Rigoberto’s hungry like the wolf
That’s a Duran Duran reference. You know, because his full name’s Rigoberto Uran Uran… Don’t scrutinise it. It doesn’t make sense. It’s enough to know that the Columbian rider won the time trial and therefore stripped Cadel Evans of his pink jersey, donning it himself instead (figuratively speaking).
Where things stand
Let’s simplify this. The time trial led to some pretty big time gaps, so we can now discard a few of the riders and get ourselves a more manageable cast list.
First of all, here’s the top five:
- Rigoberto Uran Uran – 49h37m35s
- Cadel Evans – 37s behind
- Rafal Majka – 1m52s
- Domenico Pozzovivo – 2m32s
- Wilco Kelderman – 2m50s
The first thing you’ll notice is that pre-race favourite, Nairo Quintana isn’t there. He’s sixth, 3m29s back after losing 2m41s to Uran on the day. Quintana is a much better time triallist than most think, but not when he’s ill. He’s currently on antibiotics and that, somewhat bizarrely, probably means that we shouldn’t yet count him out. There are plenty of mountains to come and we almost certainly haven’t yet seen the best of him.
In contrast, Ryder Hesjedal has no real excuses for finishing over three minutes down, so we can forget about him being a major contender. Another former winner, Ivan Basso, lost four minutes and while some of this can be put down to a crash, he’s not going to threaten anyone.
Who are those other two guys?
Wilco Kelderman is a 23-year-old Dutch rider. He’s an improving rider and it’ll be interesting to see how he goes. Rafal Majka is a Pole (as in the nationality, not like how Lance Armstrong’s ‘a complete pole’). A year older than Kelderman, he finished seventh in last year’s Giro and could be a big danger to Evans and Uran.
More about the time trial
Domenico Pozzovivo is of course crap at time trials. There was an uphill bit at the start and he was fastest up that by some margin. He’d then lost all of that advantage and multiples of it again by the bottom of the descent. Majestic stuff. He probably isn’t helped by the fact that his team’s bike manufacturer doesn’t make time trial bikes in his size, so he has to ride a sort of Frankenstein’s hybrid that’s a road bike with time trial bars. He was ninth on the day, 2m09s down and that keeps him in the hunt. Hellishly steep climbs come more and more frequently from now on and he’s the rider who’ll look forward to that the most/dread it the least.
Diego Ulissi came second on the day. I was slightly worried it might be one of those results until Uran romped home 1m17s ahead of him. I’ve since concluded that, like Kelderman and Majka, Ulissi is a young rider who is only just beginning to reveal what he is capable of.
Cadel Evans was third, 1m34s down on Uran’s time. It’s a sizeable gap, but while many thought he was the favourite to win, I’ve not seen him do a really good time trial in years. I think this is pretty much his level these days, so he shouldn’t be too disappointed. If he hangs in there, all it will take is a bad day for Uran.
Surely a sprint finish. If you’re not a fan, don’t worry, there won’t be another until Wednesday.