fast left hand turn set the riders onto the 450 metre finishing straight. This is the easiest end to a sprint stage we’ve had so far.
I think it has to be between Hansen, Geschke and Mourey. I’ll go for Adam Hansen, here’s hoping he gets into the break.
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