Giro d'Italia 2018 > The mini rest day thread: 101 so far...


t-72

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The mini rest day thread: 101 so far...
« on: May 07, 2018, 07:15 »
Israel is done and dusty, at least in the Negev. Looking back at it, I think the race showed us 3 quite different faces of the country with the uptight atmosphere of Jerusalem contrasting with laidback, more Europalike, atmosphere of Tel Aviv. It is amazing how much is argued, written and cried over this little strip of land that is so small even I can cycle it coast to inland borded back and forth in a day. The 8 million people here must stack quite densely in the cities, because the Negev desert stage showed us that half of the land is pretty much inhabitable by nature's hand. Good thing they found a way out of there and over to Italy, and the temptation of Israelu money was not strong enough for this to go on for 37 more days.

Racewise, the 2nd and 3rd stage came out pretty much as expected, while the time trial provided a couple of modest surprises - but not at the very top. #sunweb Tom Dumoulin was always the favorite among the GC riders for anything involving a solo effort against the clock.

What has been slightly surprising:
  • #mitchelton Sean Yates' strong time trial performance
  • #sky Froomes weak time trial performance
  • #bahrain Domenico Pozzovivo up there with s.t. as Tony Martin
  • #astana Miguel Angel Lopez trailing the GT bunch at almost a minute down

No, that fall didn't hurt so badly, they told us, but with Lopez and Froome being the underperformers, and the factor in common is both hit the deck while training in Jerusalem - maybe it was aching, just a little bit?

The other explanation, when it comes to Froome is that the opening ITT performance may be a mix of strategical choice and th situation of the day. Froome has performed modestly in opening ITTs before, to come back stronger later, as in - the next day with some opportunity: the day after, in 2015 Neeltje Jans stage. Israel didn't give him this opportunity, even if there has never been as much wind-exposed terrain in the first 3 days of the Giro - it easily could have given the  crosswinds, and then the Israeli stages would be remembered quite differently.

The strategical aspect is the #sunweb Dumoulin vs #sky Froome battle for the maglia rosa in Rome. They might have a different approach, trying to capitalize on their relative strengths vs the other. Froome might have arrived undercooked, hoping to ride himself into form and deliver that final blow in the mountains, perhaps to Cervinia, in week 3. He is the climber with the highest top performance. He said he didn't come to the giro to win it in time trials.

#sunweb Dumoulin might have looked at the course, his opponents and concluded that to win it, he would need to gain as much time as possible in the time trials, and then hold on in the mountains. Consequently, because there is a time trial at the start, he might have timed his top form earlier than Froome. I doubt he is putting all his money on the stage 1, but he was obviously more motivated than Froome, and that might reflect his view on the stage's importance - which again probably is a product of his preparations.

Dumoulin is not a bad climber, and those that doubt his performance on irregular climbs and bad road conditions can check his time up Fløyen in last years' world championship. However, there will be a few in this race that can match him and more than match him when the road tilts upwards.

So, the questions:
  • Will his form curve cross that of Froome towards the end of the giro? 
  • Will one of the more "pure" climbers open a gap on some of the  more complex mountain stages?

For climbers that can get out of control, I would not forget #uae Fabio Aru, at least not until after Sestriere as he seems to have a special relation to that area. (personal sponsor at least in his astana days, i think). However, right now it is more about #mitchelton Yates and #bahrain Pozzovivo. The southerner might want to put in a kick close to his home turf.



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    LukasCPH

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    And is it time to start the Bananito hype yet?
    It's never too early to start the Bananito hype!
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    Capt_Cavman

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    With regard to Froome...

    Traditionally Sky's top riders have been utterly dominant from well before their targeted race  until the end of it (PN to TDF). Sky victories from August onwards were few and far between unless something went wrong at the TDF. Last year this changed as a weak TDF field opened up the possibility of a double and Froome clearly grew much stronger during the TDF and just about held on during the Vuelta.

    So how seriously is Froome taking the Giro? On the face of it, not very. He hasn't looked like winning a stage this season, let alone a race and his support hasn't done much either. His prologue time was that of a domestique, not a race favourite and TT specialist. So why is he here?

    Because it's a weakish field and he thinks he could sneak a win even if not at his peak and still have form for the TDF? Other riders especially Thomas have been passed over so you would have thought the plan was better than that.
    A simple question of taking the money before the ban? Again, unless they're sharing the money out, team spirit is a high price to pay.
    He's using it as prep and taking the money? But then who's the real GT rider? Henao? Not had much form either.
    The prologue was just a blip and he's actually in much better form than I think? Maybe...
    Or with all this controversy hanging over him he's missing a fraction of focus?

    Strange...
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  • Joelsim

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    Froome’s key objective is still the TDF. So he was always going to come into this undercooked.


    Dumo definitely needs to take time in the ITTs, the field to me is stronger than last year as far as climbers are concerned.
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  • Mellow Velo

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    Froome’s key objective is still the TDF. So he was always going to come into this undercooked.


    Dumo definitely needs to take time in the ITTs, the field to me is stronger than last year as far as climbers are concerned.
    Froome’s key objective is still the TDF. So he was always going to come into this undercooked.


    Dumo definitely needs to take time in the ITTs, the field to me is stronger than last year as far as climbers are concerned.


     Is it? Or is that with hinsight, we know that last year, one or two climbers were out of contention early?

    I Know you are a big fan (as am I) of Lopez, then we have Froome, S Yates, Chavez (hopefully), Aru, Bennett and Meintjes.
    Last year there was Quintana, Nibali, Zakarin, Kruijswijk, A Yates, Mollema, Keldeman and Landa.
    Pinot, Pozzo and Woods at both.
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    Drummer Boy

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    Not everyone smiling about the Giro.

    Palestinians condemn UAE, Bahrain presence in cycle race in Israel

    Quote
    Palestinians have expressed outrage at teams from the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain for taking part in the opening legs of the Giro d’Italia cycling race in Israel over the weekend, which they say undermined Arab solidarity with their cause.

    The presence of the Gulf states’ teams in the top cycling race — which has now moved on to its home territory in Italy — broke a boycott of Israel in place since the start of the Arab-Israeli conflict in 1948.

    Quote
    Along with most other Arab and Muslim states, the two countries do not recognise Israel out of solidarity with Palestinians who seek a state in Gaza and the Israeli-occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem.

    Malak Hassan, founder of a 3000-strong club Cycling Palestine, [Who knew? :slow] condemned the move and said Israeli checkpoints barred her and fellow bike enthusiasts from travelling freely.

    “We were shocked ... Israel is trying to polish its image by hosting this race,” she told Reuters in the occupied West Bank city of Ramallah.

    Quote
    None of the cyclists in either of the 8-men teams — Bahrain–Merida and UAE Team Emirates — appeared to be Bahraini or Emirati citizens and were almost all European, according to profiles on the event’s official website.
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  • t-72

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    I can understand where they are coming from but I am not a believer in boycotts. There isn't any international political issue that will be solved by boycott in sports.

    Sports is a way for people to come together on a different level than in politics. It is a bit like trade, but then it is not trade either, but concerning trade, it has been said: if goods cannot cross the borders, soldiers will. And that is pretty much what happens down there, they close borders and soon enough the only ones that cross them are the soldiers.

    I believe peace is built in incremental and very small steps and cross-border and international participation in sports events are normalising the situation and creating a larger contact surface between nations. More ideas will flow across such contact surfaces than if there is a "boycott and isolate" situation.

    The Palestinians' situation is bad, and Israel is at least partly to blame for that, but there are other conflict lines and potential conflict lines in the Middle East as well, and some of those are maybe just a little fraction less tight, now that we have seen the #uae team riding at the front in black, white, red and green? I think quite a few Israelis felt it was a good thing.   
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  • LukasCPH

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    Not everyone smiling about the Giro.

    Palestinians condemn UAE, Bahrain presence in cycle race in Israel
    Proof if proof were needed that the Gulf states don't give a farthing about the plight of the Palestinians, it's only about feathering their own petrodollar-improved nest even further.

    Not that I personally think boycotting Israel in sports is the thing to do; but until now it was de rigueur in the Arab world. The Iranians even take it to extremes such as wrestlers losing their quarterfinal bout because the semifinal opponent would have been an Israeli.

    Now there is a crack in that; and maybe, like t-72 says, that could bring about a relaxation of the often all-too-incensed atmosphere in the region.

    Quote
    None of the cyclists in either of the 8-men teams — Bahrain–Merida and UAE Team Emirates — appeared to be Bahraini or Emirati citizens and were almost all European, according to profiles on the event’s official website.
    Whoever expressed surprise at those two teams not fielding Bahrainis or Emiratis at a GT needs to learn a bit about cycling, though. :D
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  • t-72

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    just adding here, for comparison:

     *uae now the palestinan one has the same color except the red is a triangle shape like in this flag.. *bs

    (oh iconmaster- how come we have antartica and not palestine?)
     
    *eh  *kw also come close.... no cigar

    Here it is:



    My point is ... the #uae jersey has the same colors and the flag is quite similar too!
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  • t-72

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    Whoever expressed surprise at those two teams not fielding Bahrainis or Emiratis at a GT needs to learn a bit about cycling, though. :D

    Yep, their high-profile riders, such as Emiratis,  go to AMGEN Tour of California which is a more prestigeous event  :angel
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  • Armchair Cyclist

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    just adding here, for comparison:

     *uae now the palestinan one has the same color except the red is a triangle shape
    *eh  *kw also come close

    My point is ... the #uae jersey has the same colors and the flag is quite similar too!

     Wikipedia:
    Quote
    The Pan-Arab colors are black, white, green, and red. Individually, each of the four Pan-Arab colors were intended to represent a certain Arab dynasty, or era.  The black was the color of the banner of Muhammad and the Rashidun Caliphate and was later adopted by the Abbasid Caliphate; white was used by the Umayyad Caliphate; green was used by the Fatimid Caliphate; and red was both the flag held by the Khawarij and also represented the Hashemites, as well as the Ottoman Empire.
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  • LukasCPH

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    (oh iconmaster- how come we have antartica and not palestine?)
    We do now! :cool
    *ps * ps

    No idea why it wasn't 'active', the flag was in the files already.
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  • Armchair Cyclist

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     And a huge *ps Palestinian flag on the hillside at the finish town today.
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  • Caruut

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    I am not quite sure what to say on this. Unlike some other posters here I do believe in sporting boycotts, and feel extremely uncomfortable about watching what I feel was a 3-day advert for a state with a shocking human rights record. As it was I watched Yorkshire instead.

    It's gotten me thinking, as I always do, about whether I impose a different standard on Israel than I do for other countries. Will I avoid watching the upcoming World Cup in Russia, for example? I probably won't, and I wouldn't say I particularly like the Russian regime. I guess to me there are two things about this. The first is that Israel, unlike Russia, enjoys incredibly widespread support among the political establishment in this country - you wouldn't find 2/3 of the governing party's MPs being part of a Conservative Friends of Russia group - so protesting at least has some effect, while what could a protest against Russia do? The British establishment have their minds pretty much made up on Russia - nobody is pretending that they are part of the club of liberal democracies. The second relates to one of the reasons I think cycling appeals to me, this idea of an intimate connection between the sport and the land. A cycling race really shows off a country, the people, the scenery. In a football match, once that whistle goes, you could be anywhere.

    It's not like the sponsors of cycling generally are a bunch of angels either. We have tours of Qatar, Abu Dhabi, teams sponsored by Bahrain, the UAE, Kazakhstan, Russia. In a perfect world this sport would not be so dependent on such dirty money, but here we are. Is Israel worse than those? Truthfully I couldn't say. Of course most Israeli citizens are more free to live their lives, criticise their governments, but then the Palestinians are less free than anyone. Some of the stories of children dying at checkpoints on the way to the hospital in the West Bank are truly heartbreaking, and there is something that somehow sticks in the craw about a system of ethnic separation above that goes beyond the petrofeudalism of the Gulf states, for me.

    I don't know if I would feel the same way about a Tour of Israel, I feel like I have the ability to make my own mind up on that, whereas I already love the Giro so it feels more forced upon me.

    It's all very complicated, and I don't quite know what to think. Honestly I'm just kinda glad it's over, and I can get back to the mindless pleasure of bike racing.
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