By David Hunter
Castelrotto – Alpe di Siusi 10.8km ITT
Mountain time trial day.
One of the reasons I love the Giro, is their own love of the mountain TT. It really is a very special day.
A false flat of 1.8km is all the relief the riders get, after that it’s up the mountain.
Time to look back at previous mountain TTs, the winners and overall positions on GC.
1 – Quintana
2 – Aru
3 – Uran
The final GC was Quintana, Uran, Aru.
Also featuring on that stage were Pozzovivo(5th), Majka(7th), Seb Henao(8th), Wellens(9th), Pirazzi(12th) and Zoidl(13th).
1 – Nibali
2 – Sami Sanchez
3 – Damiano Caruso
The final GC was Nibali, Uran, Evans.
Also featuring were Scarponi(4th), Majka(5th), Uran(6th), Betancur(7th) and Pozzovivo(15th)
The winner of the stage will win the GC. Fact!
Vincenzo Nibali – lost 37 seconds to Chaves and Kruijswijk today. The stage was going exactly to plan, especially as he distanced Valverde. What followed, was not in the script! Maybe he had a small bad moment, or he just underestimated the other two. Despite losing ground, I was impressed with his final 15km. Riding by himself he managed to maintain the gap to those in front, despite them having a 2 v 1 advantage. He’s not at 100% yet, but that should happen before the race finishes. The mountain TT is his discipline, but did he go too deep today?
Esteban Chaves – the best climber in the race? A mountain TT will be great for him, but he could still lose some ground to the riders that can TT better than him. He will hope to stay close to Nibali and Kruijswijk, he can’t afford to drop much time to them.
Steven Kruijswijk – considering his TT performances, he will be targeting the overall win. The thought of a flying Nibali, in the final week, will scare the Dutchmen. Unlike Nibali, he is at 100% just now, a big performance is guaranteed.
Rafa Majka – couldn’t match them today, but you can see from above that he is a good performer in this discipline. Do not underestimate the Pole, he is one of the best climbers in the peloton.
Michele Scarponi – a case could be made for Scarponi claiming to be the best climber in the race. His performance today was exceptional, in fact, he has been wonderful since stage 1. He goes out some time before Nibali, so the team will want him to give his friend some excellent reference points. He will also be chasing Kangert, his teammate, giving him some added incentive. Rules mean that Kangert goes off 2 before him, to stop any drafting between teammates. Astana have just taken the lead in the team classification, so don’t expect Scarponi to go for a tourist ride.
Stefano Pirazzi – the enigma! I don’t think even Pirazzi knows what he’ll get from himself. Despite suffering from the cold, he now sits 13th on GC. This is his best ever Giro, so he will fight on and aim for the top 10. He was 12th in the 2014 mountain TT and is a decent TT rider.
Tim Wellens – will he go full gas? I think so. The Belgian is a huge fan of TTing up a mountain, he loves dangling his hands over his bars when on the attack. Wellens has the ability to finish in the top 5, it would be good to see him test himself.
Seb Henao – 8th in 2014 was a hugely impressive result. He is riding well and with freedom, he now sits 2nd in the white jersey competition. Expect Henao to push himself and I would expect another top 10 finish.
A sunny day, with a relatively constant wind coming from the south.
I’m sticking with Nibali, but Kruijswijk should run him close.
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