Category Archives: Italy

Wines and other drinks of Giro d’Italia 2018: Stage 21: The finale in Rome

When Simon Yates was out of the competition for the GC, Mikel Nieve took the opportunity and got a stage wine on his 34 years birthday. A rider can probably not get a better birthday present. But even if Simon Yates did not last to the finish, the team got five stage wins and a number of days in the pink jersey (I have not counted). This is not a bad outcome for Mitchelton-Scott.

Yesterday it was Thibaut Pinot who got “the hammer”. It was painful to see how he suffered in the climbs. He eventually finished in the grupetto, with the looser from the day before, Simon Yates, 45 min and 32 seconds behind Mikael Nieve. For them it is only a question of hanging on to the finish line in Rome.

Chris Froome was able to maintain his lead. Tom Dumoulin tried and did what he could. But he did not have what was needed to beat Chris Froome yesterday.

Today it is a stage of honour, or stage of charm if I translate directly from the expression in Norwegian. I do not know the  Engilsh expression for this, if it is one. It is not the same tradition in Giro d’Italia as in Tour de France. It has often been an individual time trial as the final stage, that has often been decisive. This year it is a round of 11,5 km in Rome, that they shall cycle ten times. Independent of any tradition, this is a flat stage. I breakaway will not be allowed to go. The GC is settled, it is only a question of which sprinter will win the stage.

Continue reading Wines and other drinks of Giro d’Italia 2018: Stage 21: The finale in Rome

Wines and other drinks of Giro d’Italia 2018: Stage 20: Susa — Cervinia

It was an impressive stage by Chris Froome. 80 km solo! For Simon Yates, it was really a black Friday. After loosing 38 min and 51 sec yesterday, it is game over for him, at least for this year’s Giro. It was sad to see. It is always nice to see a new star rising, and brutal when it ends like this. But he is still young. We will probably see more from him in the future.

Today the GC will be decided, given than none of the GC-contenders have serious accidents on the final stage in Rome. The first 130 km are farily flat, before the get three category one cimbs. The interesting question for today is: Wo will pay the highest price for yesterday’s very hard stage? Chris Froome faded afterZoncolan, and it remains to be seen how he will do today. Tom Dumoulin took 49 seconds on Chris Froome on the stage after Zoncolan, so Froome’s 40 seconds lead is far from safe. But today, the other GC-contenders and their teams will have to attack.

Yesterday, Chris Froome was ridig solo for a very long time. But he took time on his competitors up, down and in between. I do not know if his team could not follow any longer, or if it was tactics to have a fresh and strong team today. I am not pretending to be an expert on cycling tactics. But today’s stage has a profile that can invite to the tactics we often could see from Lance Armsrong’s teams: Use the team to set high speed into the climbs, trying to get the other teams exhausted. Then the strongest domestics will follow as long as they can in the climbs. It will be an exciting stage.

Continue reading Wines and other drinks of Giro d’Italia 2018: Stage 20: Susa — Cervinia

Wines and other drinks of Giro d’Italia 2018: Stage 19: Venaria Reale — Bardonecchia

Finally it was a breakaway that got in. But what happened between the GC-contenders was more interesting. Simon Yates showed signs of weakness and lost time. And Chris Froome is at least competing for a place on the podium. The race is far from over yet. Today is another mountain stage with a summit finish. This it this year’s Cima Coppa stage, the stage with the highest mountain pass: olla delle Finestre at 2178 meter. It will be an exiting stage.

 

I include the profile of today’s stage, to give an impression of what the riders will be into. Continue reading Wines and other drinks of Giro d’Italia 2018: Stage 19: Venaria Reale — Bardonecchia

Wines and other drinks of Giro d’Italia 2018: Stage 18. Abbiategrasso — Prato Nevoso

Now we will have three days with mountains, before the sprinters will get their last chance to shine on the final stage in Rome. The first 160 km of today’s stage are relatively flat, and then it starts to ascend. The final 15 km is a climb at around 7%. Here we can expect attacks from those with GC-ambtitions.

The stage starts in Lombardy, in or just outside Milan. When we are in this region, I use to write about franciacorta. But we had franciacorta yesterday, and hopefully you have kept one bottle for the final stage in Rome.

Continue reading Wines and other drinks of Giro d’Italia 2018: Stage 18. Abbiategrasso — Prato Nevoso

Wines and other drinks of Giro d’Italia 2018: Stage 17. Riva del Garda — Iseo (Franciacorta stage)

I was traveling most of the day yesterday, and arrived home late. Even later than planned, due to air traffic contol strike in France. And when you have been away for sometime, there are alwas things that need to be taken care of before we can do the more fun stuff, like cycling and wine. So I am a bit behid.

The time trial Tuesday did not shake up the standings, and today was a sprit stage, as expected. 78 riders got the same time.

Continue reading Wines and other drinks of Giro d’Italia 2018: Stage 17. Riva del Garda — Iseo (Franciacorta stage)

Wines and other drinks of Giro d’Italia 2018: Stage 16. Trento — Rovereto (Individual time trial)

Saturday, it looked as if Chris Froom had cycled himself in form, and could still be a cotender to win Giro d’Italia. Sunday we saw another Chris Froom. He did not follow Simon Yates in his brave attacks But it was more serious and a clear sign of weakness that he was dropped by the second chasing group, in which he was riding for a while. Now the time gap is starting to get too big. The stage was a demontration of power from Simon Yates.

The grand tours are won (or lost) in the mountains and the time trials. The sprinters may win stages, but they will never gain enough time to win the race. Sometimes, when the positions in the race are more or less settled, they will let a breakaway go in, as long as there are no riders who are any threats to those who are fighting for overall position, be it in the GC, point, youth or KOM, in the breakaway. The teams will not use energy to chase these breakaways, and will let one of the domestics shine and win a stage. But they should have learned not to give them a too long lead, as they did on stage 13 in Tour de France 2006. The breakaway got a lead of almost 30 minutes on the peloton. The stage was won by Jens Voigt, with Óscar Pereiro Sío second. Óscar Pereiro Sío got the yellow jersey. When Floyd Landis tested positive on doping and was disqualfied, none of the other riders manages to take back the lead from Óscar Pereiro Sío, and he won the tour this year.

Those who are competing for the GC, or the best young rider, will go all in on a time trial, to win or at least not to loose time. Then there are som TT-specialists, who are competing for a stage win. But the sprinters and all the domestics have nothing to fight for in an individual time trial. There are no points to be won for the sprinters, and the domestics cannot help their captains. Their job is to save as much energi they can for the stages to come, and finish within the time limit. Jens Voigt once called these individual tme trials well into a grand tour as a “semi restday”.

Todays tme trial is 34,2 km and flat. Both Simon Yaes and Tom Dumoulin are good time trialer (I am not so sure about Simon Yates, but he dd well in the prolog). A Chris Froom at his best coul probably not win enough time on a stage like this, to catch up with the leaders.

It is the first day after a rest day, after two weeks of cycling The riders react differently to this. Some are recharged and fit for fight, others may need a day or to to get back into the race.

Continue reading Wines and other drinks of Giro d’Italia 2018: Stage 16. Trento — Rovereto (Individual time trial)

Wines and other drinks of Giro d’Italia 2018: Stage 15. Tolmezzo — Sappada

It was interesting to see Chris Froome in a situation where he had to attack, and could not wait for and defend off attacks from other riders. We cannot write him off yet. But he did only gain 10 seconds (6 + net 4 bonus seconds) on Simon Yates. And as the French TV-comentatiors said: Double Britsh the day of the Pince-wedding in London. Chris Froome is still 3.10 behind Simon Yates, but he advanced from 12th to 5th in the GC, and took time on all the other competitors. Simon Yates gained time on all tha riders, but Chris Froome.

It is not often we see a rider as exhausted as Thibaud Pinot was when he finished yesterday, and it will be interesting to see how he has recovered before today’s stage.

The French TV-commentators said that the organisers had decided the riders should not be allowed to change bikes before Mont Zoncolan, and discussed what would happen if a rider got mechanical problems. I did not get all the details, but it did not seem to be a problem.

Today is another mountain stage with a summit finish. It is not by far as hard as Mont Zoncolan. But it can still be an exciting stage.

Continue reading Wines and other drinks of Giro d’Italia 2018: Stage 15. Tolmezzo — Sappada

Wines and other drinks of Giro d’Italia 2018: Stage 14. San Vito al Tagliamento — Monte Zoncolan

Now it is getting serious. Three category 3, and one category 2 climbs are just a warm up before the finish up Monte Zoncolan. Monte Zoncolan is one of the hardest climbs in Europe, 10 km with an average gradient of 12%, with gradients up to 22%. Here much time can be gained or lost. Those who are lagging behind in the GC, like Chris Froome, must start to attack, if they are able to do so.

When we are approaching the mountains, the Giro starts to become more exciting from a sporting prespective, but it gets harder to find interesting wines to drink. But still we are in the beginning of the mountain stages, so here we will find something.

Continue reading Wines and other drinks of Giro d’Italia 2018: Stage 14. San Vito al Tagliamento — Monte Zoncolan

Wines and other drinks of Giro d’Italia 2018: Stage 13. Ferrara — Nervesa della Battaglia

Another flat stage. There is a category 4 climb 20 km before the finish, but it will not cause any problems. This will also be a stage for the sprinters. But tomorrow, there are really hard mountains. Today may be the day some sprinters and other rinders will feel some old injuries, or maybye they are beginning to get a cold? Or another excuse to leave the Giro before the really hard moutains the last week.

We start inn Ferrara, which is said to be the first planned city.

Ercole I d’Estewas count of Ferrara from 1471 to 1505. In 1484, he asked tha architect  Biagio Rossetti to make a materplan or the expansion of the city. Ferara is an almost intact mediavl and rennaisance city, listed on UNESCO’s World Heritage list. Continue reading Wines and other drinks of Giro d’Italia 2018: Stage 13. Ferrara — Nervesa della Battaglia