Giro d'Italia Stage 21 Preview
The stage promised a lot of show and it sure did come. The Cima Campo climb smashed the peloton to pieces with a strong breakaway getting away, and in the Passo Manghen Astana forced the pace followed by a Lopez attack that was only matched by the Movistar duo, catching the breakaway in the summit but later Nibali, Roglic and some others rejoined. In the valley roads a small group of climbers attacked again, and there was Pello Bilbao, and when the peloton was again in pieces in the first Croce d'Aune climb, Bilbao and some others in the final climb were caught by Nibali, Landa and Carapaz, and the pace was high all the way to the line and the Basque beat in a sprint Mikel Landa and Giulio Ciccone, with Carapaz retaining his lead on Nibali and expanding on Roglic, also on Lopez who was hampered by a collision with a spectator in the final climb.
Positive: Movistar again looked flawless, as a collective, and both Landa and Carapaz didn't look to have any sign of dificulties during the stage. Bilbao won his second stage, at least makes up for the disapointment Lopez suffered. Nibali consolidated his second place although he wanted more, Mollema rode strong to keep his brilliant 5th place, and Majka, despite a crash in the final descent managed to finish strong in the bulk of the GC riders. Zakarin, Carthy, Dombrowski and Madouas climbed up the standings with strong days.
Negative: Formolo and Polanc on the other side lost them. Lopez was the obvious downside, he has no fault in what happened, it was another dash of bad luck which has marked his Giro this year, a bit like last year. Not bad but Roglic lost his place in the podium, 2nd is out of reach and he'll have to fight to get back in the podium, and Yates failed to be a part of the race again today.
A 17-kilometer time-trial, a hilly one in fact as if the riders hadn't climbed enough. It is very similar to the one raced in 2010, and from the results of that year it's possible to see that there are differences that can be made, but in reality they shouldn't make much of a difference as the differences between the GC riders with the gaps that are currently on, and the technical route adding to the climb in the middle will make it more suited to the less specialized.
A warm day, the urban route wouldn't make for much room for the wind to make differences anyhow, but it's a dry and clear day to finish of the race.
Victor Campenaerts would be the main favourite for tomorrow, he has nothing to loose so he will benefit from the technical route, he can climb well and he's shown it already in the former TT's but his skillset seems ideal for tomorrow, a very technical route that suits powerful riders.
Chad Haga, Luke Durbridge, Tom Bohli and Bob Jungels may also be a part of those that can fight for the stage win, and benefit from the possible advantage in fatigue in relation to the GC riders, Jos van Emden too but it seems too hilly for him.
Roglic is the favourite of the GC riders obviously, the time-trial resembles the one he won in Romandie very well but fatigue and the lack of willingness to take big risks may put him off. Bauke Mollema has ridden very well in them, he's a solid choice, Pavel Sivakov is another power rider who will be motivated to gain time and possibly positions.
Between Nibali and Carapaz it should be quite matched, in the Top 10 I only see Roglic and Landa switching places, and well, it was quite a pleasure to see them racing throughout these weeks.
⭐ Durbridge, van Emden, Bohli, Nibali
I think tomorrow is finally his day, Campenaerts was so close in the San Marino time-trial, and he has been riding quite conservatively in order to be set for tomorrow. The route suits him, the form is there, barring another chain problem and he is definetely the man to beat.
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