Section number 7: Frozen – Gran Sasso d’Italia
winner today: David Bais
Finished on time: 6:08:40 hours
distance: 218 km
Level of difficulty: 4 stars out of 5
As someone who has been watching pro cycling competitions for at least 30 years straight, stage 7 today at the Giro was the second most embarrassing stage I have ever watched in my life in the world of pro cycling. The most shameful was the stage when Lance Armstrong launched his first drugged mountain attack in the 1999 Tour de France to the heights of the ski town of Sestriere, and from there towards 7 yellow shirts – an attack that, by the looks of it, all those who know about cycling buried their heads in their hands, realizing that this was the performance of a rider drugged up to his ears. But the origin of the shame today is the exact opposite of Armstrong’s superhuman performance back then.
The origin of the shame today is thatThe most decorated and competitive road cyclists in the world, during a mountain stage crowned with glory, myth and romance – simply refused to compete. It was a wretched and wretched parade of cowardly tactics, of which the heads of the teams of candidates for victory should be ashamed. A display like this will keep fans away from the bicycle industry.
No fewer than 27 riders crossed the finish line together in the group of candidates for victory, with a uniform time lag of 3:10 minutes behind the winner. Another 16 riders crossed the line within a minute after them. This is not what a mountain finish in a Grand Tour looks like. This is what a procession looks like.
The finish at the Gran Sasso d’Italia, at an altitude of 2,130 m, is a finish where the last two winners were the legendary Marco Pantani in 1999, and Simon Yates in 2018. Two spectacular climbers who conquered the summit in a thrilling mountain flight. Stuck today, shamed the class and shamed the famous summit. no less. All that was left to watch were the spectacular views, and the heroic efforts of a tiny escape group of three riders, none of whom had ever won a professional bicycle race. One of them – the Italian David Bais – took the victory at the top of the Apennines.
The Apennine mountain range is the central backbone of the Italian boot. Stage 7 of the Giro 2023, decided to wind through the heart of the ridge, the second longest stage of the Giro 2023. Starting from the historic city of Capua, in the Caserta region (part of the Campania region) in the southwest of the boot, to the highest mountain massif in the Apennines – the Gran Sasso d’Italia, in the L’Aquila region of the Abruzzo province.
The stage was designed and built for the first exciting mountain finish of the 10th Giro, with three graded climbs, the last of which has the highest difficulty rating, until the finish at an altitude of 2,130 m at the level of Campo Imperatore (Campo Imperatore). An area sometimes known as “Little Tibet”.
But instead of an exciting and tough competitive stage, we got a tiny and not particularly high-quality escape group of three riders, who fought the wind and the weather and lasted about 200 km (out of the 218), until victory and places 1-2-3. The Italian David Bais who won ; the young Czech Karl Vátsek who finished second; and the Italian Simona Fatili who finished third – are the only ones who deserve to be paid by their teams for today’s stage. They were the only ones who competed, and it was definitely evident that they left everything on the road.
The stuck decided she was traveling, and the breakaway trio that set off at about the 20th km, increased the gap in front to 11 minutes. The expectation was that, as always, the teams of candidates for victory would start to compete and chase, at least in the last 50 km – the climbs towards The finish in Gran Sasso. But there was no chase. The managers of the teams, and the riders, presented today a demonstration of defensive tactical riding, which lasted until the spectators at home despaired, and until they crossed the finish line unitedly and non-competitively.
Between about 70 and about 7 km to the finish, the gap between the stuck and the escape ranges from 9 to 6:30 minutes, when the stuck is just sailing, talking to herself, giggling, and insulting all the sponsors, the organizing spectators, and everyone who paid They are paid to compete on bicycles. At the end, nevertheless, the fatigue of the three leaders, who worked alone for 200 km against the wind, slowed them down significantly, and Dabuka, although she did not make any competitive effort, but her riding pace increased a bit in the last 3 km, crossed Cross the finish line honorably, 3:10 minutes behind the winner.
The reasons for the rabbit show of the leading teams
There are several possible reasons for the shame seen today. These are in my opinion (in order of their influence) –
1. Remko Avenpol, the cycling world champion, came to the Giro to win, and is in great shape. Ramko has the ability to deal with any attack, even against the best climbers, until the finish lines on the highest peaks. Beyond that, his tremendous time trial ride to victory in the first stage, along with his almost easy victory in the Liège-Baston-Liège race a short time ago, made his competitors nervous. Remco is currently at super capacity.
except thatThere is a very large gap between Ramko’s level in the mountains, and the level of his group in the mountains. The members of his team are significantly weaker than him, and also significantly weaker than the teams of the competing teams. The result is twofold – first, no other team with candidates for victory (not Ineos, not Yumbo Wisma, not UAE and not anyone else) agreed to work from the front to give Ramko a ride on their back to the finish line. Second, when Remko’s team had to dictate the pace up front, it was a poor pace compared to a mythical mountain stage.
2. Right now the pink leader’s jersey is on the shoulders of the young Norwegian DSM’s Andreas Lekansund. More often than not, the leading group in the ranking takes on the leading tasks of the Dabuka. The same happened today. But Lakensund had a gap advantage of about 8:30 minutes over the highest ranked in the escape. He didn’t have to try harder than that to keep the pink shirt. We will add that the DSM group composition for the Giro is also weak on the climbs. The DSM group did send two riders to the front, and they reduced the gap from the escape group from about 11 minutes to about 8 minutes, and that’s where it ended for them. They are not built to pull the stick at high speed up the high peaks.
3. To these two reasons must be added the strong wind that blew today, the fickle weather and the length of the stage, which discouraged pursuit attacks by individuals and small pursuit groups. Everyone sat and waited. Additionally, Some of the leaders may be happy to lick their wounds and injuries from the many falls of the last few days. The result was a stage lacking competitiveness and heaven. There is no doubt that tonight, the phone lines of the Giro organizers are red with shouts and threats to the heads of the groups that gave their hand to today’s shameful show. There was no bicycle competition here.
The question is what the conclusions will be and who will be the first to draw them. Because if the riders continue the scare tactics shows, it is now possible to give the victory to Ramko Owenpol on a silver platter as a gift in light of his considerable superiority against the clock.
The only hope is that the fact that Owenpool’s team has already lost two riders, coupled with the familiarity of Remco’s familiar weakness in the latter stages of a three-week Tour, will remind rival teams that they must tire if they dream of winning. At the same time, it must be assumed that the 23-year-old Belgian world champion is learning to prepare and face a possible weakening in the third week.
Preparing for segment 8:
Tomorrow, another long intermediate stage to the north, with three graded climbs. A stage that is very suitable for an escape, especially when the candidates for victory will again want to save strength for a stage against the clock of 35 km on Sunday.
Results of the first five riders in segment 7:
1. Davide Bais (Italy – EOLO-Kometa) – 6:08:40 hours
2. Karel Vacek (Czech Republic – Corratech Selle Italia) + 0:09
3. Simona Patili (Italy – Intermache-Circus-Wanty) + 0:16
4. Remko Avenpol (Belgium – Soudai Quick-Step) +3:10
5. Primož Roglic (Slovenia – Jumbo-Visma) – 3:10
The first five riders in the GC general standings after segment 7:
1. Andreas Lakensund (Norway) – 29:02:38 hours
2. Remko Avnapol (Belgium) + 0.28
3. Orleans Parre-Pantre (France) + 0.30
4. Joao Almeida (Portugal) + 1.00
5. Primoz Roglic (Slovenia) + 1.12
The shirt wearers after segment 6:
Pink shirt (the leader of the column) – Andreas Lekansund Team DSM
White shirt (the leading young rider) – Andreas Lecansund Team DSM
Blue shirt (the top climber in mountain ranking) – David Bais EOLO-Kometa
Purple shirt (the leading sprinter in the ranking) – Yonatan Milan Bahrain Victorious