The Inner Ring | Giro Stage 12 Preview

    Want to win a stage? Are the sprint finishes and high Alps beyond reach. Well today is the day. All the peloton knows it and half the peloton wants to exploit it.

    A Seagull on the Coast: a second stage win for Jonathan Milan, named Jonathan by his mother after she read Richard Bach’s “Jonathan Livingston Seagull” during pregnancy. 23 years later he wins another scary sprint in the beach town of Francavilla. Not that Milan did anything wrong, it’s just the impression that at any moment his stem could snap, a pedal axle will shear or some other catastrophic failure will happen under the sheer force. It’s a double triumph for Trek, both a win and product stress test.

    The other news from the sprint was Tim Merlier’s relegation. He drifted right and closed the door on Juan Sebastian Molano before moving back to the middle. It wasn’t wild but it wasn’t correct.

    The big story earlier was Cian Uijtdebroeks not starting meaning Visma-LAB are down to four riders. There’s a virus doing the rounds but his team were quick to rule out Covid. Feedback from other teams is just a respiratory illness. Stefano Oldani was also out, he’d been ill for a couple of days with similar symptoms. So Antonio Tiberi is in white and he told RAI’s Processo alla Tappa show he’s already had the virus so is hopeful of continuing to Rome. It makes you fear who might be next.

    The Route: 193km and 2100m of vertical gain. Today’s stage has four marked climbs but more that are not. These are the “walls” of the Marche, steep roads climbing to hilltop towns but the race has avoided the most severe versions. However the defining feature of the road is their exhausting changes in gradient, they’re not just steep but variable and this irregularity makes them hard. The last one up Monte Giove is narrow too.

    The Finish: the race twists around Fano but it’s largely flat, a dip under the railway line first and then a bridge over it before the flamme rouge.

    The Contenders: the breakaway stage of the Giro. Some names stand out. Jhonathan Narvaez (Ineos) is in obvious form and has a fast sprint, he smoked Pogačar after all. Julian Alaphilippe (Soudal-Quickstep) is in great form too but this has been sufficient to get clear but not win, he will need to be more crafty today. Max Schachmann (Bora-hansgrohe) is versatile. Michael Valgren (EF) came close the other day but said he wasn’t feeling good. Alessandro De Marchi (Jayco) will be up for the stage but how to win?

    Sprinters Kaden Groves (Alpecin-Deceuninck) and Caleb Ewan (Jayco) can have a chance today if the tactics work out, they’d need to get in the breakaway and play cards carefully.

    Tadej Pogačar (UAE) can’t be ruled out but we’d probably have to see a spectacular stage for him to come in with a small group to contest the win.

    Narvaez, Vendrame, Alaphilippe
    Schachmann, Groves, Bagioli, Sanchez, Valter, Pogačar

    Weather: sunshine and 23°C

    TV: KM0 is at 12.30pm CEST and the finish is forecast for 5.15pm CEST. This could have sport from start to finish.

    Postcard from Osimo
    Today’s stage is in the Marche region, it as plenty going for it with mountains, coast, food, wine and a pleasant climate. Now you can probably tell there is a “but” coming… and it’s the roads. Italy has a vast network of roads which is great for cycling as you can find plenty of routes with very little traffic.

    Only this is about the superficial as while the roads are fantastic, plenty are cracked and potholed in a way that they just aren’t in, say, France or Spain. This varies by region and over the years Marche has tended to have a lot of bad ones, although it’s hardly exceptional.

    Sometimes it can’t be helped. Italy’s geography is a big factor, clay soils and schist rocks mean hillsides are subsiding and roads slide with them. Most regions have a climate that has torrential rains ice and above all heat. The technique of using asphalt also means the road is even more likely to soften. But it’s also a question of resources, even bigger infrastructure like bridges are at risk here.

    In recent years wider tires and rims have helped a lot, what would once tear tires and ruin rims on a a recon ride is now passable. Although it does mean the road cyclist is often scanning the road ahead like a mountain biker on the trail rather than gazing at the scenery. Anyway, rather than get into a blogger’s rant let’s give the last word to the local press in Italy…

    The Giro can often see roads repaired ahead of the race, watch and you’ll see regular portions of fresh blacktop. I can’t remember if it was The Cycling Podcast or the Gironimo podcast but just the other day one cited an amusing newspaper article in a local newspaper from Calabria. The headline above is “No Giro in Calabria, relief for tire-fitters”, as in garage repair shops can rest assured of business thanks to rough roads ravaging vehicles. Here’s more of the amusing piece (my translation):

    There is no fan of cycling that does not love the Giro d’Italia and there is no tire-fitter or mechanic that does not hate it, at least in Calabria. In fact for a long time the mythical stage race organised by [La Gazzetta Dello Sport] has not been synonymous with sport but with resurfacing…

    …the roads in Calabria are always a mess, except when there’s a stage of the Giro. Thanks to the TV coverage of the race route, local councils seem to turn into their efficient Japanese counterparts. Every hole, like magic, is filled in an flash, including those that had been there for years; the asphalt suddenly resembles that of a Swiss canton. For those who make a living repairing tires this is trouble.

    Mechanics and tire-fitters can, however, breathe a sigh of relief: no Giro d’Italia in Calabria in 2024. The collapse of business recorded as a result of the stage between Palmi and Scalea will not be repeated. It is not known if it was these two powerful lobbies, or that of the spare parts industry, that convinced [La Gazzetta] not bring the race south of Campania. But it is likely that in several garages, when the official route for 2024 was unveiled, they were uncorking champagne.
    “Calabria, niente Giro d’Italia 2024: sollievo tra i gommisti” by Camillo Giuliani in I Calabresi, October 2023

    Source link

    Related articles



    Please enter your comment!
    Please enter your name here

    Share article

    Latest articles


    Subscribe to stay updated.