Will the real 2015 Giro podium contenders please stand up
If Saturday’s time trial saw a bunch of charlatans ejected from the top ten, the following day’s mountain stage promised further rationalisation, which is why I held off doing a proper overview of where the race stands. It was the right decision. As we go into the second rest day, everything’s now much clearer.
For a start, Richie Porte has slipped below even Carlos Betancur and is now talking about abandoning the race. Even if he doesn’t, 35 minutes down on Contador I don’t think there’s any need to mention him again. Sky’s best-placed rider is King Leopold. While Porte lost 27 minutes on the day after losing touch with the leaders on the steep penultimate climb, Konig lost only a minute and now sits in fifth place, albeit a couple of minutes off a podium spot. He wasn’t massively happy with his performance though, describing his stage as “shit”.
The two riders immediately above Konig are Andrey Amador from Costa Rica in third and Mikel Landa from Spain in fourth. Amador is a slightly heavier rider than most of the overall contenders and was expected to plummet from a post time trial high point now that the race has hit the mountains, but he rode well and actually finished sixth on the day, 18 seconds ahead of Konig.
For his part, Aru’s team-mate Landa won the stage, raising questions as to who is actually the strongest rider in that team. Alberto Contador was fairly clear in his view after the stage, saying “Landa was stronger than Aru.”
Second on the day and sixth overall is Yury Trofimov. You might think he’d be worth watching, but after the stage, Aru referred to him only as ‘the Katusha rider’ which perhaps reflects how little he’s seen as a threat.
The other big loser on the day was Rigoberto Uran, who was distanced at about the same time as Porte. While he didn’t throw in the towel like the Tasmanian, he still lost eight minutes and plummets to 15th overall. He too is probably not worth mentioning again.
Jurgen Van Den Broeck is 11th.
After the rest day, Tuesday brings a route that is up and down and up and down. Here’s the profile.