In the end this is still a rather tough mountain stage. Sestrière isn't very steep, but doing it three times gives enough opportunity to take half a minute back. Of course Kelderman has a much better chance now than with the original profile. Hart can win the Giro if he takes half a minute on Kelderman. Hindley can win if he takes at least half a minute on Hart. Sunweb still risks finishing second and third in this Giro. That would lead to endless discussions about their tactics.
I mean this stage could have hurt after Stelvio and 250km flat stage but now it’s a joke. Honestly here in Australia we have had teams in our sports now on their 20th week in bubbles away from families and these weak fucks
Whinge about a flat stage
I really really hope it plays out with TBH distancing Kelderman, Hindley is allowed to shadow him, both gain over a minute on him and Hindley is let free to duke it out with TBH for the stage win and possibly the GC...
As of right now, the success of this Giro for me is measured by whether Kelderman wins or not... Sorry, but I can’t have such an undeserving winner in the Giro trophy... Hope the top podium is TBH, Hindley and Bilbao... I don’t care in what order
Australians have had it in for the Giro ever since the English media raked Cipollini over the coals for abandoning the TDF every year for "disrespecting the race" but curiously said nothing about McEwan always abandoning the Giro because he was explicitly using it to practice for the Tour, which, really, "I'm only using your grand tour to practice for the more important grand tour" seemed more disrespectful.
I actually am kind of excited because stages where the selection has to come from attacks rather than a high pace on a selective climb can be interesting in itself, the GC position and riders' TT chops potentially make the tactical situation interesting and just because funny things can happen in stage 20 of a GT.
Feel free to quote this when the group finishes within 20 seconds.
I didn't get all of the interview from that Italian race director today because I admittedly don't speak a word of Italian, but I'm good with body language and I know when someone has revenge on their mind.
The thing that's funny is that we already cancelled va 260km flat race which is much harder than this one, much more dangerous and much less rider-friendly. And that if the weather was bad that day, everybody would have celebrated.
I know these roads very well. If I was TGH, I would send Ganna, Catroviejo and Dennis in the breakaway.
Then, if you look closely at the profile, right after Fenestrelle there is the steepest segment of the entire stage, about 1 km around 9-10%.
I would send those 3 teammates ahead, then 2 of them should wait for TGH after that steep segment of Fenestrelle. TGH should go full gas in that short segment, just as if it was the stage finish. The goal is to gain even just 50-100 m on Kelderman and drop other Sunweb's riders (except Hindlay probably).
Right after that steep part, there is a long false flat that leads to Pragelato...so if Kelderman is alone and TGH has, for example, Ganna and Castroviejo going full gas he can open up a huge gap. In the meantime, Dennis goes on and waits for TGH at the top of Sestriere, so he can help TGH in the false flat between Cesana and Sauze di Cesana....finally TGH has to go full gas for the last 2 climbs up to Sestriere.
I think it will be a good stage. I can totally see Tao already attacking on the penultimate climb knowing that expecting to gain close to a minute on one Sestriere ascent is gonna be very, very difficult to pull off. Aside from that I'm hoping for an attack by Nibali to leave the giro with his head held high.
They'll try, yes. But Sunweb have a decent squad. Their train dropped everyone bar TGH on Piancavallo. Before Hindley even went to the front, the group was down to 7. They had Oomen doing a turn on Stelvio before Dennis went to the front, but I suspect he'll be kept for later/in reserve on Sestrieres; the onus is more on Ineos to make the pace here, rather than Sunweb, so Sunweb will avoid burning off Oomen/Hamilton until Ineos have gone through some more of their doms.
I'm not so sure they do know that, or at least, if they know it they don't know it for sure. The "best climbing team" in this Giro has changed a bit as the race has gone; EF were strong in week 1, but they decided not to bother with GC. Bora and Astana pretended to be for a little bit, until it was clear their leaders weren't up to much. Quickstep got the most riders over the last climb into Monselice, Sunweb destroyed everyone at Piancavallo, and finally Rohan Dennis pulled off his biggest display of teamwork since stage 1 of the 2017 Vuelta.
I think tomorrow comes down to if Kelderman has the legs to stay in touch. If he does, then Sunweb having 2 cards to play gives them the strongest position. If Ineos can drop Kelderman before Tao has to go to the front, then Tao has an advantage, but he might have to work to put time into Kelderman, in which case Hindley will be able to just sit on and attack at the time that best suits him.