Giro d'Italia: Thomas sees potential for full-on GC battle on Mount Etna

Many pundits are predicting that the stage 4 summit finish on Mount Etna – the first and one of the hardest of the 2017 Giro d’Italia – comes too early in the race to culminate in an all-out GC battle. But one significant voice in the peloton, at least, believes the complete opposite could well be true.

“I think once you’re on it [Etna], everybody will be going full gas,” Team Sky‘s Geraint Thomas told a small group of reporters in Tortoli before stage 3. “If somebody’s good then they’re going to try and take time.”

Although the popular view is that it would be risky to take a firm hold of the GC so early, Thomas points out that at least one top Giro d’Italia contender has operated differently in the past. “Look at when [Vincenzo] Nibali took yellow [on stage 2] in the Tour de France in 2014, the race was still in the UK,” the Welshman pointed out. “I don’t think Tuesday will be about people not wanting to take the Giro lead too soon.”

Thomas does not think, in any case, that the Giro d’Italia organisers have made a mistake by putting in such a key moment so soon in the game. “It’s different to have a climb so early on, but it’ll be good to see where I’m at, hopefully get stuck in, and have a good day.”

Thomas has not ridden Etna before because, as he succinctly explains, “other things [recons] fitted around races – it was just a bit more of a logistical pain in the arse.”

However, he says he’ll spend some of the rest day watching videos of past two-wheeled assaults on the Sicilian volcano. “Apparently the wind could be important. It’ll be a good test.” He did not get to check out the Blockhaus, the other big early summit finish on stage 9, because it was blocked with snow when he was in the area during Tirreno-Adriatico, but, as he sees it, “as long as you’ve got good legs, that’s the main thing.”

For all his expectations that there could be a major GC battle on Tuesday, Thomas is not certain if Etna will start to sort out the question of the pecking order between himself and Mikel Landa in Team Sky’s two-pronged assault on the Giro d’Italia.

“We could finish together, or one ahead of the other,” Thomas points out, not exactly helpfully. “We’ve both got an equal opportunity, but once the Etna’s happened, then the Blockhaus and the other summit finish [at Oropa on stage 14] and obviously the time trial, by the time we get to the last week, for sure there’ll have been a natural selection and it’ll sort itself out.” 

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Van driver filmed forcing cyclist off road is sacked by company

Company whose van was used to force a cyclist into a verge sack the driver and issue apology

A van driver who was filmed forcing a cyclist off the road has been sacked by his employer.

Footage of the driver of a Vidette UK Ltd van swerving into a cyclist, and causing them to ride into the grass verge, appeared online on Saturday.

The cyclist appears to maintain their composure and remain upright, rejoining the road after the van passes.

>>> The ‘Robocop’ cycling advocate taking personal protection on the roads to a whole new level

The incident reportedly occurred on Sunday, April 30, on the A272 road, which runs through Sussex and Hampshire. It appears as though the van driver is upset at the cyclist’s road positioning, although no explanation has been offered.

As a result of the video being distributed widely online, Vidette UK received numerous messages requesting that they take action over the incident.

BBC presenter and cyclist Jeremy Vine shared the video via Twitter, saying: “It actually takes practise to drive as badly as this.”

Ian Frazer, managing director of Surrey-based refurbishers Vidette UK, published an apology on the company’s Facebook page on Sunday saying that the driver had been dismissed as a result of the incident.

“My wife and I are both very keen cyclist ourselves so fully appreciate the impact/trauma that a near miss like this would have on anyone in this situation,” wrote Frazer.

“I have now interviewed the driver and can honestly say the he is so full of remorse and fully understands how lucky he and the cyclist have been on this occasion and swears to never let himself get into a position like this again He stated that he was having personal problems with his family and his mind “was all over the place” and that he is so sorry.

“I do believe him and could tell his apology was genuine, however we cannot condone nor let this behaviour have any place within our company, we have decided to make an example here and to promote driver awareness going forward. He has been dismissed from immediate effect!”

Frazer continued: “I hope this letter will also be of comfort to the other road users & cyclists who have written their concerns.”

Frazer stated that all his company’s drivers will now attend a ‘Driver Alertness Education‘ course.


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Canyon Demo Day – Saturday 20 May

UK Cycling Events have teamed up with Cycling Weekly Sportive Series partners Canyon to bring an exclusive Demo Day to Sussex on Saturday 20 May

As the Official Bike Partner of the Cycling Weekly Sportive Series, UK Cycling Events have worked with Canyon to bring you an exclusive chance to try out their bikes first hand. Alongside the Cycling Weekly Surrey Hills Cyclone, Canyon will be bringing a range of their road bikes for demo. Places are limited so you will need to book early to avoid disappointment.

>>> BOOK YOUR PLACE

Canyon will be bringing the following bikes from their range, with a selection of sizes available:

Aeroad CF SLX DB 8.0
Endurance CF SL DB 9.0
Ultimate CF SL DB 9.0A
Endurance CF SXL DB 8.0 W

There will be four demo time slots available and each demo slot is £10. Should you want to test out all their range, you can book multiple slots and try different bikes. The Canyon Demo Day will take place on Saturday 20 May in Lingfield, Sussex, where there will be a fully marked five mile Canyon Demo Loop for you try the bikes out on.

“At Canyon we strive for the very highest standards in both our products and our services.

This applies to our research and development, our design, and all the way down to how we assemble our bikes and the customer service we deliver. We conduct the most stringent tests around, always going the extra mile to ensure that we do absolutely everything to make our bikes the best they can be. We want to represent our sport in the best way possible, and promote the sense of a united riding community.

This is our passion. This is what we do.”

To find out more and book your test ride visit ukcyclingevents.co.uk


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Tech of the week: Giro d’Italia news, a power meter and Canyon’s women’s range

In the week leading up to the start of the Giro d’Italia, we’ve been looking at the leaders’ jerseys, Bahrain-Merida’s Merida Scultura, Canyon’s women’s bikes and more

The leaders’ jerseys for the 100th Giro d’Italia have been announced. We’ve had a look at their design and reckon they just might be the classiest ever. And Giro jersey sponsor Santini hasn’t just released the leaders’ jersey collection: there’s a whole host of jerseys celebrating different stages, past winners – and the guy who comes last.

Santini’s classy Giro leaders’ jerseys

And Fizik has released a limited edition of its top-of-the-line R1B. Called the Climb Edition, it boasts pink accents of course, while Rapha has its very own take on the Maglia Rosa.

The past week we’ve had not one, but two Merida Sculturas to show you. The lightweight option for team Bahrain-Merida, we’ve had a video looking at Ion Izagirre’s team spec bike, with a mix of new and old Dura-Ace and SRM cranks to let the team run SRM’s power meter.

Vincenzo Nibali’s Merida Scultura has gold leaf accents (Photo Luca Bettini/BettiniPhoto)

We’ve also had a look at team leader Vincenzo Nibali’s custom Merida Scultura for the Giro d’Italia It’s black and real gold leaf with the names of all the previous winners of the Giro d’Italia embossed on it – including Nibali, who’s aiming for a third win this year.

Power measurement and Canyon women’s bikes

On the subject of power meters, we’ve looked at how to use power measurement effectively in your training, talking to the experts about what to do and what not to do with all those numbers and some mistakes to avoid. And we’ve asked you whether you think that all the tech now available to cyclists helps or gets in the way of your enjoyment of the sport.

Meanwhile Strava, everyone’s favourite cycling tech, has added a feature to allow you to write about your ride, sharing ride details, gear tips and more. But for the moment it’s only opened up the feature to 36 Strava athletes to test.

Canyon’s women’s range includes 650b wheels on smaller size options

In other news, Canyon has introduced a women’s specific bike range with different geometry from the men’s and 650b wheel size options for shorter riders.

We’ve also given you our pick of bike saddlebags and kids’ balance bikes this week. And we’ve run through Brooks’ range of classic leather and new Cambium saddles.

Look out for a bumper crop of Giro tech in next week’s round-up.


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Rohan Dennis suffers ‘big blow’ and says Giro overall hope ‘is done’ after stage three crash

The Australian was taken down just as echelons began to form in the crosswinds on stage three of the Giro d’Italia

Rohan Dennis (BMC Racing) admits his overall classification hope in the Giro d’Italia “is done” after a crash in stage three and five-minute loss to his rivals on Sunday.

The Australian, 26, began the race working for team leader Tejay van Garderen but with the hope of riding high in the general classification. Earlier this year he placed second overall in Tirreno-Adriatico.

“I’ll continue as normal on stage four, but obviously I’m five or six minutes down and that’s a big margin after three days,” Dennis said.

“Anything can happen. I’m not going to thrown in the towel and say ‘stuff it’ but I have to be realistic and say GC is done. I’ll keep doing what I was planning, riding as if it isn’t done and still getting that experience and still look after myself for three weeks.”

The crash happened soon after the race split with 10 kilometres to race. That split saw Quick-Step ride free with eventual stage winner and new race leader Fernando Gaviria.

Quick-Step form echelons in the closing 10km of Giro d’Italia stage three (Sunada)

“We were making an echelon to bring that group back and a team Bardiani guy came around me as I was trying to start it. He just turned left on my front wheel and took me out,” Dennis added.

“I didn’t even have a chance. There was no split second where I could try to hold it up. I was down on my right before I knew it.”

“He got back up, he got a new bike because his other was broken, but by that point there were four or five groups ahead,” sports director Max Sciandri explained.

“It was a big blow. We are only in the third day, but it is a blow for his morale.”

Dennis fell on his right side and “has a fair bit of road rash and superficial contusions,” reported the team doctor. “He is lucky to escape with nothing serious and will be able to continue racing.”



“The shower hurt, but it’s mainly my neck,” Dennis continued. “I have a headache from the jarring of going down, I have to see the physiotherapist and get that fixed.”

BMC lacks a second classification card to play in the mountains now and must rely on van Garderen. Van Garderen is racing his first Giro d’Italia after having focused on the Tour de France in years past, including placing fifth twice.

“For the Giro, it’s going to be wait and see. That time loss is a lot, but if he has the legs he can go in the escapes,” Sciandri said.

“Last year, Darwin Atapuma managed it well and finished ninth after losing three minutes in the time trail. You can still do many things if you have the legs. The Giro is long and there are many kilometres yet to race. So he can try different things.”


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‘I had the legs to be there’: Geraint Thomas laments missed opportunity to take time in Giro crosswinds

Geraint Thomas says a bit of bad positioning cost him as Quick-Step split the bunch in the finale of Giro d’Italia stage three

Team Sky’s Geraint Thomas regrets being in the wrong place when the Giro d’Italia‘s stage three exploded en route to Cagliari today. He says that he missed a chance to gain 10 seconds on his rivals.

A group of around 10 powered free with 10 kilometres remaining. Thomas, who had been at the front, lost position just before the move went and missed a chance to gain precious time.

>>> Five talking points from stage three of the Giro d’Italia

Thomas warmed down on his bike and climbed off to explain to reporters waiting by the Sky’s black bus.

“Yeah, it was only 10 seconds in the end, and come the mountains 10 seconds is nothing, but it would’ve been good for the morale to be there,” Thomas said.

“I had the legs to be there, but it was a bit of just missing it going into the roundabout.”

Geraint Thomas at the 2017 Giro d’Italia (Sunada)

Most of team Quick-Step surged free with eventual stage winner and new race leader Fernando Gaviria. Thomas rode at the front in chase with his team, but the situation settled given no-one in the front group posed a major overall threat for the next three weeks.

“It could’ve been worse, it was only Bob Jungels up there on the GC. Still it’s a bit, you always want to be in the front,” added Thomas.

“That final was really nervous. There were crosswinds in the last 15K, I was well positioned until the roundabout, I was knocked, braked and then you lose 20 positions.

“Out of the roundabout I was just too far back and made a big effort to get across, and almost made it, but didn’t quite get there.”

The Belgian Quick-Step team muscled ahead, the same team that Thomas regularly faced when he led Team Sky in the Classics.

Bob Jungels splits the bunch at the third stage of the Giro d’Italia (Sunada)

“Yeah, for sure, we knew something was going to happen along there, someone was going to try, everyone wanted to be there, and I was there until that little roundabout. I just lost my position there. That’s when it all went Pete Tong ,” Thomas said.

“That’s their forte. They are always there in the crosswinds, fair play to them. They ride well as a team and have the horsepower to do that, so chapeau to them.”

Thomas finished in a group 13 seconds back with other classification favourites including Nairo Quintana (Movistar), Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida) and Thibaut Pinot (FDJ).

The stage closed the big start, the first three days, in Sardinia. Teams fly to Palermo and enjoy a rest day on Monday. On Tuesday, the Giro re-starts with its first summit finish on Mount Etna.

“We stayed out of trouble and missed any mishaps. We will see on Tuesday, that is going to be interesting. Everyone is going to be testing each other. It could be a bit stop/start if it is windy at the top.


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Five talking points from stage three of the Giro d’Italia

The race finally kicked into action on stage three…

Fernando Gaviria takes the Giro by storm

Fernando Gaviria’s Grand Tour debut has been eagerly anticipated since his formidable talent first became clear two years ago, and it was worth the wait.

>>> Fernando Gaviria battles through crosswinds to take Giro d’Italia stage three and pink jersey

Having first made an impression on the race by sprinting to fourth on stage two, on the third stage he demonstrated some of wide repertoire of talents to win and move into the overall lead, using his strength and awareness to make it into the front group when the peloton split, then unleashing his explosive turn of pace to win the sprint to the line.

One of the riders he defeated in that sprint was Giacomo Nizzolo (Trek-Segafredo), who has tried in vain for over five years to win a stage at the Giro; Gaviria has managed to do so in just three days. No doubt it will be the first of many.

Is Bob Jungels an overall contender?

Bob Jungels splits the bunch at the third stage of the Giro d’Italia (Sunada)

Ride of the day goes to Bob Jungels, who looked sensationally strong as he helped instigate the split, rode at the front to solidify the advantage, and produced a brilliant long lead-out for Gaviria ahead of the finishing sprint.

>>> Bob Jungels: We knew there were crosswinds coming and we just surprised them

Despite finishing sixth overall last year, the Luxembourg champion hasn’t been mentioned much as a potential overall winner, but brought himself into everyone’s attention by gaining 10 seconds overall on all of his rivals on stage three.

How he performs on stage four’s summit finish to Mount Etna will be revealing.

Its steady gradient suits his diesel-engine style of climbing, and the 10-second gap he opened today means that he has the chance of inheriting the pink jersey should he finish in the lead group.

Crosswinds liven up the race’s last day in Sardinia

It’s been a fairly serene weekend in Sardinia (Sunada)

If we’re being honest, it hadn’t been a particularly exciting opening to the 100th Giro d’Italia, with the picturesque Sardinian scenery only partially making up for the lack of exciting racing.

But that all changed towards the end of today’s stage, when, as if by an act of God wanting to liven things up, winds nearing 50mph shook the race up.

First a block headwind prompted nervousness in the bunch as teams vied for position at the front, then echelons formed and the race split to pieces upon reaching exposed roads and a crosswind.

It made for thrilling racing, especially thanks to crosswind specialists Quick-Step Floors, who managed to place six of their riders in the front group.

The GC favourites stay attentive

The likes of Nairo Quintana (Movistar) were able to stay safe despite the crosswinds on stage three (Sunada)

Despite the many splits caused by the crosswinds, all the major favourites for the overall classification finished safely in a 47-man group that came in 13 seconds behind Gavira.

Given that over two-thirds of the field were caught out, it was something of a surprise to find that the biggest name absent from the peloton was Rohan Dennis (BMC), who was at best an outside shout for the GC.

We could perhaps take this as evidence that all of the favourites are on their game, as well as being equipped with strong teams to keep them out of trouble.

André Greipel unfortunate to lose pink

André Greipel on stage three of the Giro d’Itala (Sunada)

Initially André Greipel (Lotto-Soudal) appeared to have done terrific work in defending the pink jersey, positioning himself when and then burying himself to make the split.

But his good work failed to pay-off as he lost momentum at a crucial moment after narrowly avoiding a collision, and was dropped out of the group.

The big German didn’t give up catching back up, at one point even trying to bridge the gap all on his own, but ultimately to no avail as he dropped back into and finished inside the peloton.

He at least has the consolation of leading the points classification, and will wear the purple jersey on Tuesday.


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Bob Jungels: We knew there were crosswinds coming and we just surprised them

Jungels and his Quick-Step team-mates blew the race apart at the Giro d’Italia’s third stage, delivering Fernando Gaviria to victory

Bob Jungels says that Quick-Step’s surprise full-force effort delivered the win for team-mate Fernando Gaviria in the Giro d’Italia’s wind-ravaged stage three to Cagliari today.

Jungels’s charge drove clear a move with six Quick-Step cyclists, minus only Eros Capecchi, Dries Devenyns and Pieter Serry, at less than 10 kilometres to race.

Colombian Gaviria, 22-years-old and riding his first Grand Tour, finished off their work with a stage win and took the leader’s pink jersey.

In Luxembourg’s national champion blue, white and red jersey, Jungles arrived to the Quick-Step team bus with a smile. The team greeted him with cheers and hugs.

Bob Jungels splits the bunch at the third stage of the Giro d’Italia (Sunada)

“An attack like that is pretty hard to plan, we knew that we had cross-wind in that section and of course, we are known for these actions, but it was really an intention,” Jungels said.

“I was a little far behind, just passed the bunch on the right side and the guys just followed me and it was full gas to the finish. And it could’ve have gone any better.

“We had [sports director Davide] Bramati in the radio the whole time to say pay attention. We knew there was something coming, and it was just an intention and we went full-gas.”

The winning group finished 13 seconds ahead of the group behind led by Caleb Ewan (Orica-Scott).

Sky’s Geraint Thomas just missed the move with mostly power-men and sprinters. André Greipel (Lotto-Soudal), stage two winner and overnight leader, made the move but seemed to have touched wheels and lost his chain so he could not follow.

“Of course everyone was attentive. In situations like this I don’t want to say we have more power, but we just surprised them. The first two or three seconds count when you put the power down and then we had the advantage,” Jungles said.

100th Giro d’Italia, Stage 03 : Tortoli – Cagliari, 1st : GAVIRIA Fernando (COL) Quickstep Floors, Photo : Yuzuru SUNADA

“A big win? Of course, you can here it in the bus behind me. I’m really happy as well. We showed our spirit of the team and that’s most important.”

Bramati climbed out of the white and blue Quick-Step team car and yelled again, his voice hoarse from the excitement.

“The team won today, the team was so strong,” Bramati said. “Bob above all and Fernando finished it. He’d just arrived from Colombia before the Giro and is still suffering. Even at one point, Fernando was pulling. I told him not to pull, save yourself.

“Jungels works for the team, this is his win, and all the team of youngsters. We have three riders in their first year doing their Giro – Gaviria, Martinelli and De Plus – so these are the right emotions.”


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Fernando Gaviria battles through crosswinds to take Giro d’Italia stage three and pink jersey

The Colombian took his debut Grand Tour win after his Quick-Step team split the peloton in the final 10km

Quick-Step Floors lit up the third stage of the Giro d’Italia in the crosswinds of the final 10km to deliver Fernando Gaviria his debut Grand Tour victory and put the Colombian into the race leader’s jersey.

The Belgian team’s GC hope, Bob Jungels, was the main instigator along with Iljo Keisse in pulling six Quick-Step riders in total away from the main peloton as they hit the crosswinds on the Sardinia coast with 10km to go.

The stage had been building up slowly to the possibility of strong winds in the final, with the peloton compacted together just after 20km to go with strong headwinds.

As they turned to have the coast on their right hand side, things suddenly began to hot up, with Quick-Step pulling things apart.

Gaviria wasn’t the only sprinter to make it into the front group, with Italian champion Giacomo Nizzolo (Trek-Segafredo) in there and race leader André Greipel (Lotto-Soudal) also there.

The group quickly gained 15 seconds on the main bunch, but Greipel seemed to suffer a mechanical and was forced to drop off, briefly joining Geraint Thomas (Sky) in pursuit of the front group before rejoining the peloton.

Meanwhile, Quick-Step were burning through their men to pull the gap to over 20 seconds, with Jungels forced to pull the last 2.5km by himself to ensure he could take as many seconds as possible.

As theymade it within the final kilometre, Nathan Haas (Dimension Data) who had also made it across tried a long range attack, pulling Gaviria with him.

Nizzolo then followed but got boxed out by Max Richeze (Quick-Step) and Haas, allowing Gaviria to sprint free to take his first Grand Tour victory in his debut ride at a three-week race.

More to follow…

Result

Giro d’Italia 2017 stage three, Tortoli – Cagliari (148k)

1. Fernando Gaviria (Col) Quick-Step
2. Rüdiger Selig (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe
3. Giacomo Nizzolo (Ita) Trek-Segafredo
4. Nathan Haas (Aus) Dimension Data
5. Maxmilliano Richeze (Arg) Quick-Step


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Sunday trading: The best deals on bespoke Italian kit, including Sidi, Di Marchi, Castelli and much more

Revamp your wardrobe with some of these wicked deals on Italian kit from the likes of Wiggle, Chain Reaction Cycles, Evans Cycles and many more

The Giro d’Italia is in full swing, and to honour the Corsa Rosa this week’s Sunday Trading is Italian themed.

That’s right, we’ve found the best, most bespoke offerings from Italian brands, including Di Marchi, Castelli, Campagnolo and Sidi.

Enjoy tucking into Italy’s finest.

Di Marchi Tricolore jersey £79.99 £55.99

This is one classy piece of kit by Di Marchi. Understated, with the Italian flag on the breast, it’ll look dead good on the bike.

Buy now: Di Marchi Tricolore jersey at Chain Reaction Cycles for £55.99

Campagnolo Bora One 35 Clincher Dark Label £1,719 £1,309

Campagnolo has long been a benchmark for premium, great quality componentry. It’s a benchmark for classy kit, so it’s great that these Bora wheels have come down massively in price.

Buy now: Campagnolo Bora One 35 Clincher Dark Label at Evans Cycles for £1,309

Sidi Kaos road shoe £190 £150

A benchmark in Italian footwear, Sidi has been making great quality shoes for years.

The Sidi Kaos are the real deal, too. Stiff souls, various ratchet mechanisms – these are a great pair of upgrade shoes.

Buy now: Sidi Kaos road shoes at Evans Cycles from £150

Castelli Gabba women’s short sleeve jersey £139.99 £55.99

Read more: Castelli Gabba 2 review

The archetypal piece of Castelli kit, the Gabba is the ultimate spring jersey. It’s windproof, it’s waterproof and it was favoured by the pros, especially for races like the Giro.

Buy now: Castelli Gabba women’s at Evans Cycles for £55.99

More wicked-smart deals:

Bianchi Oltre XR1 Chorus £3,750 £3,185

Campagnolo Super Record groupset £2,078 £1,533

Giro Savant MIPS helmet – £99.9979.99

Vittoria Ultralite inner tube – £6.49£2.99

KMC X11-93 11-speed chain – £25.99£15.99

GT85 Teflon lube aerosol – £5.99£2.00

Lezyne Lever Patch Kit – £8.49£4.96

Continental Revo tyre sealant, 1000ml – £31.63£28

Endura Women’s Pakagilet – £27.49£22.99

Specialized women’s Torch road shoe – £100.00 – from £39.99

Altura MicroLite showerproof jacket – £44.99 – from £35.99

Pearl Izumi Elite InRCool bibshorts – £79.99£59.99

Cateye Strada Slimline computer – £49.99£33.94

Garmin Out-Front bike mount – £29.99£17.22

Raleigh padded bike bag – £89.99£59.95

Fulcrum Racing 5 LG disc wheelset – £349.99£249.99

High 5 Sports Bar (box of 25) – £29.75 – from £19.19

eSRAM PG1170 11-speed cassette – £80.00 – from £41.59

That’s all for this week, check back next Sunday for more banging deals!


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