Tempo della Responsibilità: The Team Capsules, Revisited!

Fotoreporter Sirotti

Do we know who's going to win the 2013 Giro d'Italia? Not exactly. Yes, some people have already chosen a wine pairing for the presumed winner, but with snow falling and the word giro being synonymous with chaos, I think we'll probably hold our tongues a bit longer.

But we have a pretty good sense, 17 stages into this fantastic race, of whose goals have been accomplished. So let's take a trip down Accountability Lane and see which team's predicted goals materialized, morphed, or went unmet.

AG2R

Mission:

Maybe a stage win from Pozzo and some nice riding by Betancur, at least for a couple weeks.

Accomplished?

And how. Well, Pozzovivo is still looking for that stage, and looking less and less like a guy who can win one. But Betancur has come close, and is experiencing the race of his life, sitting a tidy seventh and poised to move up. This is, as Joe Biden would say, a Big F'n Deal for a team without a lot of GC heft. It's also more fun to talk about than Sylvain Georges getting popped.

Androni-Gioccatoli

Mission:

Anywho, Rubiano Chavez and Gavazzi are both stage threats, climber types who (in Gavazzi's case) can wind it up at the end.

Accomplished?

Bah, tourists. I guess Franco Pellizotti's stranglehold on 13th place is as celebratory as it gets with the Andros.

Astana

Mission:

Yes, Wiggins is the putative favorite, but when it comes to Italian teams winning in Italy, Astana look like they know how to do things right. Lots of useful veterans like Tiralongo and Agnoli, who will help Nibali through any trying times.

Accomplished?

Well, Nibali is about to win the race, the first-ever Sicilian winner, and while his train hasn't dominated, it hasn't been found lacking either. On Nibali, did you know he has one single Giro stage win to his name, from three years ago? He doesn't literally need another, but it sure would go a long way toward sealing the legacy of Vincenzo Nibali, Sicilian Cycling Champion.

Bardiani Valvole-CSF Inox

Mission:

If Vlaanderen90 isn't all over this team, then he must hate Italians (probably not the case). This is a team of very young, very talented climbers, who may or may not ever amount to something big. That's the thing about the kids... what if they do amount to something big? Like, this month? With all the caveats about patience and realistic expectations, they could be extremely fun to watch.

Accomplished?

Alas, the scalatori-in-training need a little more training, or seasoning, before joining the big show. Locatell, Colbrelli and Bongiorno haven't really been heard from. They are still around, however, and in fact the only DNF was Battaglin, which sucks because he was riding a fantastic race (won stage 4, second in stage 7) and was riding like a younger, stronger, fast-finishing media-montagna ace before crashing out. Distant cousin or not, he carries the Battaglin name well. Pirazzi has a near-lock on the KOM jersey, so there's that too.

Blanco

Mission:

Make-good time, as Blanco trade in their faint Tour de France hopes for something more realistic (maybe). Gesink is the captain, but it was Kruijswijk who added "strong Giro" to his resume two years ago, so any sign of discomfort from Gesink might lead to Kruijswijk getting his shot.

Accomplished?

Dear god no. Gesink has been reduced to stage-hunting, where luck has laughed in his face a few times. Wilco Kelderman is easily their best rider at the Giro, all things considered.

BMC

Mission:

Either Evans is sandbagging or he hasn't really come here to win. If it falls in his lap or his form suddenly materializes, then great, but it sounds like this is more of a warm-up to the Tour for Cadel. Which leaves... nobody. Tourists-plus. Not for lack of love or respect for the Giro. I just don't think they have the horses for most of this race.

Accomplished?

Nolo contendere. Although when Cadel finishes second to Nibali, I will be sure to remind all of you that indeed, I said I didn't think he could win.

Cannondale

Mission:

All about stage wins.

Accomplished?

Viviani 0, Cavendish 4. So no. But I give Viviani credit for at least making Cav break a sweat.

Colombia

Mission:

Not seeing this either. I think they'll be straight-on stage-hunters. Possibly very effective stage-hunters. Duque too, on the funkier possible-sprint stages.

Accomplished?

Yes and no. If you kept the expectations low enough -- that they'd hunt for stages but wouldn't necessarily bag any -- then sure, it's been a good Giro. They've shown the shirt and the aggressiveness needed to ride this race. The experience will do them all a world of good. The marriage between Colombian riders and Italian roads continues to be a happy one.

Euskaltel-Euskadi

Mission:

Sammy Sanchez. At the Giro?! Well, this just got 10% more interesting. I guess it's fair to ask what Sammy has left in the tank nowadays, and his only Giro was in 2005, an anonymous 17th. But since then he's come second in the Vuelta and third in the Tour. So, you know, he can do this. Verdugo and Martinez should lend him solid support.

Accomplished?

Something in me says not to give up on Sanchez having an impact on this race. Obviously not for the win; he'll be extremely lucky to cut his 8' deficit in half. But he's been riding pretty well of late.

FDJ

Mission:

On the other hand, virtually everyone on this roster is capable of an interesting stage win. I do hope Bouhanni can get into high gear in the bunch finishes. Having Roux away on a climb could be fun too.

Accomplished?

No, alas. Bouhanni showed up in middlin form, got as close as second on stage 12, and went home -- not bad for a young kid coming off a gnarly injury. They lost Jeanneson and Roux early, so once Bouhanni left, it was game over.

Garmin-Sharp

Mission:

Hesjedal will be tested beyond last year's field of climbers who can't crono out of a wet paper bag. In the end it'll be up to the Canadian, but the team is calculated for a strong defense, combining full-on TTT power with experience and climbing ability. Gonna give BMC a run for their money in stage 2, and Sky in the rest of the race.

Accomplished?

Nope. Personally I never loved Hesjedal's chances, but I liked them enough to be interested. The Giro was worse off when he went home. Navardauskas' constant aggression netted a stage win and can fairly be called a breakout for the young Lithuanian mega-diesel.

Katusha

Mission:

Wow do I not really like this team.

Accomplished?

Katusha to Chris: You like apples? Because we got two stages and some pink jersey time. How you like them apples?

Lampre

Mission:

While the top-end talent is nothing special, I do at least like how Lampre have put together a dual sprints-GC squad with some useful helpers for each discipline. A sensible roster is a good place to start.

Accomplished?

For a team sitting fourth and fifth on GC, they haven't really been all that impressive. But high GC placings were their quarry, and I guess that's what they're honing in on. So yay?

Lotto-Belisol

Mission:

Tourists.

Accomplished?

Good things happen to good riders, and so it was that old-skool Adam Hansen stomped away from the break on a very nasty day in Abruzzi to win a pretty exciting stage. That plus having a guy in every single long break is about as good as it was ever gonna get for Lotto.

Movistar

Mission:

Dubious, but JJ Cobo is trying to recapture the magic of his 2011 Vuelta win. Intxausti comes in as co-leader, combining some Giro experience last year, a 10th in the Vuelta, and some fair form this spring. They won't be overly conspicuous, but for a team that's holding onto their cards this is OK.

Accomplished?

Hey, if you wanted the real Movistar preview, you should have checked Podium Cafe Premium:

Giovanni Visconti looks primed to go on a stage-winning binge in northern Italy, particularly in the final week. And don't look past Alex Dowsett for the long ITT. They might even get a win in between from Intxausti, who will be sitting 9th on GC, 5:47 back, heading into the uphill crono.

Really, that PdC Premium is a bargain at any price.

Omega Pharma Quick Step

Mission:

All for Cav, though he's talking down any real chaces, saying there are only a few sprint stages. Sandbag much?

Accomplished?

Cav is within range of a moderately-improbable points title, taking all four of the bunch sprints so far and not likely to lose another, since there's only one left on the final day, and he doesn't lose the easy ones. Not too shabby!

Orica-GreenEdge

Mission:

I would put Durbridge out there for a bit of a white jersey challenge, though he's hardly a favorite. The team's main objective is putting Goss into sprints, and with Goss's abilities, particularly on Italian roads, he might be the man to watch for the points... if a sprinter has a chance. Howard gets in the mix, and they should ride a stonking TTT.

Accomplished?

Um, no. Gossy wasn't well in the end, one of several guys to suffer in the weather, and while he came close before going home, it wasn't enough to make the impression OGE were hoping for. Other than Pieter Weening's long breakaway efforts, they haven't been seen much.

RadioShack-Layopard

Mission:

Not feeling the vibe here. A better bet is some stage-hunting.

Accomplished?

Kiserlovski was once 10th in the Giro, four spots better than where he sits now, so I wouldn't call this a breakout of any sort, but for the Shack to have a guy shadowing Nibali in the Alps is enough to get out of bed in the morning. I'd like to see more of Nizzolo on the tricky/sprint stages but I'd also like a pony. No, wait, I'd like a Westvleteren Ale.

Sky

Mission:

They're going to ruin the Giro, aren't they?

Accomplished?

Sure, by going home. The Wiggins Show was great theater, but for his press following the ending is a bit bland. Unless of course they notice that Sky have the third-overall rider, Rigoberto Uran, and two stages to their credit. Plenty of other teams would like to see their disasters turn out this way.

Argos-Shimano

Mission:

I bet Degenkolb kicks some ass. The points jersey will be a stretch, but stages aren't.

Accomplished?

Aha! That was a little snippet from PdC Premium, copied to the free site. See? It's gold, I tell ya.

Saxo-Tinkoff

Mission:

Breschel! I think he has it in him. If somehow that doesn't work out, I guess Majka is the guy?

Accomplished?

Even the blind pig finds an acorn. Majka's pursuit of the maglia bianca, which is a mere five seconds beyond his grasp at the moment, has been Saxo's main motivation. Breschel, alas, went home early.

Vacansoleil

Mission:

Tourists.

Accomplished?

No shocker, now that the stopper is out of the tub. Bole has been spotted a time or two, but that's really it. At least they will have plenty of time to work on their resumes.

Vini Fantini

Mission:

This could easily be the most fun team of the Giro. Every year one Italian B-level team makes noise, and since these guys are the opposite of moribund Bardiani Androni, they're my pick to bring the CrAzY good times. Like, four-man breakaway in the mountains good times. And the more secondary jerseys they gain, the less neon we have to look at. Can we all join together and root for this?

Accomplished?

With an emphasis at times on cRaZy. They've stuck out, by dressing as highlighters, by going on the attack, or by lousing up a simple 6km climb that cost them a very strong chance at a podium place. What more could you, the fans, ask for?

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