Races of the week:
- Giro d’Italia, stages 2-9
- 4 Jours de Dunkerque / Grand Prix des Hauts de France, entire race
- Tour of California, stage 1
Team of the week:
First named rider is the rider of the week and if a rider has a number in parentheses after their name it means the number of times they have made the select Team of the Week here.
1. Simon Yates (2). GC leader, KOM leader, co-leader on the team with Chaves. Known the world over as The Wrong Yates, Simon is proving the predictions of his youth racing days that his stage racing potential is sky high in seizing the pink jersey on Etna and defending it for three days including two mountain top finishes and a win. Sure has the look of a winner, right?
2. Esteban Chaves.
KOM leader, second on KOM, second on GC, co-leader on the team with Simon, Yeah I get it that some folks want to say there’s leadership controversy but they haven’t yet been able to actually point to any actual evidence. But beyond that can either or both riders hold their lead when the mountains truly turn horrific and that ITT awaits? Past evidence has shown that Chaves has been the better rider on the serious high mountains (more serious than what we’ve seen) but I think we can place that evidence to the side and see what happens. But the ITT is not next week. The weekday stages are all fairly pedestrian though Wednesday’s stage is sneaky. Everybody’s waiting for Monte Zoncolan next Saturday.
3. Thibaut Pinot (2). Fourth on GC and in a great position for a Grand Tour win a full week into the Giro. We know he can TT fairly well so he should gain time on Yates and Chaves there. Let’;s see what he does next Saturday.
4. Domenico Pozzovivo (2). Fifth on GC with the best chance in his life at a GT win while on the form of his life. The opening stage TT just shows that he is a serious threat.
5. Tom Dumoulin (2). Only 38 seconds down and third on GC so on paper he’s in a great position to take the lead in next week’s TT. But he’s been complaining of not great form in his legs and he was gapped today (Sunday). Will he get exposed on Monte Zoncolan? How much time can he ship there to the four guys above that he can gain back on the TT?
6. Richard Carapaz. The surprise of the Giro showing just how deep Movistar is on young climby guys. First on the young rider competition, sixth on GC, won Saturday’s stage and so far there’s no reason why he won't keep up with the big boys.
7. Jack Haig. Domestique/beast of the week. On these MTF’s Haig sets the tone and drives it home. With all the work he's doing he’s still 8th in the Youth competition. Imagine him being a GC leader. Its gotta happen some year.
Dimitri Claeys Andre Greipel. I wanted to put the GC winner Claeys here but his was the most anonymous of GC wins. Second place Greipel (second by 1 second) won two stages and pushed as hard as he could to win the overall while Claeys just rolled in towards the back of the peloton.
9. Fernando Gaviria. In a drag race sprint with so many top sprinters, all of whom were healthy and had time to prepare for this race, Gaviria won.
Team of the Week- Mitchelton-Scott
Got the top two riders on GC, the best domestique in Jack Haig plus Kreuziger and Nieve. Tuft, Juul-Jensen, and Bewley are driving the peloton on the flats. Just a well thought out team. And for other GC hopes they have Adam Yates and Caleb Ewan at California with Power, Durbridge, Impey, Trentin, Verona, and Howson at Fjords. Deep stage racing team.
Reverse Survivor Game: And Then There Were None
Chaves, Bouhanni, and Gaviria entered the week as the last 18+ point riders to have not scored and each of them won a stage and got of the schneid. I finally get to retire this section.
FSA DS Team of the week
Team Pizza Revenge ds’ed by dustbunny8! Scored a league high 520 points this week by including Simon Yates, Davide Formolo, Richard Crapaz and Danny Can Poppel on his team. Well done. When you see dustbunny8 on the threads congratulate him.
Previewing the week to come-
Big big week of stage racing.
- Week two of the Giro. We got two bumpy non sprinting, non GC stages to start off, though stage 11 may see a few seconds gained or loss. Then two sprinter stages then Holy Shit! Monte Zoncolan on Saturday which, given that it is on a whole other level than the mountain stages we’ve seen so far will guaranteed shake up the GC battle. Then the Sunday stage to Sappada will tire the GC legs all that much more. Here is where the Giro goes to 11.
- The rest of the Tour of California. Gilbratar Road MTF Monday will give us a tasty GC fight and if you haven't had enough mountains on Saturday with Zoncolan, the South Lake Tahoe stage will give you more. Plus two more sprinter stages etc. See the preview.
- All of the Tour of Norway which starts Wednesday and ends Sunday. Edvald Boasson Hagen looking for his fourth GC win here in six years.
- All of the Tour de l’Ain which starts Thursday and ends Sunday. Davide Gaudu FTW!
We are in full-on stage racing season folks.