2020 Giro review

RnkPrev▼▲RiderTeamUCIPntTime
12▲1 GEOGHEGAN HART TaoINEOS Grenadiers85040085:40:21
21▼1 HINDLEY JaiTeam Sunweb6802900:39
33 KELDERMAN WilcoTeam Sunweb5752401:29
45▲1 ALMEIDA JoãoDeceuninck – Quick Step4602202:57
54▼1 BILBAO PelloBahrain – McLaren3802003:09
66 FUGLSANG JakobAstana Pro Team3201907:02
77 NIBALI VincenzoTrek – Segafredo2601808:15
88 KONRAD PatrickBORA – hansgrohe2201708:42
99 MASNADA FaustoDeceuninck – Quick Step1801609:57
1010 PERNSTEINER HermannBahrain – McLaren14015011:05

The last day drama of the 2020 Giro D’Italia was only a part of the race long narrative that saw excitement and attacking racing.

There was also confirmation of the changing of the guard at the top of stage racing with Vicenzo Nibali joining the ranks of also ran along side the other cast offs of the season.

It looked for so long like the British challenge was over before the race made the mainland with Geraint Thomas crashing on a bidon a losing time before quitting.

Ineos Grenadiers changed tack at this point smashing riders into all breakaways and proving that the Michal Kwiatkowski/Richard Carapaz tandem from the Tour de France was no fluke.

Fillipo Ganna was a revelation of the race, unbeatable in time trials and showing that his ability to finish off moves in bad weather marks him out as a possible classics rider of the future.

Rohan Dennis proved his can be famous for more than an Instagram post showing him breaking lockdown in Girona by guiding Tao Geoghagan-Hart back into contention after he’d lost time nursing Thomas.

Despite getting deeper and deeper into the race whilst wearing the pink jersey, Joao Almeida started to look flaky in the mid race mountain stages before hitting the buffers for good on the Stelvio.

It was there that perennial grand tour contender Wilco Kelderman seemed to fall into the jersey. However he looked weak in taking the race lead with Geoghagan-Hart and his own team mate Jai Hindley riding away to contest the stage.

Kelderman said all the right things about being in the race lead with 2 days to go but he was clearly beaten.

He fell away totally on the final Saturday of the race leaving Hindley to follow and take the pink jersey. It’s third occupant in three days of racing.

Hindley was on the same time as Tao going into the final days time trial after a trade of stage wins and time bonuses across the previous 48 hours.

It was Roglic-Pogcar and LeMond-Fignon but with no head start for any rider and with only fractions of a second from previous time trials used to decide who was race leader.

The destiny of the 2020 Giro was perfectly balanced, however this one wasn’t quite an exciting as the Tours mentioned above.

Tao was 10 seconds up according to GPS very early in the stage and by the official time check it was a situation where barring accident or misfortune, he would win the race.

And that he did. It was great to see local rider to us Hannah Barnes greet him after the finish as his partner. They are cyclings Posh and Becks!

He is a rider who is still young and fresh faced but whose time has now come. He saw his leader fall out of the race and then took his time to find his feet as leader, chipping back time as and when he could.

With the new Ineos style of attacking racing suiting him more than wattage based mountain trains, this was a case of right rider, right time and right place.

Well done Tao!

Tour ’20 – Stages 18&19 – Kwiatkowski gets his reward

Polish domestique deluxe Michal Kwiatkowski got due reward for his years in service of Tour de France winners when he took stage 18 after a long breakaway.

With team mate Richard Carapaz, they took flight from the days break along with serial escapee Marc Hirschi of Sunweb.,

The most active rider of the race was keen to add to his stage win last week but crashed on a descent leaving the Ineos pair alone at the head of affairs.

With the gap big enough and the favourites not interested in attacking they had the luxury of sorting out who was going to win on the run in to the finish. It was brillant to see a clearly emotional Kwiatkowski cross the line for a rare, but really popular win.

Stage 10 saw Soren Kragh Andersen win the stage after a day that was only brightly animated by Remi Cavagna in a long lone breakaway that was always doomed but was entertaining enough to avoid switching the TV off.

Late in the stage a breakaway did escape including a number of good classics riders. Luke Rowe , Nils Pollit, Tim DeClercq and the king of Flanders Greg Van Avermaet made the split.

However Andersen was able to repeat the feat as he did on the way into Lyon escaping to win his 2nd stage of the Tour.

All eyes now move to the final weekend of the race and its opening and only time trial.

It’s been a really decent Tour so far so let’s hope for an exciting final weekend of action.

Britain to be under-represented at the Tour de France as Ineos duo stay home

The cycling, in fact the whole sports news in the UK today is dominated by Team Ineos’ leaving out 5 Tour de France’s worth of yellow jersey’s at home for this years race.

Chris Froome was (maybe unsurprisingly given he is off to Israel/Start up Nation) the headline name left out of the squad with 2018 winner Geraint Thomas shocked to miss out.

Froome has been part of transfer negotiations all season and at one point there was even talk of him heading to his new team in time to lead them in the race. That would have been a really good option with I/SIN losing Dan Martin last week to a crash in the Dauphine.

However he stayed with the team he joined from Barloworld with Thomas and has been rewarded for his loyalty by being cut. Let’s hope he has a GCN Racepass…

To be fair to Froome he has taken it graciously and accepted an autumn Vuelta as his last outing in the Ineos colours.

Thomas on the other hand was more of a surprise. He had worked well in tandem with Egan Bernal last summer and seemed to be the most ok with sharing team leadership. However the interview he did on TV after the penultimate stage of the Dauphine saw him admit to being 1kg over weight and that he needed to shift it.

He gets to ride the Giro as compensation.

You wonder whether this is a move to keep Bernal happy or whether the performance of the climbing unit in the last couple of stage races has been that poor, Sir Dave Brailsford was moved to shake things up.

Jumbo/Visma have dominated Ineos this season so far and something needs to change for that not to be the case around ‘Le hexagon’ in the next few weeks.

Thomas will have received a boost to his Giro ambitions with reigning pink jersey Richard Carapaz one of the riders called up to help Bernal in the Tour.

Is this the best or craziest move this team has ever made?

Can’t wait to find out.

Will Sivakov be the man to end the home nations Tour de France drought?

I had barely started riding and following racing when a Frenchman last won the Tour de France. The world was a different place full of cold war and space shuttles.

A-ha were the pop band of choice and Bernard Hinaut was the yellow jersey.

At that point it would have been madness to suggest that we’d be heading to a quarter of the way into the next century before they won the big one again. It’s at this point I have to mention Andy Murray at WImbledon. Not because I have any great interest in tennis, it’s just the done thing.

Now depsite a number of false dawns through Romain Bardet, Thibaut Pinot and erm…. Christophe Moreau and Ronan Pensec it could be time for France.

But will it be David Gaudu or Pierre LaTour who gets the hero status and free Pelforth in every bar for life?

Well actually I think not. My view is that it will be the Russian rider on Ineos, Pavel Sivakov who is the man most likely.

Let me explain. Sir Dave Brailsford has long been quoted as saying that once he won the Tour with British riders that getting a French winner over the line was his next ambition.

The team has been linked with a number of French riders in the past including Pinot but Sivakov is clearly an amazing prospect who despite riding for Russia also has a French passport and could well be riding Le Tour for the Tricolore in coming years. He rides for Brailsfords team.

Would he be a genuine winner of the race for the home nation shoud the 2021 or 2022 yellow jersey come home with him? My feeling would be that the French will be so pleased to see their flag raised above the finishing podium that his origins will be forgiven.

I cant wait to see how it plays out and whether he can do it.

Is Froome transfer story for real?

No soon had my post which mentioned how I felt there was a bit of a bias against Ineos at Cyclingnews gone live that the website launched a story saying Froome wanted out, and maybe even before the 2020 Tour de France, should that happen.

Interesting stuff.

Reading the comments on the article shows that many share the viewpoint I have that there is an agenda of some sort at play here.

The comments point to the fact that the article is full of “Cyclingnews understands” and “we believe and agent said”. Of course there is the old adage that there is no smoke without fire and you don wonder how all of the leaders will fit at Ineos. Who will get the front seat of the team bus for example (!). But I don’t see Froome going at this stage of the season.

Ineos don’t release riders unless they feel their performances will be going down. SO for me if Froome does pitch up at Bahrain before any Tour de France sets off, I wouldn’t be betting my last pound on him doing much.

Cycling team sponsor joins Corona virus effort.

Hot on the heels of Italian cycle clothing companies announcing that they were going to turn their factories over to making scrubs for the health service, controversial sponsor Ineos is building a hand gel factory in 10 days.

Now there is no doubt that the sponsor and its owner Sir Jim Radcliffe have an interesting and not universally praised back story but these are times that we have to ignore that in these unusual times.

Click here to read the press release. I am sure that there will be more examples of cycling joining the fight back in coming days and weeks.