Alberto Dainese (Team DSM) won stage 11 of the Giro, his first ever Grand Tour (GT) stage victory. His power in the last 50 meters was surreal. Everything seemed set for Fernando Gaviria to win the sprint in front of Simone Consonni until Dainese just burst past both of them. Arnaud Demare took off way too early, with nearly 300 meters to the finish. It seemed like the Frenchman panicked a bit because he wasn’t in front when the peloton went around the last left bend. He was the perfect leadout man for Gaviria because of this. Everything went perfectly for the Colombian: he was behind probably the fastest man in the peloton after he made a mistake. There was nobody between himself and the finish line. But the Colombian still could not finish the job.
After going through a period when they were trying to turn Cees Bol into an elite sprinter, it seems like DSM has finally found a fast man worth investing in. Dainese is nearly three years younger than Bol and already has a GT stage win to his name, unlike the Dutchman. Additionally, this is just Dainese’s second GT participation, after last year’s Vuelta, where he posted several top-5 results. The future is bright for the Italian sprinter.
The biggest story of this stage did not happen on the road, though. At yesterday’s podium ceremony, stage winner Biniam Girmay mishandled the champagne bottle and took the cork to the eye. I haven’t found any news postulating that the Eritrean rider suffered a serious injury but, obviously, the impact of champagne cork to the eye is probably not conducive to a safe performance in a GT, on the very next day.
Girmay was right in the thick of things for the maglia ciclamino. He was just 3 points behind Demare. What could have been a very exciting fight for the points’ jersey isn’t happening. Still, all the best to Girmay in the most important factor of this quite bizarre equation: the quickest and fullest possible recovery of his eye.
Despite a less than stellar result the Frenchman goes out of stage 11 breathing much more easily than he did yesterday. I would say he still proved to be the fastest man in the race. He took off very early but hung on and hung on to finish 4th in the end. Had he been more patient it is likely he could have added another stage to his resume.
Still, he went from a 3-point advantage in the points’ classification at the end of stage 10 to being 77 points in front of 2nd placed Mark Cavendish. Nobody that is fighting for this jersey really compares to Girmay – all of them are pure sprinters, unlikely to get many points on Demare during non-flat stages. Other than a crash, it will be hard to take the maglia ciclamino from Demare’s back.
Fernando Gaviria & UAE Team Emirates
Once again Gaviria can’t finish the job. The sprint couldn’t have gone better for the Colombian. He (unintentionally) had the best leadout man in the race, in Demare. And he still didn’t have the power to win the race. Was it really worth it to sacrifice more support for João Almeida to bring Gaviria and Max Richeze to the Giro? For what? To get a couple of podium places in stages? Well,Almeida is fighting for the overall podium. Yeah, I think that deserves a little bit more respect.
Stage 12 Preview
Route – Stage 12’s profile was subsequently changed. The profile below is the correct one.
The initial profile of stage 12 would have been dangerous. This one? Ehhhh, the main doubt is whether or not a breakaway will be successful. It won’t make any difference in the general classification.
My belief is that a breakaway will indeed be successful. La Colletta and the Valico di Trensasco are two 3rd category climbs that appear after the halfway point of the race. As is tradition in the Giro, both of these climbs are 3rd category with an added tax. The Valico di Trensasco in particular is 4.3km long at an 8% gradient. La Colletta is longer but less steep. The combination of these two climbs will make it impossible for the stage to end in a sprint. It will also make it impossible for any team to control it. The favorites’ teams won’t be interested because no differences can be made in the GC. It does seem like one of those days when the breakaway can arrive several minutes ahead of the bunch.
It’d be easy to go with the obvious pick of Mathieu Van Der Poel. Instead I will go with Mauri Vansevenant from Quick Step. It is always difficult to pick a winner when it’s a day for the breakaway but the young Belgian is in good form and seems as good a pick as any, to be honest. The stage fits him tomorrow and, if he gets in the break, he will be one of the favorites.