venerdì 22 maggio 2015

Giro: Stefan Küng is out with a vertebrae compression fracture

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A bad news agin from this unfortunate Giro d'Italia! 

BMC Press Release

"Vicenza, Italy - Stefan Küng of the BMC Racing Team suffered a compression fracture of his T9 vertebrae Thursday when he crashed with two others in the last 25 kilometers of the Giro d'Italia stage won by his teammate, Philippe Gilbert. 

Küng said he could not avoid going down after two riders from the CCC Sprandi Polkowice team crashed in front of him on the rain-slickened descent of the Crosara, the second-to-last climb of the 190-km race.

"I did not want to take risks and my sport director, Valerio Piva, said not to take risks," Küng said. "I had a little bit of space from these two guys, but then they crashed in a left-hand corner. I tried to avoid them, but they were everywhere on the road. I hit the bike of one of them, went over it and hit my head on the ground. I think that is how my vertebrae was compressed."

BMC Racing Team Chief Medical Officer Dr. Max Testa said Küng was taken to a hospital in Vicenza, where he will remain for several days.

"He has no neurological problems and the fracture appears to be stable," Dr. Testa said. "He will be kept under observation, then discharged wearing a brace and transferred back to Switzerland for further evaluation and treatment. He will be on bed rest for several days before he can start the rehabilitation process."

Testa said it has been his experience that cyclists who suffer this type of injury can return in 12 to 16 weeks.

Küng, the reigning world individual pursuit champion on the track, said he is bitterly disappointed not to be able to continue. He was looking forward to competing in Saturday's individual time trial after earlier this year finishing runner-up to world time trial champion Bradley Wiggins in a time trial at Driedaagse De Panne-Koksijde. Küng also was the solo winner of two races: the Volta Limburg Classic in April and Stage 3 of the Tour de Romandie earlier this month.

"I was in the ambulance and the tears were running down," Küng said. "As a sportsman, you always want to keep going. I was looking forward to the time trial every day. So it is a shame to finish like this. When they told me what I have, it is even worse because I know I will not be able to ride my bike for awhile. It is going to take time for me to come back. But for sure, I will come back."

giovedì 21 maggio 2015

Giro SPLASH 12

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I was at school and honestly I lost interest. Porte's case makes it all looking so ridicolous... Astana dominance - ah yeah Astana - Contador leadership - oh well Contador - and now a new victory by Philippe Gilbert - you know... ehm... Gilbert.
Mah! My favourite riders had such a bad luck: Pozzovivo crashed, Uran too, Porte got that absurd penality and today Belletti went home.
Anyway...

Philippe Gilbert:
"This is amazing and it is a great feeling. Before the stage this morning, we had a talk and the entire team was really focused because we knew this would be a good stage for me. All of the guys did a great job for me, especially the tremendous effort to bring two guys back late.
I decided to wait for the group because I heard that Silvan Dillier and Amaël Moinard had rejoined from behind. We got organized and worked well as a team for the final few kilometers. This win is very important for the team and for me. We have tried many times, and finally we have won."

Alberto Contador:
"It was yet another very hard day. We rode at 50km/h for the first two hours and then the rain started. The peloton broke apart because of the high speeds, but I felt that I had good legs. Philippe Gilbert was strong on the final climb, but I was focusing on the general classification and I’m very pleased with the outcome today.
We were of course riding at the front to minimize risks. We’re trying to ride in a clever way during the stages, considering each situation as they came. Astana are still very strong but I think that we are well organized as a team and I think it was a really good day for us”. 

Rigoberto Uran:
"It was a difficult stage in the final 50 kilometers. The speed was high and the wind played a factor as well. The downhills were technical and a bit dangerous due to the slippery ground from the rain. So I decided to stay near the front and not take risks. The team worked perfectly today and they put me in great position for the first climb. There were also crosswinds, so we had to pay attention. As for the finale, it was hectic. This kind of finish is meant more for guys like Gilbert and he deserved the victory today. I tried to hang on to not lose time. I am happy that this stage is behind us. Physically, I felt OK, even if not 100 percent from my crash yesterday. I had pain in my shoulder and neck muscles and the rain didn't help the situation. Tomorrow they also forecast rain, so it will be important to stay vigilant in the front. We will see what can happen."

Team Sky DS Dario Cioni:
"It was really fast in the first part of the stage. They couldn’t get the break to go so it was over 50km/h up to the first sprint. The second half was also tough because you had the climb and the bad weather came in. That made it quite a tough day.
The guys looked in control. There were quite a few crashes on the descent. Sebastian (Henao) was involved in one but he got going. Richie did well to be in the front group and then we were able to get more guys in the group for the final.
Tomorrow it’s a pure sprinters' stage. It’s totally flat for 147km. In his home region it’s definitely a stage Elia will be targeting for sure. The only question is the bad weather and how that affects the stage. I think some of the sprinters will possibly be leaving the race soon so it could be the last chance for some teams to commit."

Astana site is embarrassing. Sorry, no reaction by Fabio Aru!

RESULTS
STAGE
1 Philippe Gilbert (Bel) BMC Racing Team 4:22:50  
2 Alberto Contador (Spa) Tinkoff-Saxo 0:00:03  
3 Diego Ulissi (Ita) Lampre-Merida  
4 Simon Geschke (Ger) Team Giant-Alpecin  
5 Enrico Battaglin (Ita) Bardiani CSF  
6 Paolo Tiralongo (Ita) Astana Pro Team  
7 Ion Izagirre (Spa) Movistar Team 0:00:06  
8 Carlos Betancur (Col) AG2R La Mondiale  
9 Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Bel) Lotto Soudal  
10 Mikel Landa Meana (Spa) Astana Pro Team  
11 Rigoberto Uran (Col) Etixx - Quick-Step  
12 Richie Porte (Aus) Team Sky  
13 Davide Formolo (Ita) Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling Team  
14 Damiano Caruso (Ita) BMC Racing Team  
15 Giovanni Visconti (Ita) Movistar Team  
16 Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Tinkoff-Saxo  
17 Leopold Konig (Cze) Team Sky 0:00:11  
18 Sébastien Reichenbach (Swi) IAM Cycling  
19 Darwin Atapuma Hurtado (Col) BMC Racing Team  
20 Andrey Amador (CRc) Movistar Team
GC
1 Alberto Contador (Spa) Tinkoff-Saxo 51:17:06  
2 Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana Pro Team 0:00:17  
3 Mikel Landa Meana (Spa) Astana Pro Team 0:00:55  
4 Dario Cataldo (Ita) Astana Pro Team 0:01:30  
5 Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Tinkoff-Saxo 0:01:55  
6 Rigoberto Uran (Col) Etixx - Quick-Step 0:02:19  
7 Giovanni Visconti (Ita) Movistar Team 0:02:21  
8 Damiano Caruso (Ita) BMC Racing Team 0:02:29  
9 Andrey Amador (CRc) Movistar Team 0:02:38  
10 Leopold Konig (Cze) Team Sky 0:02:44  
11 Davide Formolo (Ita) Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling Team 0:03:10  
12 Richie Porte (Aus) Team Sky 0:03:18  
13 Damiano Cunego (Ita) Nippo - Vini Fantini 0:03:24  
14 Darwin Atapuma Hurtado (Col) BMC Racing Team  
15 Yury Trofimov (Rus) Team Katusha 0:03:32  
16 Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Bel) Lotto Soudal 0:03:42  
17 Maxime Monfort (Bel) Lotto Soudal 0:04:14  
18 Alexandre Geniez (Fra) FDJ.fr 0:05:03  
19 Amaël Moinard (Fra) BMC Racing Team 0:05:05  
20 Ion Izagirre (Spa) Movistar Team 0:05:56

mercoledì 20 maggio 2015

Giro 11: Not The Winner You'd Love (solo)

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Contador gets off the helmet: penality?
Fight for the Blue Mountain Jersey today and it's no surprise that Intxausti, Betancur and Kruijswijk are in the break-away. Two 3rd category climbs and one 4th are on the route, finally three local laps of 15.4 km including the Tre Monti climb(4th cat). 153 km. Rain.
At the first intermediate sprint Nizzolo is the fastest, then Viviani, Boem, Belkov and Grosu.
Imola F1 circuit
On Passo del Trebbio (3rd cat, 6.3 km, 6.3% average, 11% max) the peloton is still compact. Then four riders manage to excape: Intxausti, Kruijswijk, Rosa and Zakarin. Others joins and they are 13 Berlato, Betancur, Chavanel, Fernández, Hesjedal, Montaguti, Pellizotti, Rutkiewicz and Stortoni. Chavanel, Stortoni and Berlato get dropped and only 10 riders are left in front. Their gap is 3'46 85 km to.
First KOM: Betancur sprints to grab the points and Intxausti isn't happy.
Embedded image permalink70 km to go the peloton split: Team Tinkoff and BMC are in front, Astana in the 2nd, Team Sky in the 3rd. The 2nd group is quickly back, more trouble for the 3rd one. High pace and the gap drops to 1'55. The chasing group is back together. The peloton splits again and the 2nd group is at 3'40'', and behind there are the teams' cars. Risky situation.
Tre Monti for the first time - points are only at the 3rd and last passage.
44 km to go the gap is only 46''.
41 km to go Fernandez gets dropped, then also Montaguti and Rutkiewicz.
Embedded image permalinkBMC made the race so fare but Gilbert doesn't look so well in this finale and nobody else collaborate so it stops pulling and the gap grows again. Stefan Küng is still in front though and gains a gap. The break's advantage is 1'22" 32 km to go. ORICA-GE goes in front.
22 km to go Zakarin attacks. Betancur responds.
14 km to go, crash in the peloton: Uran goes down. Back on bike but his jersey is ripped on his shoulder. Note that the Jury comes to send away the Garmin's car that could maybe help. Uran doesn't freak out and rides back to the peloton.
Embedded image permalinkTre Monti for the last time. Betancur is back with the main break. Zakarin solo in front. Hesjedal asks more collaboration but doesn't get it.
6 km to go Contador attacks, Lobato responds but the Spaniard can takes the descent in front.
Last lap for Zakarin, done. Not the winner you'd love but that is.

About UCI rule on Helmet wearing:
"Article 12.1.040 Scale of penalties
(left-hand column)
3.2 Rider taking the start without the required helmet
1. Elite men's road races in class 4 and above
200 to 10 000, plus
50 points deducted from the UCI individual
classification
2. Other cases: start refused
3.3 Rider removing the obligatory helmet during an event
1. Elite men's road races in class 4 and above
200 to 10 000, plus
50 points deducted from the UCI individual
classification
2. Other cases: expulsion from the race and 100 "


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Intxausti new Mountain Jersey
Ilnur Zakarin:
“I started the stage in good heart, and the breakaway riders worked well together. I made one attempt to get away, and at the second try, I made it. I learned a lesson in the stage that Intxausti won because that day I made the mistake of attacking too early. This time, I waited until the last moment. I still can’t believe that I won the Tour de Romandie, and now I’ve won a stage of the Giro. I have many emotions, and I’m very happy.”
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Uran's broken helmet

Giant-Alpecin DS Marc Reef: 
“It was a hard day that went up and down constantly from the start. Our plan was to get in the break with Simon, Tobias, Chad, and Caleb, but that didn’t worked out. 10 strong riders got away without us and three of them also were a threat for Simon’s jersey.
After the bunch split we had no one in the first group, but fortunately Simon made the jump to join it. In the finale, 9 riders were in front of the reduced bunch as Simon became 5th of the group and 14th in the stage result. He lost the jersey and is now 2 points behind on leader Intxausti.”

ORICA-GE DS Matt White:
“Today was an incredibly hard stage and it was always going to be. Quite a selective group formed early in the stage and we decided we were going to try to bring it back together on the circuits but we weren’t able to catch Zakarin.
The first person to work was Luke Durbridge who did a big pull for three-quarters of a lap, then Clarke and Chaves did what they could until they had nothing left but we fell a bit short.”

Giacomo Nizzolo:
“Today was more a nightmare than a dream! This stage was really, really, really crazy. We started full gas and the first climbs were really steep and hard. By the time we arrived to the circuit we had a lot of pain in the legs, and I can say that this was one of the hardest stages until now.
Still, I had big emotions when I entered the circuit as everyone knows my passion about motorbikes and cars, so for me here it was really like a dream to ride. After the finish I even went a little bit alone to check some corners!”
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Alberto Contador:
“I think every day at the Giro is important. You have to try and get over the bad days and that’s what I made an effort to do. Today it wasn’t the terrain to attack but there were some interesting little details to see, when I accelerated.
There wasn’t much terrain to make a move today but I knew that there were a few riders that weren’t having fun. We didn’t see too much but I could tell that there were a few riders who weren’t feeling so great so I decided to have a go”.
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Steven Kruijswijk:
“I always end up in the front of the pack on such a climb. When they try to attack, following is the best choice. You need to have a superb day to win the stage. I didn’t have it today, which meant I had to gamble. The Giro is hard. I’m just trying to take my chance. Next week there will be more stages that will suit me better than today.”

Rigoberto Uran:
"I was riding behind another guy in the peloton. He slowed a bit while changing gears and I touched his wheel. I was immediately on the ground. Fortunately the team car with a new bike wasn't far. So I got on the new bike and my first thought was to chase and come back immediately. I managed to do it. Fortunately I stayed in the peloton until the finish. It is a bit of a pity because after the rest day Monday and flat stage on Tuesday I was recovered a bit from the efforts of the first week while suffering bronchitis. A crash is not the ideal situation for the moment, and of course tomorrow I may feel a bit differently than today as sometimes, as consequences of these crashes, you don't fully feel the effects until the next day or later. But we have to deal with the situation as it is. The Giro continues for me tomorrow."

Beñat Intxausti:
“When I saw the profile today I wanted to have a go. I think it’s important to get points bit by bit for the blue jersey. It was a bit more complicated today to get the win and after Ilnur Zakarin went out it was hard to catch him.
I knew that I had that advantage (of a stage victory) in the breakaway. Zakarin was there and I knew that it would be a very difficult day because he’s so strong. It’s a shame we didn’t try to break him down and get to him, but he did it and well done to him.”

RESULTS
STAGE
1 Ilnur Zakarin (Rus) Team Katusha
2 Carlos Betancur (Col) AG2R La Mondiale
3 Franco Pellizotti (Ita) Androni Giocattoli
4 Benat Intxausti (Spa) Movistar Team
5 Diego Rosa (Ita) Astana Pro Team
6 Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) Team LottoNL-Jumbo
7 Ryder Hesjedal (Can) Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling Team
8 Maciej Paterski (Pol) CCC Sprandi Polkowice
9 Philippe Gilbert (Bel) BMC Racing Team
10 Juan Jose Lobato (Spa) Movistar Team
GC
1 Alberto Contador (Spa) Tinkoff-Saxo 46:54:19
2 Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana Pro Team 0:00:03
3 Mikel Landa Meana (Spa) Astana Pro Team 0:00:46
4 Dario Cataldo (Ita) Astana Pro Team 0:01:16
5 Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Tinkoff-Saxo 0:01:46
6 Rigoberto Uran (Col) Etixx - Quick-Step 0:02:10
7 Giovanni Visconti (Ita) Movistar Team 0:02:12
8 Damiano Caruso (Ita) BMC Racing Team 0:02:20
9 Andrey Amador (CRc) Movistar Team 0:02:24
10 Leopold Konig (Cze) Team Sky 0:02:30
11 Davide Formolo (Ita) Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling Team 0:03:01
12 Richie Porte (Aus) Team Sky 0:03:09
13 Damiano Cunego (Ita) Nippo - Vini Fantini 0:03:10
14 Darwin Atapuma Hurtado (Col) BMC Racing Team
15 Yury Trofimov (Rus) Team Katusha 0:03:18
16 Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Bel) Lotto Soudal 0:03:33
17 Maxime Monfort (Bel) Lotto Soudal 0:04:00
18 Amaël Moinard (Fra) BMC Racing Team 0:04:19
19 Alexandre Geniez (Fra) FDJ.fr 0:04:41
20 Ion Izagirre (Spa) Movistar Team 0:11:41

Giro 11: start

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At the start, with  a new GC made NOT by fight and racing but by a mechanical almost in neutral zone and a fair play gesture penalised like a crime. Bravo!

No protest by the peloton of course. No balls.

MORE TO COME

GC
1 Alberto Contador (Spa) Tinkoff-Saxo 42:58:09
2 Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana Pro Team 0:00:03
3 Mikel Landa Meana (Spa) Astana Pro Team 0:00:46
4 Dario Cataldo (Ita) Astana Pro Team 0:01:16
5 Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Tinkoff-Saxo 0:01:46
6 Rigoberto Uran (Col) Etixx - Quick-Step 0:02:10
7 Giovanni Visconti (Ita) Movistar Team 0:02:12
8 Damiano Caruso (Ita) BMC Racing Team 0:02:20
9 Andrey Amador (CRc) Movistar Team 0:02:24
10 Leopold Konig (Cze) Team Sky 0:02:30
11 Davide Formolo (Ita) Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling Team 0:03:01
12 Richie Porte (Aus) Team Sky 0:03:09


RESULTS
.....

Giro: Un-fair Play

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Giro Jury:
"Non-regulation assistance to a rider of another team, stage races. 200 CHF fine and 2’ penalty. Riders: PORTE and CLARKE"

Richie Porte:
"The peloton was going super fast to try and catch the breakaway and get ready for a bunch sprint, and I picked up a front wheel puncture as we were going around a roundabout. I'd gone around it on the left but my team-mates went around the other side. I stopped, and by the time the guys had got back to me Simon (Clarke from Orica GreenEdge) had already stopped and offered me his wheel. It was a spur of the minute thing. Alberto (Contador) summed it up last night - all you are thinking about when something like that happens is 'how can I make sure I lose the least time possible'. I didn't even give it a thought that it might be breaking the rules. Everything was happening so quickly and I was just acting on adrenaline.
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Simon's help was amazing -  really great sportsmanship. For a fellow pro from another team to help out like that - I think it shows cycling at its best.  The sport has made a lot of pretty bad headlines over the years and this was a pretty special moment. Simon is a friend and he showed it yesterday for sure.

About the penalty... I think I had better watch what I say... You might have had a different answer last night! Stating the obvious - it is frustrating but there is no point moaning or complaining. It was a technical infringement - although that was literally the last thing on my mind when it happened. As I said, all I wanted to do was to get to the finish line as fast as possible and limit my losses. It's pretty harsh really that Simon ended up with a two-minute penalty given he was left standing on the side of the road with just one wheel, but there you go.
I have to suck it up and we have to look forward as a team. It has been great to get so much support overnight. That means a lot. No-one should doubt how much I still want to win this race. There are still two weeks to go. It has been a great Giro so far. There is still a lot of racing ahead, some tough stages and this has really fired the whole team up to try to get the time back."

Dave Braidsford:
"It is obviously disappointing that a sporting gesture made in the heat of the moment has resulted in such a strong penalty. No one was trying to gain an unfair advantage.
This has however just strengthened our resolve and determination to fight for this race. Richie and the whole team are ready to take it on and there is a lot of this Giro left."

You can find many reactions here.

My opinion: 
Many and many rules are broken daily during races, tours especially: riders hanging on cars, helmets off and also - YES - exchange of supplies. That's obvious reading rider's reactions: they know it's illegal but also that usually there is no consequence. Do you remember Roubaix? indead. In add... Astana racing...! 
A fine would have been ok, time no, moreover because all happened so close to the finish in a flat stage! 'Home cooking' is the world used to explain the harsh rule enforcing by the jury. And I can see it. Last year Quintana took advantage of a messy neutralisation on the Stelvio, and he was the organisers pick for the final victory. Organisers don't love Team Sky, and that's also well known. 
I'd like so see a reaction by the whole peloton not for Porte but for the sport, for a fair enforcing of rules. But they are too divided and weak to show balls. I don't see them offering wheels each others to make things right. 

martedì 19 maggio 2015

Giro 10: Shit! Unespected Finale

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The finale you don't expect: no sprint and a GC change! 
Break from the gun: Boem, Busato, Gatto, Malaguti and Marangoni. 2'45" for the 5 leaders after 15 km. Lotto Soudal controls the peloton and you see ofte Trek in front.
The only climb of the day, Monte di Bartolo (4th cat) is 4.8 km long and 3.5% average.
Gap is 2'53" with 60 km to go, all in control. No fight at the first intermediate sprint.
17 km to go attack by Stefan Küng. Quickly caught. 17km to go, gap at 1’53”. 13 km to go, mechanical for Gatto.
Mechanical for Porte 3.7 km to go. 57” gap. Team mates help bringing him back to the peloton already launched toward the sprint but he's 1’31” behind.
Marangoni attacks 1.3km to go. Caught, Boem wins. Nizzolo wins the sprint in the peloton for 5th.
Embedded image permalinkBut the news of the day is that Porte lost around 40''.
Boem is the new Red Jersey. Really Team Sky bad day!

Nicola Boem:
”Unbelievable! I can’t find the words to describe this moment. Today all thought to finish with a classic massive sprint. I went in the break to show our team and sponsors. Then with 20km to go we still had more than two minutes and we began to believe it. Marangoni attacked 1km to go but I was smart to keep him 200 meters afar. When we came on the final straight I knew to be the fastest and it happened. It’s a huge win both for me and the whole team which I wish it’s only the first”. 

RESULTS
STAGE
1 Nicola Boem (Ita) Bardiani CSF 4:26:16
2 Matteo Busato (Ita) Southeast Pro Cycling
3 Alessandro Malaguti (Ita) Nippo - Vini Fantini 0:00:02
4 Alan Marangoni (Ita) Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling Team 0:00:04
5 Giacomo Nizzolo (Ita) Trek Factory Racing 0:00:18
6 Sacha Modolo (Ita) Lampre-Merida
7 André Greipel (Ger) Lotto Soudal
8 Luka Mezgec (Slo) Team Giant-Alpecin
9 Nicola Ruffoni (Ita) Bardiani CSF
10 Davide Appollonio (Ita) Androni Giocattoli
Embedded image permalinkGC
1 Alberto Contador (Spa) Tinkoff-Saxo 42:58:09
2 Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana Pro Team 0:00:03
3 Mikel Landa Meana (Spa) Astana Pro Team 0:00:46
4 Richie Porte (Aus) Team Sky 0:01:09
5 Dario Cataldo (Ita) Astana Pro Team 0:01:16
6 Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Tinkoff-Saxo 0:01:46
7 Rigoberto Uran (Col) Etixx - Quick-Step 0:02:10
Embedded image permalink8 Giovanni Visconti (Ita) Movistar Team 0:02:12
9 Damiano Caruso (Ita) BMC Racing Team 0:02:20
10 Andrey Amador (CRc) Movistar Team 0:02:24


...

lunedì 18 maggio 2015

Giro So Far: 1st Week

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(Pics are fron the rest day)
The GC situation
IN: They are fighting for the final victory 

1 Alberto Contador (Spa) Tinkoff-Saxo 38:31:35  
2 Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana Pro Team 0:00:03  
3 Richie Porte (Aus) Team Sky 0:00:22  
4 Mikel Landa Meana (Spa) Astana Pro Team 0:00:46  
5 Dario Cataldo (Ita) Astana Pro Team 0:01:16  
6 Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Tinkoff-Saxo 0:01:46  
7 Giovanni Visconti (Ita) Movistar Team 0:02:02  
8 Rigoberto Uran (Col) Etixx - Quick-Step 0:02:10  
9 Damiano Caruso (Ita) BMC Racing Team 0:02:20  
10 Andrey Amador (CRc) Movistar Team 0:02:24  
11 Leopold Konig (Cze) Team Sky 0:02:30  


Embedded image permalinkDOWN: They lost the train but could come back

12 Darwin Atapuma Hurtado (Col) BMC Racing Team 0:02:55
13 Davide Formolo (Ita) Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling Team 0:03:01  
14 Damiano Cunego (Ita) Nippo - Vini Fantini 0:03:10  
15 Yury Trofimov (Rus) Team Katusha 0:03:18  
16 Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Bel) Lotto Soudal 0:03:33  
17 Maxime Monfort (Bel) Lotto Soudal 0:04:00  
18 Amaël Moinard (Fra) BMC Racing Team 0:04:09  
19 Alexandre Geniez (Fra) FDJ.fr 0:04:41  



OUT: They can hardly come back and aim to stages

23 Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) Team LottoNL-Jumbo 0:10:39  
24 Przemyslaw Niemiec (Pol) Lampre-Merida 0:11:10  
28 Sébastien Reichenbach (Swi) IAM Cycling 0:15:44  
29 Stefano Pirazzi (Ita) Bardiani CSF 0:18:00  
30 Jonathan Monsalve (Ven) Southeast Pro Cycling 0:18:32  
32 Carlos Betancur (Col) AG2R La Mondiale 0:20:47  
34 Esteban Chaves (Col) Orica GreenEdge 0:21:22  
48 Fabio Felline (Ita) TrekRacing 0:40:01
55 Simone Stortoni (Ita) Androni Giocattoli 0:44:35
67 Branislau Samoilau (Blr) CCC Sprandi Polkowice 0:51:22  
STAGE VICTORIES
1 TTT Orica GreenEDGE  
2 - Albenga › Genova VIVIANI Elia  (Sky)
3 - Rapallo › Sestri Levante MATTHEWS Michael  (ORICA-GE)
4 - Chiavari › La Spezia FORMOLO Davide (Bardiani)
5 - La Spezia › Abetone POLANC Jan (Lampre)
6 - Montecatini Terme › Castiglione della Pescaia GREIPEL André (Lotto Soudal)
7 - Grosseto › Fiuggi ULISSI Diego (Lampre)
8 - Fiuggi › Campitello Matese INTXAUSTI Beñat (Movistar)
9 - Benevento › San Giorgio del Sannio TIRALONGO Paolo (Astana)  

Teams
1 Astana Pro Team 247 pts is doing - even too - well. Aru is the leader but they have got many options and are racing on the attack. Spending too much? Tactically confused? The discussion is on.
2 Orica-GreenEdge 194  A big start, then... nothing. But Chavez can win a stage and wait for them at the sprint.
3 Movistar Team 162  Visconti is still well placed and Intxausti took a splendid victory. In my opinion they are doing great.
4 Lampre-Merida 140  the team leader is already out the GC area but they won two stages. More to come (in my opinion).
5 BMC Racing Team 133  Caruso still is in the GC area while Atapuma lost time. He also lost his mom at the start of the Giro so probably not in the best set of mind. After Evan retirement this team is changing, betting on youths and still a little looking for its new identity. Give them time.
6 Southeast 118  Belletti is in a splenid shape, he just need to stay cool and to finalise at the sprint. I'm sure he will.
7 Team Sky 116 Porte is confortablely 3rd, playing it very cool and waiting the right moment to attack, in the itt first of all, then in the mountain. In my opnion so far he did all right. The TTT was disappointing but not his fault. Viviani got and keeps the Red Jersey: he can bring it home. Stage victories - itt excluded - are always hard when the whole team is committed to support the gc guy, still they have good cards.
8 IAM Cycling 112  They go for stages and a victory is possible. 
9 LottoNL-Jumbo 99 ARG! that's one of my favourite teams but they always have such an hard life! They give way more than how much they get back. Kruijswijk is out of the GC area and his efforts to win a stage have been so far unsuccessful. Probably they miss a good tactical approach.  Not guts, that's sure.
10 Tinkoff-Saxo 90  Contador looks very strong and always in control but often too early isolated. In the mountain only Kreuziger is an effective help and not till the top. Experience plays a role but a strong team around you is more important. Lets see.
11 Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling Team 89 They have got a problem: Formolo. He already won a stage and isn't too far in the GC WHILE the team leader Hesjedale is already out and not happy. Formolo is a big talent, still young but able to achieve results. Wegelius is right to preserve him but you can't avoid the fact that he IS the leader on the road and they must make it quicly clear. Unfortunately there is Aru, if not Formolo was wearing White.
To make it more complicated, Tom Jelte Slagter is also an impatient young gun...
12 Trek Factory Racing 84 Mhm... As for BMC, it's a team that is changing, a team betting on youths. They have got some big talent and a very good staff. Still they lack the expected results. Nizzolo at the sprint, Felline on the hills, Vandewalle in the itt... Yes they are good but not enough. Can they step upward in this Giro? I hope so! 
13 Lotto Soudal 79 They have got Greipel. He already scored a win and is fighting for the Red Jersey. That's the goal in my opinion. Van Den Broeck is more than 3' down in GC...  
14 Androni Giocattoli 78 Bandiera is leading the special classification for the most km spent in the break-away. That's all.  
15 Team Katusha 63 Trofimov is already 3' down in GC and so far they did nothing special.  A stage victory is possible.
16 Bardiani CSF 63 They look less impressive than last year. Pirazzi isn't too far in CG but I don't see him in the top ten. A stage victory is possible, but it isn't going to be easy. 
17 Team Giant-Alpecin 56 Geschke is in Blue at the moment but it isn't going to stick. Mezgec so far isn't brilliant at the sprint. They go for stages and one day it can work.
18 Nippo - Vini Fantini 49  Nothing to tell.
19 CCC Sprandi Polkowice 42  Nothing to tell.
20 FDJ.fr 35  Elissonde is a big talent, he can win a mountain stage. Geniez lost time in GC.
21 Etixx - Quick-Step 28 Uran lost time in the GC but 2' in the first week mean nothing. He was sick, now he's better and I expect him doing a great itt and to gain time in the last hard week. He can still do it, especially if Contador cracks because isolated. Etixx should look for alliances but at the moment it seems victim of an agreement between Astana and Tinkoff. Uran must be smart because he hasn't got a strong team.
22 AG2R La Mondiale 27 Pozzovivo's crash left them without a leader but I see Betancur is not that bad. He can win a mountain stage and fight for the Blue Jersey. 

Embedded image permalinkTOPICS OF THE WEEK
1. How bad is Contador?
Imo he has got a bit of pain yes, but absolutely nothing serious. Or he's on something like tramadol! 
2. Is Astana cheating?
How knows? Anyway UCI allowed them them to race in the World Tour and maybe to win Giro and Tour. I hope they are clean because the opposite would be very bad for the sport.
3. Should Porte be more active?
Absolutely no. In my opinion his racing is perfect. 
4. Is Astana tactically confused?
I don't think so: they have many riders in a very good position so it's just right to try to win a stage. Aru has no need to take the Pink Jersey now.
5. Should Landa have more freedom gived his wonderful condition?
He seems quite free to me. He's Aru's last man but when he can he goes for the stage. Landa in Pink should be also a nice option for Astana.
6. How far can Formolo go?
Hard to tell. He's got talent. I'm looking forward to see him in the last week.
7. Who's the Speedy King in Cav absence?
Elia Viviani. But it's going to be a beautiful fight with Greipel and Nizzolo.
8. Who can seriously target the Mountain Jersey?
Probably a GC guy, given the last week. In add Intxausti and Betancur.
9. Who's the best youth in the bunch?
Formolo. Chaves and Elissonde. But of course it's likely that Ru will win the White Jersey (too?).
10. Is Uran still in contention or are they just three?
As I said, I think he's still in contention. And I hope so! DAI CICCIO!
11. What about Betancur?
He's back. He needs to be supported, not to be judged. He's a true talent but a wild one. Maybe he isn't going to achieve all he could but he can achieve big results anyway.
12. Dopers anybody?
EHM... Yep, a lot of ex dopers in the start list. I agree to give them a second chance but NOT in the World Tour. Is anybody doping now? We'are going to know... in a few weeks, or months... or YEARS. But hey, we are going to know!