They were celebrating in Equador yesterday, as they got their second stage win in Giro d’Italia. We who come from small countries know how it feels when som of “our’s” succed internationally. It was a bit of drama near the end, when Chris Froome crashed. But when crashing uphill, the speed is not very high. Although they go faster uphill in an ascent like yesterday, than most of us do when it is flat. It did not cause any important chages in the GC.
It is getting tougher. Today is another summit finish, this time with one first category climb right after the other, and the finish is at 2000 meter above sea level. We must hope that we will see attacs from someone who will cause the GC-contenders to respond.
As expected: It was a sprint finish. With 81 riders with the same time, there were noe important changes in the GC:
Today is another mountain top finish, but not as hard as the one on Etna.
We are now in Campagina. Campagnia means something lik field, land, farmland etc. It is a word we know from champ in Champs Ellysées, Champagne, Campaign, etc. Campaign is originally a military operation to sieze and occupy land, but we will leave the language there.
I was no unexpected with an exting finish yesterday, that caused some chnges in the GC-classification. Simon Ytes leads by 16 seconds on Tom Dumoulin.
Today it is flat. There is not a single categorised climb. This will be a stage for the sprinters, and it will not give changes among the GC-contenders, if they avoid accidents.
We are in Calabria, and the stage follows the ‘whrist’ of the Italian boot. If go some hundred years back in time, the wines from this region were popular. But as time went by, they could no longer compete with wines for Bordeaux and other parts of France, that were closer to the important markets in London and Amsterdam.
Yesterday’s stage did not give significant changes. But today there is a mountain top finish, which can give som time differences.
This is the third and last stage on SIcily. Today the stage goes up to the volcano Etna. Etna is an active volcano. The eruptions are quite frequent, but usually not very violent. In 2011 there was an eruption just a few days before a giro-stage up here. For some time they did not know if they could ride the stage, but at the day of the race, they could.
The GIro has come home to Italy, and here I join the race. We are on Sicily. So far, there are not large time gaps. Dennis Rohan leads by one second on last year’s winner, Tom Dumoulin. There are 11 riders within 30 seconds, and 47 within a minute. So far, it has not been a sucsess for Chris Froome, who is 19, 38 seconds after Dennis Rohan. But it is still a long way to go.
The finale of this year’s Giro is an idividual time trial. The stage starts at the Monza race course. When I was young, which is longer ago than I like to admit, I was very interested in motor sport. This interest has faded. But Monza is a classic. Years ago it had a normal race course and an oval with banked curves. The Oval is no longer in use. The speed was too high, even for Formula 1. Monza is a dagnerous course, and still the speed is high. During the history, 52 drivers and 35 spectators have been killed at Monza. It is a fast time trial today, but far from the speed of formula 1 motor racing.
The move “Grand Prix” from 1966 shows a full round at the old course, including the oval:
The fatal crash at the end of the movie, happened at the oval at Monza. Special effects in movies have improved since 1966.
Today it is cycling, not motor racing. The riders start with a full round at the race course (not the oval), before going into Milan. It is a fast stage, which goes more down than up. The big question is if Nairo Quintana has a sufficient lead over Tom Dumoulin before the time trial. But a time trial at the end of a three weeks grand tour is different from a time trial earlier in the race.
The time trial is a race for the riders with ambitions in the general classification, including the white jersey for the best young rider. As far as I can see, there are noe time trial specialiasts, the type of Tony Martin or Fabian Cancellara in the race, who will go for a stage win. For those without GC ambitions, the race is over. They have to comlete the time trial within the time limit.
We start our wine journey about 50 km to the east of Monza, near the town Brescìa.
Here we find a wine worthy of a grand tour final. Italy’s best sparkling wine: Franciacorta. The first sparkling wine was made in this area in 1961n by the wine maker Franco Ziliani at Guido Berlucchi. They had learned from champagne.
At last, sucess for Mikel Landa. Nairo Quintana took the pink jersey. He has a 38 seconds lead over Tom Dumoulin, 43 to Nibali and 53 to Pinot. This is probaly enough to beat Tom Dumoulin after the final time trial. Many experts have expressed opinions on how much lead Quintana will need. I do not know the riders well enough to have an opinion on that, but he will need somewere between 30 sec and 1min 30 sec inn addition to the 38 seconds he have. We do not have the answer before Sunday.
Tom Dumoulin came to the Giro as an underdog. But he has been strong, and even more important: Smart. I like smart people, and hope Tom Dumoulin will win the Giro.
we start in the wine district where we ended yesterday, Friuli Grave. But we do not open any wines from here today. After a short ride, the riders will cross the border to Veneto, and will de in Veneto for the rest of the stage.
Today will be a day of bubbles. We will mainly dring the popular sparkling wine prosecco.