The Tour Take | GIRO D'ITALIA Rest day 2
9 stages into the Giro, and the GC is beginning to shake itself out. Yates leads, from his teammates Chaves, as Mitchelton SCOTT are the dominant team of the corsa rosa so far. In the sprints, Viviani has been strong, but Sam Bennett showed he can mix it with the best.
Nearly at the halfway mark now, we’ll take a quick look at how 20 key riders have gone so far in this year’s Giro ’Italia, with 20 words on each of them.
1. Simon Yates (1st Overall, Winner of Stage 9)
Yates is the in-form guy right now. He needs to take more time, but should be able to find it.
2. Tom Dumoulin (3rd Overall @ 0:38, Winner of Stage 1)
Dumoulin hasn’t looked super so far, but he’s been consistent enough, and is right near the top of the standings.
3. Esteban Chaves (2nd overall @ 0:32, Winner of Stage 6)
How did he slip into the stage 6 break? However so, it helped assert Mitchelton-Scott’s dominance, and he’s sitting pretty.
4. George Bennett (7th overall @ 1:33)
Bennett’s stayed out of trouble and been very consistent so far – he’s a strong rider who won't lose touch often
5. Richard Carapaz (6th Overall @ 1:20, Winner of Stage 8)
Carapaz took Ecuador’s first Giro stage win on Montevergine– as an unknown, what can he do in the high mountains?
6. Dominico Pozzovivo (5th Overall @ 0:57)
Back to his 2012 form; he looks one of the best climbers here, which is giving me nostalgia and nausea.
7. Chris Froome (11th Overall @ 2:27)
If Froome didn’t have bad luck, he’d have no luck at all. He doesn’t have much form either right now.
8. Miguel Angel Lopez (13th Overall @ 2:34)
Another man with no luck early in the Giro– he lives for the hills, so he’s not done just yet.
9. Rohan Dennis (8th Overall @ 2:05)
His Giro is a success whatever happens from here after wearing Pink, he needs to prove his GC chops though.
10. Thibaut Pinot (4th Overall @ 0:45)
We haven’t seen Pinot get too frisky yet – he’s aggressive usually and should light up it in the second half.
11. Davide Formolo (24th Overall @5:49)
Lost big time after crashing on the lower Etna slopes – his Giro is done for the GC. Needs a stage.
12. Ben O’Connor (14th Overall @ 2:36)
O’Connor was unlucky that Froome’s crash took him out on Stage 8’s climb up to Montevergine, he’s climbed superbly otherwise.
13. Elia Viviani (Wearing Points Jersey, Winner of Stages 2 and 3)
You feel like Viviani should have won three stages as the only A-level sprinter here, but two stages isn’t shabby.
14. Sam Bennett (Winner of Stage 7)
Another Giro stage drought over; Ireland hadn’t won a stage since 1987. Knocked on the door early, then burst through.
15. Jack Haig
Haig probably leads the domestique MVP right now; was huge for Chaves on stage 6, and again on the weekend.
16. Sacha Modolo
Modolo has been consistent in the sprints – his Drapac team is strong, but he just doesn’t have a big kick.
17. Michael Woods (10th Overall @ 2:25)
Another GC man that’s stayed out of trouble, but he was targeting stage 4 and was disappointed to miss out.
18. Tim Wellens (Winner of Stage 4)
Don’t doubt Tim Wellens. I’m ready to put him level with Thomas De Gendt in the stage hunter power rankings.
19. Enrico Battaglin (Winner of Stage 5)
Said he didn’t want to be remembered as the “guy who won two Giro stages”. Alright, you’ve got three now.
20. Fabio Aru (15th Overall @ 2:36)
Invisible until stage 9, when he was dropped in the finale. Confirmed my suspicions that his podium chances were lies.
We should have a sprint. A cat 2 climb comes early, followed by a cat 3 climb, and a Cat 4 climb comes 30km from the end, but it's not an overly hard stage. The sprint looks technical; two 90 degree corners with 1.2km to go, followed by a right-hand nearly hairpin and another 90-degree corner to the right. The last 700m of road has a long curve to the left, and a straight final 300.
You want a strong team for the finish – QuickStep should be that but haven’t been the well-oiliest of well-oiled teams so far. Viviani likely knows he cant coast to sprint wins now, having been beaten by Sam Bennett in Praia a Marie. Back him to bounce back.
Things are just starting to heat up in this lap of Italy. Its only going to get better from here.