Giro – Vuelta and the last Monument.
The Giro has produced some great racing and talking points. There are only a few days to go to the finish in Milan. At one point there was a lot of talk that the race would not make it to the end, but with only a few days left the race will most likely arrive in Milan on Sunday.
The route with the huge mountain stages and climbs was also in jeopardy of being changed and altered to account for the poor weather, but again this might not happen after all.
But now we are hearing that the Mayor of Briancon is not allowing the Giro to travel in to France due to coronavirus restrictions in France! Therefore the Giro will not be going over the Cols Agnello and Izoard!
Geraint Thomas had to withdraw very early on after falling in a neutral zone when he cycled over a stray bottle. He fell at the start of stage 3; he managed to complete the day but finished over 12 minutes down and did not start the day after. A small undisplaced fracture of the pelvis. A tragic premature end for Geraint.
Simon Yates also withdrew after testing positive for Covid-19 a few days later.
His team Michelton Scott then withdrew from the race along with Jumbo Visma, citing various health reasons and Covid-19 related precautions.
In more positive news, British rider Alex Dowsett claimed his first Giro d’Italia stage victory in seven years! Dowsett, who rides for the Israel Start-Up Nation team, attacked from a six-man breakaway group 17km from the end of stage eight, a 200km route from Giovinazzo to Vieste. A terrific effort from Dowsett.
With Ineos no longer having a GC contender pushing for the top places, they have switched to pursuing stage wins. They now have 5 wins in this Giro, with Filippo Ganna claiming 3 superb victories. Two ITT‘s and then stage 5. Ganna performed incredibly in the TT on Saturday 17th Oct. A 32.1 km course that he completed in 42mins and 40secs with an average speed of 48km/hr. The stage was more than lumpy, with some gradients hitting 19% in this wine and Prosecco vineyard region of Italy.
Also an incredible effort from Tao Geoghegan Hart from Ineos Grenadiers who has now taken 4th place and is only 1 second behind Jai Hindley in 3rd. Could Tao take 3rd and a podium place?
It looks like the battle for the overall winner will come from Wilco Kelderman from Sunweb and the Portugese rider Joao Almeida from Deceuninck Quick-Step. A tremendous ride so far from Almeida so far who leads Kelderman by 17 seconds.
So as the Giro heads to the last few days, the Vuelta starts on Tuesday! All slightly bizarre but that is the nature of the world and the cycling season at the moment.
What an incredible first day of the Vuelta – a hilly first day and over 170km. Roglic takes the stage with an incredible effort and Chris Froome is already 11.12mins down after the first day. Surely Froome’s best days are behind him?
On the second day at the Vuelta with more hills climbed and great racing again, Marc Soler from Movistar wins the stage by 19 seconds and Roglic comes in second, cleverly gaining extra seconds on the line as he sprints in. Chris Froome finishes way down the field and is over 18mins behind the stage winner. Incredibly he is now in 85th position and 29 mins and 53 secs behind Roglic, after just two days!
The Tour of Flanders created a superb spectacle with Alpecin-Fenix’s Mathieu van der Poel triumphing in a thrilling finale. He beat Wout van Aert by just over a quarter of a wheel, but many people were left wondering what might have been if road race world champion Julian Alaphilippe hadn’t crashed out while part of the leading trio with the winning duo.
After Mark Cavendish claiming he has raced his last race and becoming emotional at the interviews after the Flanders race, he then raced on the Wednesday and at the weekend… Keep an eye out for more Cavendish news!
Tour de France – Announcement for the route in 2021 is due next week!