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29 Apr 16 11:22
Date Joined: 05 Apr 05
| Topic/replies: 28,670 | Blogger: marychain1's blog
2016 Giro D'Italia 6th - 29th May

Previous Giro D'Italia Winners
2015 | CONTADOR Alberto
2014 | QUINTANA Nairo
2013 | NIBALI Vincenzo
2012 | HESJEDAL Ryder
2011 | SCARPONI Michele
2010 | BASSO Ivan
2009 | MENCHOV Denis
2008 | CONTADOR Alberto
2007 | DI LUCA Danilo
2006 | BASSO Ivan

Top-10 2015 Giro d'Italia
1.CONTADOR Alberto 88:22:25
2.ARU Fabio1:53
3.LANDA Mikel 3:05
4.AMADOR Andrey 8:10
5.HESJEDAL Ryder 9:52
6.KöNIG Leopold 10:41
7.KRUIJSWIJK Steven 10:53
8.CARUSO Damiano 12:08
9.GENIEZ Alexandre 15:51
10.TROFIMOV Yuri 16:14

This is my favourite of the three Grand Tours, more spectacular than the Vuelta a Espana and if less glamorous, also less predictable and formulaic than the Tour de France. Judging by the expected contenders and the parcours, we could be in store for an absolute treat. We have an outright favourite in Vincenzo Nibali, a man who has won all three Grand Tours once including the Giro in 2013. He will have serious competition from a number of established and rising GC stars who will have the full support of their teams.

We have a Big Start in The Netherlands, with a short time trial and two stages for the sprinters before a transfer to Calabria in the South of Italy. There are some more flat and hilly stages before the first big GC test in stage 6. The next significant stage is the stage 9 ITT in Tuscany. Prepare for some shots of vineyards. There is a rest day before a tough Stage 10 in the Apennines that could catch some out. There are then a few transitional stages that get harder and harder leading up to Stage 14 to Corvara in the Dolomites that has some very tough climbs in the last 50km. The following day is the Stage 15 Mountain TT up the Alpe di Siusi. In the last week there are 3 more stages with tough climbs. Stage 19 and 20 will together test all the riders. For the GC guys, they will find the strongest climbers. For the rest, they will simply try to beat the time limit.

The winner is likely to be an excellent time trialler as we have three ITTs in this season's route. Stage 1 is almost short enough to be a prologue and will do little more than give the GC some early shape, but the 40.5km test on stage 9 will see some massive time gaps and the 10.8km uphill TT on stage 15 will cause some sleepless nights. Despite the TT miles though, it is a likely that this Giro will go to a climber extraordinaire. Stages 14, 19 and 20 have some serious tests, not just in terms of length and gradient of the climbs but also in terms of altitude, with 7 peaks above 2000m including the Colla Dell Agnello on Stage 19 and Col de la Bonette on Stage 20 that both top out at over 2700m. Overall, the winner will have to be able to climb, descend, time trial, handle some likely tough weather, deal with pressure of leading a team over a 3 week tour and stay upright.


Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) 13/8

Palmares: 43 Pro Wins
Tour de France 2014, Giro d'Italia 2013, Vuelta d'Espana 2010
4 other Grand Tour podium finishes
5 Tour de France stage wins, 5 Giro d'Italia stage wins
Tirreno Adriatico 2012, 2013
Il Lombardia 2015
Italian National Champs Road Race 2014, 2015
Giro Record (5 - oldest first): 19, 11, 3, 2, 1

Nibali will surely go down as one of the all-time greats and for this race he looks the complete package. One of only 6 riders to have a Grand Tour grand slam (Anquetil, Contador, Merckx, Gimondi and Hinault being the others) and at 31 he should be at his peak. The 2014 Tour de France winner blew everyone away in the mountains that year, and won stages in both the Alps and Pyrenees. He wasn't able to retain the yellow jersey in 2015 (seems a very difficult thing to do in recent times) and lost time early in the race before finishing very strongly for 4th in the GC, form he kept up for the rest of the year, taking home a whole host of Italian one day races including his first monument in Il Lombardia. His 2013 Giro win was dubbed as a head to head with Bradley Wiggins but of the two only Nibali was able to handle the weather, climbs and descents. His climbing pedigree is not in doubt, he would also expect to make time on most contenders against the clock. He has two uphill ITT Giro stage wins to his name and although he may lose time to the out and out TT specialists on stage 9 it would be no surprise to anyone if he won stage 15. This has been his designated target all year, his Astana team will be strong and on all known pedigree he is certainly the man to beat. The only question mark would be over his recent form/shape but I expect we'll see Nibali in fine fettle come the 6th May.

Mikel Landa (Sky Pro Cycling) 3/1

Palmares: 9 Pro Wins
0 Grand Tour wins, 1 Podium finish 2015 Giro d'Italia
2 Giro d'Italia Stage wins & 1 Vuelta a Espana Stage win all in 2015
Giro de Trentino 2015
Giro Record (2 - oldest first): 34, 3

Landa first came to prominence with a Stage win in the 2011 Vuelta a Burgos but seemed to markedly step up a level in 2015, his last season for Astana, with a stage win in Vuelta al Pais Vasco, a very strong Giro del Trentino when he was 2nd in two stages and GC. He then followed that up with an exceptional Giro when he won two mountain stages and got a 3rd place finish, at times looking stronger than his team leader Fabio Aru. He was back in support of Aru in the Vuelta as Aru won the GC and Landa took another mountain stage. That strong year got him a move to Sky where he was promised a leader's role and this is his chance to shine. Landa has been in excellent form for Sky so far in 2016, winning a stage on the steep slopes of Pais Vasco when he wasn't supposed to be in top shape. He then won a stage and the GC in Trentino. He obviously has not been there and done that like Nibali, but he has no question marks over form or motivation and clearly knows how to win. He hasn't always looked like the strongest rider against the clock, and that could count against him on this parcours but he’ll think that even on the TT bike there are enough uphill sections for him to gain some time, and he's at the right team to improve that discipline so he could surprise. With a very strong looking team he is a massive threat to beat his old team mate to glory.

Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) 7/1

Palmares: 78 Pro Wins
Vuelta a Espana 2009
7 other Grand Tour podium finishes (6 Vuelta a Espana & Tour de France 2015)
9 Stages of the Vuelta a Espana
Critérium Du Dauphiné Libéré 2008, 2009
Liege-Bastogne-Liege 2006, 2008, 2015
La Fleche Wallonne 2006, 2014, 2015, 2016
Clasica San Sebastian 2008, 2014
Vuelta a Andalucia 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015
Vuelta a Catalunya 2009
Spanish National Championships Road Race 2008, 2015
Spanish National TT Championships 2014
Giro Record – never raced

Somewhat surprisingly Alejandro Valverde, veteran of 18 Grand Tours, has never previously attempted the Giro d’Italia. The evergreen Spaniard is not everyone’s cup of tea but one thing you can guarantee is that no-one will be taking him lightly. He showed once again on the Mur de Huy that there is no-one better on punchy steep climbs of which there will be plenty in this race. He is 36 now so you would think he may be vulnerable to younger legs, especially in the crucial third week when recovery powers are all important. He has shown that he isn’t always as happy on the long climbs but he’s a good time triallist so it would be no surprise to see a very prominent GC showing and stage wins are pretty much a sure thing. Like Nibali and Landa, he has the support of a very strong team so he is a massive contender.

Rigoberto Uran (Cannondale) 12/1

Palmares: 8 Pro Wins
2nd in Giro d’Italia in 2013 and 2014
2 Giro d’Italia stage wins
Grand Prix de Quebec 2015
Gran Piemonte 2012
Silver Olympic Road Race 2012
Giro Record (5 - oldest first): 35, 7, 2, 2, 14

The popular Colombian has been second to superb Giro winners twice, following Nibali home in 2013 and Nairo Quintana in 2014. Certainly in the second of those he was distinctly unfortunate, wearing the leader’s jersey until a controversial stage 15 that took the riders over both the Gavia and the Stelvio. In horrendous conditions the race was seemingly neutralised but somehow Uran lost several minutes to Quintana and he was never quite able to make that time back. He’s a high quality climber and has an excellent time trial. He’s a very good tactician and knows what it is like to compete over 3 weeks for this title. Will this be his turn to stand on the top step of the podium? He looks like he is coming back into some form in Tour de Romandie. One thing that could count against him is the relative strength of his team (or lack of) and Michael Woods’ broken wrist ruling him out is another blow.

Rafal Majka (Tinkoff) 14/1

Palmares: 6 Pro Wins
0 Grand Tour wins but 3rd in the 2015 Vuelta a Espana, 6th and 7th in his two Giri d'Italia
3 Tour de France stage wins
Tour of Poland 2014
Giro Record (2 - oldest first): 6 , 7

The 26 year old Pole Rafal Majka has a similar profile to Mikel Landa in that he has a chance to lead his team in this Giro after years in service of others. Majka is an excellent climber as he demonstrated when taking the polka dot jersey in the Tour in 2014 along with two mountain stages and followed it up with another stage in 2015. He also got a top 3 placing in the 2015 Vuelta a Espana when Tom Dumoulin cracked on the final mountain stage. It's possible he wasn't at this best there as many of the other riders who had ridden the Tour underperformed in the Vuelta. In that context, and on the back of an extended break at the end of the season it's conceivable that he maintains and upward curve, improves again and challenges here. Like Landa, he's probably an OK time triallist rather than excelling in that discipline and it's possible this will work against him.

Ilnur Zakarin (Katusha) 12/1

Palmares: 5 Pro Wins
0 Grand Tours or podiums
1 Giro d'Italia Stage win 2015
Tour de Romandie 2015
Tour of Azerbaijan 2015
Giro Record (1 - oldest first): 44

Ilnur Zakarin would not have been on most people's list of favourites for the Giro a few months ago but his impressive form in his defence of his 2015 Tour de Romandie overall win has seen his odds shrink. The 26 year old Russian received a 2 year ban for steroids early in his career but the Katusha rider seems determined to make up for lost time. His form on the steep slopes in Switzerland was impressive, on Stage 3 he dropped everyone except Quintana who he beat in a two-up sprint before the places were controversially reversed by the judges. His 2015 win Tour de Romandie win may have been a surprise, but he showed excellent form in the mountains and blew the other GC contenders away despite a mechanical. He followed this form up in last year's Giro, his first Grand Tour, winning Stage 11 solo on the race track at Imola in very wet conditions. There is no question that Zakarin can climb and time trial and he could go very well indeed. Any doubts would be about his ability to mix it at the deep end 3 weeks into a Grand Tour.

Tom Dumoulin (Giant Alpecin) 28/1

Palmares: 9 Pro Wins
0 Grand Tour wins or podiums, but led the 2015 Vuelta a Espana until the penultimate stage
2 Vuelta a Espana stage wins 2015
Giro Record – never raced

Tom Dumoulin has done a fantastic job of transforming himself from one of the world's top out-and-out time trial specialist into a seemingly genuine GC contender of the Wiggins school of gaining time against the clock and cling on in the mountains school. In the 2015 Vuelta a Espana he surprised everyone by not only making time on the other contenders in the chronos but also by more than holding his own on the steep stuff. Although he eventually cracked on the final mountain stage and ended up finishing 6th, no-one should forget what an impressive effort that was in only his 5th Grand Tour. He was as good as anyone on the shorter climbs in the first two weeks and he was often isolated as soon as the road went up in the third week. If he can recreate that form he could be a massive danger to all on this parcours with all the time trials miles. He has stated that he's here to win the TTs rather than compete for GC but if he gets off to a good start and is near the top of the GC in the second week he could put some time into other contenders. Again you'd think that he might be vulnerable in the very high mountains in week 3 and it's likely he would again struggle for support from his team but if there were any route changes or cancellations due to weather in the third week it would play into his hands and make him a huge danger to all.

Others to watch
Domenico Pozzovivo has 5 top 10s in Grand Tours including a best place 5th in the 2014 Giro d'Italia. Now 33, the Italian Ag2r climber should be at his peak and is targeting his home Grand Tour but has not really shown his best form since the serious crash he suffered in last year's race. At his best he was a brilliant climber and although he's often been found out on the time trial bike these are the sort of time trials where he has performed well in the past. His team-mate JC Peraud was runner up in the 2014 Tour de France and if he could return to anything like that sort of form would be a very dangerous option.

Daniel Chaves won two stages in the first week of last year's Vuelta a Espana in only his third Grand Tour and eventually finished in an excellent 5th place. He is developing into an excellent climber and GC rider but he will struggle for team support in the high mountains against some of these contenders as Orica are going to primarily set up to take stage wins. It would be no surprise to see Chaves take a stage or two and gain another decent finish in the GC but it might be too early for him to think about winning one.

Ryder Hesjedal is Trek's nominated GC rider. The 2012 Giro winning Canadian has not shown much since moving from Cannondale Garmin and although he would be a dangerous man to take lightly it is difficult to see him turning the clock back. Steven Kruijswijk of Lotto Jumbo lost time early on in the 2015 Giro before becoming one of the strongest riders in the mountains as the race wore on, eventually getting 7th place, his second Giro top 10 after an 8th place finish in 2011. He has a decent amount of miles in the legs this year and while he hasn't shown amazing form he could be another interesting wildcard. Another who falls into the interesting wildcard category is Gianluca Brambilla. The Etixx climber has done his time as a super-domestique and was 13th in the 2015 Vuelta when given his first chance to lead. His team are likely to be set up around sprint wins for Marcel Kittel but Brambilla showed how strong he was when he almost won Strade Bianche this year with an ultra aggressive ride and although he is no match for some of these riders on paper he could get a decent finish. Darwen Atapuma looks like being BMC's main GC rider. The 28 year old Colombian will be competing in his 5th Grand Tour and although this is the first time he has had a protected role you'd have to think he'd be unlikely to challenge the big favourites and his team are likely to be set up to win stages with Phillippe Gilbert.
Grand Tours are tricky races to bet on, we've frequently seen favourites crash out and the weather can often play more of a role in the Giro than either of the others. I think Vincenzo Nibali is a very worthy favourite for this race. I'm not sure Valverde can beat him in either the time trials or the high mountains these days and whilst I respect his newer challengers like Landa, Zakarin, Dumoulin and Majka none of them have his pedigree or experience of winning races like this. There are several strong teams lining up here but Astana have had 4 podium finishes in this race in 3 years (Nibali 1st 2013, Aru 3rd 2014, Aru 2nd & Landa 3rd 2015) and with Fuglsang, Zeits, Scarponi & Kangert this is their "A" team. I have backed Nibali to do a Giro/Olympics Road Race double at 30/1. If I was going to take a chance on one of the younger riders I would prefer to take Majka at a much bigger price than Landa who at 5/2 seems very short to me. Lastly I can see Dumoulin trading a lot shorter than his current 28/1 at some point so he might not be a bad position to take. I have a couple of riders I want to back for top 10s but I will leave those until the prices are up.

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Report marychain1 May 3, 2016 10:40 PM BST
Taken a couple of prices.

Andre Griepel stage wins +0.5 2/1
Jacub Mareckzo to beat Caleb Ewan (points classification) 9/4
FDJ team classification 750/1
Report SwingingPick May 5, 2016 5:23 PM BST
I cannot say I share your enthusiasm for this race, MC. Yes it's a GT and every stage is its big individual race, but this race is Nibali's to lose and Valverde's to lose in terms of his place on the podium, with luck or misfortune likely deciding the third step amongst a group of riders on levels of class well below these two proven performers.

At 36yo Valverde would become the oldest Giro winner since 1955 when ITA Fiorenzo Magni won at 34yo. Would also do the Double for ESP here after Contador's win last year. Age is certainly an issue in a (three-week long) GT, however Chris Horner won the Vuelta at 41yo in 2013 when becoming the oldest GT winner ever, and Valverde rode not one but two GTs last year at 35yo. Firstly, he got on the podium in the TdF by some 3mins from 4th-placed Nibali, and then he won a 210km stage in the Vuelta, before finishing in 7th-place on GC whilst assisting Quintana, albeit unconvincingly, into a 4th-place finish on GC. I think an older rider nowadays gets to know his body so well that he can almost put it on auto-pilot when required and save energy for the more important parts of the race. Add to that his impressive experience and the fact he gets three days to recover and that in addition MOV is entirely devoted to his principal status, perhaps unlike in past GTs where such issues have played-out publicly and may have had a destabilizing effect within the team, and he is a legitimate contender for the win. He initially stated in late 2015 that he would be focusing on the TdF and Rio, and would be unlikely to start in the Giro. His full-committment to his start here only came after his test ended in a win on GC in the Vuelta a Castilla Leon PCT stage race in mid-April. This is interesting when taking into account the apparent weak field and the fact that in eighteen GT starts he has never ridden the Giro. With a Vuelta win and a podium in the TdF as his best GT results, what better time to ride and win the Giro than now, when it would appear at least  on paper as essentially an arm-wrestle against Nibali.

Nevertheless, Nibali proved late last season how well he rides on ITA soil when after failing in the WC RR in the USA he returned to ITA to win two races in-a-row, firstly the minor Tre Valli Varesine before then going on to win his first Monument in fine fashion by claiming the prestigious Il Lombardia. Moreover, there are three additional points of advantage for him in this race to that of riding on home soil: 1.) The three TTs play into his strength. (I don't agree that Valverde is close to him in this discipline.) 2.) The late mountain "deciders" provide him his preferred method of working his way into the race by developing his condition as the race progresses, reaching peak form as he looks to finish strong. 3.) Has an additional weapon of the surprise attack, by taking advantage of his specialist descending ability on multiple stages which end with a descent into the finish.

No outright bets for me for a change. Have built up Nibali at 2/1 on here to start.

Report Happybacker May 5, 2016 9:20 PM BST
Have to say I disagree with SP and to lesser degree Mc here.

I think it's a fascinating GT with the established stars and the new. I see it as a straight battle between Nibali and Landa for the outright, not  Valverede at all as I just don't think he cuts it in the high mountains these days.

The way i see it is that Landa will be the strongest in the mountains and will gain time on everyone (including Nibali) on the true climbing stages. The question is how much time he will lose in the TT's and with there being 3 stages against the clock that does temper my enthusiasm for Landa a bit. Though of the 2 main TT's, one is totally uphill and the other has a climb in it, so i'm inclined to think the losses won't be as catastrophic as some think?? In my eyes Landa was the strongest rider at the giro last year and if he hadn't been riding for Aru he would probably have beaten Contador??
What i like about Landa aside from the fact I think he is climbing better than anyone here, is that he is now with the strongest team. Sky have been in top form all season so far and have been picking up wins everywhere. I also think being with Sky will hopefully help improve his Tt skills as i'm sure they will have been working very hard on this. And the team they have sent shows just where they think this tour will be won and lost, as the whole team apart from knees and Viviani are out and out climbers.

On what I've seen so far this year, and from last years form in this race, I think Landa rates a good bet at 5/2.

Gl all.
Report marychain1 May 6, 2016 12:03 AM BST
Hi guys. Missed ya! How can you be bussing for this's the Giro!!! Absolutely no way I can have Landa v Nibali. I just don't see it on everything we know. I can't have Valverde either unless he's glowing. He's canny, he's rugged and he's got the team behind him but he'll get found out on these super long climbs imo. Astana are hugely strong here, rekon they'll have 3 in the top 10. It will be a massive shock if Nibali is beaten in this race. 6/4 or above a good bet I reckon.
Report marychain1 May 6, 2016 12:04 AM BST
*How can you not be buzzing
Report nugget May 6, 2016 2:17 AM BST
Landa, Dumoulin and Zakarin are riders I'm watching for the gc.  With the team Team Sky are sending I'm not backing Landa until the race leaves the Netherlands due to crosswinds and the like, although the weather looks fine so far.
Report nugget May 6, 2016 11:15 AM BST
Dumoulin should really win this prologue.  Small stakes on Vorobyev and Küng for me.
Report GoBallistic May 6, 2016 12:37 PM BST
My pre-race thoughts
- really nice well-balanced parcours, well suited to classics riders like Nibali and Valverde, not really great for the pure climbers compared to a usual Giro.
- I think Nibali wanted to ride the Tour and is hacked off that Aru was the chosen one for that - might be a bit sulky. Definitely leaving Astana this year and his biggest aim of the year is the olympics.
- Riders I see performing better than expected: Uran, Kangert, Vanendert, Brambilla
Report SwingingPick May 6, 2016 2:51 PM BST
Definitely excited for the race MC -- all ready with my midnight beverages and snacks -- was referencing the weak field and that it's unlikely imo to give us the great racing you think it will on GC. Nibali to defend, Valverde to protect his legs, and list of minor names with minor claims, imo.

Even though Landa had a great ride here last year to get on the podium, I don't rate him at all, so will oppose you HB. Perhaps not enough to lay him presently, but he certainly doesn't fill with me with the optimism you hold at ante-post. Didn't see any Trentino, but his win looks suspect with that podium and time gaps, and for this season that just leaves his stage two win in the Basque Country up that crazy steep and narrow climbing finish, which admittedly was good, but was not enough to even get him into the top-10 on GC, and yes that race had an ITT and yes he wasn't great. I take your point about SKY assisting him in the TTs, they'll need too and he'll need to respond, but how much is that really worth in secs, because at the end of the day time is what matters? I think he might be 45-90secs down to Nibali by the second Rest Day, and that will put SKY under severe pressure to attack in the big mountain stages of which there are only really three. And how do SKY attack? Power train! So, I think it's a big ask to expect that that sort of riding to suit Landa in the way it suits Froome. I just don't see him coping with the pressure because he is coming out of the TTs down on the top two, and conversely last year he didn't have any pressure because he just found himself in a free situation and was doing his own thing.

Might suggest that he might be a better price after the second Rest Day, and for the as yet uncommitted backers to hold off on backing him now in order to appraise his chances and price at that later point, where he could be 8/1 and better than double what he is now.

Make no mistake that this race is a big aim for Nibali, like HB previously stated on another thread about Contador on ESP soil, Nibali is out to impress here and I think we will see his best as he lifts on ITA soil.

Report SwingingPick May 6, 2016 4:48 PM BST
Case in point: Landa already down on Nibali by +21secs after the opening ITT (prologue) stage…
I mean, where is he going to get that back, remembering that there are another two TTs remaining?
How does Landa arrest such severe bleeding?

He'll require a massive day in one of the three big mountain stages, and Nibali should only be improving as the race progresses.
Report marychain1 May 6, 2016 10:57 PM BST
Ah, see what you mean. From my point of view a Nibali train to 1.01 would be financially welcome but I concede that it might make the GC race a bit less exciting. The GC race is only part of the fun though n'est pas? Stage by stage the parcours looks a belter. I can't wait til we get to the bel paese.
Report Happybacker May 7, 2016 9:14 AM BST
I think everybody expected Landa to lose 20+ secs yesterday so 21 he will  be happy with, it was a pan flat power riders TT, i expect he will lose maybe 40 secs to Nibali on the next TT, you don't have to be Sherlock to work that out. But it think in the final TT he will be very competititve on. I would expect him to be 1min to 1min 30 down on Nibali going in to the 2nd rest day and think thats exactly what Sky will be thinking.

Where will Landa make up time??? Have you not watched him climb over the last 12 months?? The only rider who i believe could live with him on the big climbs at the minute would be Quintana maybe Froome. In the Giro last year he was riding away from contador and constantly waiting for Aru! This year despite missing training whole of January and most of February, he has come back strong and got in to his stride very quickly, with a stage at Pais Vasco and then a Stage and the outright at Trentino. I know nibali is an expert  at building form over the 3 weeks but even his most ardent  supporters must be worried about his form on the climbs this year, he has said so himself! I don't think Landa will have any problem dropping Nibali and making 2 mins plus over the final weeks big mountains.

Like i said stage 1 panned out pretty much as everyone expected and i don't think there will be any major changes until well in to the 2nd week. Hopefully people will start laying Landa at bigger prices and I can't start loading up!
Report SwingingPick May 7, 2016 11:05 AM BST
HB, I don't know why you have chosen to alter your tone in this way, we are both regulars on here and have opposed each other in the past whilst keeping a friendly tone. If you want me to ignore you like I do nugget than keep it up, but it would be a real shame because we often work well off each other. Anyway, your choice.

"On what I've seen so far this year, and from last years form in this race, I think Landa rates a good bet at 5/2."

You stated that 5/2 was a good bet, yet if he is going to blow out as you agree is going to happen now, you would agree that laying him at 5/2 is the good bet, not backing him? Or at least suggesting that a better outright price might be found later with the Books, since the main big climbs come late? I mean if you're expecting bigger prices, why would you rate 5/2 as a good price? It is completely inconsistent.

The bigger prices will come because his time losses in the ITTs were not built into his SP, given the potential for a wide spread, which as I stated might be between 45-90secs, but would now suggest higher rather than lower, since mental factors come into play.

Anyway, I know I'm not going to convince you, my analysis was for those not making the major error you have found for yourself this early on in proceedings. Mischief

Best regards,
Report SwingingPick May 7, 2016 5:31 PM BST
"Make no mistake that this race is a big aim for Nibali, like HB previously stated on another thread about Contador on ESP soil, Nibali is out to impress here and I think we will see his best as he lifts on ITA soil."

…It was actually CJ that said that about Contador on the Catalunya thread, not HB -- sorry mate! It was a good reminder about home territory as a factor.

"As he's never won here and is currently on a last hurrah I think he'll be more motivated than usual to take this, the chance of him getting popped in Spain are zero."

Report Happybacker May 9, 2016 9:29 AM BST
Sp i do greatly value your contributions on here and always enjoy reading your write ups. I was not taking any tone with you and i'm sorry if you construed it that way mate, thats not how it was meant, I was just trying to give an alternative view of the race to yours and MC's.

I just felt everyone has gone slightly overboard on Nibali and slightly underplaying Landa's trentino victory, though the bookies to be fair have not made this mistake. And yes you are quite right the play with Landa maybe to wait until after the 2nd time trial as he could well be a bigger price then, though his price has actually contracted slightly (now  generally 15/8) after the first tt?? The thing with waiting is that there is a fairly tough day on stage 6 where Landa may well make time and he could surprise on the tt that is suddenly not flat in any part, so his price may not  be any much if any bigger than now by the second rest day. Hence why I thought i'd go in at 5/2, if it does go bigger I will likely back him again.

Thank you for the debate SP it's what makes a forum when people disagree at times , as well as the times when we do agree, I hope we can continue to have good and healthy debate going forward, and that we can enjoy what I feel will be a spectacular 3 weeks especially the final week!
Report SwingingPick May 9, 2016 6:05 PM BST
HB, no worries mate, I accept that you were offering an alternative view, however I found it belittling as I had considered most of those issues and your tone inferred disregard or absence of diligence on my part. I take posting here seriously and I'm always learning, but there's a way to strike a tone of respect, and the way to do so is to start from a position that, the (serious) person you're corresponding with, will have analysed all the available data, and will attempt to find holes in your position on the point at issue from that basis.

I would have suggested Landa as a lay (trade) proposition from the outset, however I realise some people (who don't post on the forum) follow my suggestions, and I have offered lays before when the market went against me and stakes were lost, causing real bank losses, so I stopped offering lay suggestions. Back suggestions are limited by the liability the backer is willing to take, so the risk is managed by the person following my back suggestions and the risk is therefore essentially theirs.   

On the issue at discussion: I don't see Landa winning this race, but anything can happen. You say that there may be a problem with waiting, which I understand that you think he may gain time on the GC contenders on stage 6. I agree with MC that stage 6 is the first GC test, and I think we can accept from history that GC contenders usually come out on the first long climb in a GT, but what we rarely see is "bury-mode" where a GC rider goes deep into his reserves to pull out a big lead if an attack sticks, and I think it's unlikely that we will see one on this occasion from any of the GC riders, including Landa. 

Landa is already under pressure and that pressure is increasing and will continue to increase as he knows that the time gap will grow against him again three days later in stage 9, so I cannot see his price shortening much with one strong ride on one climb to make time on his GC opponents, if your prediction were to eventuate, that is. (The mountain climb TT is a separate issue as it comes as part of that important block of racing in this race.) Having said that, I agree his price is being bullish, and I come back to the belief that his TT losses were not built into his SP, and layers don't want to admit that, atm. Once traders admit it, and should he do nothing substantial prior to the stage 9 TT, the panic will set in and he will be trading at 6/1, 7/1, 8/1, which is about where his SP price should have been, imo, depending on my 45-90secs (loss) projections, which is looking conservative after the opener if the time losses are uniform per 10kms, whilst taking into account that losses are bigger for a non-TT rider over the longer course, with the second TT being at 40.4kms, a true or pure TT test.

Report SwingingPick May 10, 2016 5:45 PM BST
Very interesting post-race interview with Dumoulin. We know from the past that objectives change in races when your condition is improving day-by-day and your in the Leader's Jersey, however he was quite resolute in the interview that the hard (second and full of climbing) part is beyond him because he didn't go to altitude to train prior to coming here.

I'm not confident he can win, but am just wondering if there will be enough panic out there about him, were he to survive stage 6 and pull out a devastating TT on stage 9 for some traders to return to hedge their bets? He might very-well have an 80-90secs lead on the GC men by the second Rest Day, has no pressure to win since he came in with no expectations other than to win the TTs, and using a conservative uniform time gap prediction from the adjusted opener as it advantages the TT specialist over the pure 40.4km distance of stage 9, and am considering the potential for 8/1, 9/1 price matches. Build it and they will come, right? Interested in expanding this discussion, what do you guys think?

1.) Dumoulin's potential lead by stage 9?
2.) Level of panic at that point?
3.) His predicted losses in the mountains, or what time lead does he require by those mountain stages to be able to defend, remembering that he will defend any lead in the stage 15 TT mountain climb on account of his ability to limit losses in the mountains when riding his own rhythm and pace?

Report marychain1 May 10, 2016 6:49 PM BST
It's quite possible he takes a minute out of Nibali on that parcours (although its nowhere near as flat as some have made out) and he should take more out of Landa, Makja etc.

The mountain goats will take comfort from the Vuelta and look at the profile of 19 and 20 and say Dumoulin will definitely crack - he probably will - BUT it will be interesting if we have cancelled/neutralised/rerouted stages becuase of snow. You'd see Dumoulin's price collapse.
Report SwingingPick May 11, 2016 6:29 PM BST
Okay, let's work with that, and this: Long-range weather forecast looks stable, and whilst it is a real possibility for an altered parcours as MC advances, since the Dolomites have their own climate and are generally unstable as most mountains are, it's just something we can't rely on and so we should not allow the subject to take precedence over the questions we can answer.

What's cracking? (In context of stages 19 and 20.) Does Dumoulin really crack on climbs? I was under the impression he just throttles back, finds his own rhythm and pace, and forges along, albeit losing time to more explosive climbers. I mean, he doesn't pop and throw his dummy out with the sandbags?

In that context, and optimistically, is 2mins -- 1min per stage -- enough to hold off Nibali? Is 4mins -- 2min per stage -- enough to hold out Majka/Landa?

Conversely, for Dumoulin to have such leads by then, he needs to survive stage 14 also, and ride similarly in the stage 15 TT as he did in the stage 1 TT, which is a completely different challenge on account of him not being able to utilise his smooth TT qualities going uphill. Which would suggest he may even lose some time on that stage to Nibali and Landa.

…Some tough questions there and perhaps some easy ones, but stage 6 tomorrow might provide some more indicators about his chances going forward, without affecting the winner market too much should he finish satisfactorily.
Report marychain1 May 12, 2016 9:56 PM BST
I don't think we should read too much into today's stage. Nibali and Landa didn't look too good today but it will be them two there at the end imo
Report SwingingPick May 14, 2016 3:59 PM BST
As MC stated in the first paragraph of this thread, the Giro is less predictable and formulaic than the other GTs.

We have a race here -- good call MC -- this is thrilling!

Game on!
Report marychain1 May 14, 2016 10:25 PM BST
Another who falls into the interesting wildcard category is Gianluca Brambilla. The Etixx climber has done his time as a super-domestique and was 13th in the 2015 Vuelta when given his first chance to lead. His team are likely to be set up around sprint wins for Marcel Kittel but Brambilla showed how strong he was when he almost won Strade Bianche this year with an ultra aggressive ride and although he is no match for some of these riders on paper he could get a decent finish.
Report SwingingPick May 15, 2016 5:21 AM BST
That would've been helpful on the stage 8 thread mate. Plain

Are you suggesting Brambilla is a genuine podium chance for Torino? Confused
Report marychain1 May 15, 2016 9:53 AM BST
True - it most certainly would have helped on the stage 8 thread. Brambilla was high on my original shortlist for the stage but I just figured he wouldn't be allowed in to break. Even when the break was established I figured they wouldn't allow it to stay out. Am I suggesting Brambilla is a genuine podium chance? I suppose he would be an outside contender. I would think he would be thinking of a top 10 finish and anything better would be a bonus. The goals of his team are clearer now Kittel has gone. Likewise Sky with Viviani, although unlike with Etixx the sprinter was more of a plan B.
Report marychain1 May 15, 2016 10:24 AM BST
Brambilla is 400/1 for a top 3 finish with Paddy Power. Had to have some of that seeing as most books are 100/1 for him to win the Giro.
Report SwingingPick May 15, 2016 1:49 PM BST
We've missed a clear opportunity there MC, Brambilla opened at 28/1, and his SB 3rd-place finish when hanging tough in top-class company was the clear indicator you advanced without bringing the specific reminder for yesterday. I mean, he rode so freshly yesterday, and whilst it would appear that EQS DS delayed the TGA organisation in some way, they were willing to take the gamble of the breakaway being caught because of the strong SB link and him being on good sensations.

We can't afford to miss such obvious selections mate, Brambilla should have been a confident inclusion on the back of that GC indicator you advanced. Sad

Report Happybacker May 16, 2016 10:45 AM BST
A very interesting, exciting, and in some parts surprising first week.

The bookies now make Landa the 6/5 fav and i think that is about right. I've made it pretty clear from the outset how strong I am on him, and as i suggested above far from drifting Landa's price has now collapsed as he is in a much better position than he or the team would have expected at this stage. I was anticipating that he would be 1min to 1min 30 down on Nibali at this point, so to be only 20s off his main rival is a great start. Obviously it is far from over and there are still many riders who will be fancying there chances of getting on that podium in Turin. But as an out and out climber we are still yet to see Landa in his favourite environment yet he is right there. Of all the riders and that includes Nibali, I still feel Landa has the most potential to get stronger and stronger as the race goes on, he missed so much training in January and February that he can only  get better with every days racing. I am expecting Landa to just keep in touch again this week and keep himself up there not launching any major attacks, saving his energy for next sundays TT and then his final week push when I would expect to see him attacking in the big mountains.

Really looking forward to the next 2 weeks, think could see quite a few different faces in the pink jersey before we get to Turin!
Report SwingingPick May 16, 2016 8:05 PM BST
I'm wondering with Landa whether his improvement on the TT bike has come at the expense of losing some of his explosive climbing ability, which is a requirement for the really steep slopes. For instance, on the white roads of stage 8 at about 24kms to-go and with the gradient at 10%, Valverde injected the first of his multiple attacks which formed the first selection of that climb (where Dumoulin popped) and where Landa was the first rider to struggle with the pace, he was right up there (6th wheel in fact) before drifting off the back and losing contact as Amador went past him easily. And even Majka, who was out of position at that point, managed to bridge the small gap to stay in contact. Landa didn't initially even come back on the plateau 3kms later with Amador, and when eventually he did get back, he soon looked to be teetering on the back as Valverde again injected the pace. This was again repeated with 19kms to-go. But even on the descent he couldn't respond to Nibali, Valverde and Chaves.

And whilst he didn't lose any time on that stage, suggesting that he was riding to save energy, he did pose some questions to suggest to me that I won't be convinced about his claims for the GC in Torino until I see him on a steep slope looking like he can respond with aplomb or even make his own attack stick. I mean, I might miss 5/4 with the Books, but it won't be a loss given the fact that Valverde and Nibali are looking promising. 

Also, Landa's price did drift out to 3/1 with the Books prior to his strong ride in the stage 9 TT, and he was matched at far superior prices on the exchange with reasonable liquidity, also. 6/5 for Landa presently is a price based on no race form that I can see, and it represents absolutely no value whatsoever with 1.) the amount of racing remaining, 2.) Nibali's building form, 3.) MOV's strong position with two riders in the GC, and 4.) Valverde's excellent condition. Moreover, Landa is being matched at 9/5 on the exchange, and I would expect him to be on the drift out to 2/1, even. So, for those looking to line-up for the best price with the Books at 5/4 Landa as an outright bet, I would suggest to wait few minutes for a better price. 

Report SwingingPick May 17, 2016 7:36 PM BST
Report marychain1 May 18, 2016 7:56 AM BST
So that was another very interesting stage yesterday, and as we should now get a bit of a breather from any serious GC action for a couple of days at least it's worth a look at what happened.

1) Landa abandoned. Have to admit nugget made me laugh with his comment on the fred, but it is weird how often you see riders react badly to whatever they've been up to on the rest day. SP mentioned that riders can sometimes pay for improving on the TT bike by experiencing less climbing ability and mentioned he'd already not looked as sharp as we might expect on the steeper slopes. I find it difficult to draw any conclusions about what would have happened in the rest of the race. Landa should have been at his best in the long steep climbs of the third week and he abandoned before he even took a Cat 1 climb. It's a real shame for the race that he's gone.
2) Astana asserting. All of a sudden they looked the strongest team in the race yesterday as they massed on the front. Agnoli, Scarponi, Fuglsang all looked very strong. The only question mark about them, strangely, is whether Nibali is in the form we'd want to see at this stage. If he is, you'd think they only have to work their usual mountain train magic for Nibali to put his rivals in trouble.
3) Movistar. If Amador had taken pink and won a minute yesterday (and the stage, and my bets...) that would have been an incredible move. As it was you'd think they may have burnt a match of someone that could be a very useful card/weapon for Valverde at some stage, without getting any real benefit from it.
4) Brambilla. What a superb ride that was to get back and work on the front for Jungels and drag back some of Amador's advantage. Absolutely selfless. And even though he was dropped on the penultimate climb and then the final climb after he did his spell on the front, at 1m 11 back in 6th he's only 20 seconds behind the first of the big big contenders (Valverde) in GC and could prove to be a factor - if not for himself then as a card for Jungels.
5) Ciccone. Delighted for Bardiani to get a stage and a super ride for a 21 year old in his first GT to win a stage and what a ride, at first doing huge turns on the front for Pirazzi and then proving to be stronger and winning. His mother Madonna Ciccone will be delighted.
Report nugget May 22, 2016 4:19 PM BST
Dont know why Landa pulled out, he could of lost 10 minutes and still won this giro.
Report nugget May 24, 2016 12:14 AM BST
Looks like people didn't do their due diligence.  Overrating Nibali and Valverde and underating at big prices Kruiswijk and Chaves.  Nibali clearly didn't have good form coming into to this 3 week tour, he was always going to trade at a bigger price.  Also that this will be Valverde's 3rd Grand Tour in a row caused me some reservations about his gc chances despite him not complying with normal physiological standards.
Report marychain1 May 26, 2016 10:41 AM BST
Good analysis nugget. You knew. You must have cleared up.
Report nugget May 26, 2016 1:53 PM BST
nugget • May 6, 2016 2:17 AM BST
Landa, Dumoulin and Zakarin are riders I'm watching for the gc.

Well two of my riders left early and the other crashed twice on one stage so I was on the lookout.  At least Landa was able to put in a huge TT which kept his rivals odds large at that point.
Report nugget May 27, 2016 2:55 PM BST
Kruijswijk crashes!
Report nugget May 27, 2016 4:01 PM BST
I guess those "tests" Nibali had were really good
Report nugget May 27, 2016 4:02 PM BST
they must of shown he was due for a top up
Report marychain1 May 27, 2016 4:30 PM BST
Just found his normal form (at last)
Report marychain1 May 28, 2016 4:33 PM BST
What was that about people overating Nibali nugget?
Report SwingingPick May 28, 2016 4:38 PM BST
Expect some radio silence from nugget for a while I think MC. Laugh
Report nugget May 28, 2016 4:41 PM BST
nugget • May 24, 2016 12:14 AM BST

"Overrating Nibali..... he was always going to trade at a bigger price."

nugget • May 24, 2016 12:24 PM BST

"I think for those who have Chavez and the Krusher at good prices adding Nibali at 7-8's would be a good move now."

All he needed was the leader to crash.  Just like the TdF he won.
Report nugget May 28, 2016 4:50 PM BST
Never underestimate Nibali to do whatever it takes.  Just like the Vuelta last year.
Report rl91 May 28, 2016 5:33 PM BST
I was on Nibali from I think Stage 5 (3.3) and can't believe the last two days

No doubt Kruiswijk wins without the crash, fantastic performance by him again today with a broken rib! As always the Giro produces
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