Velominati Super Prestige: Giro d’Italia 2017

I spy with my little eye a certain Michele Scarponi, who sadly lost his life while out training near his home two weeks ago, in there amongst his teammates after his captain, Nibbles, won the race. I’m torn about a death like Michele’s – we subject ourselves to similar risks every time we climb aboard our bikes and we accept it as part and parcel of our craft. Yet, while every day members of our tribe lose their lives to their trade, it takes a high profile rider to remind us how real that risk is.

But onto lighter topics, Nibali won the Giro last year going downhill, and it happened on the one stage I managed to sleep through which is another way of saying I missed it. But I love waking up to a that WTF feeling only a reshuffled GS can give you.

The race starts Friday morning, which is sooner than I expected, so I’ll stop typing so you can start picking. Get them in by the time the clock goes to zero, and remember that our Grand Tour scoring rules are a little different than the smaller events. So jump on that start list and get prognosticating!

Good luck!

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410 Replies to “Velominati Super Prestige: Giro d’Italia 2017”

  1. @wiscot

    @MangoDave

    @wiscot

    @Rick

    @wiscot

    I agree 100% on the TTs. I would love to see a July 2018 showdown among, Froome, Porte, and Tom D.

    A nice little 25-30 km TT in the first and third weeks, and a 60 kms in the middle week. That would really force the hand of the racers, particularly the climbers, as they’d need to factor in time gained/lost in the TTs and apply that to the mountains. It would make for a better, more even race.This year the Tour has two TTs – a 13km prologue and a 23 km TT the second to last day. Not. Remotely. Enough.

    Interesting. I seem to recall, though, that people whined (not here, just in general) that too many TT’s made for a boring race. The strong big riders would dominate the time trials, then just hang on for all of the other stages and nothing much else would happen.

    But that’s where a well-balanced route comes in. The TT create gaps that maybe give big lads like Dumoulin an advantage over the climbers, who then have to attack in the mountains to shake off said big lads. Dumoulin struggled mightily the last few days in the Giro but came through. In another scenario he might not have held on. Imagine if there had been one more mountain stage after the last TT in the Giro? What racing we would have seen. Currently, we get mountain stage after mountain stage, many of which get a bit boring as the big names mark each other out of the game – Mt Etna stage this year being a great example. Look at the racing on Saturday’s Giro stage. That was incredible as the parcours had been made so that the perfect scenario emerged – the top 5 basically being up for grabs.

    It also puts more emphasis on the rider AND the team.

    A certain race in July has deemphasized ITTs for the last several years. The races have been relatively boring for the reason listed above-the climbers simply mark each other. I wish we would see a return of the penultimate day ITT in Le Tour. Or at least one in the last week before a mountain finish on the Saturday before Paris.

    The Saturday mountain stage prior to the finale on Sunday was riveting. That is the kind of excitement I like in Grand Tours.

  2. @Rick

    @wiscot

    @MangoDave

    @wiscot

    @Rick

    @wiscot

    I agree 100% on the TTs. I would love to see a July 2018 showdown among, Froome, Porte, and Tom D.

    A nice little 25-30 km TT in the first and third weeks, and a 60 kms in the middle week. That would really force the hand of the racers, particularly the climbers, as they’d need to factor in time gained/lost in the TTs and apply that to the mountains. It would make for a better, more even race.This year the Tour has two TTs – a 13km prologue and a 23 km TT the second to last day. Not. Remotely. Enough.

    Interesting. I seem to recall, though, that people whined (not here, just in general) that too many TT’s made for a boring race. The strong big riders would dominate the time trials, then just hang on for all of the other stages and nothing much else would happen.

    But that’s where a well-balanced route comes in. The TT create gaps that maybe give big lads like Dumoulin an advantage over the climbers, who then have to attack in the mountains to shake off said big lads. Dumoulin struggled mightily the last few days in the Giro but came through. In another scenario he might not have held on. Imagine if there had been one more mountain stage after the last TT in the Giro? What racing we would have seen. Currently, we get mountain stage after mountain stage, many of which get a bit boring as the big names mark each other out of the game – Mt Etna stage this year being a great example. Look at the racing on Saturday’s Giro stage. That was incredible as the parcours had been made so that the perfect scenario emerged – the top 5 basically being up for grabs.

    It also puts more emphasis on the rider AND the team.

    A certain race in July has deemphasized ITTs for the last several years. The races have been relatively boring for the reason listed above-the climbers simply mark each other. I wish we would see a return of the penultimate day ITT in Le Tour. Or at least one in the last week before a mountain finish on the Saturday before Paris.

    The Saturday mountain stage prior to the finale on Sunday was riveting. That is the kind of excitement I like in Grand Tours.

    Yup, hopefully Proudhomme is watching what the RCS and the Giro are doing. I mean, I know the Tour is THE Tour, but dammit, the Giro is just more exciting! Ooohhh . . . lots of mountains! That’ll be great . . . yeah, when all the faves watch each other like hawks waiting for someone to attack. That why I like Dumoulin – many would have said “he’s too big to win a GT.” Well, he did. And I think Geraint Thomas should stop wasting his prime years in the service of Froome. You can’t tell me there isn’t a team that would built itself around GT for whatever grand tour he wanted to go for. Once Bertie retires, Trek should sign Geraint.

  3. Agree with the praise above for more and well placed TTs in grand tours. It was odd to read so much hate for the course of this year’s Giro – not here, but there was a lot of it around in the usual haunts. I thought it was great. The Sardinia and Sicily stages made for some odd tranfers (and subsequent stages), but it felt like a proper tour of the country, fitting for the 100th.

    The TTs balanced out the medium and big mountain stages well. The 3rd week was even more brutal than usual, and if anything I think that, had some of those 3rd week stages been shorter than they were, we might have seen more attacking in the mountains.

    @wiscot, apparently Landa will ride the TDF this year. Froome, Thomas, and Landa – there’s some excess GC power right there. If we see courses more like this Giro over the next few years, and if he continues to focus on grand tours, I’m sure Geraint is capable of competing with anyone for the podium. Time’s not on his side, though. Fingers crossed for such  courses.

  4. @wiscot

    There’s one reason that they WONT do that for the Tour- Froome.

    He’s so strong in the TT and the mountains that adding any more stages against the clock would make it impossible for anyone to beat him. What do you think would have been the outcome if Froome had been riding against Dumoulin et al in this year’s Giro? He’d have been close to Tom D in the TT and blown him away in the mountains.

    Of course, I’m sure it’d be a different story if Froome was French.

  5. @wiscot

    @KogaLover

    @Teocalli

    @RobSandy

    @Teocalli

    @Jansen

     

    As for Hendrik Gerardus Jozef “Joop” Zoetemelk, he won the Tour in 1980. He started, and more importantly, finished all 16 Tours he entered, winning 10 stages over those participations. He finished second six times. He won the Vuelta in 1979 and won three stages during his participations. Winning the Vuelta was arguably the greater of the two wins as he rode for a French team and that was never easy against the Spanish, and in 1980 he won the Tour after Hinault dropped out. To be fair, I don’t begrudge Joop his Tour win, but had Hinault been healthy, I doubt he would have been beaten that year.

    Both Jan and Joop were Wold RR champs too. The Dutch may not have a grand record in the GTs, but I doubt we’ve seen the last of Tom D on a GT podium. All we need is for ASO to get their shit together and put some more TTs into the Tour so it makes for a better race. Yeah, yeah, I know it doesn’t make for great TV, but the gaps created in a TT are what mandate spicy racing in the mountains.

    Couldn’t resist re-posting this little gem. Please take note here, ladies and gentlemen: Joop started in the TdF SIXTEEN times. And he finished SIXTEEN times. And he finished SECOND SIX times. I know a lot has been said and written about Joop being the ‘eternal second’ and that he lacked something in the areas of panache, killer instinct, whatever. Be that as it may, but to me, Joop Zoetemelk is one of the truly great cyclists. (And I happen to know, and have pointed out on this site a few years ago, that Bernard Hinault feels the same way…)

    Thanks for the refresher course, @wIscot! Time I started writing an “Awesome Dutch Guys”-piece on Joop, perhaps.

  6. @ErikdR

    @wiscot

    @KogaLover

    @Teocalli

    @RobSandy

    @Teocalli

    @Jansen

    As for Hendrik Gerardus Jozef “Joop” Zoetemelk, he won the Tour in 1980. He started, and more importantly, finished all 16 Tours he entered, winning 10 stages over those participations. He finished second six times. He won the Vuelta in 1979 and won three stages during his participations. Winning the Vuelta was arguably the greater of the two wins as he rode for a French team and that was never easy against the Spanish, and in 1980 he won the Tour after Hinault dropped out. To be fair, I don’t begrudge Joop his Tour win, but had Hinault been healthy, I doubt he would have been beaten that year.

    Both Jan and Joop were Wold RR champs too. The Dutch may not have a grand record in the GTs, but I doubt we’ve seen the last of Tom D on a GT podium. All we need is for ASO to get their shit together and put some more TTs into the Tour so it makes for a better race. Yeah, yeah, I know it doesn’t make for great TV, but the gaps created in a TT are what mandate spicy racing in the mountains.

    Couldn’t resist re-posting this little gem. Please take note here, ladies and gentlemen: Joop started in the TdF SIXTEEN times. And he finished SIXTEEN times. And he finished SECOND SIX times. I know a lot has been said and written about Joop being the ‘eternal second’ and that he lacked something in the areas of panache, killer instinct, whatever. Be that as it may, but to me, Joop Zoetemelk is one of the truly great cyclists. (And I happen to know, and have pointed out on this site a few years ago, that Bernard Hinault feels the same way…)

    Thanks for the refresher course, @wIscot! Time I started writing an “Awesome Dutch Guys”-piece on Joop, perhaps.

    Joop Z was an incredible rider. It was sheer bad luck that his career overlapped with two other cyclists: Eddy Merckx and Bernard Hinault. His fellow riders sure knew how good he was.

  7. @wiscot

    “Joop Z was an incredible rider. It was sheer bad luck that his career overlapped with two other cyclists: Eddy Merckx and Bernard Hinault. His fellow riders sure knew how good he was.”

    Couldn’t agree more – and yes; I’m pretty sure his peers all knew what he was capable of. As the French would put it: “Il etait un vrai”. The genuine article.

    Have a good weekend, all – and happy Whitsun.

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