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Giro d'Italia 2016 St 20 Guillestre–S.Anna di Vinadio 134 km

Eshnar said:
STAGE 20: Guillestre – S.Anna di Vinadio 134 km

Stage start: 12.45 CET, 28 May

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Technical Overview:
As it is tradition at the Giro, stage 20 is the final GC showdown. Very short but very high and demanding, with over 4100m of altitude gain... and almost completely in France, which is not traditional.
The road will go up from the very first km, with the first climb of the day, an old friend of the Giro: the Col de Vars (18.25 km at 6%, GPM1) is quite a tough climb, whose average gradient suffers from having a flat section in the middle (a remark I probably wrote too many times already in this analysis... don't worry, this is the last one). It also features the first intermediate sprint, Station de Vars, at km 14. After the top, a very short and beautiful descent will bring the riders down the valley, with 13 km of descending false flat to reach the town of Jausiers, where the Col de la Bonette (22.25 km at 6.7%, GPM1) starts. This is a long, very constant and very high pass, so high in fact that riding it to the top would make it the highest Cima Coppi ever. Which is obviously not cool. Therefore, they will ride only to the proper Col, at 2715m, avoiding the little loop that would bring them to the Cime, at 2802m. The descent of this giant is long and fast, and has some very technical sections, so it could be a factor. After it there are 15 km of another descending false flat to arrive to the town of Isola, where the second intermediate sprint is, and the last top category climb of the Giro starts. The Col de la Lombarde (19.85 km at 7.5%, GPM1), that will bring everyone back to Italy, is the last chance for the riders to make a difference. The first ramps are actually the most serious, followed by an easier middle section and a demanding final part. However, all sections include solid ramps and the altitude will be a factor of ever increasing importance. Finally back in Italian territory, the riders will face a short but technical (and narrow) descent of 8 km, before climbing the final GPM of the Giro, the climb to the sanctuary of S.Anna di Vinadio (2.35 km at 8.1%, GPM3). This is basically a high altitude wall, with its central 1.5 km at 9.7%, that flattens out a bit at the top.

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The Climbs:

Col de Vars GPM1
An absolute classic in the Tour, this climb has been also climbed many times in the Giro, in particular in the most famous Cuneo-Pinerolo stage (but from the opposite side). This side is really tough, featuring long and steep ramps.
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Col de la Bonette GPM1
The highest mountain pass in Europe (if ridden to the very top), it is a very long and quite constant climb, always around 7%, with easier slopes at the beginning and at the end. Quite rarely raced at the Tour, it will be at the Giro for the first time ever.
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Col de la Lombarde GPM1
Another long and tough climb, with a easier middle section. It does not feature the crazy gradients that are common in the Giro, but it is still a worthy final GPM1 of the race.
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S.Anna di Vinadio GPM3
The final climb of the Giro, a short and steep Alpine wall. The altitude will make it much harder than the profile (which can be seen in the final km graph) suggests.

What to expect:
The final battle, of course. The Col de Vars will be ridden at a blistering pace, due to the breakaway forming (and a huge lot of GPM points at stake) and the intermediate sprint being there. And then the Lombarde to decide the GC. Anything less than the GC guys attacking each other halfway the Lombarde would be massively disappointing, and anything more would be a huge surprise, since the false flat that surrounds the Bonette should discourage meaningful attacks there. The final wall will be good only to decide the winner in case no one is able to drop everybody else on the Lombarde, but it will not make any meaningful gaps.

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Looks like Nibali v Chaves for the win and Valverde v Kruijswijk for third. I imagine Nibali will set a hard pace from early again, so will be very difficult for anyone to do anything from the break.

Weather looks similar to today. Hot in the valleys, but quite a nice temperature for climbing - should make for good, attacking racing.
 
Nibali struggling a bit when Chavez attacked today, but recovered more than well, and both Kruijswijk and Chavez struggled nearing the summit of Agnello. This should be epic. Nibali favourite judging by today's stage, but, well, tomorrow's a new day.
 
The battle will be halfway the Lombarde. Nibali will have teammates up the road then, and have Astana set a ferocious pace at the bottom. If he drops Chaves at the first part the Giro is his. If he doesn't then he still can get rid of Chaves later on the climb. Nibali looked to be improving yesterday and was clearly the strongest of the non crashers today
 
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Matteo. said:
everything will be played on Lombarda. If Chaves survives, it's over for Nibali because the colombian is a good as him downhill and the last 1.5km are too short to put 40s...

In this Giro there are no certainties.
 
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Arredondo said:
Matteo. said:
everything will be played on Lombarda. If Chaves survives, it's over for Nibali because the colombian is a good as him downhill and the last 1.5km are too short to put 40s...

In this Giro there are no certainties.

nothing truer, but we still talk about something for tomorrow :D
I honestly do not see it as chaves can lose 44s in 1.5km, but with bad luck that runs in the group chaves might as well break in that final sector , and from this point of view I think nibali is in no danger
 
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Poursuivant said:
If Nibali can: he should go for it from the very start.

you are also right. Lombarda is tough especially at the start, although chaves does not seem to be in his best days most of the detachment has accumulated today is in the final 3 kilometers of Risoul, where the slopes are of 8-9%. the final part of Lombarda instead is easier and will not be simple, recover 44s in that stretch.
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Since today was one of the best stages in a GT in a long time, let's do a full breakdown of what tomorrow's prospects are for the riders, and more interestingly the teams, in the GC Top Ten:

The Maglia Rosa, Esteban Chaves, needs to hang on. He'll want to set a slow place up Col de Vars, send Clarke or Plaza once more onto the breach, and hopefully somehow reach Jausiers with 3 or 4 guys and someone up the road to hold back if the going gets rough. If he can get to Isola with any teammates, it's job done for Orica. If they have helpful riders up the road by then, it's job fantastically done. It's on Chaves' legs after that.

The strongest team in the race, Astana, has many options due to their, well, strength. They need to isolate Chaves at some point. But doing it on Vars is an absolute waste of strength. Not to mention that while on paper those 13km of false flats would benefit Nibali (0:44) over Chaves, you'd have to have something wrong with your head to risk it at that point when you need less than a minute. They might (should?) try to break him over the top of the Bonette: although it's a small risk, a 2,000m dropoff over 40km shouldn't be too taxing on the legs. Their best course is probably the bridge strategy somewhere up the Lombarda. Astana being Astana, they might attempt both of those strategies.

Lotto-NL Jumbo has nothing. I think today's team meeting went: try to hold on for dear life, help Steven (1:05) in any way you can. I don't see that pep talk changing tomorrow. If he has anything left, he'll try to hold it for Lombarda. Unless he wants to win the UCI prize for the biggest balls in the WorldTour and tries to attack over the top of the Bonette.

Valverde (1:48) will probably hold true to form, and ride defensively until the last little wall, when he'll sprint for real or imaginary bonus seconds. In his dream scenario, he'd get a podium out of it. If he really wanted to win this thing he could press the Movistar smash everything button, but that's our dream scenario, not his.

Majka (3:59) will, as he has done all Giro, try his hardest to spend no seconds in the wind. I've never seen anyone ride so differently when stage-hunting than when going for the GC. He was the last guy with a teammate on the Agnello, so his team is strong enough for him to do something, if it was his wont. It won't be.

Ettix-QS have had a dream tour so far. The'll look to put riders up the road, and help Jungels (7:53) in any way they can. Unless they can win a stage. It's a Lefevere team, after all. He could get a top 5, if someone else crashes out.

Amador (9:34) will do what Valverde asks of him. Which is probably very little.

Uran (12:18), Siutsou (13:19) and Pozzovivo (14:09) will probably try to get themselves on a break, if the pace allows it. Jungels would probably let one or two of them go. Majka might chase them, because Majka likes chasing things. However, there's a small chance JV sets Cannondale into "let's show ourselves at the front all day" mode because that's just something Cannondale enjoys. Like licking stamps. But given the team they have, it would be spectacular. I think it won't happen, not because Uran is friends with Chaves, but because Cannondale doesn't want to win itself the seething hatred of the entire peloton. But then again JV's love for doing that also knows no bounds.

In short, I agree with Red Rick: "The battle will be halfway the Lombarde." I expect very little to happen before then. I hope I'm wrong.
 
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Red Rick said:
What this stage misses, is Contador in good form, at 5 minutes. Then you'd have it all

No strategy, no plan. Nothing at all, left it all on the road for us to enjoy. That's the day when Contador showed to the public what a rider he really is.

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carton said:
The Maglia Rosa, Esteban Chaves, needs to hang on. He'll want to set a slow place up Col de Vars, send Clarke or Plaza once more onto the breach (...)
[/b]

Well, you know, Simon Clarke doesn't necessarily have to ride for Chavito. He's not his teammate anymore.

carton said:
Majka (3:59) will, as he has done all Giro, try his hardest to spend no seconds in the wind. I've never seen anyone ride so differently when stage-hunting than when going for the GC. He was the last guy with a teammate on the Agnello, so his team is strong enough for him to do something, if it was his wont. It won't be.[/b]

Firstly, Majka has spent a significant amount of time pulling. That was him who brought Nibali and Zakarin back after Chaves first attack. In the last kilometer of Agnello he was all alone. Don't have to mention he worked at least as much as Valverde did in the second group?
Secondly, Petrov was in a break beforehand and the break, as you know, they opened the gap before the Col d'Agnello. It'll be far harder for Saxo guys to breakaway on Vars, considering their climbing form. Maybe Polijanski, maaaaybe Boaro.