87km to go: Gaviria gone down?
Off the back of the pack, Fernando Gaviria is displaying a nasty bit of road rash to his hip. The Colombian must have hit the deck at some point earlier today. He’ll be pleased about that ceasefire…
Guerreiro wins sodden Stage 9 as EF double up, Almeida holds pink
YESTERDAY AT 14:23
88km to go: Groupama out of gas!
That’s a big moment: the Groupama-FDJ team of Arnaud Demare have decided to knock it off. The gap had grown back to 40 seconds and they clearly decided that they could not sustain this speed without sustinence – and that’s it, this break will be allowed to go as the peloton comes to a near standstill.
92km to go: Rossetto reeled in
Just seven out ahead now after Rossetto joins Cofidis teammate Edet and Trek’s Ciccone back with the main pack. Rossetto is reeled in just as he’s devouring a sandwich. You see, this fierce pace has made it difficult for anyone to pick up a musette – so the riders are operating on empty stomachs at the moment.
95km to go: Splits in break
Peter Sagan and Filippo Ganna have lost the wheel and the break splits in two… That’s surprising, given the calibre of the two riders – although you wouldn’t blame them given the energy they must have used to initiate the break on that climb earlier today.
Replays actually show that Ganna’s back wheel jumped on a roundable and the resulting correction saw him, Sagan, Rossetto and one other to drop back a little. They fight back on but the gap is still only 25 seconds.
100km to go: Full gas for FDJ
With a flat 30km run to the intermediate sprint, Groupama-FDJ are doing a team time trial on the front of the pack in a bid to bring that breakaway back. Demare is being very gentlemanly by putting in his fair share of pulls – his teammates will think highly of him for that and will be more inclined to giving it their all.
They have managed to reduce the lead to 30 seconds and so it’s looking good for the maglia ciclamino and the strung-out peloton in his team’s wake.
105km to go: All hands to the FDJ pump
Even Arnaud Demare is putting in a shift for Groupama as they try to reduce their arrears. Matteo Fabbro, a Bora teammate of Sagan, isn’t happy with the TV moto getting too close and giving Demare et al a slipstream – the Italian, who was very active on those earlier climbs, gesticulates for the driver to do one.
The gap is up to 45 seconds for the 10 leaders, who are: Jhonathan Restrepo (Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec), Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe), Filippo Ganna and Ben Swift (Ineos Grenadiers), Simon Clarke (EF Pro Cycling), Dario Cataldo and Davide Villella (Movistar), Stéphane Rossetto and Nicolas Edet (Cofidis), and Giulio Ciccone (Trek-Segafredo).
110km to go: Chasers reeled in
There’s been no let-up in today’s stage – the pace is ferocious. Groupama’s tempo means that five-man De Gendt chase group has been reeled in so it’s back to just 10 clear now but the gap is only 30 seconds as they tackle an uncategorised climb which is going to really sting.
It’s fair to day that the nine other escapees will be hoping Sagan does the right thing and drops back – but, then again, the former triple world champion was the man who instigated the move with Ganna.
117km to go: Five chasers
De Gendt has managed to ride clear with four others in pursuit of the leaders. Also there is Giovanni Visconti, Kamil Malecki, Simon Pellaud and Jaako Hanninen.
Veteran Visconti may be keen on the KOM points up for grabs today: he’s eight points off the blue jersey currently.
Talking of jerseys, the chase behind is being carried out by the Groupama-FDJ team of Arnaud Demare, who don’t want the intermediate sprint points to go to Peter Sagan, who is in the break. The Slovakian is currently 57 points down on triple stage winner Demare. And Groupama are serious about this because they have ordered Konovalovas back from the break to help with the chase.
121km to go: Leading group swells
Sagan and Ganna have been joined by nine others: Restrepo, Edet, Rossetto, Clarke, Konovalovas, Cataldo, Villella, Swift and Ciccone. The gap back to the peloton, which is being driven by De Gendt, who missed that latest move, is 40 seconds.
Double digits the order of the day
That short and sharp climb in Chieti was a taste of things to come for today. The stage is peppered with these steep ramps – most notably in the final quarter ahead of the run into the finish at Tortoreto. This tweet gives you an idea of the kind of numbers we’re dealing with…
Whereas, if you’re more of a visual person, this is what’s store…
129km to go: Sagan takes KOM points
It’s not something you often hear, but there you go. It’s Sagan who leads Ganna over the summit of that Cat.4 climb in Chieti, which was 1.8 km, at an average gradient of 7.8% and a maximum of 19%. They have Lithuanian Ignatas Konovalovas (Groupama-FDJ) in pursuit and just ahead of the fragmented peloton, which is around 20 seconds down.
132km to go: Ganna and Sagan clear
The breakaway was neutralised and another large group went clear – more like the front tranche of the peloton. From that, two riders have ridden clear ahead of the actual categorised climb in Chieti – double stage winner Filippo Ganna (Ineos Grenadiers) and Peter Sagan (Bora-Hangrohe).
135km to go: Chaos in Chieti
The race exploded on that first climb in Chieti with all those moves off the front stringing things out and effectively ending the chances of this break. Just four of the original six are left ahead – Ravanelli, Clarke, Brandle and Swift – with the other two and the second six together but almost caught by the pack ahead of the final rise to the Cat.4 sprint.
140km to go: Ulissi attacks!
The two breaks are onto the Chieti climb ahead of the categorised Chieti Scalo climb. Meanwhile, behind there’s a big attack from Diego Ulissi of UAE Team Emirates, and that has sparked a reply from riders from Deceuninck, Bora and Ineos. All this flurry of activity means the leaders from those two groups which came together have seen their gap slashed to 40 seconds.
142km to go: Bora control the pack
The Bora-Hansgrohe team of Peter Sagan, Rafal Majka and birthday boy Patrick Konrad are on the front of the pack controlling the tempo through Cesare Benedetti. The five chasers are Bjerg, De Gendt, Andrea Vendrame (Ag2R-La Mondiale), Jhonatan Restrepo (Androni Giocattoli) and Josef Cerny (CCC Team). They’re about 15 seconds down on the leaders with the peloton a minute back ahead of the first climb.
145km to go: Five chasers
Denmark’s Mikkel Bjerg (UAE Team Emirates) zips clear in pursuit of the leaders – as he did, successfully, on Sunday – and he’s joined by four others, including that man De Gendt. They are about 20 seconds down on the break with the peloton another 15 seconds back.
But it’s far from settled, with numerous other riders trying to join the party and force splits on the front. Most notably it’s from Bardiani-CSF, who are not involved in either of he breaks, but their attempts are thwarted by Bora and Trek.
150km to go: Five go clear
Five riders have finally managed to open up a small gap on the pack. Britain’s Ben Swift is there for Ineos Grenadiers, and Matthias Brandle of Israel Start-Up Nation. The others are Simone Ravanelli (Androni Giocattoli), Marco Mathis (Cofidis) and Simon Clarke (EF Pro Cycling).
145 riders left: Craddock out
I said there were 146 riders remaining – but we have just heard that EF Pro Cycling’s Lawson Craddock didn’t take to the start today. It is not thought to be related to all those Covid-19 positives.
160km to go: Sagan and De Gendt on the attack
Peter Sagan and Thomas De Gendt are trying the best to force a move. You can see why they’re doing it – but the trouble is, they won’t suit the ultra-steep ramps of the final 30 kilometres today and so they’re onto a hiding to nothing. Still, you’d expect nothing less of these two attacking livewires.
Who’s in what jersey?
It’s a veritable feast for Portugal at the moment. Not only did they win the last stage through Ruben Guerreiro, they have Joao Almeida leading both the pink and white jersey classifications, and that man Guerreiro in blue. The only jersey they don’t own is Demare’s ciclamino one – the Frenchman has a healthy lead over Peter Sagan in that competition.
I wrote a little piece about the rise of Portugal on this year’s Giro on Sunday – here it is if you’re interested…
170km to go: No movement
You’d think the impending doom of the race would spark a little movement – you know, to be the last rider to win a stage on the 103rd race, or the last collective to form a breakaway. No can do, though, at the moment. But that descent from the gun probably didn’t help things.
177km to go: They’re off!
So, despite all the uncertainty following that double team departure this morning, the show has gone on. Stage 10 is under way – make the most of it, for it could be the last…
Riders in the neutral zone
By my reckoning, the peloton is down to 146 riders now following the withdrawal of the remaining five Mitchelton-Scott riders, eight Jumbo-Visma riders, and Matthews of Sunweb. They have left Lanciano and are about to get going with a descent once the flag is waved.
This was the town square of Lanciano this morning ahead of the roll-out…
There’s still one team bus parked up in town…
Today’s Stage 10
Here’s what’s on the menu for those riders who are left in the race – and that final third is brutal with a succession of ramps that all peak around the 20% gradient mark. Arnaud Demare has gone well to win three stages so far – but he and the other sprinters will not be in the mix come Tortoreto.
Jumbo-Visma also out
Yes, we have confirmation now that the entire Jumbo-Visma team have pulled out following Steven Kruijswijk’s positive test for Covid-19.
That will mount pressure on Team Sunweb following Michael Matthews’ positive, which would end the chances of Wilco Kelderman, who is currently second on GC.
So far, for now, it’s just Matthews who doesn’t start for them…
Good morning cycling fans – and I hope you coped all right yesterday without your Giro d’Italia fix. The race gets under way following Monday’s rest day under a cloud of uncertainty following the latest raft of positive tests for Covid-19. Will we ever make it to Milan? Fingers crossed… but this does not look good.
The latest is that the entire Jumbo-Visma team – not just Kruijswijk – are going to pull out…
Mitchelton-Scott, Kruijswijk and Matthews all withdrawn
Mitchelton-Scott have withdrawn from the Giro d’Italia after the team returned four positive Covid-19 results following the latest round of testing. The news comes after team leader Simon Yates had to withdraw ahead of Stage 8 after testing positive for Covid-19, while Steven Kruijswijk (Jumbo–Visma) and Michael Matthews has also withdrawn from the race after returning positive tests.
STAGE 9 RECAP
Portugal’s Ruben Guerreiro of EF Pro Cycling denied Ineos Grenadiers a third Giro d’Italia stage win through Jonathan Castroviejo by picking the Spaniard’s pocket on the final climb to Roccaraso in a sodden Stage 9 on Sunday.
Guerreiro sandbagged his fellow escapee all the way up the last of four ascents before dancing clear on the steep double-digit ramp near the finish to become only the second Portuguese rider to win a stage on the Giro – and the first in 31 years.
Victory for Guerreiro – a second for his EF Education First team in the opening phase of the race following Jonathan Caicedo’s triumph on Mount Etna – was capped by the 26-year-old taking over the blue jersey as the new king of the mountains.
Compatriot Joao Almeida (Deceuninck Quick-Step) did his part for Portugal by digging deep in the rain to retain the maglia rosa for a seventh day to set a new national record.
Almeida finished 1’56” down on his countryman and lost time to many of his GC rivals, including Wilco Kelderman (Team Sunweb), Jakob Fuglsang (Astana), Vincenzo Nibali (Trek-Segafredo) and Pello Bilbao (Bahrain-McLaren).
Highlights: Guerreiro punches his way to Stage 9 win, fellow Portuguese Almeida retains pink
How to watch the Giro d’Italia live– TV & live streaming
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