Giro d'Italia (st. 10)
Movistar Team’s two Italians inside winning break at excellent stage ten in Abruzzo, with Peter Sagan (BOH) taking a solo win. Pedrero now one minute behind overall top-ten.
/ Today’s route
The 2020 Giro d’Italia resumed racing on Tuesday with a torturous stage ten, starting at Lanciano -Dario Cataldo’s birthplace- and finishing in Tortoreto after 177km. Up to six little, steep climbs awaited the riders into the last hour and a half of racing, with two ascents to the higher part of Tortoreto (Cat-4; 2km at 8%); the GPM of Colonnella (Cat-3), with maximum slopes of 24%; and the non-categorized climbs of Controguerra (1km at 9%), Colle Luna and Via Badette (2km at 8%). An ideal stage for a breakaway, yet also one that suited a late attack from the GC contenders.
/ Weather report
Even if we’re probably not fully aware since we are in the middle of the Giro, we must keep it in mind: there wouldn’t be any kind of bike racing in Europe if circumstances were normal, and temperatures are coming down (the more we get to northern Italy, the coolest). Riders would be enjoying a maximum of only 16ºC, despite racing by the coast, and the chances fo rain, even if slim before the race, could always surprise the peloton during the stage itself because weather is more variable.
/ Keys to the race
- The first one was bad news for cycling as a whole. More than a dozen riders weren’t able to start the second week of racing as a result of the RT-PCR tests undergone by all members of the race bubble during the first rest day. The whole Mitchelton-Scott and Jumbo-Visma squads left the race, while Michael Matthews (SUN), who tested positive as well as Steven Kruijswijk (TJV), had to put himself in isolation. No surprises within the Movistar Team: all tests, riders and staff, offered a negative result.
- The start of the stage was madness once again, taking forever to establish a break. It wasn’t until 90km in that we had a move sticking, the Movistar Team sending its two Italians at the front, Cataldo and Davide Villella, while Héctor Carretero and some of their team-mates held off the charge from the pursuers. Groupama-FDJ did not want to let the group go, as Peter Sagan (BOH), the nearest rival for the Maglia Ciclamino of their team leader Arnaud Démare, was part of the move. However, 85km before the line, the French group let the escape containing the two Blues go, also joined by Sagan, Restrepo (ANS), Ganna, Swift (IGD) and Simon Clarke (EF1).
- UAE Team Emirates took charge of pacing the main field afterwards, reaching a maximum gap of 4’45” before starting the tough final climbs. At those, Cataldo picked up the pace several times to try and favour Villella’s chances. The two Italians found, nevertheless, two strong rivals: the bunch itself, with NTT and Deceuninck pushing hard and a strong attack from Pello Bilbao (TBM); and the power of Sagan and Swift at the breakaway, both leaving Villella behind at the penultimate climb (-17 km) as Bilbao was reaching Davide down.
- Behind at the GC group, with Dario and Davide already caught, Antonio Pedrero and Sergio Samitier kept on fighting. Antonio was able to finish inside a small second group behind the main favourites, 27″ after race leader Almeida (DQT), who took 3rd behind brilliant Sagan (1st) and McNulty (UAD, 2nd), who attacked just before the end. ‘Sami’, in turn, finished into a third group 1’15” down on pink, together with Jakob Fuglsang (AST), who saw his chances ruined by a mechanical into the final descent. Pedrero now sits in 15th overall, just over a minute behind the top-ten, while Sergio now ranks 17th.
Dario Cataldo: “We sought for the break since the very beginning, as we always kept in mind that today’s profile was well suited to a winning breakaway. So, together with Davide, I tried it hard, I left all my courage and heart on the road – yet it wasn’t enough. When you tackle roads like these, where riders like Sagan, explosive classics specialists, who do so well as short, steep efforts and recover better, it’s really hard for someone like me. You try to anticipate their moves and jump ahead of them, because it’s impossible otherwise to beat them. All in all, a beautiful stage, with a tough course, the landscapes, excellent roads – a great spectacle.”
/ Upcoming goals
Stage 11 on Wednesday will mark the first of two bunch sprint opportunities this week, the 182km route between Porto Sant’Elpidio and Rimini containing no big difficulties for the sprinters and their teams. The climbs will be back on Thursday, with a beautiful mid-mountain journey around Marco Pantani’s hometown of Cesenatico.
Cover picture (c): BettiniPhoto