In my view, part of the answer is:The thing I'm now wondering, the more I think about it, is we keep talking about how super-strong Jumbo is, and how nobody can attack and how pointless trying to ride against them other than the last 700m is... but do we actually know precisely how strong they are? Nobody has tested them with attacks to find out how strong Dumoulin or Kuss really are, and so far they haven't really put down a tempo to absolutely shred everybody like Sky typically would, because we've still been riding to the last 500m with a dozen riders or more in the group, and on more than one occasion the GC battle has climbed the battlegrounds slower than the breakaway.
So the question is, why is that? After all, we've seen on stage 8 that actually Jumbo weren't all that strong, after a hard day in the saddle on stage 7 and with Kuss still recovering from a crash. Now they're apparently recovered enough to control everything, but they're still not able to go hard enough to drop a couple of helpers like Bilbao and Valverde - is that because the Jumbo helpers aren't that strong? Or is it because Roglič himself isn't as strong as he was earlier in the race, but the illusion of strength that having his men ride the tempo (especially on Grand-Colombier with Kuss not even used) produces means that everybody's just fallen into line? Is this a pure Giro 2012 situation, with an ageing Szmyd setting a false tempo for an undercooked Basso, and his reputation as an elite climbing helper causing everybody to overestimate how hard he was working?
- Roglic, Landa, MAL and Yates are overestimating their potential performance on Saturday's TT
- Roglic is by no means 100% safe if Pogacar is 10-20" behind him on Saturday (nerves, a puncture, third week, who knows what), but it may be altogether too late to try and gain time on Pog, whilst Pog can put 20-30" on Rog tomorrow with a late attack (I guess that's UAE's Plan A)
- Landa, MAL and Adam: Saturday's TT is 30km flat and a MTF. That's probably in the 60 minute effort range. Is that really a reasonable "grab a podium spot" scenario against Porte / Urán? Not clearly, unless I'm missing something or they go all out tomorrow and Thursday (surely hope so)
- Pog prefers to take his chances with a late attack tomorrow and be "in range" for Saturday instead of potentially taking yellow and opening himself to attacks on Thursday with virtually no team to control attacks. Or perhaps he's just 21 and a 2º spot in a TDF (however lame the race has been so far) is too good to risk
- Porte and Urán think their best chance is to follow wheels and fight it out for third on Saturday (they're probably right). Maybe Richie tries a 500m attack tomorrow
- Enric Mas and Movistar are in the moon with a top-10 spot
- Nairo just has no legs