A rain affected ITT meant that those who went out first had the advantage for the stage. Roglic (2nd on Stage 1) managed to win, with Brandle and Stake Laengen rounding off the podium. Unfortunately for us, neither Oss nor Quinziato gave it a nudge and by the time Boaro started, the heavens had opened.
In terms of the GC contenders, the biggest gainer has to be Landa. He only lost 7 seconds to Nibali and actually gained time on Valverde. This was particularly surprising, considering most people (myself included) thought he’d lose at least 1:30 minutes. I was also pleasantly surprised with the Smiling Assasin’s (Chaves) time loss. He’s one of my favourite riders, so it’s good to see him not so far back! It leaves us with a nicely poised GC going into the second and third weeks.
Special mention has to go to the two Etixx boys; Jungels and Brambilla. The former put in a storming ride during less than pleasant conditions, finishing a very credible 6th place. You’d have to assume if the weather was the same for everyone then he’d have won the TT. It looked for a while that he was going into the Maglia Rosa. That was until the aforementioned Brambilla put in an equally brave ride, with a daredevil descent to hold onto the jersey by one second.
Litte side note here.
As much as I’m not a fan of Zakarin’s past, I did feel sorry for him after Sunday. He looked to be absolutely gunning it but then the mechanicals and crashes took him out of it. A real shame, he’d have been up there in the top 3 on GC just now. At least it means we’ll get some attacking riding from him later in the race!
Anyway, onto stage 10.
A tough, tough day in the saddle! Up and down all day, with a summit finish. The riders won’t be looking forward to it, especially as some of them won’t respond well to being back in the saddle after the rest day.
Three cat-3 and one cat-1 climbs makes this the hardest stage of the Giro so far. At 219km it’s not exactly a short stage either!
The Cat-1 climb up to Pian del Falco can be split into three parts.
After a tough opening; 4.5km averaging 6.9%, we get an easier section of 7km averaging 1.8%, with an incredibly difficult finale, 4km at 8.9% with 13% ramps thrown in for good measure! Will we see some GC fireworks here?
“The final kilometres comprise a fast and technical descent that leads from the KOM summit to Fanano. The descent can be divided into two quite steep parts: the first one runs on large roads, with just a few bends, and leads into a second one where the road is narrower at points, and which twists and turns all the way up into urban Fanano. Next on the route is the final 7-km climb, with gradients of 5-6%, on a wide yet winding road that leads into the final 100-m long, uphill home straight, on 6.5-m wide asphalt road.” (Road book extract)
The final climb itself isn’t the most testing in the World, not peaking anymore than 6%. The gradients are fairly consistent too so the riders can get into a nice rhythm.
The real question is how many of them will be left to set a nice tempo?
It looks like we’re set for another day of “will it, won’t it?” in terms of the rain. Some weather sites are suggesting that it won’t rain on the riders at the finish tomorrow, but the main consensus is that we’re in for another grim day.
With the rainfall predicted near the finish line, it will make that fast and technical descent off of the Cat-1 even more difficult, and it will reward those riders willing to take risks.
Break or no break?
Normally I’d say this stage is 100% a breakaway day. However, with the GC margins being so small after the TT, we might see some teams try to control the break. Hoping that their GC challenger could snap up some bonus seconds on the line. Astana or Movistar are the two teams most likely to do this.
Therefore, I make it 70/30 that the break makes it.
Let’s look at who could get in the break first of all.
Like I said in one of the previous posts, to increase the likelihood of a successful break then it needs to have a few components: Italians, those far down on GC and riders from some GC teams. I’m sure I mentioned those things in the preview where Brambilla went on to win, throwing out the idea of those who are more than 10 minutes down on GC. However, that was a once off and normal service should be resumed here.
Davide Malacarne (Astana) was in the break the last time the stage finished in Sestola (in 2014). He fits all three of the categories so could be a potential rider to get away. It all depends on Astana’s tactics and if they want to go all mountain-train crazy like last year. Where they absolutely decimated the peloton. I think they’ll pass the buck to other teams and try to get a satellite rider in the break, in-case it looks as if it’s going to be brought back. Agnoli could also be a good candidate for them.
Movistar will no doubt try something similar too with Herrada or Betancur being the most likely options. Although, I wouldn’t be surprised to see them get Visconti in the break so that Etixx have to chase.
Apart from those two teams, expect the usual suspects: someone from your Italian ProConti teams, Wellens, De Marchi, Cunego, a Lampre rider etc.
It’s really hard to narrow down and decide who will give it a go. Another few names I’d like to throw around are:
- Matteo Busato – He’s been climbing well this year so far and packs a good up-hill sprint. Made it over with the first group on stage 4 (showing that form), but now is 19 minutes down. He should be given some leeway.
- Ian Boswell – Was in a tough breakaway at the Vuelta last year, held on for third on that stage behind Landa and Aru. 30 minutes down this race, if he gets the nod from Sky then he could go well.
- Georg Preidler – With TomDum not seeming his best and saying that he wants to lose time so that he can go stage hunting later in the race. It frees up someone in the Giant team to go on the attack. Preidler seems the best fit for tomorrow’s stage.
What if we get a GC battle royale?
Hopefully we’ll get lots of attacking if that’s the case. Riders further down GC will be given more freedom as Valverde/Nibali/Landa etc all mark each other.
I expect Zakarin, Chaves and Firsanov to try something.
All of this of course depends if: A) They make it over the Cat-1 in contact with the leaders and B) make it down the descent in contact.
With the type of finish that it is, Valverde is the rightful favourite. I would not be surprised though if they tried the old 1-2 and Amador actually attacked up the road. The same can be said for Nibali and Fuglsang.
As you can probably tell, I’m once again struggling with this stage. So for an outright prediction them I’m going to have to go with the two situations again. From a GC group, I think Chaves will be able to get away on the final climb and take another Grand Tour stage win.
However, as mentioned above, I think there’s a good chance that the break will make it. For that, my lucky ticket will be Matteo Busato. The Italian climbed expetionally well at Trentino and has continued the form here. With a fast up-hill sprint, if he hangs on to his fellow escapees wheels then he should pip them to the line.
***Also, it’s Sonny Colbrelli’s birthday tomorrow. So I’m hoping to see him involved at some point. It will take a lot of luck for him to win a stage like this!***
From a betting perspective, this stage is definitely a breakaway lottery selection. Followed by in-play on GC candidates tomorrow.
Backing some of those mentioned above.
0.1pt Malacarne @ 300/1 (PP)
0.1pt Agnoli @ 300/1 (PP)
0.2pt Boswell @ 200/1 (Boyles or PP).
0.3pt Busato @ 125/1 (Various)
0.3pt Preidler @ 80/1 (PP or Lads)
If you want to, then go EW. But for a breakaway stage like this, in my opinion it’s better to spread your options and just go for outright. If they look like they could win then you can always Lay your bet on the Betfair Exchange in-play.
I’ll be able to watch tomorrow’s stage fully so I’ll be making some in-play recommendations over on my Twitter @JamieHaughey.
Congrats if you made it this far, hopefully tomorrow’s stage will live up to expectations! Enjoy it wherever you’re watching it from! Anyway,
Those were My Two Spokes Worth.