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Monday, 27 May 2013

NIBALI'S KNOCK OUT GIRO

It was always going to be a fight between Nibali and Wiggins. It didn't happen. Others tried but were too late to do something about it (Uran Uran), too unwell (Hesjedal) or simply not strong enough (Evans).

You either win a Grand Tour by being exceptional at TT, like Wiggo, or you can attack and drop your opponents in the steepest climbs, like Froome, Contador, Rodriguez.

Evans does not have that edge on neither so good luck to him for the Tour de France as I think his TT prowess has dropped down a few notches and although he's one of the best climbers, he seems to be able to just following the best, not going past them.

Nibali backed up his consistent performance with two important wins, on the TT climb and the steep and cold Tre Cime di Lavaredo.
Looking at the GC though, I cannot see any other serious contenders as Uran is not amazing at TT; he can drop riders in the mountains, but so far he was allowed to do so as Wiggins was at the time the man to watch in the Sky team. Nibali would not have let him open up such a gap when he won stage 10 (and even then he only had 31 secs on Nibs).

Visconti was pretty amazing, showing a strength of character of the highest value. Following Di Luca attempt at winning idiot-of-the-year award by doping yet again and being thrown out in too-polite a fashion, there will be people skeptical about Visconti's performance. But the lad has always been strong, hopefully he simply needed to get the right mix of inspiration, grit, strength.

Cavendish was the usual master of sprints, making other sprinters look like amateurs in tactics and in strength. OmegaPharma Quick Step was on the dot in terms of taking the stages by the horn and unleashing the Manx missile with military precision.

The weather was unkind to an otherwise incredibly well plotted route. Acquarone, since he has been in charge, has been doing a great job.
My only points against the Giro's organisation are, in no particular order:
1. The red jersey points needs looking into as it doesn't seem to be rewarding the right set of riders. Apart from Cavendish, there were riders at the very top who were not even contesting the jersey but could have ended up wearing it. These are mostly climbers, for whom a blue jersey is already a target.
2. The blue jersey should be going back to green...no need to explain, surely!
3. The final stage needs to be a classic, somewhere always the same like Milan or better still, Rome. Brescia was a scenic stage but it felt like any other stage, nothing that celebrated with pomp an otherwise epic Grand Tour.

Luca Scinto needs to get his house in order now, not just hiring and firing but also make sure internal medical checks are carried out, especially when it comes to riders with a doping past as he rightly said, a case like Di Luca could send the whole team of employees and their families in disrepute.

Bardiani were simply fantastic. The team was at the front in most stages, in breakaways and working its socks off fighting for the wins. Pirazzi was majestic in conquering the Mountain classification. And considering that six of the nine riders had never done a three-week race, well, simply chapeau! Young riders like Zardini and Battaglin give Italy great hope for the future.

Struggling teams like Blanco and Vacansoleil were left gasping for breath. Searching for sponsors and not getting results must be a scary prospect.

Majka and Betancur showed promise for the future, especially Majka in my opinion as he did better in the all important first TT. Betancur was impressive too, but like many others, Scarponi, Gesink, Santambrogio, Pozzovivo, he needs to work on time trialling or it's just not going to happen.

Paolini and Pozzato need to give up Twitter ;-)

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