The most I can say about tomorrow's climb up to Oropa is that it is uncannily designed to reveal no particular favorite. It's a good 10km of climbing, which Simoni should like, but at a pitch that maybe DiLuca or Cunego or Yaro-Pop or even Savoldelli could power over. But it won't be easy, and after today maybe Simoni's climbing prowess will help him recover for tomorrow. Or perhaps Ricco will have recovered. Or Zabriskie will be ready. Or Nibali can have a go...who knows?
We have very little useful history to work off of either. Savoldelli is a known ace on the ITTs (which is the only reason to continue discussing him), having put a minute into Simoni in the Giro '05 Torino ITT, which had a hill in the middle. Zabriskie was the top finisher among guys racing this year; Dario Cioni and Marzio Bruseghin were also in the top 10; DiLuca was 11th, 20 seconds back of Simoni.
Otherwise, the clues are pretty scant, even worse than trying to parse out a race from two years ago. Cunego looked good in the Pais Vasco time trial, but that was flat. Savoldelli, Mazzoleni and Zabriskie were good in the Romandie time trial, but that was relatively flat too. Andy Schleck was in spitting distance, FWIW. The best guess is, the strongest guy who can climb will win.
And that, lately, has been Danilo DiLuca.
Some comments from the Winners-Losers thread:
- Drew: It's about as long the Alpe d'Huez and not as steep overall (looks to avg about 5.5%). It's obviously not going to favor a normal TT guy so the question is who does it favor?
a) power climbers
b) rhythm climbers
c) pure climbers
I don't see why the Killer, the Kid, Gibo and Schleckie shouldn't be very close together again tomorrow. Unless today took something big out of any of them, the climb isn't long enough or super tough enough to create big gaps between them, based on how they've ridden so far.
- Jens: Before today I was sure it was one for Il Falco but he apparently lacks top form. When you look at previous GT uphill TTs form seems to be the most reliable decider, more so than who is a super TT:er or super climber. So I think we'll see the same names we saw today plus perhaps Popo, Bruzeghin, Nibali, Cioni and Dave Z.