Thursday, May 9, 2013

Giro d’Italia: Stage 7 Preview & Favorites

First of all, I’m glad to see my joker for Stage 6, Edwin Avila, not letting me down and taking 11th place in the sprint. Impressive by the young Colombian!

Now let’s look at Stage 7. This stage has ’breakaway’ written all over it. The profiles looks like bread knife and this leg breaking stage will tire out many riders before the demanding time trial on Saturday. Bradley Wiggins will probably hope for a quiet stage but for guys like Vincenzo Nibali and Ryder Hesjedal, this is a good opportunity to gain a little time before the expected massacre against the clock.

Looking at the stage, the first two names I thought of was Giovanni Visconti and Miguel Angel Rubiano Chavez. Visconti is an expert in these kind of stages and Rubiano knows these roads very well. Troffeo Matteotti starts and ends in Pescara and Rubiano has taking podium twice within the last three years. The Colombian climber spent most of Stage 6 as the very last man in the peloton, where he got some TV-time for amazing bike skills avoiding the big crash with 30 km to go. Visconti also found his way to the TV-cameras at that crash, but unfortunately for sitting on the ground with a sore hip. The former Italian Champion went to hospital after the stage and even though nothing is broken, he may find it too difficult to perform at this best level. That being said, if Giovanni Visconti is ready after his crash, he's one of the biggest favorites for this stage.

There are four KOM sprint within the last 50 km and it will be huge surprise if Stefano Pirazzi doesn’t try something on this stage. He’s in great shape right now, he’s targeting the KOM jersey and he’s not afraid of attacking at any point.

The steep parts of 20% around Chieti are known from Tirreno-Adriatico and Cadel Evans and Vincenzo Nibali always do well here. There are still 35 km to go from the top of the last hills in Chieti, but the final two categorized climbs are very steep too - 18% and 14% - and if Hesjedal, Nibali and others want to gain time on Wiggins, this is where they have to attack.

I think the following list of riders will be good candidates for a morning breakaway. Especially Matteo Rabottini will be eager to show himself in his hometown Pescara. The time shows how many minutes they are after Luca Paolini in the GC:


Katusha will be eager to keep the Pink Jersey one more day and it’s not impossible that the morning break will get caught on the finals climbs - even though I doubt it if it includes strong riders. Should it end with a fight between the GC riders anyway,  look out for Cadel Evans and Mauro Santambrogio. I said in my Overall Preview that Cadel Evans would take a stage in this year’s Giro, and this could very well be that stage.

Also, look pay attention to Danilo Di Luca. The self-proclaimed “Killer” seems to be in good shape already and if it all comes back together, he’s definitely one the peloton can’t let get too much of a gap. Vini-Fantini have a team full of good riders for these kind of stages and they should be represented with strong riders in the front of the race at all time during this stage.

Thursday, I talked with team owner of Androni Giocattoli-Venezuela and Giro Expert on this site last year, Gianni Savio about this stage and here are his thoughts:

This year, the Giro d’Itlaia is different. Usually, the peloton lets the breaks get away and fight for the win, but with everybody wanting to gain seconds, it’s not happening this year. Anyway, we - like many others -want to attack on this stage. It’s a very difficult stage and we know it won’t be easy to get the stage win. There are many teams without a GC leader and they will all try to take a stage win. Our plan is to protect Pellizotti & Rosa and keep them in the front of the peloton and to attack with riders like Rubiano, Rodriguez and Felline.”

Favorite: Cadel Evans
Top3: Giovanni Visconti
Jokers: Miguel Angel Rubiano Chavez / Stefano Pirazzi / Danilo Di Luca 

I promised you something extra for the Giro previews this year and here it is. In collaboration with GNC, you’ll find a short video preview of each stage of the race. Here is Stage 7:

For live coverage of the stage check out

1 comment:

  1. Great preview as always. These stage previews are the best stage cycling previews that I have seen. Just lots of good information everyday. They have been a major help to my fantasy cycling team.

    I am trying to prepare my fantasy cycling team to shift from stage 6 to 7 then 7 to 8. I like the Evans pick for 7 but I am worried about him in stage 8. What do you expect from Evans in the ITT on Saturday? Do you expect him to make the top 10 or top 15?

    Thanks again for the great work. :)