Giro d'Italia 2022 Giro d'Italia, Stage 20: Belluno – Marmolada 168 km (Saturday, May 28th)

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If the these three dudes stare at each other and take turns with each other all day again, I will cheer for all three of them to lose every bike race they ever take part in for the rest of their careers and will immediately start lobbying the UCI to ban them for bringing the sport into disrepute
Carapaz is in the lead, he is the best time trialist of the three and has the weakest team. In the previous stages, he had attacked on several occasions. I don't know what else you expect him to do?
 
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I wish GCN/ Eurosport would stop hyping up how close this Giro is. This giro has shown like in 2012, just because a race is close, doesn't mean it's good or exciting.
the odd thing is, that some people really seem to like it. In yesterday's Cycling Podcast Brian Nygaard for example said that "This [reducing the time trial kilometers] has just worked out perfectly, hasn't it?! [...] Honestly, I don't really see the problem of it being this close. It's a real gift to the last stage, and potentially also to the stage in Verona. It depends on what you're looking for in a bike race. I'm looking for suspense right until the very end - and that's what we have."
 
Worried than the eons of Fedaia propaganda will be exposed for half thruths and empty hypes?
Nah, I was propagandising it before 2011 when it delivered. A MTF is not the optimal use of the climb because that last 6km being so steep can delay action and its position in the middle of the Dolomiti means you don't have that same characteristic as, say, La Pandera or Zoncolan where the last climb will always be what the stage is all about, but historically it has always delivered. As an MTF, however, the final 6km being so steep means it's likely that little meaningful for the GC happens before that, and in 2008 it was only because CSF-Navigare had filled their veins with more CERA than blood that we got what we got. As I said before, a finish on Pordoi after Fedaia would be ideal, or Rifugio Gardeccia like in 2011 (although action started on Giau and then spread out on Fedaia back then), or something like Corvara 2002. If you look at how it's been used over the years then you can see how the climb's role as a race-breaker has been developed.

Often putting a steep climb as an MTF on stage 20 has proven disappointing in recent history - it's been a popular way to build anticipation, but it only works if the GC is still contested. This race is at least close, but there's not the feeling that much action is likely because the riders in question have been so docile to date, and something like Cercedilla 2015 would have been preferable where stage 20 is the final hail mary and stage 19 is the tougher stage (in that respect, this last two stages would likely have been better the opposite way around). Other cases like Zoncolan 2014 and Ventoux 2009 have been disappointments. There have been exceptions, something like Angliru 2013 is about as good as you'll get in that respect. We really, ideally, need Mikel Landa to have really good legs today and Bahrain to try something, because the top 2 being as tied for time as they are means that there's little likelihood of them wanting to risk things from distance.

...and if I go in measuring my expectations I can stand to be less disappointed :p

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the odd thing is, that some people really seem to like it. In yesterday's Cycling Podcast Brian Nygaard for example said that "This [reducing the time trial kilometers] has just worked out perfectly, hasn't it?! [...] Honestly, I don't really see the problem of it being this close. It's a real gift to the last stage, and potentially also to the stage in Verona. It depends on what you're looking for in a bike race. I'm looking for suspense right until the very end - and that's what we have."
This same effect would be achieved by 19 sprint stages and a mountain stage on the last weekend, a bit like having the WT péloton take on the HTV Cup. There might be suspense because lots of people are still in with a shot, but there's no action. The whole 'winner takes all' mentality of building a show-stopping finale has some sense to it, but not at the expense of torpedoing a full three weeks of racing.

Besides, reducing the time trial mileage has only "worked" because the mountain stages have become characterised by the hunt for ever steeper gradients (because at least those will guarantee time gaps even in Unipuerto) and fewer multi-col queen stage types, whereas with more genuine, high difficulty multi-col mountain stages, the parcours could easily withstand additional time trial distance and in fact would probably be improved by it.
 
the odd thing is, that some people really seem to like it. In yesterday's Cycling Podcast Brian Nygaard for example said that "This [reducing the time trial kilometers] has just worked out perfectly, hasn't it?! [...] Honestly, I don't really see the problem of it being this close. It's a real gift to the last stage, and potentially also to the stage in Verona. It depends on what you're looking for in a bike race. I'm looking for suspense right until the very end - and that's what we have."
Well if this is the new blue print for GT's then it's pretty much pointless watching until that final TT. Which in hindsight would have saved me a lot of time instead watching the dross we've been served up for the last 19 stages (bar Torino which at this point is just a glitch).
 
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The real battle is for 10th place between two of the most exciting riders in the history of the sport: Carthy and Valverde. Carthy currently is in 10th spot and leads Valverde by 1 minute and 1 second. Can Bala do it? It would be sensational and shine some light on an otherwise dull Giro.
Carthy looked like the 4th strongest climber in the race yesterday - It's probably Valverde vs Lopez for 10th although Buitrago from the break could be an outside shot if the GC race as tepidly as they have
 
From FEDAIAAAAA to Fedaia, pls?
Nah, the climb is still amazing, it's just that Vegni is an idiot, and the climb can't help it if Jai Hindley has spent most of the last three weeks making Adam Yates look like Simon Yates.

Hang on... I've just realised something.

The stage finishes on the steepest climb. Addy Engels is in the Jumbo-Visma car.

We have been spared the prospect of Sepp Kuss winning on the Passo di Fedaia (FEDAIAAAAA!!!!!!!!!)

I award this stage a bazillion stars.
 
I wish GCN/ Eurosport would stop hyping up how close this Giro is. This giro has shown like in 2012, just because a race is close, doesn't mean it's good or exciting. The 2015 giro and 2019 Vuelta a prime examples that race can be dominated by one rider but still be really entertaining.
Same for GCN/Eurosport hyping up how great some riders' performance is just because they are riding at the front of the bunch. Yesterday they stressed all the time what great work the BORA riders are doing, setting a hard pace etc., but effectively they gained only about one minute on the break on the hardest climb of the stage.

Edit: Might as well just be a German thing in this case. German commentators often seem to view everything about BORA through rose-colored glasses.
 
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Same for GCN/Eurosport hyping up how great some riders' performance is just because they are riding at the front of the bunch. Yesterday they stressed all the time what great work the BORA riders are doing, setting a hard pace etc., but effectively they gained about one minute on the break on the hardest climb of the stage.
Kolovrat was like 1600 VAM on a 9% climb
 
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This same effect would be achieved by 19 sprint stages and a mountain stage on the last weekend, a bit like having the WT péloton take on the HTV Cup. There might be suspense because lots of people are still in with a shot, but there's no action. The whole 'winner takes all' mentality of building a show-stopping finale has some sense to it, but not at the expense of torpedoing a full three weeks of racing.

Besides, reducing the time trial mileage has only "worked" because the mountain stages have become characterised by the hunt for ever steeper gradients (because at least those will guarantee time gaps even in Unipuerto) and fewer multi-col queen stage types, whereas with more genuine, high difficulty multi-col mountain stages, the parcours could easily withstand additional time trial distance and in fact would probably be improved by it.
GTs get way more action when they're not particularly close, or when the favorites are riders of different types with different qualities that need to attack each other.

Putting the ITT last I think is horrendous. Imagine the 2012 Vuelta if the TT is in the final stage.

Final stage big MTF only work if there's someone who needs attack with great legs and nothing to lose. Ancares 2014 is the best example.
 

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