‘Every Grand Tour you ride costs a year of your life’. I remember hearing that nugget of information and pondering if it could possibly be true, and then, a few years later, I did a couple of Grand Tours that felt like they had done precisely that.
I suspect this edition of the Giro d’Italia is doing the very same to so many riders – physically, through illness and crashes, but also mentally, because the continual stresses of surviving each soaking-wet kilometre are enormous.
It’s no surprise that it’s been quiet between the GC contenders, with the scary final week of high mountains looming, and so the only real entertainment has been the cat-and-mouse between the peloton and the daily escapees. As with the opening segment, it’s been advantage to the attackers and, more generally, to the teams less involved in controlling everything with an eye on the overall victory.
EF Education-EasyPost have played a blinder so far, putting guys like Ben Healy and Magnus Cort in the moves, and they still have Hugh Carthy in a good position, so their excellent start to the year continues. Bora-Hansgrohe are in the same situation and have bounced back from the loss of co-leader Alexandr Vlasov with a rampant Nico Denz and his two stage wins in three days.
At least Lennard Kämna doesn’t have to deal with any internal conflicts, unlike the discontent that has bubbled away at UAE Team Emirates, where Jay Vine’s GC chances have disappeared in crashes and sickness. Normally that leaves João Almeida as sole leader, and we would have been none the wiser to the internal politics if Vine hadn’t gotten himself into a bit of a strop.
It wouldn’t be an Italian race without a bit of grumbling between riders, though, and the perfect illustration was Thibaut Pinot and Alexander Cepeda on stage 13 to Crans Montana. The Frenchman ought to have known better than let the Ecuadorian upset him with his lack of cooperation, but his emotional side took over and he messed up, good and proper.
All he had to do was ride a strong tempo, keep control of Cepeda and Einer Rubio, and he would have won the sprint, but predictably he didn’t. The opposing directeurs sportifs behind the trio pressed the right buttons and Pinot ate himself. Rubio watched the drama between his fellow escapees bickering and suitably thanked them for their antics by winning.
Movistar and sensible tactics isn’t a phrase that occurs very often, but they’ve been really effective. And let’s not forget the…
Click Here to Read the Full Original Article at CyclingNews RSS Feed…