May 29, 2016 – Some will call Vincenzo Nibali’s dramatic Giro d’Italia victory on Sunday lucky, but it served as a reminder that ‘The Shark’ is dangerous when in deep water.
Three years after the Italian sealed a maiden pink jersey with an epic ride through the snowy Dolomites mountains, a second Giro triumph looked out of reach when Dutchman Steven Kruijswijk opened up a huge lead in the final week of a thrilling 99th edition.
Over two intense days in the mountains, pre-race favourite Nibali went from trailing the ginger-haired Dutchman by 41secs to seemingly out of contention at 4min 43sec. But ‘Lo Squalo’ (The Shark) has a habit of biting back at his rivals. And when Kruijswijk crashed into a snow bank early on the descent of the Colle d’Agnello climb bordering France and Italy on Friday, the race for pink was suddenly back on two days before the finish.
On stage 19, Nibali forged ahead to victory on the summit finish at Risoul in France, where he also won on his road to Tour de France triumph in 2014. Like a great white patiently circling his prey, Nibali was unforgiving when he went in for the kill.
“Steven Kruijswijk had a good advantage after the Dolomites but I knew the highest mountains were yet to come,” said Nibali. “Riding above 2000 meters isn’t easy for anyone but I felt comfortable. Kruijswijk crashed… but towards the summit of the Colle d’Agnello I noticed he was breathing heavily so I put pressure on him climbing and then descending. Had I not, probably nothing would have happened and (Esteban) Chaves would have had an easy ride as well.”
Little Orica team climber Chaves took the race lead with a 44sec lead over Nibali on Friday, but trailed in behind the Italian the next day on the climb to Sant’Anna di Vinadio when Nibali pulled on the pink jersey. On Sunday, Nibali revealed he had been suffering from a stomach bug, news of which he kept to himself.
“I had a stomach bug during the Giro but it’s better not to tell everything sometimes,” he said.
It is not the first time the Sicilian has fought back from adversity to triumph in one of the world’s biggest bike races. He upset pre-race predictions to win the Tour de France in 2014, becoming the first Italian to do so since deceased climbing ace Marco Pantani in 1998.
And when he was excluded from the 2015 Tour of Spain for illicitly hanging on to the back of a team car following a crash, he blew away his shame with a stunning performance to win the Tour of Lombardy one-day classic weeks later.
Shy off the bike, the Sicilian becomes a fierce competitor on it — although he is known for his sensible side, too. After fighting his way back into victory contention in Risoul, Nibali wept tears of relief and joy as he hung his arms over the handlebars.
Nibali, 31, left his native Sicily for Tuscany as an ambitious 16-year-old to follow his dream, and has become one of the most formidable, and feared stage racers in the world. A strong climber with descending skills that have left more than one rival fearing for his safety, Nibali copes well in tough weather conditions.
He secured his maiden pink jersey on the penultimate stage in 2013 when he emerged through a snow blizzard to triumph atop Trois Cimes de Lavaredo in the Dolomites.
After Kruijswijk flew over the handlebars head-first into the snow on Friday, Nibali remarked: “Descents are just as much a part of racing as climbing.”
Next up is the Tour de France, where he is sure to meet tougher opposition in Spaniard Alberto Contador and Britain’s Chris Froome, both former yellow jersey champions. Nibali will then focus on Olympic gold in Rio this August.
After two weeks of tired legs ….
Colle Dell’Agnello – stage 19
The Colle Dell’Agnello marks the Giro’s passage into France for a couple of days and they’ll have to work hard to get up to the border.
While the Strava segment shows it as a nine kilometre climb, the riders go uphill for around 70km from Saluzzo to the border at the top of the climb.
The toughest gradients come near the top of the Agnello, maxing out at 15 per cent and holding at over nine per cent for much of the nine kilometres, with riders reaching the highest point of the whole race.
And that’s just the first climb of the day…
Risoul – stage 19
When the riders get into France it’s downhill all the way to the foot of the climb to Risoul, where stage 19 finishes.
It’s not the hardest climb in the world but the legs and bodies of the climbers will be cold from the very long descent from the Agnelle.
It maxes out at 10 per cent in the first third of the climb and from then is a steady 8.5 per cent to the top. With the GC still up for grabs it’ll likely to be a battle ground all the way up, with attacks likely to come on the preceding descent.
Col de Vars – stage 20
At just six per cent in average gradient, the Col de Vars shouldn’t cause any problems, but it’s the fact that it comes immediately at the start of stage 20 which makes it hard.
The riders will have to get their warm-ups done before the stage if they’re to be in any state to be up at the front of the peloton in the first 20km.
There’s not a metre of flat on the entire stage, making it one of the toughest in the whole race, so if there’s still anything to play for in the general classification, expect to see some action in these opening exchanges.
Col de la Bonette – stage 20
Once they’ve descended from the Col de Vars the peloton hits the even longer and even tougher Col de la Bonette, taking the riders up to over 2,700m.
It’ll be a long, cold descent down to Isola at the foot of the third big climb of the day, with almost 40km of downhill, interupted only by a little flat bit after 25km.
With the stage only 134km in length we could see attacks on the pink jersey wearer on the early climbs, just like we did on stage 16 on Tuesday.
Colle della Lombardia – stage 20
As if two 20km ascents weren’t enough, the organisers have chucked in a third one near the end to really test the climbers’ resolve.
The Col de la Lombarde brings the riders back into Italy for the final assault up to Sant’Anna di Vinado, where the finish line is located.
Like the first two climbs on the stage, the Lombarde isn’t particularly steep, it’s just relentlessly long, especially after the climbs that have come before.
It’s last chance saloon for GC contenders to launch their attacks, with the climb to the finish not really long enough to make up minutes of time.
Cycling weekly look at the climbs this week – exciting
We’ve had a few tough ascents so far in the Giro d’Italia, but we’ve not experienced the true mountain stages that the race is famous for just yet.
As the race heads north the number of climbs on the route increases and the less the sprinters look forward to the stages. Three of the six stages before the next rest day are over 200km in length and there are 16 categorised climbs to take in between now and Sunday.
The sprinters will have their fun on stage 12, but week two belongs to the climbers and here are five of the toughest tests they will face this week, including a mountain time trial on stage 15.
Forcella Mostaccin (stage 11)
It’s by no means the longest climb in the race at just shy of three kilometres in length, but coming at the end of a pan flat stage the Forcella Mostaccin climb could split the peloton.
With a maximum gradient of 16 per cent and an average of over 10 per cent for the last kilometre of the climb we could see a few attacks go off the front on this climb.
The race still has around 25km to go from the top, but the rolling nature of those final kilometres means it almost certainly won’t be a bunch gallop.
Montemaggiore (stage 13)
Montemaggiore probably won’t be a decisive climb in the Giro because it comes so close to the start of the stage – the climb starts at kilometre 48 – but it heralds the start of a tough stage for the climbers.
Just over eight kilometres in length, the climb averages nine per cent, but that doesn’t tell the whole story. The first 2.5km kilometres are pretty straightforward, but then the hill ramps up to over 10 per cent for the rest of the climb, maxing out at 15 per cent in the final 500m.
There’s a sting in the tail of this one, and after a short descent the riders are heading uphill again on this very up-and-down stage.
Cima Porzus (stage 13)
The Montemaggiore climb earlier in the day may be more relentless, but after 130km of racing up and down mountains this climb of Cima Porzus could see a few riders crack.
Again, the climb averages nine per cent, but rarely does it go below that gradient. The riders will have to plug away for 8.5km at a steady gradient while they plan their finishing strategies.
This climb is followed by a shorter ascent to Valle, so attacks may come there rather than on the Cima Porzus, but this climb will certainly sort the men from the boys and the sprinters autobus will be stamping a lot of tickets.
Passo Giau (stage 14)
Anyone who has completed the Maratona dles Dolomites sportive will know the Passo Giau very well.
The scenery is stunning, but the ascent is pretty relentless. From Selva di Cadore the climb starts off hard (a kilometre at over 10 per cent) and continues in a similar fashion for the next seven kilometres.
Again, this climb might not be in a location to be the place of crucial attacks, with another climb following immediately afterwards, but it promises to be a great part of this year’s race. One for the breakaway, maybe.
Alpe di Siusi (stage 15 ITT)
As if riding up mountains wasn’t hard enough, imagine smashing it up as hard as you can with no teammates to help you out.
That’s what the riders face on the Alpe di Siusi on stage 15 as a mountain time trial could well separate some of the favourites for the maglia rosa.
Movistar‘s Andrey Amador holds the Strava KOM on the climb, set on a recce back in March, smashing up in 31 minutes at a modest 166 beats per minute on the heart rate monitor.
Piece of cake.
The challenge is on … go here
register a team – it’s free
then enter my new league – lets see how good/bad we can be ….
League Name: The bike Blog league
League Code: 02090731
My thoughts this year run as Nibali as outright winner … but Vivaldi might give it all this year. So spare 5 min and get your team sorted. Past experience has shown me that the longer I spend choosing the worse my results.
Great read as always from this man
Let’s start with something there’s a bit of an argument over. How many Giro d’Italia has Alberto Contador won? He clearly thinks it’s three but the UCI records says it’s only two as he was disqualified from the 2011 results.
The way I look at it, Contador rode that race, was tested if and when the controllers thought fit and he had the pink jersey at the end of it. So he won the 2011 edition and if he shouldn’t have been there because of the previous Tour de France clenbuterol affair then that ought to have been decided quickly. Not a year and a half later.
As in 2008, this year saw him with no individual stage success, which is kind of annoying but hardly devastating in the grand scheme of things. I’m sure Astana would gladly swap all their stage wins for the final top step of the podium if they were given the choice.
It’s too late, though, because Contador’s individual strengths proved greater than the Kazakh team’s numerical superiority despite the shoulder injury, his lack of teammates in the finale of the uphill finishes and rivals willing to exploit mechanical mishaps. After all the Giro wouldn’t be properly Italian without a bit of treachery and drama.
So when things got dirty for the race leader on the Colle delle Finestre it was entirely fitting that Astana took advantage and put Contador in trouble. Or was he?
Contador certainly didn’t like the road surface on the way up to the Cima Coppi, the highest point of the whole race. He appeared to be struggling as he couldn’t climb out of the saddle as much as he likes to because of the poor traction on the loose gravel and he didn’t help himself by choosing some really bad lines on the inside of the bends where the cars had cut up the surface even more.
He was suffering, of that there’s no doubt, but I don’t think he cracked in any significant way. I think he recognised he was about to go too deep into the red to keep following all the accelerations and he decided to let the others go and then manage the situation.
He lost 50 seconds by the summit but then held that gap for all of the descent and most of the valley towards Sestriere. You can’t do that if you’ve cracked, not with a slight headwind, slightly uphill and the other GC guys still riding strongly.
It would have been fatal for Contador if he was in a bad way. I think he bluffed a bit, let Astana and Nibali think he’s more vulnerable than he really is. Tour de France mind games start way before the prologue and that, with a temporary moment of difficulty, is what we might have seen on stage 20.
It would have been more worrying for Tinkoff if Astana had told Mikel Landa to wait for Fabio Aru sooner, or Aru had ridden with Hesjedal and Kruisjwijk straight away, but neither did what they had to do soon enough and the chance was lost. They missed a slim opening to really pressure Contador and win the race so that was another error they, the Astana collective, have to learn from.
It’s often said it’s not how good you are on your good days which matters but how good you are on your bad ones, and that was never more true for this Giro’s GC hopefuls.
Aru had his bad spell after around the second rest day, Landa’s time trial let him down and Hesjedal and Kruisjwijk came out of the first week way behind/Kudos to them although they all recovered remarkably.
Fabio Aru is progressing very well, third last year , second this and still only 24. He has a very bright future as does Mikel Landa, who surely won’t be on the market for long if he doesn’t stay at Astana . Is he the successor to Contador? Well that’s hard to tell, but he looks a solid athlete who, with some work on his time trial, will be a real threat.
With the Tour de France on the horizon, it’ll be interesting to see if the French Tour can be as exciting and dramatic as the Giro has been. Of course every team will field their A team for the most important race on the calendar, but if there are lessons to be taken from what we’ve just seen from the boys in blue at Astana, the other GC teams like Tinkoff, Movistar and Sky will have to be at the top of their game.
With so little individual time trialling, the climbing aspects of each team leader will take on a decisive role so getting those guys to the mountains safely and still in decent shape will be vital.
Anybody else wondering what will happen to Oleg Tinkov’s pink hair if Alberto Contador also wins the Tour? My Photoshop skills aren’t good enough but I’m sure there’s someone out there who can put together a little montage of our favourite Russian team boss sporting a suitable design on his head. #battenberg
playing virtual giro on velogames and he is my main hope – this article is quite cool.
Team Sky go into battle in Italy this month with Richie Porte a contender for the pink jersey. Chris Froome’s most trusted lieutenant has turned general this year, leading Team Sky from the front to take several stage race wins since the start of the season. Rapha sat down with the Australian to talk leadership, the sweet taste of victory and war stories from the road.
Hi Richie. You’ve had a brilliant start to the season, how does it feel?
It’s been more than I’d hoped for, especially after last season – the disaster that that was. To be honest, it’s quite surreal how well this season has gone so far. It’s always nice to win races like Paris-Nice, Catalunya and the Willunga stage of the Tour Down Under, but to be honest that all counts for nothing. The Giro is my big goal and that’s where I want to be at my best.
You have been in superb form since January. Is there ever a worry that you may have peaked early?
It’s not really difficult for me and that’s because we’ve got guys like Tim Kerrison and the [Team Sky] Performance Team behind us. I think Tim’s been fantastic with Brad [Wiggins] and Chris [Froome] over the years regarding when they’ve peaked and so I take confidence from that. I’m much more motivated this season than I have been in the past, and the Giro is my big opportunity to lead a team. I’m going to take that opportunity with both hands.
Why are you more motivated this year?
After you have a bad season, you look back on that and then think about how good it feels to win a race. It’s just an unbelievable feeling – for me that’s my motivation. To win any race is hard, but to have eight or nine victories like I have so far… it’s contagious.
After winning the Volta a Catalunya in March, you spoke about it giving you greater belief in yourself. Has confidence ever been a problem for you?
Confidence is a massive part of professional cycling. I’m confident in my ability, but to go to a race like Catalunya, which on paper wasn’t that great for me, up against someone in form like [Alejandro] Valverde, isn’t easy. And to win there, where I’ve only really got bad memories, it is a massive bonus for the morale.
How do you find being the team leader at races?
I wouldn’t say it is something that comes naturally to me but I’d say that over the years I’ve worked with some fantastic leaders, from Alberto [Contador] and the Schleck brothers when I was with Saxo, to Bradley in 2012 and Chris in 2013. I’m more used to riding for somebody, but with the steps I’ve taken this year I’ve embraced having those seven or eight guys commit to me.
How would you describe yourself as a leader?
Probably a little bit more stressed than Chris! Obviously he is very laid back, and so was Brad. I’m not sure what the other guys would say but I don’t think I’m that hard to work for! I like to hit the front and race from there. At the end of the day, in any team it’s easier to work for a guy who is finishing it off and winning. My big goal going into the Giro is obviously to go for as high a GC as I can get.
The 2010 edition of the race, when you wore the pink jersey for three days, must hold fond memories for you?
To grow up watching the Giro and then to be in that massive break where for 200km I realised that I was going to be in the pink jersey as long as I kept it upright and not get dropped – it still gives me goose bumps to think about it. Other than the yellow jersey I think the pink jersey is probably the most beautiful one to wear in professional cycling.
Do you enjoy riding in Italy?
Italy is where I did my amateur days – I moved there from Australia in 2007. I like the way the Italians do it. When we stay in Italy for races, at the hotels they take such pride in their food and their coffee and that mixes so well with cycling. Even though I live in Monaco I find I often ride into Italy for the coffee, the piadini and the focaccias. I just love it – it’s so simple, but it works.
Are there any Italian riders, past or present, that you particularly enjoy watching?
You’d probably look back to Basso in the CSC days, with the class he used to ride with. Either that or Paolo Savoldelli – I used to love watching him, the way he used to go down the descents like a lead balloon. Someone who I also loved watching, although he’s not Italian, is Michael Wilson. He was the first Aussie winner of a stage of the Giro – a real trailblazer – and he had a massive influence on me. I saw Rapha did a film about him in my hometown of Launceston and it was almost emotional to watch because from where I’m from, almost nobody knows who Michael is and what he’s done. He’s such a humble champ.
Who do you think will be your main rivals this year?
I think it’s Contador’s race to lose. He’s the guy that has won the race before and I think he’s motivated. There are other guys like [Fabio] Aru or Rigoberto [Uran], my old team mate. He’s been second two years in a row so he knows what he’s doing. He’s such a cool champion too – I respect him and look forward to racing against him.
How will you unwind post-stage to take your mind off the racing?
I love it on the bus afterwards. That’s your mental break: you get on the bus, have your shower, eat and talk to your teammates. Somebody has always got a story, a near miss, or an argument they had with another rider – I love it. Then obviously at the dinner table it’s good to hear some of the war stories. I love listening to Bernie (Eisel), Brad (Wiggins) and Mick Rogers when he was on our team, talking about the days of suffering they’ve had at the grand tours.
If you win, how much celebrating will you do before thoughts turn to July?
I’ve got a good mate and his wife coming to stay with me and my fiancée for a few days so I’m sure there would be some pretty big celebrations. After the Giro I’m off to Manchester for ten days because that’s where my fiancée is from and I’m really looking forward to using that as my recovery period. Then it’s all eyes on the Tour!
I think I actually prefer this race to the TdF …..
The route of the 2015 Giro d’Italia has been presented this afternoon in Milan in front of a star-studded audience including Alberto Contador, the soon-to-retire Cadel Evans and new world champion, Michal Kwiatkowski – but not this year’s winner, Nairo Quintana, who is targetting the Tour de France next year.
We already knew that the race would start in the Liguria region, and today it has been confirmed that it will finish in Milan after a two-year absence, in a stage that starts in Turin. The penultimate day witnesses a key stage for the overall contenders, with a summit finish at Sestriere preceded by a climb of the Colle delle Finestre.
The race commences with a team time trial of 17.6km on San Remo’s cycling track, built on the site of the former coastal railway line, and also has an unusually long individual time trial of 59.2km on Stage 14 from Treviso to Valdobbiadene.
There are seven stages for the sprinters – one of them, from Grosseto to Fiuggi a monster 263km – as well as seven medium mountain stages and five high mountain stages. There are seven uphill finishes over the three weeks of the 3,481.8km race.
“The Giro d’Italia is a true legend in our sport and an important race for the future of road cycling. I believe that this 2015 edition will be extremely challenging, combining some testing early stages together with the highest mountains in the last week. I really cannot wait for May 2015.”
UCI president Brian Cookson, who was at the presentation today, said: “I am delighted to see that the 2015 Giro d’Italia will go through some of Italy’s most iconic regions and cities. It reminds me of some of the great battles of past editions.
This year’s race featured six days in the high mountains, and while there are some undoubtedly tough stages next May particularly in the final third, it’s perhaps not as tough as some closing week’s we have seen in recent years.
That reflects race director Mauro Vegni’s commitment to provide a more “human” race – something his predecessor, Michele Acquarone, also promised prior to the 2012 edition – and is reflected not only in the route, but also the length of transfers from one stage to the next.
In part, that’s also because the Giro wants to attract the very top riders – men such as Alberto Contador, who was at today’s presentation, and Vincenzo Nibali, the only man besides the Spaniard to have won all three of cycling’s Grand Tours.
Both are now said to have their sights on another rare achievement – winning the Giro and the Tour in the same season, a feat only ever previously achieved by seven men, the first being Fausto Coppi in 1949, the last Marco Pantani almost half a century later, in 1998.
Those two legends of Italian cycling are honoured by Giro organisers RCS Sport by having two of the climbs that will help decide the race named after them. This year’s Montagna Pantani will be the Passo del Mortirolo, which comes on Stage 16 from Pinzolo to Aprica.
That stage is preceded by a rest day following a last-but-one weekend that will see that long stage against the clock in which a lot of time could be won or lost, then what looks like one of the more decisive days of the race, with Stage 15’s summit finish at Madonna di Compiglio.
The Cima Coppi, the highest point of a race which includes 44,000 vertical metres of climbing, comes on the penultimate day with the Colle delle Finestre, with that stage finishing at the ski station of Setsriere.
The previous day will have also seen a summit finish, at Cervinia, 2,001 metres above sea level, with that ascent preceded by two other tough climbs in the final third.
Contador himself believes the race will suit an attacking rider, and with that long time trial on the penultimate Saturday has speculated that the course could be perfect for the rider he beat at last month’s Vuelta – Chris Froome.
As with any Grand Tour, while the General Classification provides the overarching narrative and carries the most prestige, there will be plenty of sub-plots bubbling away in the background – not least through those seven sprint stages, while the medium mountain days should as ever encourage plenty of attacking riding.
But if the organisers have pitched the race just right to attract riders of the calibre of Froome, Contador and Nibali, we may just have one of the most exciting tussles for the maglia rosa we’ve seen for a while next May.
Giro d’Italia 2014 HD – Stage 11 – LAST 12 KILOMETERS
Michael Rogers (Tinkoff-Saxo) won stage 11 of the Giro d’Italia on Wednesday.
Rogers attacked with 21.5 kilometers left on the descent following the final climb, and he managed to stave off the chasing peloton in the closing kilometer to win the 249km stage from Correggio to Savona by 10 seconds over Simon Geschke (Giant-Shimano) and Enrico Battaglin (Bardiani Valvole-CSF Inox).
“It was certainly a beautiful moment,” Rogers said afterward. “The team tried really hard today. A great opportunity for me and I was able to take advantage of it.”
Cadel Evans (BMC Racing) remains in the pink jersey, holding a 57-second lead over Rigoberto Uran (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) and a 1:10 advantage over Rafal Majka (Tinkoff).
The win is Rogers’ first since he returned from a provisional doping ban in April. He tested positive for clenbuterol, a banned drug, during the Tour of Beijing last October. He proclaimed his innocence and said he unknowingly ingested the substance in tainted food.
The UCI eventually agreed with Rogers, and he was not punished.
“I am very happy,” Rogers said Wednesday. “It was a very hard stage, very long, very combative right from the start. We rode well from the start. We had two in the breakaway. It was a very difficult moment for me. I always maintained the optimism, there is always light at the end of the tunnel. There are always difficult moments in life, I am glad it’s over.”
The Best News is that I am mysteriously top of my fantasy league group “which is nice”
The Giro d’Italia is soon to start …. so if you fancy it join the velogames fantasy league and enter a team. It makes watching it more fun as even if your team isn’t doing that well – you can cheer for individuals.
enter here http://www.velogames.com/giro-ditalia/2014/entryform.php
I have entered 2 teams – but don’t copy as I am no good.
and my second team with more wildcards
How it all works.
Each player takes the role of a Directeur Sportif of a professional cycling team. The aim of the contest is to select the best possible team of 9 riders, while operating within the conditions set on team selection. The better your racers perform during the 3 week event, the more points they will accumulate for your fantasy squad.
You must use the Official Entry Form to submit your team. The Entry Form will be made available once the game is open for entries. It is expected that the opening date will be Wednesday 30th April 2014.
Entry into the Fantasy Giro d’Italia is free for each player.
Only one team is allowed per player. Multiple team entries by a single player is not allowed and could lead to teams being disqualified from the game. If multiple teams are found, only the last team entered by the player will be accepted as the official entry.
The deadline for entries to be submitted is 18:30 CEST (Central European Summer Time) on Friday 9th May 2014.
Team Selection Criteria
In order that each player creates a balanced team, the following two important constraints are placed on team selection:
Teams are given 100 velocredits to select their riders. Velocredits are the Velogames currency. Each rider is given a value in velocredits, based on their prospective points-scoring abilities. The velocredits values are based on past results and recent form, with an emphasis towards those riders who have been successful in past editions of the Giro d’Italia.
Riders are split into 4 Rider Classes, which reflect their supposed strengths, weaknesses and role within their team. These categories are All-Rounder, Climber, Sprinter and Unclassed Riders.
Each team must contain 2 All-Rounders, 2 Climbers, 1 Sprinter, 3 Unclassed Riders and 1 Wild Card. The Wild Card selection may be from any rider category, and allows a team manager to specialise somewhat in the team they pick.
There are no other team selection criteria apart selecting 9 riders, staying within the 100 velocredit limit and making sure that the correct composition of Rider Classes is selected.
Once you have selected a team of 9 riders and they have started the Giro d’Italia, you may not replace them during the race.
There will be no rider substitutions during the race, even if riders abandon during the race. The 9 riders that you start the tour with will be the only riders who will score you points during the event.
You can make unlimited changes to your team up until the entry deadline of 18:30 CEST (Central European Summer Time) on Friday 9th May 2014. Simply click the Change Riders button on your team page to reselect your squad.
Only the last team entered by each player will be activated as an official entry.
It is the responsibility of each directeur to manage their own team line-up as the entry deadline approaches, although Velogames will provide a status for each rider showing whether or not they are on the most recent start-list.
No automatic substitutions will be made so make sure to have 9 active riders at the entry deadline!
Your riders score points for their real-life performances in the Giro d’Italia, based on the Scoring System. You can also follow the link in the main Fantasy Giro menu for the detailed scores.
At the end of the 3 week event, the team whose riders have amassed the most points is declared the winner of Velogames Fantasy Giro d’Italia 2014.
Stage points are given out based on the official race standings, as shown the official race website.
Scores become “confirmed” for Velogames purposes at 23:00 CEST during the evening on the day of each stage.
If a rider is removed from the standings after this deadline, for any reason, the points gained for that stage will stand.
Immediate disqualifications or declassifications (such as for irregular sprinting) will be taken into account when deciding the Fantasy Giro points, as long as these penalties are announced before 23:00 CEST.
Back-dated disqualifications and reversal of results (even for doping offences) will not be taken into account after the 2300 CET deadline, and the rider will keep his points.
This rule certainly should not be viewed as an acceptance of doping. The technical and gameplay issues surrounding back-dated scoring adjustments are difficult. Also, it is not fair to excessively punish players who have selected a rider in good faith, even if that rider is subsequently exposed as a cheater.
Neutralised and Cancelled Stages
If the race is neutralised for any reason by riders or race organisation, then no stage points (finish, sprints, summits, breaks or stage assists) will be distributed following the point of neutralisation.
If sprint, summits or the breakaway points zone have been reached prior to neutralisation, this points will be added as normal.
Classification points (including team and overall classification assists) will be added to team totals as normal at the culmination of the stage.
Daily classification points will also be awarded as normal in the event of a complete stage cancellation.
A scoring update will be made on the evening of each stage, when results are published by the organisers.
A supplementary scoring adjustment could be made if there are changes in the official published results before the official 23:00 CEST scoring deadline.
The aim is to make a daily update. In instances where it is not possible to update the site on a daily basis, a full update will be made as soon as possible to keep the scoring information up-to-date.
Our friends at Collins are providing 20 stage prizes and an overall prize. The team at the top of the final overall standings, and also the teams at the top of the daily stage standings for Stage 2 through to 21, will each receive a copy of the Collins Cycling Quiz Book! If scores are tied in the daily stage standings, the team in the highest position in the overall leaderboard at that time will be deemed the winner of the prize.
BRESCIA, Italy (AFP) —Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) secured his maiden Giro d’Italia title on Sunday as Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) took his fifth stage win on the 21st and final leg into Brescia.
Nibali finished the weather-battered 96th edition with a lead of 4 minutes and 43 seconds over Rigoberto Uran (Sky) with Cadel Evans (BMC Racing) third at 5:52.
After negotiating the final stage successfully, an emotional Nibali said: “I’ve achieved one of my lifetime dreams. I can’t believe it. It’s unbelievable.”
It was Nibali’s first victory on the three-week Italian race, in which he finished third in 2010 and runner-up in 2011. Last year, he finished third overall on the Tour de France, won by Sky’s Bradley Wiggins.
Nibali succeeds Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin-Sharp) as winner of the race’s maglia rosa after the Canadian, followed by an ailing Wiggins, dropped out before the final week due to illness.
The 28-year-old Nibali is the first Sicilian to win the race and is the first Italian winner since Michele Scarponi, who was handed the 2011 title following Alberto Contador’s disqualification for doping offenses.
Nibali took possession of the pink jersey after the stage-8 time trial won by Alex Dowsett, and despite a strong challenge from Evans he took a massive step towards overall victory with his victory in Thursday’s 18th stage, a 20.6km uphill time trial.
It took his lead over Evans, the 2011 Tour de France champion, to over four minutes.
After the first of two consecutive days in the Dolomites mountains was canceled on Friday due to snow and sub-zero temperatures at high altitude, Nibali capped his campaign with a second stage win atop the Tre Cime di Lavaredo climb on Saturday, which saw Evans drop to third.
Having crashed twice on stage seven, Nibali then had to endure, with the rest of the peloton, a rain-lashed and snow-blasted second half of the race.
For Wiggins the 7th stage was his demise – The crash on a right-hand bend on the final descent into Pescara looked relatively innocuous but Sir Bradley Wiggins’s chances of winning theGiro d’Italia took a serious knock as the seventh stage reached a climax on Friday when the Tour de France winner lost almost 90 seconds on his main rivals, dropping from sixth to 23rd overall.
Although his team principal, Sir Dave Brailsford, said Wiggins had no physical ill effects, he rode in looking stiff and bruised the day before the vital time trial where he intended to strike his first blow. It was a massive contrast to his seamless progress through the first week of last year’s Tour de France, where he rode his luck throughout. Momentum matters in a three-week Tour, and now he is swimming against the tide.
Friday’s stage contained a rash of steep climbs towards the end, but it was the descents which really mattered as they were tackled in heavy rain. Cornering became a lottery – and many besides Wiggins drew losing tickets. Amid the chaos, the Australian Adam Hansen emerged unscathed to win the stage having attacked early on in the day’s main escape, then struck out alone in the final 20 kilometres. It was a fine win for a team worker who last year rode all three major Tours, Spain, Italy and France.
Wiggins, who detests wet and cold conditions such as these, had not looked at his ease as the stage progressed, dropping behind on the later descents and appearing to become irritated when the race television camera sat alongside him to capture his sufferings. He was already a little way behind the other overall contenders when he lost control on a tight right-hander during the descent from the final climb of the day, San Silvestro. The need to catch up probably played its part.
He slid briefly, and was rapidly back on his bike, but he did not look comfortable. He took the remaining bends at a pace more befitting a cycle tourist and had to wait until the foot of the descent before receiving any help from his two team-mates, the Colombians Sergio Henao and Rigoberto Urán, who had himself had an awkward-looking tangle of wheels on a climb earlier on. Even then, Wiggins looked to be struggling to stay with the pair.
“Can you remember a Giro that’s finished without the riders coming home with a tan?” Nibali said. “The weather made the race all the more difficult. But I sincerely believe that if there had been more climbs the result would have been the same. I felt I had the edge over the others.”
Evans agreed that the Sicilian was a worthy champion, and said he would now concentrate on the Tour.
“Beating Nibali with the kind of form he was in was always going to be difficult,” said Evans. “Now I’ll prepare for the Tour. That’s the big objective of the team this year.”
Cavendish, meanwhile, finished a triumphant campaign in style by dominating a hectic sprint for the finish on a tight circuit to take his victory tally on the race to 15.
The Isle of Man rider came into the race expected to dominate most of the five sprint finishes, especially in the absence of a number of top rivals.
He won the opening stage in Naples and stages 6, 12, 13 and 21.
“I’m delighted, really happy,” Cavendish said in Italian.
The Omega Pharma sprinter, who also has 23 stage wins on the Tour de France and three from the Vuelta a España, also secured the race’s red jersey for the points competition.
Carlos Betancur (Ag2r La Mondiale), meanwhile, secured the race’s white jersey for the best-placed rider aged 25 or under.
He took the jersey from Rafal Majka (Saxo-Tinkoff) after his fourth-place finish on Saturday’s epic 20th stage, when the peloton climbed through a blizzard to the finish.
Betancur finished in fifth place overall
Cycling’s greatest ladies man Mario Cipollini made an appearance at this weekend’s Giro d’Italia Fondo Giro d’Italia in Coral Gables, Florida.
No worries folks, it appears he still definitely has the touch.
Somehow, Elia Favilli who showed the bike handling skills managed to bunnyhop the crash and mark cavendish sliding on the ground and pick his way through to finish. He is in yellow in the screen grab below …. Impressive
Link to this video
The world champion, who a day earlier had criticised what he perceives as erratic and dangerous riding from a portion of the peloton on Italy’s grand tour, was nearing full speed and in contention for a second stage win in as many days when Ferrari veered dramatically across his path and clipped Cavendish’s front wheel.
A series of riders fell as they swerved to miss the prone Manxman, including the race leader, Taylor Phinney.
After carrying his bike across the finish line, Cavendish tweeted: “Ouch! Crashing at 75kph isn’t nice! Nor is seeing Roberto Ferrari’s manoeuvre. [He] should be ashamed to take out Pink, Red & World Champ jerseys.”
He added: “Is the team of Roberto Ferrari or the UCI going to do the right thing? Other riders, including myself, have been sent home for much less.”
Cavendish’s team-mate Geraint Thomas, currently second on general classification, echoed the sentiment, tweeting: “You can get suspended in football for a 2 footed challenge, or a spear tackle in rugby. Kick Ferrari out Giro for crashing 10guys at 60kph!!!”
Team Sky‘s doctor Richard Freeman said that Cavendish was “very uncomfortable” after the fall, and British team’s directeur sportif Steven de Jongh voiced his frustration after watching his riders once again control the peloton but this time to no avail.
He said: “The team did another good job today. Juan Antonio Flecha was really strong and helped control the breakaway. In the final the guys got separated a little bit but Cav was still well positioned to contest the sprint until Roberto Ferrari took away his front wheel. He lost a lot of skin but was able to pick himself up and complete the stage.”
Australia’s Matt Goss, riding for Orica-Greenedge, rode on while chaos spread behind him to win the stage, sprinting clear of Juan José Haedo (Saxo Bank) and Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Barracuda) to take over the sprinter’s maglia rosso from Cavendish. Ferrari raced on to finish ninth, comfortably the best result of his professional career.
Phinney fell the hardest and was driven across the line in an ambulance, but recovered to attend the post-race presentation and remains optimistic of defending the maglia rosa when the race resumes on Wednesday for the team time-trial and the first Italian stage of the year, in Verona.
“Nothing appears to be broken. I’m better now,” said the American. “When I was on the ground I was a bit confused and in a state of shock, but I started to feel better when I was in the ambulance. I must have hit something when I fell. It’s a pity that it happened and hopefully it’s nothing. It’s lucky tomorrow is a rest day.”
The 190km stage, which started and finished in Horsens, was dedicated to the memory of Wouter Weylandt, who died on stage three of the the 2011 Giro d’Italia, and the mayor of Horsens Jan Trojborg who died on Sunday. Before the start, riders from Weylandt’s Radioshack Nissan Trek team lined up at the front of the peloton, along with his close friend Farrar. The race’s general director, Michele Acquarone, read a message of condolence in the presence of Weylandt’s family and the assistant mayor of Horsens remembered Trojborg. The ceremony concluded with a minute’s silence.
Cavendish tweeted before the stage: “Remembering Wouter Weylandt, who sadly left us a year ago today.”
Organisers of the Giro d’Italia have unveiled the poster for next year’s race, which starts six months tomorrow. While the race gets under way in Denmark, the majestic scenery in the picture is very much Italian and commemorates two cyclists who will forever be linked with the race.
Those riders are four-time winner, Fausto Coppi, and Wouter Weylandt, the Leopard Trek rider who died following a crash on a descent on Stage 3 of this year’s race.
The Giro commemorates the legendary Italian rider known as ‘il campionissimo’ each year through designating the highest point of each year’s race as the ‘Cima Coppi’ (Coppi summit).
That honour that this year fell to the Passo di Giau near Cortina d’Ampezzo in the Dolomites, where the stunning picture on the poster was taken.
The words ‘Coppi è sempre presente’ – Coppi is always here – appear painted on the tarmac along with Weylandt’s initials and race number, 108, plus the phrase ‘Campioni non muiono MAI’ – ‘champions NEVER die.’
A lone rider sweeps through the past, trailing the Giro’s signature pink behind him.
Weylandt himself has had Stage 3 of next year’s race dedicated to him, reflecting not only the number of the stage on which he lost his life six months ago, but also the one in the 2010 race where he took his second Grand Tour win as the Giro visited the Dutch town of Middelburg, having previously won a stage of the 2008 Vuelta.
The Belgian’s race number has also been permanently retired from the Giro.
Shot by photographer Jered Gruber, if the poster looks familiar it’s because a huge print of the non-retouched version was used by cycle clothing brand Castelli as the backdrop for their Castelli Café at last month’s Cycle Show in Birmingham.
You can find the official brochure for the 2012 Giro d’Italia here – be warned, it’s a big file, but if you’re a fan of the race, it’s definitely worth it.
From Saturday May 5th to Sunday May 27th 2012, the 95th edition of Giro d’Italia will start from Herning (Denmark) and will arrive in Milan.
guardian.co.uk – The route for the 2012 Giro d’Italia, which was unveiled on Sunday, will be easier than in recent years, when it has been labelled inhuman, and riders are expected to spend less time on transfers between stages.
The race will start with an 8.7km individual time trial in Herning, Denmark, on 5 May and after three days fly to Italy. It is the 10th time in its 95 editions that the Giro has started abroad and on this occasion the first three stages will all be held in Denmark.
The world champion, Mark Cavendish, who wore the leader’s pink jersey for one stage and won stage 10 of this year’s race, is likely to be pleased with the profile of the first week, which clearly favours sprinters, but the Giro should be decided in the final week, with the penultimate stage, a 218km mountain trek ending with the tough climb up the Stelvio, likely to create significant gaps.
The race ends on 27 May with a 31.5km individual time trial in Milan – this year’s version of which was won by David Millar – the third test against the clock after the first stage and a team time trial in Verona.
Unlike last year, when exhausting, high mountain stages were lined up in succession with long, energy-sapping transfers, the 2012 route features a flat stage between two mountain treks in the final week.
Riders have complained in the past about the Giro route, and the former director Angelo Zomegnan has accused of setting up a “freak show”. But Zomegnan has been replaced by Michele Acquarone, who promised to take riders’ demands into consideration.
Perhaps partly as a consequence of the demanding 2011 route, Britain’s Team Sky entered effectively a second-string team, with Russell Downing and Peter Kennaugh – who would finish as the highest placed Briton, in 87th – the only British riders on the squad. But the prospect of Cavendish possibly lifting the pink jersey for the team in the first week, and the profile being much more suited to Chris Froome or Bradley Wiggins, who finished second and third in this year’s Vuelta a España, respectively, are likely to persuade the team principal, Dave Brailsford, to enter a strong squad next year.
The 2011 champion, Alberto Contador of Spain, who has already announced he will not be taking part but focusing instead on the Tour de France, spoke positively of the 2012 route. “This Giro will be more human,” he said. “There are more ‘recovery stages’ and, although I don’t think I’ll take part, it seems to be a very interesting route.”
Contador, a three-time Tour de France champion, said of his decision not to defend his Giro title: “I don’t think I will ride in the Giro; it will be very difficult. It’s very difficult to do both the Giro and the Tour. Maybe in two years’ time. I still have to talk to the team managers and discuss it with them but at the moment it’s not in my plans.”
Of next year’s race he said: “It’s a nice course, a bit different to last year and maybe a bit more even. For me the Giro is the best race in the world. It has a particular fascination for me. And if it was only up to my heart, I would race it. But next year I will think of other objectives, such as the Tour de France.”
The Liquigas rider Ivan Basso, the 2010 winner, said it would be a pity not to compete against Contador again. “I think it’s too early to talk about who’ll be there and who won’t because we’re in a bit of a particular situation, in that they’ve only revealed the route about 15 minutes ago so the cyclists have still to look at it properly, talk to their teams,” the Italian said.
“We also have to finish this season. But I would definitely prefer him to be there. I want to race against him.”
Next year’s Giro will have a solemn tone, with the third stage to be dedicated to Wouter Weylandt, the Belgian cyclist who died after a fall during this year’s race. Weylandt crashed on the descent of the Passo del Bocco on the third stage of the race – the same stage he won the previous year. The jersey No108, which Weylandt wore during the Giro, has also been retired.
Wiggle are about to receive the awful Bryton Cardio 30 I returned – cheered myself up with a bike book buying bonanza – All 3 look good
By his 18th birthday David Millar was living and racing in France, sleeping in rented rooms, tipped to be the next English-speaking Tour winner. A year later he’d realised the dream and signed a professional contract with the Cofidis team, who had one Lance Armstrong on their books. He perhaps lived the high life a little too enthusiastically — high on a roof after too much drink, he broke his heel in a fall, and before long the pressure to succeed had tipped over into doping. Here, in a full and frank autobiography, David Millar recounts the story from the inside: he doped because ‘cycling’s drug culture was like white noise’, and because of peer pressure. ‘I doped for money and glory in order to guarantee the continuation of my status.’ Five years on from his arrest, Millar is clean and reflective, and holds nothing back in this account of his dark years.
The bicycle is one of mankind’s greatest inventions – and the most popular form of transport in history. Robert Penn has ridden one most days of his adult life. In his late 20s, he pedalled 40,000 kilometres around the world. Yet, like cyclists everywhere, the utilitarian bikes he currently owns don’t even hint at this devotion. Robert needs a new bike, a bespoke machine that reflects how he feels when he’s riding it – like an ordinary man touching the gods.
It’s All About the Bike is the story of a journey to design and build a dream bike. En route, Robert explores the culture, science and history of the bicycle. From Stoke-on-Trent, where an artisan hand builds his frame, to California, home of the mountain bike, where Robert tracks down the perfect wheels, via Portland, Milan and Coventry, birthplace of the modern bicycle, this is the narrative of our love affair with cycling. It’s a tale of perfect components – parts that set the standard in reliability, craftsmanship and beauty. It tells how the bicycle has changed the course of human history, from the invention of the ‘people’s nag’ to its role in the emancipation of women, and from the engineering marvel of the tangent-spoked wheel to the enduring allure of the Tour de France. It’s the story of why we ride, and why this simple machine remains central to life today.
Voted the most popular Italian sportsman of the twentieth century, Fausto Angelo Coppi was the campionissimo – champion of champions. The greatest cyclist of the immediate post-war years, he was the first man to win cycling’s great double, the Tour de France and Tour of Italy in the same year – and he did it twice. He achieved mythical status for his crushing solo victories, world titles and world records. But his significance extends far beyond his sport.
Coppi’s scandalous divorce and controversial early death convulsed a conservative, staunchly Roman Catholic Italy in the 1950s. At a time when adultery was still illegal, Coppi and his lover were dragged from their bed in the middle of the night, excommunicated and forced to face a clamorous legal battle. The ramifications of this case are still being felt today.
In Fallen Angel, acclaimed cycling biographer, William Fotheringham, tells the tragic story of Coppi’s life and death – of how a man who became the symbol of a nation’s rebirth after the disasters of war died reviled and heartbroken. Told with insight and intelligence, this is a unique portrait of Italy and Italian sport at a time of tumultuous change.
From LISTVERSE – A guide I like
This is a list of the top ten best road bicycle racers of all time. My criteria are that the bicycle racers have performed well in both the three big stage races – Tour de France, Giro d’Italia and Vuelta a España – but also in the minor stage races such as Tour de Suisse, Paris-Nice and Dauphiné Libéré and the Classics like Paris-Roubaix and Liège-Bastogne-Liège. I have not looked at doping verdicts or accusations as trying to separate the “clean” from the “guilty” would lead to absolute chaos.
Jan Ullrich is a German former bicycle racer born in 1973. He won the Tour de France in 1997, the white jersey in 1996, 1997 and 1998, and he has 5 second places in the Tour, this earned him the nickname: The Eternal Second. Ullrich has also won Vuelta a España in 1999 and the Tour de Suisse in 2004 and 2006. Other notable wins are the World Time Trial Champion in 1999 and 2001 and the Olympic Road Race in 2000. Ullrich is a powerful bicycle racer with a soft, athletic style, but he often got out of shape during the off-season and had problems losing the extra weight before racing the big races.
Lance Armstrong (aka dopemeister)
The American Lance Armstrong holds the record of most victories in Tour de France with his 7 consecutive drug addled wins. Armstrong also won the 2001 Tour de Suisse and the World Cycling Championship in 1993. This earns him a place on this list, but because Armstrong never impressed in the Giro D’Italia, the Vuelta a España or the Classics, I can’t place him any higher on the list.
Miguel Indurain was born in Spain in 1964. He has won the Tour de France 5 times in a row and the Giro D’Italia 2 times in a row. He has also won the Olympic Time-Trial Championship in 1996 and the World Time-Trial Championship in 1995, as well as two wins in both Dauphiné Libéré and Paris-Nice.
Indurain was relatively big compared to other professional riders – 1.88 m (6 ft 2 in) and 80 kg (176 lbs) – this earned him the nickname “Miguelón”, meaning “Big Mig”. At the top of his career, Miguel Indurain had a physique that was not only superior when compared to average people, but also when compared to his fellow athletes. His blood circulation had the ability to circulate 7 liters of blood around his body per minute, compared to the average amount of 3-4 liters of an ordinary person and the 5-6 liters of his fellow riders.
Fausto Coppi was born in Italy in 1919. He won the Tour de France twice, in 1949 and 1952, and the Giro D’Italia five times in 1940, 1947, 1949, 1952 and 1953. He also won the World Championship in 1953, the Giro di Lombardia in 1946, 1947, 1948, 1949 and 1954, the Milan-Sanremo in 1946, 1948 and 1949, and the Paris-Roubaix and the La Flèche Wallonne in 1950
Felice Gimondi was born in Italy in 1942. In 1968 Gimondi was nicknamed “The Phoenix” after winning the Vuelta a España, this victory made him the second rider after Jacques Anquetil to win all three big stage races, he is one of only five riders to ever win all three. Gimondi won the Tour de France in 1965, the Giro D’Italia in 1967, 1969 and 1973 and the Vuelta a España in 1968. Gimondi also won Paris-Roubaix in 1966 and the World Road Cycling Championship in 1973.
Gino Bartali was born in Italy on 1914. He has won the Tour de France twice, in 1938 and 1948, both times also winning the mountain competition, and the Giro D’Italia three times in 1936, 1937 and 1946, also here he won the mountain competition all three times. Bartali also won the Tour de Suisse in 1946 and 1947. Bartali was a good climber and a pioneer of derailleur gears. His style was unusual: he rarely danced on the pedals and often stayed in the saddle throughout a 15km climb. When others attacked, he stayed in the saddle but changed up gear, to a sprocket three teeth smaller.
He rode smoothly on mountains but every now and then freewheeled, always with
his right foot lowered with his weight on it. Then a second or two later he would start pedaling again.
Séan Kelly was born in Ireland in 1956, and became one the most successful rider of the 1980s and the best Classics rider of all times. His wins include the Vuelta a España in 1988, 4 point class wins in both the Tour de France and the Giro D’Italia, 7 consecutive win in Paris-Nice form 1982 – 1988, 2 wins in Tour de Suisse, Paris-Roubaix and Liège-Bastogne-Liége.
Jacques Anquetil was born in France in 1934. He has won the Tour de France five time, in 1957 and 1961-1964, the Giro D’Italia twice in 1960 and 1964, the Vuelta a España in 1936 and the Liège-Bastogne-Liège in 1966. Anquetil also holds several records:
- He was the first to the Tour de France five times
- He was the first to win all three big stage races
- He was the first French rider to win the Giro D’Italia
- He was the first French rider to wear the yellow jersey in the Tour de France form the first day to the last.
Bernard Hinault was born in France in 1954, and is one of only five riders to have won all three big stage races, and the only to have won each more than once. Hinault is the only rider ever to have finished either first or second in each Tour de France he finished. He won the Tour de France in 1978, 1979, 1981, 1982 and 1985, the Giro D’Italia in 1980, 1982 and 1985 and the Vuelta a España in 1978 and 1983. Among Hinault many other victories are Paris-Roubaix in 1981, Liège-Bastogne-Liège in 1977 and 1980 and the World Road Cycling Championship in 1980.
Eddy Merchx was born in Belgium in 1945 and became the best road bicycle racer the world has ever seen. He won the Tour de France 5 times in 1969, 1970, 1971, 1972 and 1974, the Giro D’Italia 5 times in 1968, 1970, 1972, 1973 and 1974 and the Vuelta a España once in 1973. Merckx also won the Tour de Suisse once, Paris-Nice 3 times, Dauphné-Libéré once, Paris-Roubaix 3 times, Liège-Bastogne-Liége 5 times and the World Road Race Championship 3 times. Eddy Merckx is also one of only five riders to win all three big stage races during their career, the four others are: Jacques Anquetil, Felice Gimondi, Bernard Hinault and Alberto Contador.
WHO WOULD YOU ADD TO THE LIST?
“Behind the scenes” footage of Montepaschi – Strade Bianche.
Vittoria S.p.A announces the debut of the video “Servizio Corse Strade Bianche — Chapter I”. This video is the first of a series that allows all cycling fans to get a “behind the scenes” impression of the first season of the professional cycling world, including the Giro d’Italia.
Music by Kevin Norris