Stage 04 :: Wednesday May 12, 2010
32.5km :: Savigliano - Cuneo (TTT)
The beloved Team Time Trial. Also known as the eco-friendly way of transporting your entire professional cycling team from one town to another. In fact, I think there should be a Team Time Trial in between all stages, leading from the finish of the first, to the start of the second.
Hold on a sec while I write a quick letter to RCS...
Dear Angie (Zomegnan loves it when I call him Angie)... There's no lovin' in our souls and no money in our coats. You can't say we're satisfied. What's going on big boy? It's me again, Crashdan. Remember how I told you last year that I would never write to you again if you promised that you'd send Luca Brassi to "visit" Marc Segeant? Well, you dropped the ball on that one so it's time for me to bring up the topic of Team Time Trials. We'd like more of them. Thanks!
It's home to Italy for the Giro for this stage, a team time trial running from Savigliano to Cuneo. Savigliano, could that sound any more Italian? No, I thought not. We're in Piedmont now, pass the Barolo. As always the visit to Cuneo celebrates the exploits of Fausto Coppi in the famous 1949 stage, when he vanquished rival Gino Bartali with a solo break through the mountains to Pinerolo.
There's no mountains on order this time around, and it's a flat, fast course over relatively wide roads for this race against the watch. The road rises approximately 200 meters between the start and finish, though the riders will not likely notice the climb. As the riders near the finish in Cuneo, a few curves break the rhythm, including a tight corner just before the line. The streets in Cuneo are smooth cobbles, and everyone will hope for dry weather.
Garmin-Transitions, they love these team time trial thingies, though they will be missing Christian Vandevelde after the American crashed out during Monday's stage. Vinokourov's Astana should ride well as they have the race lead to defend. They have also proven plenty capable of keeping their leader out of trouble in this Giro's challenging early stages. Astana faces a big challenge from Saxo Bank, who has a big chance to their young talent Richie Porte into the Maglia Rosa. Porte sits second at same time with Vinokourov. Ooh là là, I like a close gc race. Cadel Evans and BMC will want a good ride here to keep his classification hopes alive. For Sky, meanwhile, a stage win here would ease the pain of seeing team leader Bradley Wiggins drop down the classification to where he now sits 4 minutes behind. And watch out for Liquigas. The Italian team should go big here with both Vincenzo Nibali and Ivan Basso sitting high in the general classification and some very strong legs in supporting roles.
A TTT.. 33km.. A shouf shouf shouf also named.. Or at least.. In the square meter I am in.. Which really could give some action.. Who can not remember the TTT in le Tour?
Fall after fall.. That's what you get when inexperienced.. And guess what.. Look at BMC.. Poor Evans... Have you all heard I screamed to him "you rock!" When he was pedalling an astonishing 20cm next to me very slowly.. He looked very surprise and couldn't answer properly.. So he pedalled further.. But hey.. It could be the Butterfly effect I started.. So Evans.. If you read this.. The name is Frinking.. Just one time you have to thank me in your victory speech. (That victory speech is obviously for the Giro.. Not this TTT)
- VINOKOUROV Alexandre AST
- PORTE Richie SAX 00:00:00
- MILLAR David GRM 00:00:01
- NIBALI Vincenzo LIQ 00:00:05
- SIEBERG Marcel THR 00:00:07
- GOSS Matthew Harley THR 00:00:10
- GREIPEL André THR 00:00:10
- GERDEMANN Linus MRM 00:00:12
- GARZELLI Stefano ASA 00:00:15
- WEENING Pieter RAB 00:00:16
My money is not save so I think... Millar...Ari Vedeci...
Chris is more bitter than a jeroboam of Angostura
Action: Everyone loves a good team time trial, and this one, while not especially difficult, should make for good times. Nobody is bringing a mega-crono-squad to the Giro as far as I've seen, so the national anti-crono affliction might not be the usual drag, and the entire stage will be tricky to predict. Unlike every TTT the Tour has ever held.
Pageantry: Back to Italy, with much relief. Time trials always allow for lots of messing around, particularly in the early hours.The Plan: Not sure. The name "Cuneo" used to pair with "Pinerolo" to mean the 1949 Giro stage when Fausto Coppi put the wood to Gino Bartali over five ridiculous alpine ascents, including most notably the Col d'Izoard in France. Now it means the truncated 2009 reenactment of that famous stage, thanks to road problems, one of the biggest letdowns in my time as a cycling fan. Can I put my bitterness aside and rejoin the live broadcast? No. I'll watch, but bitterly.
So... the course... not too terribly interesting until you see that last panel through Cuneo. Now, depending on how hard they're hammering, they may very well has shed all the non-essential rider's by this point, but they will still have to crack the whip a few times on the run around the outskirts of town, including that nasty hairpin towards the top, then around the piazza to bring it home. Craziness could ensue, but I hope it doesn't.