Another Giro stage, another win for the break

Looks like I didn’t click ‘publish’ on this piece. Pretend it’s yesterday…

The way it’s supposed to work is that a bunch of riders form the break early in the day and then the peloton laughs about their foolhardiness for a few hours before reeling them in pretty much whenever it feels like. Only it hasn’t worked like that in this year’s Giro.

In this year’s Giro, a bunch of riders have formed the break, the peloton has then typically expressed no real emotions one way or another before reeling in only some of them somewhere near the finish. Over half the stage wins so far have come from riders who have been in the break. That’s really unusual, but no bad thing.

Today’s victor was Ilnur Zakarin, 25 years old and already with a two-year doping ban to his name. He came ninth in the Tour of the Basque country earlier this year and then won the Tour de Romandie – a big win – earlier in the month. What he did when he was 19 has meant that Zakarin hasn’t been given much credit for any of this. Whether that’s sad or entirely justifiable, only he can know.

The also-rans

Despite all of the wins for breakaway riders, there hasn’t been too much joy for two riders who have been in the break often and who in previous years have challenged for the overall at the Giro.

Ryder Hesjedal won the thing in 2012 but he’s already lost enough time that the overall contenders don’t see him as a danger. Again and again he’s been in the break, but with nothing to show for it so far.

Same with Carlos Betancur. His godawful results are almost more noteworthy than his good ones these days, but he did finish fifth in the Giro in 2013. He too has seemingly signed a contract with Team Breakaway. Today he came second.

Stage 12

Hard to know what to make of this one. Largely flat, but with a couple of climbs towards the end and then an uphill finish.