Abetone - Italy - wielrennen - cycling - radsport - cyclisme -   Alberto Contador Velasco (Team Tinkoff Saxo)  pictured during  Giro d'Italia 2015 - stage-5 - from La Spezia - Abetone- photo BiciSport/Cor Vos © 2015
  • Discussion thread #1: Does Orica-GreenEdge have more to prove at this year’s Giro?

    • Michele

      They can always try and go one better than the 2014 Giro and get 3 riders to the finish line in Milano.

      • Oldan Slo

        Both Orica riders did beat one other person last year. Maybe they can double that this year.

    • claude cat

      Stage 11 or 12 would seem to favour Matthews or Gerrans (10 & 13 would seem to be there for the pure sprinters). 17 as well (but by that stage these kind of stages to breakways).

    • CC

      It may not be the right question…Perhaps a nicer questions is, are they on target with their long-term plan?

      When looking at the way they are tracking I’d say they’re doing incredibly well. From the outside it looks like they’ve assessed the competition, and found a niche that will enable them to attain the value that’s required (days in leader jersey) to retain funding, whilst gaining the time to learn the industry better – before taking on the next leap, without all the normal pressures that sink other teams.

    • jack

      “team duly one” perhaps isn’t correct

    • PeteM

      In the context of the rest of their season – and future ones – sure they do. You can be pretty certain they’d say as much themselves. Take Gerrans, for example. Third the other night was good, but he’s had such a disjointed year so far he’s sure to be keen to make an even bigger impression. Important experience for someone like Chavez too, can he stick it out to the end?

    • Derek Maher

      I suppose at the end of the day while winning stages is nice.Fielding a Team for the GC would be even better for the future.
      I know it costs a fortune to get a GC team together for the big tours so maybe in these global austerity times the powers that be should look to reducing the world Tour team costs?.

  • Discussion thread #2: After Formolo and Polanc’s wins, which other lesser-known riders would you like to see win a stage?

    • PeteM

      Tsgabu Grmay, what a story that would be!

    • Michele

      Well last week, the Adelaide Advertsier tipped Vavlverde to win the fist summit finish at the Giro.

      I know he’s not a lesser know rider, but he’s basically been anonymous in the race thus far.

  • Discussion thread #3: Will Astana’s dominance be of significant benefit to Fabio Aru? Or does it all come down to Aru’s ITT?

    • Neil

      Astana may be the strongest team, but what have they got to show for it other than burning matches? At times, Aru has appeared to be in the most trouble of the GC contenders (let’s be honest, Uran isn’t a contender) and has been left without team mates. For mine, watch out for Sky.

      • Michele

        I agree Neil. I think SKY are playing this race very smartly. They’ve done what they have needed to do so far with a minimum of fuss and effort.

        When push comes to shove in the 3rd week, I think we’ll see a different, more visible and pronounced showing from the squad.

        • Gavin Adkins

          I bet SKY would prefer to still have Dario Cataldo riding for them though…

          • Michele

            Good point. Dario is a classy rider.

    • pedr09

      Astana look strong now but lets see how they look in week 3. I think Sky is getting a nice ride along at the moment, I expect to see them more as we go along and less of Astana.

    • claude cat

      Mikel Landa to do a “Froome”?
      Although I believe he’s a weaker TTer than even Aru.

    • Symon

      am I the only one who is suspicious of the way that ALL of Astana are riding so well?

      • Ian Hay

        Tis the elephant in the room!!

      • Neil

        You cycnic! Why does everyone pick on Astana? LOL

    • Derek Maher

      Astana have a great climbing Team and also riders who can really string the Peleton out when needed on the flatter parts of a stage.They lack pure sprinters and TT riders.However the Giro course for the most part suits their riding strengths.The last week in the mountains will decide the winner.

  • Discussion thread #4: Do you think the stage 14 ITT will decide the race?

    • Michele

      I think so …

      Does AC have the ITT legs he once possessed? Refer to 2009 TdF. I doubt it.

      That said, if Porte does get a minute or more on Aru, AC etc., then the Dolomites *could* get interesting. Not like they are not going to be aggressive to get their time back.

      BTW – Love this comment:

      Fabio Aru’s been spending plenty of time on his time trial bike on Tenerife of late but whether he’s able to finish near the time of Richie Porte remains to be seen.

      On Social media last night, the suggestions were that Aru was definitely on something whilst at Tenerife. However, it wasn’t his TT bike.

      • Chris

        I think Aru can do well. Michael Rasmussen certainly improved his TT ability from 2006 to 2007 and was suddenly great at time trialling to keep his leader’s jersey from Cadel

        Perhaps Aru can “draw on courage and stubbornness” (from cyclingnews.com in 2007) just like Rasmussen did. Rasmussen didn’t win it, though. Vino did that year. But the precedent is there.

        • MattF

          Interesting ‘precedent’ Chris. Vino’s time trial ‘win’ was expunged as a consequence of blood doping. Oh the irony of it all. The peerless Cadel Evans was the true winner of that stage.

          • Chris

            Um… too subtle? Rasmussen was kicked out of the Tour that year by his team, too.

      • Holby City

        They aren’t going into the true Dolomites this year.

      • oakie

        Hendo, is that you??

        • Michele

          Sorry … haven’t got time to answer that … big day of work ahead of me.

    • Derek Maher

      If Porte wins that stage I don’t think his team or himself will hold the advantage in the last week.Porte has been reported as suffering from a chest infection who knows if this is true ?.
      Regarding the social media and the usual doping gossip lets wait for the medical tests before dishing out accusations.

    • erin_2503

      I hope so if it means Porte gets a good advantage! It’s still too early to say, but at least he looks comfortable on the climbs. Having said that, I don’t think Bertie has dropped the hammer yet.
      I don’t know what the broadcasting is like in Aus, but BBC is rubbish without a Brit contender in the mix. The cycling page is full of Wiggins! Meanwhile, some guys are having a pretty exciting trundle on the bikes on the continent…

      • Dave

        We have the opposite problem in Australia – a number of our riders are doing very well, so the SBS commentators are wearing skirts and pom-poms.

        SBS desperately needs at least one non-Aussie commentator to bring a bit of balance.

  • Discussion thread #5: What do you make of Contador’s injury? Is he bluffing? And will it affect his stage 14 ITT?

    • Gavin Adkins

      I don’t think he’s ‘bluffing’. It might have been a relatively minor dislocation and they have managed it well. I’m not really a fan of Bertie, but he is well hard. He did get back on the bike with a broken leg in last years Tour. After this rest day my guess is it will be non-issue provided he keeps it upright.

    • Michael in Sydney

      I don’t think he is bluffing either. The SBS team made a lot of the fact that he was able to adjust his cap before the presentation a couple of nights ago. The type of movement that is required to adjust a cap is not the same as the movement to put on a jersey or raise ones arms as tradition requires. Does it impact on his cycling. It appears not.

    • spicelab

      In relative terms I think he’s bluffing to about the same extent he was with his broken leg. He’s quite happy to let the exaggerated accounts fly.

  • Discussion thread #6: Pozzovivo’s crash: what role should the broadcasters play in this case? Do they have a responsibility to cover teh action, good or bad? Or do they need to turn away?

    • Michele

      Wrote about this [at length] at the time of Shane’s excellent CT piece about this crash.

      Had no problems with the helicopter shots of Pozzovivo lying face down like a rag doll. Sure, it didn’t make for good viewing.

      I do have issues with how RAI then went for the close up. I think that was unnecessary. And all the more so, following the fall-out from the live close-up & extremely graphic footage of Wouter Weylandt from his fatal crash [the footage of them cutting his helmet strap off].

      There is a balance that needs to be met in incidents like this. So yes, for heli shots, and no to close ups.

      But the fact RAI rang Pozzovivo’s father and spoke with him live on TV post stage, [when his father still didn’t know the exact extent of his son’s injuries and was somewhat distressed at the time] suggests they don’t do sensitivity all that well.

      • Dave

        Part of the responsibility has to be shared by the organisers. It is completely predictable that the host broadcaster will want the juiciest images possible.

        Formula One recognises this (even though their TV is produced in house!) and has a number of large sheets in the medical intervention car purely for the purpose of being held up to block the camera views. I wouldn’t be surprised if the TDU medical car (or the race ambulances) have them loaded for the same purpose, it’s certainly standard practice for even local-level motorsport – but of course the Giro is in Italy…

    • Derek Maher

      Of course TV reporting on the European mainland is inclined not to censor sporting incidents and shows the results of the perils and aftermath of a sporting crash,Unlike some channels who go to the other extreme and brush accidents under the carpet.

  • Discussion thread #7: Do you think the crashes at this year’s Giro will do anything to dissuade fans from getting too close to the riders? If not, what’s the solution?

    • Michele

      Easy one… for the sprints have a second barrier fence between the road and spectators. The gap between the 2 fences can be a metre; that would stop fans getting their cameras, flags caught up in riders.

      Race organisers can also employ security who walk this gap between the 2 barrier fences ensuring all behave.

      In other words, much the same as the gap between the stage and the front row fans at a rock concert.

      • Steve

        Do you really think the organisers can get this right? Bollards at the Basque Country prove they cant even barricade inanimate objects.

        • Michele

          Again… This should be an easy fix.

          Continuing with the rock band analogy; race organisers need to be OH&S audited. They will be required to ensure they have a subcontractor in place that meets the explicit safety requirements.

          If they can’t, UCI registered teams wouldn’t be allow to race.

          Harsh I know. But do we have to wait until a serious, career ending accident occurs to a big name rider before action is taken?

          • Dave

            The teams could solve this if they worked together instead of stabbing each other as soon as their backs are turned. They could appoint their own technical delegates who would inspect the course every day and report back on whether it is safe enough to race including double barriers on the finishing straight.

            All easily achievable without any need to rely on the UCI pulling their finger out, and a bit more like a rock band who has one of their own people check out the venue for themselves instead of relying on OH&S certificates.

      • Nath

        Two rows of barriers is overkill. What would be better (and significantly cheaper) is a redesigned barrier with a top width that allows a fan to see but not reach over. Think a rhombus or similar.

        • Arfy

          Then someone will sit on it to get a better view. Maybe better just to electrify it, a few sparks will add to the atmosphere.

          • Dave

            Electricity is for farmers. Flamethrowers would be the way to go.

        • Daniel

          That sounds an awful lot like two barriers with a hat on

        • Dave

          Two rows of barriers is far simpler than designing and manufacturing a new type of barrier which would be of limited utility compared to the standard barriers which stack together nicely and can be used for a bike race today and some other event tomorrow.

    • CC

      Simplest solution is to tell the riders to get off the fence.

      • Kyle

        Why should the riders give up the amount of road they need because a fan can’t stop themselves from leaning over the railing? Have you ever been in a sprint before? They aren’t taking up the whole road just to be dicks, they use it so they can get around the lead out men, pass other sprinters, avoid dumb fans that lean over the railing. Come on, use your head.

        • CC

          thanks, It would require a behaviour change – which ironically you proved could be a challenge !

    • Paul N

      I agree with Michele, a second fence with a metre between them would be the best for the riders and the fans.

    • Arfy

      I like the idea of double-barriers, but understand that the extra couple of meters width would sometimes mean less room for the riders. Another solution could be to have higher barriers, with a standing platform behind them. This way the fans could still be close to the action, but they would be above the riders, out of the way.

      • Dave

        No need to take the ‘buffer’ space from the riders, keep the trackside barriers where they are and push the crowd side barriers back.

    • Dave

      So-called “efforts” to “solve” it by telling spectators to move back etc haven’t worked for years, there’s absolutely no reason to believe that having yet another attempt will get a different result.

      It’s embarrassing, and shows up cycling as being a third-rate sport. Even cricket has a double barrier line sorted out for major international events!

    • Derek Maher

      I have been following the tours for more decades than I care to remember.The riders always had to cope with fanatical fans on mountain stages and sprints its just been part of the tours.It would perhaps be a good idea to keep the fans back a little for the sprints although there will always be idiots either on wine or beer or just plain mad who will cause problems.When you organize a race and I have done a few in the past you need to take out insurance for those times when things go wrong.

    • Andy B

      Some fault has to lay with the riders taking the risk of riding right along the fence or getting into gaps that don’t really exist, I know when i’m racing and if I get involved in a sprint I actively choose not to take a line that will put me at such risk
      If I get closed out or find myself in a gutter etc i’ll just let it go..its not worth the risk of injury (potentially career ending for these guys)

      I understand they are at a totally different level but positioning is the key and if you’re out of position perhaps you need to let the win go,
      Taking that line could also have meant he ran into the barrier without a spectator being at fault so I think some of the problem lies with the rider
      You will always have spectators trying to see.. they come from all over the world and can barely catch a glimpse of the riders at the sprint finish,
      I’ve been there a number of times, it all happens to quick.. there is no intent to harm the riders and i’m sure these guys feel horrible for causing the accident

      A rider just need to know when they are out of position and let it go

  • Discussion thread #8: Can Richie Porte win the 2015 Giro d’Italia from here?

    • Andy B

      Lets hope he stays healthy and avoids crashes, looks to be in great form! GOOOO RICHIE :)

    • Michele

      At the beginning of the Giro, I hoped he could, but doubted he would.

      Granted, the ‘blow-torch’ hasn’t been put on him yet, but I am a lot more confident of Porte winning than I was 8 days ago.

    • spicelab

      If he aces the ITT I’d be willing to bet on him, but there’s still the enormous unknown regarding his capacity to withstand the final week ‘blow torch’ from Contador and Aru in the mountains, as Michele already noted. Because it will happen.

    • Dave

      I’m sure that he will have the full support of Bjarne Riis, who will no doubt be keen to see a rider he mentored succeed ahead of the team which fired him earlier this year.

    • Stompin

      Fingers crossed for an epic iTT but I suspect Ritchie will blow up in the third week – first steep pinch and he’ll be out the back door.

  • Discussion thread #9: What have we missed? What else will you take from the first week of the Giro?

    • Arfy

      It looks like Sky have provided Porte with a below-par team, saving their best to support Froome at the Tour. A poor TTT and Porte being isolated on climbs doesn’t bode well. Would Porte be better off as the sole GC leader at another team next year?

      • Andy B

        Its a tough gig when you call that team below par, one stage he was isolated in particular I think Sky had some mechanical issues just prior to the final claim that left him solo rather than his team mates being dropped, I think they are probably just playing it safe at this stage, Lots to come!

        • Arfy

          Of course I’m stirring the pot a bit, but we’ve seen both Astana and Tinkoff-Saxo working hard in the first week and still with good support on the climbs. There was talk that several Sky riders have been sick going into the Giro, I would think if that happened to Contador’s or Aru’s teams then they would’ve simply swap them out for someone else before the start. Froome and the Tour are Sky’s big GC aim for the year, and I think it’s affected the support for Porte at the Giro.
          Agree it’s early days, I do hope they’re recovering in the peleton to be ready to support over the next two weeks. I wonder if knowing Sky’s team was suffering has been the reason both Astana and Tinkoff-Saxo have driven the peleton so hard in the first week?

      • AMK

        no guarantee he would get better support at another team anyway.

        Not like OGE could help him any better based on the current squad.

    • Paul N

      I just hope Sky have been playing their cards close to their chest so far and will be able to properly support Richie in the last week once he is in the Maglia Rosa. That last week is going to be a tough one.

    • Henry

      I’ve got to say kudos to RCS on conceiving such an entertaining parcours. I don’t think there has been one dud stage so far. The TdF could learn a thing or two about interesting ‘transition’ stages; shorter but challenging mountain stages; even the ‘sprint’ stages have been a mix with uphill finishes and the placement of climbs before the finish. Bring on the second-week I say.

  • Tom Wells

    Away from Matt’s discussion threads, does anyone seriously believe Astana AREN’T on something? If Aru is victorious in Milan, they need to be investigated again. They shouldn’t even be in the race in my opinion… but Omerta…

    • Richard Bruton

      Only if Aru wins? So if somebody beats them it is cool? What about the lads keeping up with them?

      • AureaTGabriel

        ??????????$89 hourly on internet@mf30//

        .

        ???http://SuperLatestCrowdEco.com/division/finance

      • Dave

        Indeed.

        For example – there’s one guy high in the GC who rode for Mr 60% for many years, assisting known dopers to major victories, before transferring to a team with a dodgy doctor and a blatant ex-pro doper as DS. He even publicly defends the record of one of his known doper rivals, presumably because he knows the other bloke knows where they hid the bodies as teammates.

        Why are we not up in arms about him as well as Astana?

        • Tom Wells

          We should be. I don’t care what team anyone is on, if they’re doping they can go suck a chode.

      • Tom Wells

        Well, not only if Aru wins really. Astana and Vino clearly have something going on.

        I had my suspicions with Nibali in last year’s TdF. I was at the roadside in Yorkshire, and where even Froome and Bertie were having to breath heavily up Buttertubs, Nibbles was breathing through his nose as if he’d just got out of bed. Not a bead of sweat on him either. It’s no Alpe D’Huez but it’s a steep, nasty climb and some riders were being dropped / clinging on.

        If other riders keep up then fair enough, investigate them too. I just don’t trust Astana, since they’re proven dopers.

    • Derek Maher

      On the other hand if SKY take the GC given their tame showing in the first 9 stages should we all start throwing out doping allegations.
      Why not just enjoy the race even if the Team you support does not cut it.

      • Tom Wells

        I think SKY are just playing it a bit safe and resting a bit for later in the tour. I could be wrong though.

        I don’t support any team in particular, I just don’t trust Astana at all!

  • jon

    How about let’s talk about the lawsuit from Aru on Henderson? Was Henderson telling the truth?

    • chris

      Kind of a bold move by Aru. If he proceeds to sue Henderson, I imagine Henerson can assemble a strong countersuit if Aru gets popped for even the most marginal infraction in the future.

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