Mikel Landa said goodbye to the Giro d'Italia while Giulio Ciccone said hello with an impressive stage win
Landa’s dodgy stomach ends Team Sky’s hopes
Rigoberto Uran raced to second in 2013, but that’s very much been an anomaly for the team who are greatly funded by Sky Italia – they’re desperate to do well at this race but something always seems to go wrong.
This year it was a stomach bug for leader Mikel Landa, picked up on the rest day and causing immediate discomfort to the Spaniard on stage 10.
It was clear that Landa must be ill, because even on an off-day a rider of Landa’s stature wouldn’t lose three minutes to the peloton on a pretty insignificant climb.
Sky said it was gastroenteritis as many jokes went around social media saying Landa must have eaten an undercooked sausage at the Team Sky rest day barbecue on Monday.
Whether it was a dodgy snorker or something that had been brewing throughout the rest day, Landa’s on his way home and Sky have to look elsewhere to salvage anything from the race.
Amador is a genuine contender for the maglia rosa
We’ve banged on before about how Andrey Amador can time trial, climb and even sprint, but now we can add descending to his list of skills.
His descent from the top of the Plan del Falco – the penultimate climb of the stage – was pretty incredible. The road surface didn’t look great and there were some incredibly tough corners to negotiate, but the Costa Rican rider blazed it down the descent and opened up a sizeable gap to Vincenzo Nibali and Alejandro Valverde.
It looked at one stage that Amador was going to move into the pink jersey, sitting 30 seconds down overall, but in the end the chasing pack were only a couple of seconds behind him.
His teammate Valverde knows that Amador can win this race, so could the pair form a partnership like the Spaniard did with Nairo Quintana at the Tour de France in 2015?
Alejandro Valverde’s Canyon Ultimate CF SLX
How far can Jungels go at the head of this race?
I boldly predicted the other day that Bob Jungels wouldn’t be able to hack it in the mountains and would relinquish his white jersey, but instead of doing that the Luxembourger swapped white for pink.
Yes, the mountains on stage 10 weren’t exactly high, but they were pretty steep and they certainly tested the best climbers in the peloton and Jungels was right there in the middle of them.
Pink jersey holder Gianluca Brambilla selflessly assisted his Etixx-Quick Step teammate on the penultimate climb and tried to do the same on the final ascent before cracking with three kilometres to go.
Jungels will probably need more help than that when the mountains get up over 2000m later in the race, but it seems we can’t write him off yet.
The Giro d’Italia is not a bad place for your first career win
As a young Italian, where else could you wish to get your first career win than in your first ever Giro d’Italia?
Bardiani-CSF’s Giulio Ciccone was understandably in tears as he crossed the line for the win in Sestola, having taken up the solo lead from the breakaway on the final climb and beaten two older campaigners in Damiano Cunego (Nippo-Vini Fantini) and his own teammate Stefano Pirazzi.
Pirazzi played his part in the win, almost taking out Cunego on the descent before the final climb, allowing Ciccone spin away to the win. The first of many? I expect so.
Tom Dumoulin’s Giant Propel TT bike
Dumoulin isn’t going to last much longer
The Dutch rider was pretty non-committal in his post-race interview when asked what the rest of this race holds for him. And to be fair the rest of this race doesn’t hold much for him.
A saddle sore is what is bothering him, apparently, meaning he can’t get in a comfortable position on the bike and therefore can’t put out as much power on the climbs as he needs to be competitive.
He said before the race that he was only here for the time trials, but then he started wearing the pink jersey. We had the talk about whether he could win the overall and then he cracked on stage eight.
The stage nine time trial wasn’t good for him, as he was still suffering from the problems and the saddle sore from the previous day. The sore didn’t heal as much as he would have liked on the rest day, leaving him uncomfortable for another day.
Anyone who’s had a saddle sore will know the last thing you want to do is go for another ride while it’s still causing you bother, so a 227km stage on Wednesday won’t be particularly appealing.