The SSS Giro Final Week Predictions
It won’t be easy, but Elia Viviani has enough of a gap to make him the clear favourite for the Maglia Ciclamino if he makes it to Rome. 60 points are awarded for a sprint stage win, with 35 for second place – Viviani has 40 points gap over Bennett, and with only the final stage to Rome an inevitable sprint, and Wednesday’s rolling stage to Iseo a likely sprint (but with fewer points on offer) there aren’t too many places to make up those points. If Viviani can win one of those stages, the jersey’s his.
Notice how barely any breaks have been allowed to stay away? It’s because the GC battle has been so focused on the time bonuses on offer. Another consequence of that is that it’s made it harder to win the KOM by mountain raids. Generally, to win the KOM, you’ve gotta spend 3-4 days in the break, winning several mountains each time, and a summit finish usually helps too. The racing has been flat out all Giro, with GC contenders winning the summits so nobody’s been allowed to accumulate points that way. Simon Yates has a 39 point gap over Giulio Ciccone, a man way too dangerous to be allowed in many breaks – you wouldn’t put it past Yates to win another stage or two in the final week, and he’ll head home wearing two Jerseys.
Lopez v Carapaz. The South American derby fiesta. The Colombian Lopez holds a 20-second gap over the Ecuadorian Carapaz, taking the jersey on Zoncolan after a pretty rotten start where he had as many crashes as Chris Froome. Despite being untested, Carapaz has been unshakeable on most days, even taking a stage win himself. Lopez is the trusted option here though and is likely to hold onto the jersey.
The final podium
3rd – Thibaut Pinot
With a fairly clear top two separating themselves, it seems like Pinot v Pozzovivo for the final spot on the podium. So what separates the two? Currently, about nine seconds as the two seem fairly evenly matched uphill. Tuesday’s TT should be a point of differential – though neither is an elite time triallist, Pinot should be significantly greater than the flyweight Pozzovivo. You’d also expect him to improve at some point, he hasn’t seemed to hit top form yet, while you wonder how much juice there is left in Pozzovivo’s best set of legs since 2014.
2nd – Tom Dumoulin
2:11 back on Yates seems like a mountain to climb for Dumoulin; unfortunately there are several actual mountains for him to climb too. Dumoulin will take a significant chunk of time back in the TT – The Cycling Podcast estimated Dumoulin normally takes around three seconds per km on Yates in grand tour TTs. In a 34.2km TT that works out to about 100 seconds, not quite enough to pull on the Maglia Rosa on Tuesday. It’s likely that he and Yates will be around even by the end of Tuesday night, but it's not going to be enough.
1st – Simon Yates
Put simply, Yates has just been relentless this Giro. There’s no single day where he’s “won the Giro” but he’s managed to pick up time at every possible opportunity, and that’s put him in an extraordinary position. No matter what happens in the TT, there are enough opportunities left for him to take back the Maglia Rosa as long as his legs hold up in the final week. With an absurdly strong team around him too, there’s little reason to expect he can’t push through the dreaded ‘bad day’ if it ever hits him.
The Froomnaissace looked good on the Zoncolan as Chris put his 2011 Giro demons to the sword and took an emphatic stage win. It turned out to be short-lived though, as he was out the tail one day later on the road to Sappada. Is there any reason him staying here? There were froomours that he was dropping out in the first week after a few crashes and media pressures, but he’d be happy he stayed in the race to collect the stage. The Tour is his (and Sky’s) bread and butter – between Wiggo in 2013, Richie in 2015, Geraint Thomas in 2017 and Froome this year, they’ve never had a great time at the Italian race. There’s not a lot to gain in the final week here unless Woet Poels or Sergio Henao can win a stage, having both looked lively. It’s probably time to put your cue back in the rack boys, save it for another day.
34.2 km of time trialling on a fairly straight forward course from Trento to Reverto. The first 23km are pancake flat, before the riders take on a kilometre-long hill (with sections at 10%) and endure a slightly lumpier finish. The final kilometres are false flat, but this is a real power course.
It’s a field with some great TT riders like Tony Martin, Jos Van Emden and Victor Campenaerts, Chris Froome and Rohan Dennis. We’ll take the man with the motivation though, as Tom Dumoulin chases down the Pink Jersey and a stage win. All eyes will be on the last rider off though, as Simon Yates aims to defends the jersey. If you’re rooting for anything, make it for Dumoulin beat Yates by three minutes and set up a cracking final week.
See you back at the social club,