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Giro 2017, stage 9: Montenero di Bisaccia - Blockhaus 149 km

Preview from Eshnar:
Eshnar said:
STAGE 9: Montenero di Bisaccia – Blockhaus 149 km

START TIME: 13.00 CEST

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Technical Overview:
The second weekend find its peak (literally) with the hardest MTF of the race. The first half of this short but demanding stage are very easy, along the Adriatic coast. After reaching the town of Francavilla al Mare, however, the peloton will head towards the highest mountain range of the Appennines. There are no categorized climbs before the MTF, but a few little bumps will provide a proper warmup. First, the climb to the intermediate sprint in Chieti (~5km at 5%, very different from the usual steep wall in the recent editions of Tirreno-Adriatico), and then the long and gentle drag to Lettomanoppello will bring the riders to the town of Scafa, where the mighty Blockhaus (aka Maielletta), the hardest climb in the Appennines, starts. The first 10 km at 4% leading to the town of Roccamorice are just a teaser though, as the climb officially starts just there. The Blockhaus (GPM1, 13 km at 8.4%), hasn't been climbed from this side since the '70s, its hardest side, that has been a race designer's wet dream since a long time. All the MTFs on it were climbed from the easiest of all its sides, the one from Pretoro, but the Blockhaus has seen champions of the magnitude of Merckx, Fuente and Argentin. This year they won't go to the top, as they will finish at the Rifugio Mammarosa, like they did the last time they went to this mountain, in 2009 (the century celebration edition). Even without the 6 km at 7% that lead to the very top of this monster, the riders won't really have it easy, since the main section of the climb features almost 10km at 9.4% average.

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The Climbs:
Blockhaus GPM1:
A monstrous climb, without crazy gradients but always at 9-10% after the first 3.5 km. There is a little descent at 0.5 km to the end, around 100-200m long.
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What to expect:
Carnage on the last climb, a clear winner and half the forum claiming the Giro is over and complaining about such a hard finish on stage 9.

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Story Time:
It was the Giro 1967, stage 12. From Caserta to Blockhaus, over a hilly terrain that ended with a new long and hard climb. The Spaniard José Pérez Francés was the pink jersey that day, a long, hard day on the saddle, which the favourites rode the modern way... all together until the last kms of the Blockhaus. At two kms to go, Italo Zilioli attacked from the front group. Nobody but one could follow. That young Belgian "sprinter" who had won the Milano-Sanremo that year, and arrived with the best already on the Etna MTF, at his first GT ever. Eddy Merckx followed Zilioli for a km, then dropped him to get the first GT win of his career. His legend was yet to start, as the not-yet-Cannibal would arrive 9th in Milan at more than 11' from Gimondi... but it was now clear that the guy was not just a one-day racer. Merckx won the Giro and the Tour 5 times, wore the pink jersey (as well as yellow) for most days than any other, won the triple (Giro, Tour, WC) twice, won all the monuments at least once, and is the rider with most wins at Milano-Sanremo. As far as GTs go, he started here.

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Re: Giro 2017, stage 9: Montenero di Bisaccia - Blockhaus 14

Greipel will be the lone survivor of a 10 man breakaway, having a 15 minute lead at the bottom of Blockhaus, while behind them, the top GC men take it easy and let Greipel win his first ever MTF. The top 12-15 guys will finish together, waiting for a harder mountain to separate themselves.
 
My predictions for tomorrow:
- there will be a winner
- there will be riders from at least 2 different teams in the top10
- there will be at least one attack at some point of the race
- at least one Italian rider will finish the stage
- Monfort will not be shown on TV
- someone will post something hateful about Team Sky in the Internet
- not every rider will finish at the same time
 
Re:

Anderis said:
My predictions for tomorrow:
- there will be a winner
- there will be riders from at least 2 different teams in the top10
- there will be at least one attack at some point of the race
- at least one Italian rider will finish the stage
- Monfort will not be shown on TV
- someone will post something hateful about Team Sky in the Internet
- not every rider will finish at the same time
You forgot that about 9.5 km from the line, at least one member is going to complain about how boring the race is.

And the inevitable "Race is over for XYZ"-comment and then it turns out XYZ in fact only lost about 17 seconds.
 
Shame they're not going to the top this time, but surely will be decisive gaps here between GC contenders. 10km at 9%+ is perfect for the pure climbers like Quintana and Landa to take charge of the race. I'm sure they won't miss the opportunity. I think some big name riders will effectively have their hopes ended tomorrow.
 
It's a proper opportunity, but I won't be surprised should it be ridden conservatively.
Landa's move today was more than just the day's order, I think. Sky's Giro's not just about these three weeks. Remember how Contador came out of the Giro 2015 with Landa and Aru on his back.
 
Re:

sir fly said:
It's a proper opportunity, but I won't be surprised should it be ridden conservatively.
Landa's move today was more than just the day's order, I think. Sky's Giro's not just about these three weeks. Remember how Contador came out of the Giro 2015 with Landa and Aru on his back.
Not sure how comparable this is, as Contador raced a tougher schedule in the spring, and crashed very hard in the Giro as well.

Not to mention he'd go on to race Route du Sud. Not sure what he was thinking about then but to be fair it was the last time he beat Quintana in a GC
 
Re: Re:

Red Rick said:
sir fly said:
It's a proper opportunity, but I won't be surprised should it be ridden conservatively.
Landa's move today was more than just the day's order, I think. Sky's Giro's not just about these three weeks. Remember how Contador came out of the Giro 2015 with Landa and Aru on his back.
Not sure how comparable this is, as Contador raced a tougher schedule in the spring, and crashed very hard in the Giro as well.

Not to mention he'd go on to race Route du Sud. Not sure what he was thinking about then but to be fair it was the last time he beat Quintana in a GC
Attrition will be Sky's goal, I'm sure.
 
Yes, Contador messed it up by riding Cataluny afterwards T-A, that wasnt the smartest thing to do. Not that it would have made much of diffrence in the end tho. I don't know abut Route du Sud, I could imagine Quintana actually riding that as well. But he was definitely maxed up even before the start of TdF.