Stage 12: Noale - Bibione 182 km
Last chance saloon for the sprinters
What's It About?
Giving the fastmen one last big giftwrapped certain sprint before the race enters the big mountains.
We are still in the Veneto region and this is probably the most touristy stage of the whole Giro. The race starts right outside busy Venice and ends in Bibione, one of the biggest beachresorts in Italy. This should hardly be peak season yet so it's presumably not as full of Speedos and manpurses yet although the number is probably at a decent level already.
I'm not sure I'd call it a feature exactly........ but it's a stage shorter than 200 kms which is a nice feature in a stage predetermined to be a sprint anyway
"Flatness" is the other defining feature here. Not your average "almost flat" we see often but real, hefty "flat as the Po valley"-flatness. It's making the Netherlands look like the high Alps.
There is some merit too it though. Had it not been for this tasty tidbit we would have seen a lot more sprinters leaving the race at the same point where Kittel gave up. Instead we'll probably see a bit of a caravan to the Venice airport hours after the finish of this stage.
Bit of Tour de Pologne feeling today as we see a few circuits at the end of the race. Two full laps plus they enter the circuit early so they almost do a full first third lap. Quite a few 90 degree turns of course but the two ones to worry about will likely be the right handers just inside the 2000m mark and at the 350 m mark. Positioning for that last turn will most likely be what decides the day in the end. Not much margin for error there if you aren't one of the first 5, or possibly 10 if you're lucky, coming onto the final straight.
Riders to Watch
It feels like this may brew down to a duel between Orica and Lotto-Soudal to get this finish just right. Caleb Ewan of course still hunting that win that will make this Giro a success for him. Should he go home empty handed he is going to have to live with an awful lot of speculation about whether he is a size too small to make it in the really big GT sprints. It may or may not be fair but I suspect that is what will happen. Luckily for him this stage looks a good chance to avoid all that and take a win.
Sacha Modolo and Lampre of course will also be looking to salvage something but he seems determined to be the "nearly but not quite"-guy in this Giro and I can't really see him winning the fight for the perfect position either. Nizzolo might on the other hand do just that and he could very well get that annoying second-place-monkey off his back.
AmyBC's Food and Wine Pairings
Today's culinary suggestions from the region from AmyBC. You can check out her blog at Winebookgirl.
Wine: Angiolino Maule Masieri Garganega 2014 From the importer: A man of true conviction in viticulture and viniculture, Angiolino actually started his working life as a pizzaiolo, or pizza maker, of some renown in Italy. But the earth and the vines were calling him all the while. Through his hard work and sterling reputation, Angiolino was able to save enough money to start his winery. He chose Gambellara and, principally, the Garganega grape to make his magical music in a glass.
Food: Asparagus is on the Giro list! I roasted mine with a bit of olive oil, salt and pepper.
Pick to Win:
André Greipel of course. I wouldn't bet against him even if Kittel and Viviani had still been in the race. Sprinters on a roll. Is there anything as unstoppable ?