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Giro d'Italia 2017 STAGE 20: Pordenone – Asiago 190 km

Ladies and Gentlemen, it is time

Eshnar said:
STAGE 20: Pordenone – Asiago 190 km

START TIME: 11.55 CEST

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Technical Overview:
The last chance for the climbers. A stage where one has to attack from far out to gain any time. Starting from the town of Pordenone, this final mountain stage starts with 35 km of flat, before hitting the first difficulty of the day, Ca' del Poggio (GPM4, 1.1 km at 12.7%), which is just a steep wall, that might only help definining the breakaway of the day. This breakaway, however, might be crucial for the GC guys ambitions. The 50 km that follows features some small climbs and in general a bit of a rough terrain, not demanding but good to warm-up the legs in case a team goes full gas. At km 98.5 the road changes drastically, as the peloton starts the mythical Monte Grappa (GPM1, 24.2 km at 5.3%). From this side of the Grappa the road isn't as steep as pretty much any other side, but that doesn't make this climb easy. The first part is the steepest and most regular, with 8.5 km at 7.8%. After that, the climb becomes very irregular, with false flats ans short descents followed by steep ramps. From the top, the riders will face a very demanding descent (the same as 2010, when Nibali broke away and won in Asolo), fast and technical, leading to the town of Romano d'Ezzelino. Here, there will be 13 km of flat terrain, that will bring the peloton to the foot of the final climb of the 100th Giro, which is a new one. Foza (GPM1, 14 km at 6.7%) wasn't exactly a candidate when one thought about the final climb of a Giro at all, even more considering this is not "just" a Giro. But yeah, we got this one. It's not a bad climb though: very regular and consistently with a gradient of 7%, it's definitely enough to favour any kind of action. What makes it much more interesting, however, is that there is no descent. From the top, every rider will face 14.8 km of rolling false flats, where small groups and temporary alliances might win or lose minutes, a bit like what happens on the usual road to Aprica. Leaving aside the (non-existent) prestige of the last climb, this is a fitting final mountain stage.

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The Climbs:
Ca' del Poggio GPM4
Just a steep wall. Too isolated to matter much.
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Monte Grappa GPM1
Raced only 5 times in the Giro, this classic climb has been ridden from 3 different sides. The first one, in 1968, was a MTF from the side of Romano d'Ezzelino, the road they'll be descending today. This side was also climbed in 1982, in a stage that finished in S.Martino di Castrozza. In 2010 and 2014 they climbed the side of Semonzo, which we won't see today at all, while the side they'll climb today was first raced only once, in 1974. It starts with a consistent section of 8.5 km at 7.8%, and then becomes very irregular, with false flat sections and steep ramps.
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Foza GPM1
Never used before in the Giro. Very regular and consistent.
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What to expect:
As I said, a stage where one has to attack from far out to gain any time. And that means, either attack on the Grappa and use your teammates in the breakaway to stay away on the flat, a bit like what happened last year on the way to Risoul, or completely shatter the field on the last climb and stay away, counting on the fact that everybody should pretty much be by themselves. Who wears pink at the end of this stage won't have it in the bag yet, though...

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Story Time:
June 7th, 1974. It's the last mountain stage of one of the best Giros ever. 194 km from Misurina to Bassano del Grappa. 4 passes: Falzarego, Valles, Rolle and this one, the Monte Grappa. One man broke away, he is alone in front of everybody: José Manuel Fuente Lavendera, one of the greatest climbers of all time. His Giro has been a roller-coaster. He started in a great shape: he won in Sorrento, dropping everybody on the Monte Faito and getting the pink jersey. Then, he proceeded to win again in Carpegna and Il Ciocco, and even pulled out the ITT of his life, only losing 2' to his main rival, Eddy Merckx. Unfortunately for him, he blew up in a medium mountain stage towards Sanremo, losing over 10' and of course the jersey. But he didn't give up. While Merckx was worried about his two GC rivals, Felice Gimondi and the young Giambattista Baronchelli, Fuente attacked every time the road went up, and won solo on Monte Generoso and on the day before, on Le Tre Cime di Lavaredo, when Merckx looked on the brink of collapse and got dropped by Baronchelli, saving the pink jersey by only 12''. Gimondi lingers in third position at only 33'', and Fuente is fifth, at just over 3 minutes. At 5 km to the top of Grappa, the situation looks lost for Merckx. Fuente is up the road, with a reported advantage of 3'30''! Additionally, Baronchelli and Gimondi are on his wheel, and he's forced to pull by himself. It's raining and there's a heavy fog everywhere. But at the top of the climb Merckx can't believe what he sees: Fuente is there, he just got over the top with 5'' advantage. Nobody really knows what happened. Fuente will claim that the motorbikes made him take a longer route (there are lots of secondary roads near the top, so it's possible). Merckx will manage to prevent anybody from escaping during the descent, and to win in Bassano, securing the Giro. Fuente will never win the Giro, but with this edition will win the first green (sigh) jersey, created that very year to indicate the leader of the GPM competition.
To this day, RCS celebrates this stage constantly by trolling hard with their GPS gaps.

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May 29, 2015
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Really weird why they even include the last flat part in the stage instead of just ending at the top of the climb.

Nibali to go bananas on the descent from Grappa.
 
Quintana didn't attack today and he didn't have to but surely he is going to try something on Foza because it is the last climb of the Giro. He will need a minute on Dumoulin and 30s on Nibali to be safe and this is the last place to do it.
 
This should be a very nice stage. The 5th act of the most brutal five act play we've seen in a GT for a long, long time. Everyone looks on the limit; contenders and domestiques alike. The question is how many riders will be brave enough to risk a complete collapse, in order to go for the win?
 
Re:

roundabout said:
At 3 minutes back and with 4 minutes to Yates TGBM will ride himself to immortality ;)
I think Mollema is in an interesting position. He is only 7th but extremely close to a podium, so it would be absolutely stupid to not try something especially because there is a big gap behind him. I would almost be disappointed if he doesn't attack on the Grappa.
 
Re: Re:

Gigs_98 said:
roundabout said:
At 3 minutes back and with 4 minutes to Yates TGBM will ride himself to immortality ;)
I think Mollema is in an interesting position. He is only 7th but extremely close to a podium, so it would be absolutely stupid to not try something especially because there is a big gap behind him. I would almost be disappointed if he doesn't attack on the Grappa.
But then Mollema tends to collapse in the final week.

I think this is all about Foza. The gaps are so small, nobody needs to do a crazy attack on Grappa. Except maybe Nibali on the descent.
 
Surely they will floor it. Everyone must think they are in with a chance and everyone needs time. It's not been the most exciting race in terms of action but this is so delicately poised that at the very least this will be supremely intrigueing
 
Re: Re:

Gigs_98 said:
I think Mollema is in an interesting position. He is only 7th but extremely close to a podium, so it would be absolutely stupid to not try something especially because there is a big gap behind him. I would almost be disappointed if he doesn't attack on the Grappa.
Mollema riding in front? He found himself in front momentarily yesterday, then seemed to get shocked not seeing someone's wheel ahead, and quickly got back in line.
 
Aug 31, 2012
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In addition to the actual standings, it is useful to keep a few counterfactual what if scenarios in mind as we head into the last mountainous stage

1. If Thomas and Landa hadn't been eliminated
2. If Poopgate hadn't happened
3. If Fake Pissgate hadn't happened
4. If Quintana hadn't crashed/was in better form
5. If Contador had decided to target the Giro
 
Re:

SeriousSam said:
In addition to the actual standings, it is useful to keep a few counterfactual what if scenarios in mind as we head into the last mountainous stage

1. If Thomas and Landa hadn't been eliminated
2. If Poopgate hadn't happened
3. If Fake Pissgate hadn't happened
4. If Quintana hadn't crashed/was in better form
5. If Contador had decided to target the Giro

You forgot to also put:

6. If Kelderman hadn't been taken out by the crash
7. If Yates hadn't crashed
 
Re:

SeriousSam said:
In addition to the actual standings, it is useful to keep a few counterfactual what if scenarios in mind as we head into the last mountainous stage

1. If Thomas and Landa hadn't been eliminated
2. If Poopgate hadn't happened
3. If Fake Pissgate hadn't happened
4. If Quintana hadn't crashed/was in better form
5. If Contador had decided to target the Giro

6. If Valverde was there instead of Quintana.
7. If Bardet was there.
8. If Froome was there.
9. If Chaves was there (particularly this one).
 
Jul 12, 2013
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Now that I see it closely, they are not even using the technical descent route from monte Grappa to Bassano del Grappa.
Nibali will give it a try nevertheless, but he won't distance even Pinot IMO.
The Foza instead, looks one hell of a climb.....to be used as a descent :p
 
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Re:

Ataraxus said:
Now that I see it closely, they are not even using the technical descent route from monte Grappa to Bassano del Grappa.
Nibali will give it a try nevertheless, but he won't distance Pinot IMO.
The Foza instead, looks one hell of a climb.....to be used as a descent :p

Well Pinot is not the one he should care about distancing. As long as he doesn't lose time to Pinot, he should be fine.
 
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Re: Re:

Andro said:
Ataraxus said:
Now that I see it closely, they are not even using the technical descent route from monte Grappa to Bassano del Grappa.
Nibali will give it a try nevertheless, but he won't distance Pinot IMO.
The Foza instead, looks one hell of a climb.....to be used as a descent :p

Well Pinot is not the one he should care about distancing. As long as he doesn't lose time to Pinot, he should be fine.

My point is. If he can't distance Pinot on the descent, he won't be able to distance the likes of Quintana and Dumoulin prodived that they are together at the top of Grappa.
 
Re: Re:

Ataraxus said:
Andro said:
Ataraxus said:
Now that I see it closely, they are not even using the technical descent route from monte Grappa to Bassano del Grappa.
Nibali will give it a try nevertheless, but he won't distance Pinot IMO.
The Foza instead, looks one hell of a climb.....to be used as a descent :p

Well Pinot is not the one he should care about distancing. As long as he doesn't lose time to Pinot, he should be fine.

My point is. If he can't distance Pinot on the descent, he won't be able to distance the likes of Quintana and Dumoulin prodived that they are together at the top of Grappa.
Nibali distanced Evans, Scarponi and Basso on the same descent last year.
 
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Re: Re:

Forever The Best said:
Ataraxus said:
Andro said:
Ataraxus said:
Now that I see it closely, they are not even using the technical descent route from monte Grappa to Bassano del Grappa.
Nibali will give it a try nevertheless, but he won't distance Pinot IMO.
The Foza instead, looks one hell of a climb.....to be used as a descent :p

Well Pinot is not the one he should care about distancing. As long as he doesn't lose time to Pinot, he should be fine.

My point is. If he can't distance Pinot on the descent, he won't be able to distance the likes of Quintana and Dumoulin prodived that they are together at the top of Grappa.
Nibali distanced Evans, Scarponi and Basso on the same descent last year.

Different race and weather conditions back then (in 2010).
-Rainy descent,
-Evans wasn't racing Nibali and didn't want to take risks
-When Evans caught Basso in the descent (he was gapped at the top for 50 meters) Nibali was already gone.
-Nibali was more ballsy back then.