GIRO’16 St.12: Glorious Greipel!
Race Report: Stage 12 of the Giro d’Italia was one of those typical sprinter stages – pan flat with only road furniture to break things up, although the rain had a good go at disturbing the ambiance. At the end of the stage there was one name on everyones lips, André Greipel, and the big German didn’t disappoint as he edged out the young Australian, Caleb Ewan. Another stage for André.
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Lotto rode it straight from the ‘Sprinters Handbook’ (authors Cipollini & Petacchi) ‘lead out’ chapter – with their German Capo, Señor Greipel perfectly illustrating the ‘come off the wheel,’ ‘close the door’ and ‘victory salute’ chapters. And there’s a post script, he’s now officially as good as Erik Zabel. But that pesky little Aussie, Ewan is getting closer; Greipel goes home tonight, if the GreenEDGE Aussie fast man gets to Torino, my money will be on him. It was never going to be a day of action but we do our best to entertain. . .
What does the organization email say about today’s stage 12 Noale to Bibione, 182 kilometers, Ed?
The stage course is perfectly flat and runs almost entirely along wide and straight roads. Initially, the route follows the Riviera del Brenta, then it enters the province of Treviso along trunk roads. There are roundabouts, kerbs, speed bumps and traffic dividers in urban areas, especially in Mestre, Treviso and Portogruaro. The route finally reaches Bibione, where an eight kilometer circuit is to be covered twice.
The final eight kilometer circuit, to be ridden twice, features 14 bends and long straight stretches, on mostly wide and well-surfaced roads. The home straight is 300m long, on a 7.5-m wide asphalt road. And it’s raining. . .
Oh dear. . .
OK, let’s get on with this, it’s the man with the curls and tats, Daniel Oss (BMC & Italia) who was brave enough to head off into the murk solo, early in the day; and there just has to be a Bardiani in the break – step forward Mirco Maestri (Italia).
Two up front, long straights, the bunch huddled together for warmth in the rain – I’ve drawn the short straw in this one. It should be a day for the sprinters but in these conditions it just might be the day for a late throw of the dice by a solo madman if it stays wet.
But let’s talk about sprinters; Marcel Kittel (Etixx – Quick-Step & Germany) was imperious on stages two and three back up there in The Netherlands – but he’s back in Germany right now having a rest before he prepares for le Tour. A man we thought would make a stunning sprint debut was Southeast’s Jakub Mareczko (Italy) who took major scalps in the Tour of Turkey – Sasha Modolo (Lampre-Merida & Italy) and André Greipel (Lotto Soudal & Germany). But the Giro is the Giro and an altogether different level – it’ll be next year now before he gets another chance at a Tour of Italy stage win. Former Giro stage Elia Viviani (Sky & Italy) has gone too – in our humble opinion you can’t have serious Giro stage ambitions and be thinking about the Olympic Omnium at the same time. . .
It’s been one miserable Tour for the marginal gainers. What’s that? ‘What about the stage, dude?’
Two guys up the road, long straights, a two minute gap which the peloton could close in a blink – the only news is that the rain isn’t as bad.
So, back to the fast men; if it’s dry and safe on the finish circuit then look no further than double stage winner, Greipel – both of his wins were based on his huge strength, making the rest look stuck to the tar. But he’s a man who doesn’t like the mad stuff and if it’s still damp with all those bends in the finale it might not be his day despite having that well honed train. Word is he’s off home to Rostock tomorrow before the real climbing starts and to get ready for le Tour and big battles with Kittel – we hope.
On the subject of ‘mad men’ stand up Sasha Modolo; and his even crazier lead out man, Roberto Ferrari – the man with hair to rival that of Daniel Oss has won a Giro stage in his own right. Dave and I were roadside at the finish that day when Ferrari won – it was insane. If it’s wet and/or nervous they’ll be there.
Then there’s Arnaud Démare (F des J & France) his sheet is blank since his brilliant Primavera win – a Grand Tour stage win would thrust him nicely back into the limelight albeit he’s not looked in the same race as Kittel or Greipel thus far. But the man is quick on his day – check his palmarès, they’re very impressive.
Caleb Ewan (Orica-GreenEDGE & Australia)? He’s won a Grand Tour stage already in the 2015 Vuelta but the late season Spanish race against many riders desperate for their winter break isn’t the same as the first three week race of the year with a keen, fresh, rabid Giro peloton all wanting that win. But he looked good the other day when he took fourth behind Le Gorille. There are other sprinters but it’ll be a surprise if anyone other than the ones we mentioned above crosses that line first.
Ah! Things are looking up, Etixx – Quick-Step and Movistar are showing their teeth at the front of the peloton and the gap is heading down towards 30 seconds. Inside 30K and Lotto Soudal are already up front with the GC guys’ teams, as the lead comes down to 20 seconds but it’s still gutter to gutter, so not a bloc.
And with 23K to go, as Roy Orbison might say; ‘It’s over, it’s over!’ for the break, thanks guys. They’re on the circuit now with Visconti there for his Movistar Capii Valverde and the surprising Amadore. The Lotto Legion deploys, five of those big strong boys in red make it tough to do anything but hang onto the wheel in front. Hansen, Wellens, Bak; you could wish for no finer men to be working for you; well, maybe Mario Scirea or Giovanni Lombardi. . .
Through the finish for the first time – a 90 right then a 350 meter dead straight leads into the line with big crowds to give a good vibe. Orica-GreenEDGE ride for Chavez on GC and Ewan for the finalé. Lotto’s Dane, Bak dominates the head of affairs, the road on the circuit is mostly dry, Greipel is tucked in behind his boys; they’re not flat out but it’s not slow either.
Wellens now, shutting the door on every bend, no one is going to sneak through with the Red Guard on duty. Valverde is up there, so too is Nibali with Jungels a wee bit further back than he really should be. Times are taken today at the bell so the GC boys can relax at the bell; there it is – eight kilometers to go, one lap.
Lotto still dominate, slicing the corners as the GC teams slide back and Lampre begin to muster for Modolo. Modolo is looking for Greipel’s back wheel – but so are another six riders. The Lotto guys are hurting, digging deep as IAM infiltrate the Lotto train, it’s Kluge – but Lotto forge forward again. Ferrari is there for Modolo as Hansen drives and drives – Mezgec is bringing Ewan up. . .
But Lotto still has three men in front of Greipel inside two K to go – Lampre now, red kite, last corner, Roelandts leads his Capo into it, Ferrari leans on Greipel – that’s optimistic!
Finish straight, Ewan is closing ! ‘but don’t come on the barrier side Caleb !’ Greipel drifts right ever so slightly into the barriers and the little Aussie has no room – but the German is going away from him anyway.
Greipel, number THREE!
No surprises, Lotto dominant in the final and Greipel takes stage number three as Ewan creeps nearer – the cast changes tomorrow though. . .
Stage winner, André Greipel (Lotto Soudal): “Our plan was to arrive with the whole team at the front of the peloton for the last lap. Chapeau to my team-mates, especially to Jurgen Roelandts for his lead-out. I left a bit of a gap behind him but I had really good legs for the final sprint. I’m sorry to leave the Giro with the Maglia Rossa but my season is full of goals and I need to rest. I’ve already achieved so much at the Giro.”
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Giro d’Italia Stage 12 Result:
1. André Greipel (Ger) Lotto Soudal in 4:16:00
2. Caleb Ewan (Aus) Orica-GreenEDGE
3. Giacomo Nizzolo (Ita) Trek-Segafredo
4. Sacha Modolo (Ita) Lampre-Merida
5. Alexander Porsev (Rus) Katusha
6. Moreno Hofland (Ned) LottoNl-Jumbo
7. Ivan Savitskiy (Rus) Gazprom-RusVelo
8. Heinrich Haussler (Aus) IAM Cycling
9. Rick Zabel (Ger) BMC
10. Sonny Colbrelli (Ita) Bardiani-CSF
11. Jurgen Roelandts (Bel) Lotto Soudal
12. Viacheslav Kuznetsov (Rus) Katusha
13. Manuel Belletti (Ita) Wilier Triestina-Southeast
14. Marco Coledan (Ita) Trek-Segafredo
15. Bert De Backer (Bel) Giant-Alpecin
16. Matteo Trentin (Ita) Etixx – Quick-Step
17. Sean De Bie (Bel) Lotto Soudal
18. Kristian Sbaragli (Ita) Dimension Data
19. Nicola Ruffoni (Ita) Bardiani-CSF
20. Roberto Ferrari (Ita) Lampre-Merida
21. Leigh Howard (Aus) IAM Cycling
22. Stefan Kueng (Swi) BMC
23. Nikias Arndt (Ger) Giant-Alpecin
24. Luka Mezgec (Slo) Orica-GreenEDGE
25. Matej Mohoric (Slo) Lampre-Merida.
Giro d’Italia Overall After Stage 12:
1. Bob Jungels (Lux) Etixx – Quick-Step in 49:32:20
2. Andrey Amador (CRc) Movistar at 0:24
3. Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar at 1:07
4. Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) LottoNl-Jumbo
5. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana at 1:09
6. Rafal Majka (Pol) Tinkoff at 2:01
7. Ilnur Zakarin (Rus) Katusha at 2:25
8. Esteban Chaves (Col) Orica-GreenEDGE at 2:43
9. Gianluca Brambilla (Ita) Etixx – Quick-Step at 2:45
10. Diego Ulissi (Ita) Lampre-Merida at 2:47
11. Rigoberto Uran (Col) Cannondale at 3:12
12. Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana at 3:39
13. Ryder Hesjedal (Can) Trek-Segafredo at 3:56
14. Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) AG2R-La Mondiale at 4:01
15. Stefano Pirazzi (Ita) Bardiani-CSF at 4:27
16. Kanstantsin Siutsou (Blr) Dimension Data at 4:33
17. Sergey Firsanov (Rus) Gazprom-RusVelo at 4:59
18. Giovanni Visconti (Ita) Movistar
19. Davide Formolo (Ita) Cannondale at 5:49
20. Maxime Monfort (Bel) Lotto Soudal at 7:21
21. Tanel Kangert (Est) Astana at 9:42
22. Igor Anton Hernandez (Spa) Dimension Data at 9:58
23. Matteo Montaguti (Ita) AG2R-La Mondiale at 10:05
24. Hubert Dupont (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale at 12:52
25. Sebastian Henao (Col) Sky at 13:31.