Ed’s GIRO’19 REST DAY RANT #2 From Como

Giro Rest Day No.2: Fifteen stages down and the brutal final week to come – Ed Hood sums up 2019 Giro d’Italia stages 10 through 15 from his virtual Como lake-side bar stool. The big question is: Will the final winner come from Vincenzo Nibali and Primoz Roglic? What about Richard Carapaz? All the stage action and thoughts behind the scenes from the Italian Grand Tour.


Will the 2019 Giro be a battle between Vincenzo Nibali and Primoz Roglic? What about Richard Carapaz

Tell us all about it Ed:

Stage 10:
The previous 144 kilometres may have been a bit of a bore but from the red kite home it was mayhem and worth the wait.

The crash

It’s never good to see a bad crash, especially if it’s one of the ‘The Bigs,’ in this case, German Champion and points leader, Pascal Ackermann – badly chewed up after his BORA lead-out man Rudi Selig had to brake hard when another rider chopped him, causing Ackermann to ‘run up’ his back wheel and come down hard. Road rash by the acre.


Viviani again ignored his own Deceuninck back wheels and chose to go with Caleb Ewan – but Ewan hesitated before choosing which side to come off his Lotto lead out man, he went on the right hand side of the road but in that moment the day was lost as former French Champion, Primavera winner and rapid man in his own right Arnaud Démare went on the left to take his third Grand Tour stage win – he has won two in the Tour de France. Viviani second – again. . .

Stage 10 interviews

Stage 11:
Pressure, it’s an insidious thing, you can’t see it but it’s there, intangible, invisible. . . Caleb Ewan’s first stage win lifted the pressure clean off his tiny frame and it showed today – his second win making this a great Giro for Lotto. Two now for Ewan and Campenaerts got more publicity than the winner over the time trial debacle. Although I see one Troll reckons it was all pre-arranged to cover up a motor in Old Victor’s TT bike. . .

No pressure

But back to pressure, whilst it’s off Caleb Ewan, the weight of it has crushed Elia Viviani – three second places are no good to a winner. That déclassé on Stage Three messed up his mind and he was never really himself after that. I keep in touch with his team mate and finale ‘pilot fish,’ Michael Mørkøv; I sent the Danish Champion a little message yesterday to say that Elia was missing him – Michael rode the Tour of California where Deceuninck – Quick-Step won three stages.

Stage 11 last kilometre

Michael is much too professional and polite to agree, but I note that Viviani echoed my words: “I’m missing Mørkøv in my lead-out train” when he announced he’s packing his bags. The Italian Champion will be back, for sure.

All over for Frapporti, Maestri and Cima

And ‘chapeau’ to Messrs. Marco Frapporti (Androni-Giocattoli-Sidermec), Mirco Maestri (Bardiani-CSF) and Damiano Cima (Nippo-Fantini-Faizanè), they knew it was suicide but went up the road nonetheless and gave the commentators something to talk about. ‘Chapeau’ too for Ackermann, third on the stage with a square metre of road rash. But ‘ciao velocisti’ with 156K tomorrow from Cuneo to Pinerolo and grades of up to 14% on the nine kilometre Montoso climb. Grupetto!

Less than happy Viviani

Stage 12:
If you’re a student of the Second World War then you’ll know that before hostilities really kicked off in earnest there was a period known as the ‘Phoney War’ in which little actually happened. Today was of that ilk, there were flourishes, the first real climb of the race and we had a deserving stage winner in Bora’s Benedetti whilst the UAE played a great game, slipping the jersey off Conti’s shoulders and on to those of Polanc but ‘The Bigs’ all kept their powder dry.

The pink jersey stayed in the UAE house

Landa and Lopez showed signs of life but a bad day for former pink jersey and top 10 Giro finisher, Bob Jungels who lost time, compounding Deceuninck – Quick-Step’s uncharacteristically miserable Pink Race. On a positive note, Britain’s Hugh Carthy (EF Education First) took the white jersey of best young rider; it’ll be a tough call to keep it with the likes of Lopez, Sivakov and Oomen in the mix but still a great day for the young man.

Stage 12 highlights

Stage 13:
There was nothing phoney about this stage and it was indeed ‘unlucky 13’ for GB trio of Tao Geoghegan (Ineos) who crashed out; James Knox (Deceuninck – Quick-Step) who was DNS, still suffering from the effects of a Stage Four crash and continuing with the Belgian super-squad’s joyless Giro; and Hugh Carthy (EF Education First) who lost his white jersey to classy Russian, Sivakov (Ineos).

Its been: ‘Scooby Doo where are you?’ all season for Katusha-Alpecin

Katusha-Alpecin’s gangly Russian Zakarin – who always reminds me of the guy out of the ‘Scooby Doo’ comic strip – gave Katusha their first decent result of the season and catapulted himself up the GC but used up a lot of ammunition in the process.

Landa looking handy

Landa’s revival continued but there’s still a long way to go. Back in the days when Sky DS Dario Cioni was a rider with Liquigas and we used to talk regularly, he always used to say; ‘a Grand Tour is won in the third week.’ But even before that last, savage week we have tough and technical stages tomorrow – Saturday Stage 14 and Sunday Stage 15.

Solo from Ilnur

Then next week there are the horrors of Stages 16, 17 and 19 before the 194K and four major climbs of Stage 20 . . . and remember you’ll need to keep a little gas in the tank for the final chrono – no soft sprinters’ procession to conclude this race.

Roglic and Nibali – Watching each other

An uncharacteristically effusive Vincenzo Nibali criticised Roglic for his conservative riding on the climb to the finish: “I said to him: ‘If you also want to come and do a photo at my house, I’ll show you my collection of trophies whenever you want.” Then added that: “The GC underwent some changes but the riders who were in front today used up a lot of energy because it was a very difficult stage from start to finish. The stage wasn’t easy. The finish was over 2,000 metres. You feel it in your legs. The gap to Roglic stayed as it was, this was the first summit finish, now we’ll see what happens. Tomorrow is another hard day.”

Roglic didn’t think he had to chase

Roglic’s riding may not have been spectacular, but it’s obvious the man has studied the race bible and isn’t just thinking about stage wins in the second week – he knows that next Saturday and Sunday could well decide this race. It’s not the 2000’s anymore; there’s just water, Coke and electrolytes in the bus fridge (at least that’s all there should be) so ‘miracle recoveries’ are thin on the ground these days if you crack on one of the monster days ahead.

Stage 13 last kilometre

Zakarin and Landa on the up but the arsenal depleted yet more, not a bad day for Mollema and Majka, another ‘sore one’ but not necessarily fatal for Yates but all hope is now gone for Jungels. I still say Roglic with Nibali and a surprise on the final podium. And ‘respect’ to Polanc, still pretty in pink. We’ve certainly cleared the neutralised zone. . .

Stage 13 interviews

Stage 14:
Ecuador? I had to check where it was; on the Pacific coast of northern South America between Colombia in the south and Peru to the north. And who’s this dude Richard Antonio Carapaz Montenegro?

Richard Carapaz

He’s 25 years old, 1.7 metres (5’ 7”) tall and weighs 62 kilos (137 lbs) – a real climber. He was junior national road race and time trial champion in 2010, by 2013 he was Pan Am u23 road race champion and racing internationally in France. In 2015 he won the u23 Tour of Columbia; there was a raft of results in his home country in 2016 and a stagiaire gig with Movistar in Spain where he won the Vuelta a Navarra – a promising start for a neo-pro. In 2017, now a fully-fledged Movistar, he was second in the one day GP Industria e Artigianato, made the GC podium in the Vuelta a Castilla y Leon and Route du Sud. Movistar also ‘blooded’ him in his first Grand Tour, the Vuelta, which he got round in 35th spot.

Giro’18 stage 8

Last season saw him on the GC podium in the Coppi e Bartali, win the three stage Vuelta Asturias and just miss the podium in the Giro, finishing fourth behind Froome, Dumoulin and Lopez but taking a stage along the way. He also rode the Vuelta again, finishing 18th overall.

An even younger Carapaz

This year he was sixth on GC in San Juan, ninth on GC in Colombia 2.1, won Asturias again and today was his second stage win in this Giro. He’s a quality rider but still young and whilst his win was magnificent and he grabbed his opportunity perfectly, the GC is something else. Witness Stage 13 winner Zakarin and fifth placed Mollema’s time losses today.

Carapaz – Looking good in Pink

As I mentioned in last week’s rest day ramblings, you start a Grand Tour with 100 bullets in your belt – if you’re down to the last couple of rounds for stages 20 and 21, like ‘Bad Man Jose’ says in that great Johnny Duncan and Janie Fricke song, ‘Come a Little Bit Closer’ – “you’re in trouble plenty!”

The best of stage 14

Stage 15:
Boring Giro? Ha!
It must be a different one to the one I’ve been watching. A faithful team worker gets his reward as Dario Cataldo gives Astana their second stage win – demonstrating again that the team knows Lopez isn’t ‘pinging’. Those Androni boys are in the thick of it yet again. The Shark goes on the attack in the familiar waters of Lombardy. Not a great day for Roglic, a mechanical and on the floor. Carthy impresses. Yates vital signs are looking stronger. Carapaz remains Rosado.

Simon Yates has come alive!

Roglic is still favourite in my book, his ‘Bad Day at Black Rock’ with a bike change on to a team mates ill-fitting machine then a crash comes the day before a rest day so he has time to gather himself ready for Tuesday’s Gavia-less but still with six climbs and a horrible dragging finish. But if only he had a right hand man in the mountains. . .

Nibali – Strong and clever

Nibali impressed today, taking advantage of Roglic’s misfortunes, as did Carapaz but Stages 16, 17, 19 and 20 are all horrible so a lot can still happen, especially with fatigue setting in, Nibali back to his aggressive self, Yates seemingly back to somewhere near his best, Movistar rampant and Majka riding well.

Stage 15 highlights

The ‘Pink Race,’ it’s molto bene – Keep it PEZ!

Giro d’Italia Overall ‘Top Ten’ on the Second Rest Day:
1. Richard Carapaz (Ecu) Movistar in 64:24:00
2. Primoz Roglic (Slo) Jumbo-Visma at 0:47
3. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Bahrain-Merida at 1:47
4. Rafal Majka (Pol) Bora-Hansgrohe at 2:35
5. Mikel Landa (Spa) Movistar at 3:15
6. Bauke Mollema (Ned) Trek-Segafredo at 3:38
7. Jan Polanc (Slo) UAE Team Emirates at 4:12
8. Simon Yates (GB) Mitchelton-Scott at 5:24
9. Pavel Sivakov (Rus) Ineos at 5:48
10. Miguel Angel Lopez (Col) Astana at 5:55.

It was November 2005 when Ed Hood first penned a piece for PEZ, on US legend Mike Neel. Since then he’s covered all of the Grand Tours and Monuments for PEZ and has an article count in excess of 1,700 in the archive. He was a Scottish champion cyclist himself – many years and kilograms ago – and still owns a Klein Attitude, Dura Ace carbon Giant and a Fixie. He and fellow Scot and PEZ contributor Martin Williamson run the Scottish site www.veloveritas.co.uk where more of his musings on our sport can be found.

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