Vincenzo Nibali (Astana), crossed the finish line alone to win Stage 19 of the 2016 Giro d’Italia. Photo: LB/RB/Cor Vos.
  • MattHurst

    Great write up, thank you. Cmon Chaves :)

  • Neuron1

    Scarponi was the linchpin to Nibali’s victory today. What a great teammate.

  • Dave

    After that display by LottoNL, I can see why there are rumours going around that Kruijswijk’s agent has lined up a BMC deal for him to sign in August.

    It would be the perfect combination – he gets the support he deserves to make him a genuine Tour contender, and BMC would see success for their strategy of employing good domestiques like Richie and TJVG a year early to lure a GC rider who is on the market.

    • Pete23

      Love that comment about richie and tjvg, ouch much??

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    • bigdo

      Porte and Van Garderen domestique’s? Your either purposely being an ass or just outright silly…

      • Dave

        Well I suppose you could call them contenders if BMC think a top 25 for one of those two to go with a win for Kruijswijk is worth the ‘two-pronged attack’ talk.

        • bigdo

          fair enough… in terms of sheer skill/talent, Porte’s climbing abilities are right there with Kruijswijk, and Van Garderen is also a potent Grand Tour contender… Kruijswijk is doing wonderfully and is a top talent, but give credit where it’s due..

          • SprintFinish

            Porte and TJ are still unproven. Kruijswijk too but he’s on the up and up. The others have plateaued.

      • Michele

        It’s not on purpose. It just comes naturally.

  • Bärlach

    Great write up Neal, thanks.

  • Neuron1

    Great summary. I find the silence of the OGE fans interesting regarding Chaves and Nibali “attacking” the crashed Maglia Rossa. Had that been Nibali alone, the verbal attacks would likely be vociferous about how unfair it was that he had not waited for SK. I also find it even more interesting that Chaves’ comments regarding continuing the fight while SK was crashed are so seemingly cold hearted. Again, if those had come from Nibali, “sorry mate, but it is like this”, the screams of outrage would be deafening. For the future, when any rider attacks the “jersey” after a crash, we can look back on the hushed keyboards of the Sky, OGE loving commenters and say, “but it is like this”. Game on.

    • Dave

      Huh? I thought he crashed all on his own without some external event like a mechanical warranting a neutralisation.

      Grand tours are about testing the whole rider including their handling skills, not just the wattage they can put out on a climb.

      • SprintFinish

        Cannot blame them for “attacking”. Chaves had no choice but to follow Nibali.

      • Hugh Davis

        I always find it interesting how people react to any breaches of the “unwritten rules” like this. I think people really react differently to different riders based on past actions as well, I mean it makes logical sense for a rider who blatantly cheated by holding onto a support vehicle to be held in a negative light. Curious to see what people think!!

        • Neuron1

          I assume you are talking about Froome’s disqualification in the 2010 Giro. ;-)

          • Hugh Davis

            Hmm that is a good point, and I guess we just have to take Froome on his word that he was really just “trying to get to the top of the hill” in order to pull out of the race. But I think contrasting Nibali and Chaves goes a long way to highlight the importance of a teams image in eyes of the public. Orica Greenedge’s image is pretty stellar you would have to say, via both their public exposure through their Backstage Pass and “underdog” status when it comes to stage races such as the Giro. Whereas Astana can hardly claim similar public support in the eyes of the press / public (not that I can speak for either actually haha). But regardless.. still super eager to see Nibali and Chaves duke it out tonight!

      • Michele


        Unless Nibali happens to win a TdF when both Froome and Bertie crash out.

        Then the general consensus is Vincenzo just for lucky. A theory I don’t subscribe to.

        Was interesting to read a couple of days a go a couple of comments – by Dutch fans – saying they were worried about Kruijswijk’s bike handling skills on descents.

        May have been even on CT. They had sound cause for concern.

        • Dave

          I also don’t agree that Nibali was lucky, his performance on descents is all class.

          It wasn’t just Nibali either. Chaves is not an outrageously talented rider on the descents, but he’s worked at it to the point that it is at least not a hindrance.

          Thankfully this appears to be just a case of hair shirt wearers claiming vicarious offence, as Steven Kruijswijk himself agreed that it was a racing incident and refused to shift the blame.

    • Daniel

      The bloke rode into a snow wall due to a lack of skill, did you expect them to stop and pick him up, maybe one of them could of given him their bike.

      • Neuron1

        I agree with you. All cycling skills are essential to win a bike race. It seems that many here have the feeling, not me, that it’s not a race. It’s full on all the time, and this myth of not attacking the leader is just that, a myth.

    • Ross Andrew Cayley

      Its tough for sure, but last time I looked, you had to be capable of going around all the corners to be a GC contender….

  • Berne Shaw

    Gone are the days of honor in the peloton. No waiting for the presumptive leader! It is do maximum damage to him while he is down. Go as hard as possible while he is injured or mechanical. Crikes pretty low ball stuff.

    • SprintFinish

      You must have been watching another race mate. Nothing wrong with descending the way they did.
      There was no mechanical. A spectator or moto didn’t cause it.

    • Daniel

      Low ball stuff is his team mates effort for the entire tour. It takes a miracle for a solo effort to win a 3 week race against 21 other teams. Provided he is not seriously injured he is still in it, but his teams effort from management down is disgraceful.

      • Nathan

        Really? Just because you don’t see them on the last climb doesn’t mean they are not there and doing the job the rest of the time. Not every team can afford multiple top climbers able to be there at the bitter end.

      • Michele

        That is some flawed logic.

        Until he crashed out of contention, (there’s no coming back from this), Kruijswijk was in such a strong position. So much so, it was his race to lose. His win wouldn’t have been a miracle.

        You don’t need a super strong team to win the Giro. That is why it’s such a great race.

        Unlike the TdF, where every rider in the peloton is at peak fitness, teams in the Giro aren’t strong enough / fit enough to control proceedings.

        Look at Garmin and Ryder from 3 years ago. Look at Bertie last year.

        Yes, you need a strong team in July. May? Not so much.

    • Ross Andrew Cayley

      Wasnt a mechanical …was a self-inflicted crash. Thats racing.

  • bigdo

    That fall that Kruijswijk took was hellacious… right into the guard rail which was covered in snow… His Bianchi did like three flips in the air and he went over those handlebars like mad… much respect to him for finishing the stage today… Meanwhile, the Shark Of Messina smelled blood in the water and attacked when he did… Nibali’s stage win will likely set the stage for a glorious last week of action.

    • SprintFinish

      Last few days you mean

  • Ross Andrew Cayley

    That was a dramatic stage. As a smaller rider Chaves looked at his limit following Nibali/Scarpo on parts of that long descent – perhaps thats why he flamed out a bit right near the end. That won’t be so much of an issue on tomorrow’s profile. Chaves can win. Go OGE!

  • Michele

    Would love a repeat performance from Nibali tonight to earn the Maglia Rosa.

    Looking forward to seeing how OGE ride this stage. Could be some fun.

    • JBS

      I half agree with that statement. I want to see both Nibali and Chaves repeat their performances. I’d be happy with either winning, so I hope they take it right down to the wire.

  • by7

    It was bike racing at his finest. Attacks all over the place on all terrains.
    By converse, some stages of the TdF are so scripted that I almost feel asleep..

  • nzspambot

    Kruijswijk wouldn’t have crashed if he had disk brakes ;)

  • Nathan

    I do hope Nibble’s miraculous recovery is legit. He is an exciting rider and his attack last night really brought even more drama to an already very entertaining race. Unfortunately, given the sports history and Nibble’s own recent instances of less than sportsmanlike behaviour, I am sure the questions are being asked.

    • Laurens

      A sincere DS like Vinokourov would never accept that. Oh wait…

    • Saeba R.

      “I am sure the questions are being asked” >> that’s a really cowardly way for you to attack him.

      • Nathan

        I’m not attacking him at all. Personally I hope the questions that are being asked can be answered and everything is above board. He is a great rider, despite some instances of questionable behaviour. I actually like the guy. Sometimes people actually mean what they say and you don’t need to read anything into it.

        • Saeba R.

          “Not sure how to explain such a huge turnaround in form without reference to outside assistance. ” – you said that.

          Don’t talk BS. Of course you are attaching him.

          • Nathan

            Yep – that was me. And it’s true…. I did not know how to explain it. Since then there have been a number of posts that have shown that what seemed like a huge turaround in form was probably related more to the concurrent decline in form of other riders. Like I said, I like the guy, that doesn’t mean I can’t ask questions. Perhaps in future you could try answering those questions in a civil manner rather than (dare I say it) ‘attacking’ me.

  • Robert Merkel

    Marvellous stage.

    FWIW, I don’t have a problem with Nibali and Chaves not waiting. It was undoubtedly cold, but the road wasn’t even wet as best as I can see from the TV. Kruijswijk stuffed up that corner all on his lonesome. Terrible luck to do so much damage to himself and his race, but that’s bike racing.

    However…I didn’t like seeing Pirazzi doing that pull for Nibali and Chaves. I know it’s always been the way, but pulling turns on the promise of money (or a future contract) really is on the slippery slope.

  • James Belford

    Great writing Neal.
    Only thing missed was naming Damien Howson, who lit the thing up like a pyromaniac, burning all his matches in one hilarious go, spreading panic and pain. So exciting to see OGE finally become a real GC team, with perfect tactics as it unfolded, and a deep team, with Plaza a ‘hard man’ of the sport helping Esteban hammer nails in the coffin when it counted. Now they need to be relentless until the end.


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