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Stage 17 Chieti → Blockhaus

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Mar 10, 2009
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Escarabajo said:
I am also starting to think that the ITT actually was decisive because of what you said. He is using the same tactics that Indurain used to use.

He grew up in the Banesto nest from 99-03... He must have learned something there
 
53x11 in DC said:
Let's see, going through my Mellow post-stage checklist....

1. Comment on how boring the Giro is.... CHECK!
2. Not-so-obvious allusion to the drug-use of a GC contender.... CHECK!
3. Dig at Armstrong.... CHECK!

Inventory present and accounted for - ship it!!

If you can find a dig at Armstrong in that post, either I must be typing in invisible cyberspace ink, or you can read more between my lines, that I.

The only thing you and I agree on, is last year's A d'H stage.
Not that it matters much.
 
Mellow Velo said:
If you can find a dig at Armstrong in that post, either I must be typing in invisible cyberspace ink, or you can read more between my lines, that I.

The only thing you and I agree on, is last year's A d'H stage.
Not that it matters much.

From your earlier post...

"Harmon: Armstrong looks like he's been put through a mangle!"


You revel in his trials and tribulations, MV. To say anything else is disingenuous. Oh, and you're right - our ability to agree is 100% immaterial to me.
 
BroDeal said:
Yeah, but his lead was small enough that Di Luca could have ended up the victor in Rome. Maybe he still can if all the planets were to align.

I have found the attacks from Basso, Sastre, Pellizotti, and such entertaining. Plus I like mountain scenery.

Indeed. I was surprised by Pellizotti today. His was a really smashing move, 14k alone. Armstrong couldn't make up any gound though tried desperately, then was caught by DiLuca, Menchov, Basso and Garzelli and subsequently got dropped by them.

I was also surprised by Ivan and Garzelli. The former must be feeling the stress of his comeback and the fatigue of having been full on practically since the Japan Cup at the end of last season. Or else his blood values are just normal. The latter becuase of his superlative tencity. The guy dies 10 times and keeps fighting till the end.

DiLuca surprised me too. I just don't believe him though.

Menchov needs to be very concetrated now on Vesuvio, while Sastre evidently paid for his efforts the other day. Whereas I don't buy that the short distance made him crack as some RAI commentators have suggested.

On a personal not, the stage was particularly emotional for me. A few years ago I road a similar race, only it was 186k not 83k, which finished on Blockhaus. A certain Danilo DiLuca from the Saeco team won. Today I watched the climb on TV, while drinking a strong ale. Now that's nostalgia...
 
rhubroma said:
On a personal not, the stage was particularly emotional for me. A few years ago I road a similar race, only it was 186k not 83k, which finished on Blockhaus. A certain Danilo DiLuca from the Saeco team won. Today I watched the climb on TV, while drinking a strong ale. Now that's nostalgia...

Now THAT'S cool!
 
Escarabajo said:
Is Pellizotti back on Contention?

- Has a good size to defend himself in the time trial,
- Relatively younger than the others
- Good Climber
- He is an italian riding in the Giro.

Maybe some italians in this Forum know more about him than I do.

Thanks.

I just know him as the Jeff Spicoli of the cyling world. This was much more obvious before helmets were required. :)

He has gotten better every year for a couple of years now. Before that he seemed to hang in that second tier group of almost contenders.
 
Escarabajo said:
Is Pellizotti back on Contention?

- Has a good size to defend himself in the time trial,
- Relatively younger than the others
- Good Climber
- He is an italian riding in the Giro.

Maybe some italians in this Forum know more about him than I do.

Thanks.
Ok I raced with a guy who raced on the same amatuer team as Pellizzoti at the BabyGiro in the 90's. So we're talking about the age of 20-21. The cyclist I know didn't think highly of Pellizzoti's credentials and though on a personal note that he was pretty unsupportable.

Evidently Pellizzoti just needed time to mature. On the personal note, probably my source was just jealous.
 
Apr 28, 2009
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Escarabajo said:
Is Pellizotti back on Contention?

- Has a good size to defend himself in the time trial,
- Relatively younger than the others
- Good Climber
- He is an italian riding in the Giro.

Maybe some italians in this Forum know more about him than I do.

Thanks.
Pellizotti is actually 10 days older than Menchov ;)
 
A

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Bala Verde said:
If Menchov's perceived sign of weakness is anything to go by, then I think Di Luca knows it, and he will try to crack him on the Vesuvius. Unfortunately Menchov seemed to mis shift before they sprint, and lost a valuable 5s exlc the bonus s. This gives Di Luca even more courage to keep on attacking. It might also have something to do with the temperature, because Menchov seems to do a lot better when its piping hot.

However, if Menchov did not show any signs of weakness, I am sure Di Luca will try to win the sprint at the end of Anagni to steal another 20s.

he absolutely HAS to crack him on Vesuvius. what else is left?
he'll get his bottom kicked in the time trial don't you think?
 
Today, we had one man attack first and stay away. We then had DDL making several hard attacks, but getting marked out by Menchov.
The groups formed, the tempo high, all the way to within 400 metres of the finish, when Menchov slipped back from Garzelli and DDL.
Basso and Garzelli on the elastic, true, but that's about it.

Alpe D'Huez iteslf. Sastre attacked early and stayed away. Several contenders, including Evans tried to attack the group hard, but were marked out by Schleck.
Evans dragged the group at his best pace, to be out sprinted at the line by most of the group.

Other than the fact that the TDF stage was long and today was very brief, there are too many similarities.
 
A

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Guest
Escarabajo said:
I am also starting to think that the ITT actually was decisive because of what you said. He is using the same tactics that Indurain used to use.

and that contador used last year.
coming out of the first time trial everyone that mattered was behind him. the non climbers fall out, he gives up all but 4 seconds along the way and then puts time into them on the final tt.
di luca lost 2 min 7 sec to menchov on the 28 k tt.
 
I think the performances today should not be overrated.
The stage was really a short one and there are riders who suit or don't suit these stages.
Sastres performance wasn't that much of a surprise I think, since he is a good who usually is at his best when the race is long and hard, or even harder. Just like the stage he won.
So I was really surprised to see his team work just before the peloton hit the climb.

My impression of Menchov and Basso for example was that they tend to like is long and hard as well. Maybe not as much as Sastre does.
So it could actually be possible that Mechov actually is really in brilliant shape and just because of that could stay with Di Luca all the time.
But I think it's also quiete possible that he just messed up the gear...
 
Apr 3, 2009
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kjetilraknerud said:
A crush? I don't think so. I just think he is an exciting prospect, it would be nice with a strong GC rider from Belgium.
Getting the young riders' jersey in both Paris-Nice and the Giro in the same season would be pretty terrific for him. It would of course put a lot of pressure on him in Belgium (Devolder, anyone?), but if he can gradually develop himself the next 2 years, I think he could really be a top 10 or KOM contender in the Tour. And If Jurgen Vandenbroeck can confirm his last years Giro achievement, things are finally looking good again for Belgium :)
 
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As for Sastre, if you look at every single one of his career's best performances (I'm not exaggerating, I mean literally every single one), they came in exceedingly long and hard stages with many kms and multiple climbs.
Stamina is his strong point.

Today was the exact opposite. No surprise he didn't do well.
 
Mar 10, 2009
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jackhammer111 said:
he absolutely HAS to crack him on Vesuvius. what else is left?
he'll get his bottom kicked in the time trial don't you think?

Di Luca could win the penultimate stage and collect valuable 20s. I don't know how much Di luca still has in the tank, because he has been attacking attacking and attacking from day one. At one point, you'd think he runs out of gas. Did he give it all today? Quite possibly, and he 'only gained' 13s. Can he do it again on the Vesuvius? I don't know, and I think that's the big question. On the other hand, he also failed to gain time on Pellizotti, so if he gave it all today, is he perhaps running out of energy?

The Vesuvius course entertains steeper grades near the end, which suit an explosive rider like di Luca, which, assuming he still hasn't given it all, has to drop Menchov there. If the weather is hot, I still doubt he can get rid of Menchov, because he really seems to be on form.

Again, if he gives it all again there, on the Vesuvius, does he have enough energy to attack/sprint for victory in the penultimate stage to Anagni?

About the final TT, don't forget that it's short, but rather technical as well, which could suit Di Luca a bit more 'agilitywise'. Taking insane risks steering into the corners, and using the explosivity he has to accelerate out of the corners. (Not that he is going to win, but he might limit his losses to under 20s).
 
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Official reaction from Menchov & RAB:

Menchov had a rough day in the saddle. [...] He still (celebrates)/cherishes the margin of 26s (as a victory), because on the way to Blockhaus, he soon sensed that it was not going to be a good day. "I did not digest the rest day well" he said. "I felt differently compared to all other stages. The transition to today's stage was difficult, and harsh. On top of that, it was a very short stage, so I could never really get into my rythm. Even on Blockhaus"

[...]

According to Breukink, Sasstre seemed to have suffered from the same problems, albeit a little worse.

[...]
The excitement increases day by day, and the tension is palpable in the Rabobank team. "It's good for the fans, but I'd love to have had a slightly bigger margin" Breuking admitted, who nonetheless remains confident. "I expect Menchov to regain his rythm. Nonetheless, it is a precarious situation, not only for us, but for all the contenders. Di Luca knows that the remaining TT is to the advantage of Menchov, in which case 26s is a rather big margin. On the other hand, there is still the Vesuvius, and saturday follows a finish that suits di Luca. All in all, there are still 40 bonification seconds to gain.

[...Breukink] "I am not afraid of that [thursday's] stage. The climb is not too difficult, so if they want to isolate Menchov, then it'll be difficult. Ten Dam, Ardila and Kozuntchuk are strong enough [to protect Menchov]. If di Luca wants to do something, he needs help from other teams. I think the rivalry has driven a wedge between the Italians to launch a joined attack. That's what we saw today when Garzelli outsprinted di Luca and took away thos valuable seconds."
 
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Bala Verde said:
Di Luca could win the penultimate stage and collect valuable 20s. I don't know how much Di luca still has in the tank, because he has been attacking attacking and attacking from day one. At one point, you'd think he runs out of gas. Did he give it all today? Quite possibly, and he 'only gained' 13s. Can he do it again on the Vesuvius? I don't know, and I think that's the big question. On the other hand, he also failed to gain time on Pellizotti, so if he gave it all today, is he perhaps running out of energy?

The Vesuvius course entertains steeper grades near the end, which suit an explosive rider like di Luca, which, assuming he still hasn't given it all, has to drop Menchov there. If the weather is hot, I still doubt he can get rid of Menchov, because he really seems to be on form.

Again, if he gives it all again there, on the Vesuvius, does he have enough energy to attack/sprint for victory in the penultimate stage to Anagni?

About the final TT, don't forget that it's short, but rather technical as well, which could suit Di Luca a bit more 'agilitywise'. Taking insane risks steering into the corners, and using the explosivity he has to accelerate out of the corners. (Not that he is going to win, but he might limit his losses to under 20s).

Remember that Di Luca's win on the penultimate stage depends on LPR's ability to chase down the day's main breakaway. There's no other team to help him do that after three weeks of hard racing on a stage whose finish suits Di Luca so well.

Even those 20 bonus seconds might no be enough since even if he also snatches the 20 seconds on Vesuvius he also needs to drop Menchov and make sure he doesn't get the 12 or 8 seconds on the line. If he wins on Vesuvius and Menchov finishes second right behind him he only gains 8 secs which coupled with a 20 second time bonus on the penultimate stage would still not be enough. But we'll see...
 
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RdBiker said:
Remember that Di Luca's win on the penultimate stage depends on LPR's ability to chase down the day's main breakaway. There's no other team to help him do that after three weeks of hard racing on a stage whose finish suits Di Luca so well.

Even those 20 bonus seconds might no be enough since even if he also snatches the 20 seconds on Vesuvius he also needs to drop Menchov and make sure he doesn't get the 12 or 8 seconds on the line. If he wins on Vesuvius and Menchov finishes second right behind him he only gains 8 secs which coupled with a 20 second time bonus on the penultimate stage would still not be enough. But we'll see...

Agreed, but, as Breukink also said. If Menchov gets a flat in the TT, which usually costs around 30s to change and get back into your rythm, it's still a very slim margin...

I have been thinking about the saturday stage and you are right in saying that it's difficult for LPR to control the race alone, especially when di Luca is a clear favourite of winning that stage. Nonetheless, an alliance could be forged between by Lotto (Gilbert) and LPR, or Lampre (Cunego), two teams who have been without a victory yet (assuming no one of them will be in the breakaway).

It sure is going to be exciting till the last second it seems.
 
Bala Verde said:
Menchov had a rough day in the saddle. [...] He still (celebrates)/cherishes the margin of 26s (as a victory), because on the way to Blockhaus, he soon sensed that it was not going to be a good day. "I did not digest the rest day well" he said. "I felt differently compared to all other stages. The transition to today's stage was difficult, and harsh. On top of that, it was a very short stage, so I could never really get into my rythm. Even on Blockhaus"

Menchov should not have mentioned this until after the race. He is inviting Di Luca and Liquigas to attack him and giving them hope they might succeed.
 
Apr 3, 2009
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BroDeal said:
He is inviting Di Luca and Liquigas to attack him and giving them hope they might succeed.
Maybe that's exactly what he wants them to do? Go all out in a final attack, lose lots of energy to gain little to no time (given Menchov isn't as weak and tired as he wants us to believe), thereby preventing any surprise performances in the final TT.
 
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Jasper said:
Maybe that's exactly what he wants them to do? Go all out in a final attack, lose lots of energy to gain little to no time (given Menchov isn't as weak and tired as he wants us to believe), thereby preventing any surprise performances in the final TT.

I agree, cycling is as much physical as mental. He could have said that just to provoke a reaction.

On the other hand, I think cyclists do have a better view of someone's condition throughout the race, and perhaps he knows that he showed some weakness, which would not have escaped di Luca. In that case, he can just admit something that the most important cyclists already know.

We'll see, because it wasn't that he dropped him on the climb. He still stuck to his wheel untill the last 200-450m.