Thursday, May 24, 2012

Giro 18: Euskaltel stay calm as decider looms

While an average speed of close to 50 km/h for an entire stage hardly can be called a "calm day", the Euskaltel riders took it easy in today's 18th Giro d'Italia stage from San Vito di Cadore to Vedelago in anticipation of what's to come the next couple of days.

With the Alpe di Pampeago and the Stelvio on the menu tomorrow and on Saturday respectively, it was probably a wise decision not to infiltrate any breaks on a stage destined for a bunch sprint in light of the demanding days to come. Mikel Nieve stayed well protected and out of trouble, finishing safe and sound inside pack to maintain his 16th overall. Only GT debutants Víctor Cabedo and Adrián Sáez finished outside the pack; the former a mere 25 seconds, the latter 4:47.

Looking ahead, the upcoming two stages should suit Nieve to perfection with its long and numerous climbs. They'll be long days in the saddle, and no one quite handles long, tough, marathon-like days in the high mountains as well as the Euskaltel captain.

Tomorrow, I say launch an identical move to the one Nieve and Txurruka did yesterday - just, this time,  not from so far out. Give it a go on the third to last climb, the cat.1 Passo Pampeago. He's well capable of holding off the lead group of riders if the racing among the GC candidates so far in this race is anything to go by. If he was to attack and get a, say, one-minute gap going into the last climb, you'd do wise to back Nieve for a stage win if Basso and Liquigas continue to deploy their catenaccio tactics. A stage win is definitely within reach.

Stage 18 results:
  • (1, Andrea Guardini (Farnese Vini), 3:00:52
  • 58, Mikel Nieve, s.t.
  • 60, Amets Txurruka, s.t.
  • 70, Pierre Cazaux, s.t.
  • 80, Juan José Oroz, s.t.
  • 91, Jon Izagirre, s.t.
  • 103, Iván Velasco, s.t.
  • 118, Miguel Minguez, s.t.
  • 152, Víctor Cabedo, 0:25
  • 167, Adrián Sáez, 4:47
General classification:
  • (1, Joaquim Rodríguez (Katusha), 77:47:38)
  • 16, Mikel Nieve, 5:42
  • 45, Amets Txurruka, 53:55
  • 46, Juan José Oroz, 53:57
  • 60, Jon Izagirre, 1:26:55
  • 85, Iván Velasco, 1:58:04
  • 136, Víctor Cabedo, 3:05:38
  • 148, Pierre Cazaux, 3:18:18
  • 164, Adrián Sáez, 3:56:21
  • 167, Miguel Minguez, 4:08:11
It's a fact: Euskaltel are one of only five teams, along with Astana, Omega Pharma, Lampre and Androni, with nine riders still in the Giro. 

1 comment:

Stephen said...

Do or die now, same attitude as Wednesday is needed.

I'd rather see them risk all and win a stage/top 10 than defend 16th

Pity I can't watch it at work though!


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