It’s finally here, the start of the Giro d’Italia (in the Netherlands?!). This year the Giro takes it’s biennial leave from Italy, starting in the Dutch town of Apeldoorn. Keeping to recent traditions, the Giro starts with a race against the clock. With the last 2 years featuring Team Time Trials, the race returns to the Individual format for this edition.
The ITT is 9.8km long and takes place on almost pan-flat course through the suburbs and centre of the host town.
“This individual time trial runs entirely through the city, along wide, straight avenues, with just a few 90-degree bends. Speed bumps, roundabouts and street furniture will be found throughout the route. Split time is taken at km 4.8.” (Extract from the Road Book)
As you can see above, this ITT is one for the power specialists, with the long straight roads that are being used. However, there are a few sharp turns which speed out of will be crucial. This could reward both those who are willing to take risks, but also the more explosive riders who can get back to top speed quickly. Holistically though, this TT will be won by someone who can put out a massive number of watts over a ten-minute or so time period.
It looks set to be a glorious day in Apeldoorn, with the temperature set to be 24ºC and pretty much 0% chance of rain. One thing that has been talked about slightly is the wind and its direction. As can be seen in the image to the left, the strength of the wind is meant to increase throughout the afternoon (although the speed of the gusts stays relatively similar). One thing that is supposed to change slightly is the direction that the wind is blowing from itself. Leigh Howard pointed this out on the preview that he did with CyclingHubTV last night. His team (IAM) apparently had a meeting about it so they must consider it a significant enough factor in the race tomorrow. In my opinion, it won’t make that much of a difference to the overall result on the stage but it is something to consider. The reason for this is that the early starters will get more of a benefit from a SE wind as it will be more of a tailwind than those who start later and get a SSE wind. But again, these differences will be minimal, it’s just something interesting to note for later on.
Who are the contenders then?
Well up until this morning I had Cancellara down for winning this TT and in turn getting to wear the only GT jersey that’s missing from his collection. However, he’s tweeted out this morning saying that he’s ill:
Now, we’ve seen this before where riders are supposedly ill and manage to put in a good performance. Warren Barguil was supposedly ill before LBL but still managed to come home in 6th! So it’s hard to tell whether Cancellara is being genuine or not. In an interview with CyclingNews he says that he doesn’t “have the fever now”. A remarkable recovery from fever in less than a day, a miscommunication or translation or is he having us all on? I would not be surprised whatever way the result goes tomorrow: if he puts in a massive performance and wins, or is truly ill and finishes far down. One thing this news has effected is the odds for the stage, with Tom Dumoulin now being the out and out favourite.
I can understand why he’s now that price, but I personally wouldn’t back him here. Being priced at evens is too short in my opinion. He will now more than likely go on and win the stage comfortably, but it’s not worth the risk. I’ll be staying clear of him.
The odds on the “outsiders” (i.e. anyone outside the big 2) have now shortened as well because of this. I personally have Jos Van Emden backed EW when original odds came out at 33/1. However, that price is long gone and I couldn’t advise him at the price he currently is. I do also have Jack Bobridge at 125/1 EW and he could be worth a little EW if Cancellara really is ill and he becomes their stage 1 hope.
Howard talked up Brändle in the preview I mentioned earlier and he could go well, along with Luxembourg TT champion, Bob Jungels. It’s interesting to note that Brändle starts relatively early, heading off at 14:20 local time – that’s probably the result of the wind based meeting that the IAM squad had.
If the wind direction change is to be taken seriously then the other solid TTers of note that start early (click on this for all of the start times) are as follows: Vorobyev (13:48) Tuft (14:06), Kangert (14:22), Oss (14:24), Ludvigsson (14:35), Geniez (15:07).
Of those I’m most interested in Kangert, Ludvigsson and Geniez.
Kangert hasn’t really shown much in recent TT’s but he was exceptionally strong at Trentino. He could be sent out early to set a strong benchmark time/splits for Nibali to chase. Ludvigsson is a favourite of many, and has so much promise but hasn’t really delivered a big TT result recently, could this be it? Geniez is part of the renewed TTing force over at FDJ, he has been going well on his TT bike all season, putting in a lot of solid efforts. He’s a definite outside shot for a Top 5 and if he pulls of an amazing ride then sneak onto the podium.
After writing all of this I’d hope that I’d come to some proper conclusion, but nope, it’s only confused me even more. I still don’t 100% believe Cancellara is as ill is being made out to be, which is in turn putting me off of Tom Dumoulin. The sensible pick would be to just say TD will win and he’ll get the Pink jersey in his home country and it’ll all be Disney, but I’m just not convinced. He is undoubtedly the favourite, but I’ve picked the two favourites for the GC and Points previews and doing the same again would be boring. So I’m going to say we’ll get a Giant Alpecin Maglia Rosa wearer, but it won’t be the one that’s expected, instead it will be Tobias Ludvigsson.
If Cancellara wasn’t ill, this preview would be a lot shorter!
As you can tell, I’m having a tough time of what to make of this stage. I’ve chopped and changed who I think will win a few times now. Currently I have the JVE and Bobridge bets, but I’m going to add Kangert, Ludvigsson and Geniez just in case the wind swirls up dramatically. However, if you do back any of these guys I would say keep the stakes small, like really small, as they are all proper outsiders. Backing the early starters can be a good tactic, it means if their time looks strong (i.e. they’re in first) then you can lay your bet on the Exchanges for a profit most of the time.
It seems to me the H2H market is a lot easier to predict and I’ve added screenshots of my bets, but again, as it’s the opening stage and TTs are notoriously a pain to bet on then don’t go wild with the amount.
Congrats if you made it all the way through that mess, I will be back again tomorrow with a review of the TT and preview of Stage 2! Hopefully, it will be a lot clearer who to back and what the outcome will be. I hope you all enjoy the Giro coverage wherever you’re watching it from! Anyway,
Those were My Two Spokes Worth.