Great battle for the stage.
Not sure why Vlety wanted to drop both before the sprint.
Not sure why Vlety wanted to drop both before the sprint.
|01||Annemiek van Vleuten Movistar Team|
|02||Mavi Garcia UAE Team ADQ|
|03||Marta Cavalli FDJ-Nouvelle Aquitaine-Futuroscope|
|04||Elisa Longo Borghini Trek-Segafredo|
|05||Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig FDJ-Nouvelle Aquitaine-Futuroscope|
|06||Amanda Spratt Team BikeExchange-Jayco|
|07||Elise Chabbey CANYON//SRAM Racing|
|08||Niamh Fisher-Black Team SD Worx|
|09||Evita Muzic FDJ-Nouvelle Aquitaine-Futuroscope|
|10||Silvia Persico Valcar-Travel & Service|
I guess the heat might have caused problems for some of the riders, who either forgot to drink or drank plenty but forgot to eat enough. Only two riders failing to fnish wasn't that bad, though there still could be a few more exiting before the start tomorrow.I've noticed a couple of times now that it seems to be this kind of profile that Annemiek makes her biggest moves on, rather than the single mountain MTF types; going early and establishing a gap behind and then letting others in-fight seems to work better for her than just blowing people up on the MTF (she can do that, too, but the time gaps created by blowing everyone to smithereens then riding along while they all work out what to do behind extending her lead seem to be bigger). This was similar to what happened on Laghi di Cancano a few years ago and in the Ceratizit Challenge last year where stages with a lot of cumulative climbing but not really any scary strong climbing ended up being the most decisive, and the bunch seemed more or less reconciled to defeat at the hands of van Vleuten and worked against each other with indecision.
This time, however, she wasn't alone. It's kind of weird to see such an old top 2 - 77 cumulative years between them - but Mavi didn't start cycling until she was 31 and she has always been a good climber; she's a complete diesel and placement in the bunch has usually harmed her chances, forcing her to start climbs way back and pick her way through the dropped riders to get back to the front. I assume AVV wanted rid of Cavalli more than anything else since Marta C can actually sprint, Mavi is not a threat in a two-up. Cavalli is clearly motivated and my expectation is that this race is for her to peak at and then at Le Tour Cille and Évita Muzic will take over, however this FDJ team now looks pretty formidable.
A lot of hesitation in the bunch, you would think, would have meant more riders than made the selection would have made the selection. Some serious names missing from the group - a few prediction game choices certainly standing out, Kristen Faulkner falling way back despite her success in the opening TT, and my personal pick of Juliette Labous was perhaps more readily influenced by her Burgos performance and without too much consideration of the likelihood that she targets Le Tour instead - though as she's the only GC rider DSM had brought I figured she'd be leader regardless. Lucinda Brand going from winning the Tour de Suisse to 11 minutes back here is somewhat surprising as this was a stage I figured she'd like - similar to a couple of stages she won in the Giro back in 2015 and 2017. I'm starting to wonder if Mikayla Harvey's 2020 was a bit illusory or if something is wrong, because the New Zealanders did better out of lockdown than anybody else, but while Fisher-Black continues to develop and go from strength to strength, Harvey has lost her way considerably and never looked like replicating that 2020 performance - but that included catching and dropping the likes of Uttrup and Niewiadoma on a 12% climb, so clearly she should have the legs for this type of stage. Sara Poidevin being in the laughing group at nearly half an hour back is sad to see as well, she's a very good climber and this suggests to me that something isn't quite right. It's her first race in Europe since the Ardennes and so I'm not sure if there's been an injury there or anything.
The time gaps do suggest the podium is set, but you never know, as only van Vleuten is really proven here. Mavi has been strong in mountainous stage races for a few years but has only been competing for the win in the mid-tier races such as the likes of the Tour de l'Ardeche during the van der Breggen/van Vleuten era, so how she responds to the pressure will be interesting, while Cavalli is still learning her trade as a 24-year-old who has made a huge stride forward this year. You'd say the Bergamo stage is a great chance for her to win some time back on Mavi as she is obviously the more explosive of the two given how she won Amstel and Flèche. Last year's Giro however is the only time we've seen Marta have to back up performances in the mountains multiple times; she finished 6th overall... and look who was 5th, just 3 seconds ahead of her.... one Margarita Victoria García Cañellas.
Garcia was very strong at the Spanish Nationals in which she dropped Sansesteban like a stone - But then Sansesteban tested positive for COVID two days later - So heading into the Giro, I was unsure what to make of her form.I hadn't expected this kind of performance from García after the meltdown in Burgos. I give her a very small chance to win in a sprint though.
She was also riding on home roads there, which I assume favoured her. Wasn't it also pretty hot that day? It was so in the 2020 Strade Bianchi as well, so that might have helped her today, too.Garcia was very strong at the Spanish Nationals in which she dropped Sansesteban like a stone - But then Sansesteban tested positive for COVID two days later - So heading into the Giro, I was unsure what to make of her form.
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