Stage 10: Foligno - Montefalco 39.8 km Timetrial
AmyBC’s Wine of the Day
Bea 07 Pipparello from Dig
If it is Umbria it must be time for a Bea wine. This is one to seek out! References in the archives of Montefalco, the beautiful hill town in Umbria, document the presence of the Bea family in this locality as early as 1500. As with all of Paolo Bea's wines, the estate uses non-interventionist techniques to grow grapes for its Montefalco Riserva Pipparello--a blend of about 60 percent Sangiovese with the rest split evenly between indigenous Umbrian grapes Montepulciano and Sagrantino.
Did You Know!
Montefalco is the center of one of the up and coming wine districts in Italy. Presumably with wine-hipsters looking beyond the long famous and exploited wines of Tuscany and Piemonte the wines of this more rural and unexplored region in Umbria are coming into the spotlight. The local wines are made primarily from the tannine rich Sagrantino which has ancient roots as a wine grape but was all but disappeared until farmers and winemakers started resurrecting it in the 70s. Today it serves as base for a red that is supposed to pair especially well with another big Umbrian agricultural product, the black truffle.
What’s It About?
Balance baby, balance. Two timetrials in this race with 40 kms here in stage 10 and another 29 kms on the last day of the race will make sure that the likes of Nairo Quintana don’t turn this into a pure mountain goat showdown. It’s actually one of the more exciting characteristics of this GT that it does seem to have a very good shot at creating some intriguing dynamics between the goats and the allrounders. Far more so than many of the GTs we’ve seen in later years. This first TT is on a quite challenging course even of there is very little of what anyone would call tough climbing. Uphills and false flats seem to be the order of the day which at least in theory should help the smaller guys a little bit. On the final day they will have no such luck on a downhill course that will absolutely favor the great big tempohorses so they had better make use of all the mountains in between the two TTs.
From the profile the main challenge of the course appears to be pacing. The climb of the day starts after 13 kms and is at about 4-5%. This is the kind of range where it is quite easy to get over-zealous and go harder than you really have in you. Because after a short descent the whole final third is a long evil false flat where any lack of power will be punished by big timelosses. Nothing will come for free in that last bit.
The way it is looking now all eyes will be glued to the time differences created between Tom Dumoulin and Nairo Quintana. Here we have the TTer who continues to deliver ever more impressive climbing results and the mountain goat who has never TTd as poorly as one would expect from a climber as good as him. Who of them can pull off a performance beyond what is expected will surely be branded the massive Giro favorite by Tuesday evening. Most are assuming that it will be a three week cakewalk for Nairo but if Dumoulin’s timetrialing is as good as his form on Blockhaus indicates there will be a lot of people hedging those bets.
Pick to Win
Well duh, Tom Dumoulin of course. Any idiot can see that. It would take a minor miracle or some serious bad luck for Dumoulin for him to miss out on a course like this. Now I’m not saying that minor miracles haven’t happened with riders suddenly timetrialing like bats out of hell when a Giro GC is in sight but I don't think it will be an issue here.