Giro d’Italia 2019: Stage 11 – Caleb Ewan doubles up in Novo Ligure

Caleb Ewan (Lotto-Soudal) delivered the double after his team delivered him to the uphill finish with pinpoint precision. In a sprint that seemed to go on for minutes into the cross-headwind, the Aussie pocket-rocket surged around Pascal Ackermann‘s (BORA-hansgrohe) with ease. Arnaud Demare (Groupama-FDJ) finished strongly to place second, snatching the maglia ciclamino from Ackermann in third. The GC remains unchanged on the eve of the first climbing test on stage 12.

Another stage, another flat profile – with added bump and an uphill drag to the line, another bike sticker that left Lotto Soudal’s Thomas De Gendt unimpressed. Didn’t stop him or the rest of the team working like clockwork to look after their pocket-rocket fastman and place him perfectly for the last sprint of the Giro.

Rider of the Race

I’ve got two. First up is Caleb Ewan, not for the victory itself more for the manner in which he took it.

A sprint into a cross headwind requires perfect timing. Come out from behind the rider in front of you too early and your chance of grabbing victory is blown away. Too late and you run the risk of not hitting top speed. It’s a nervous game of chicken. What impressed me about Ewan’s sprint today was the way he laid off Ackermann’s wheel, used that space to accelerate into and then popped off at the perfect moment to launch for the line. It was a piece of cool-headedness in a surge of fast twitch adrenaline.

The second bottle of VeloVoices Prosecco goes to one member of a trio of familiar Italian names in the break-of-the-day

Please step up to the podium  Marco Frapporti of Androni Giacotolli-Sidermec, who has now clocked up an incredible 801km in the breakaway.

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This places Signore Frapporti at the top of the list for the Fuga Pinarello which is awarded for the most kilometres spent ahead of the peloton. The winner gets his time on the final podium in Verona, and I’m not betting against Androni’s own breakaway machine making a successful defence of the title he went home with in 2018.

A sad farewell to Elia Viviani

The Italian National champion has looked uncertain and not at his best since his relegation on stage three. Today’s fourth place finish was no different as once again he switched wheels and couldn’t find his devastating kick when he needed it.  He faced the media in usual honest style:

I’m not at my best and lack the self-belief that I need. I’ll head home and soon start working for the second half of the season. There’s no point in carrying on in the hope of finding something that never seems to arrive.

I’ve heard so much talk in the last ten days but it’s not about my form, it’s more about my head. I haven’t been doing ‘my’ sprints. Instead, I jump left and right, following other people … I’m missing Morkov in my lead-out train. My teammates and I look for each other and then lose each other, so we end up not sprinting as we’d like. That’s not how I usually do the sprints, and so it’s hit my self-confidence. I’ve got to switch off so that I can start all over again and get back to winning

I knew he was missing Morkov!

I’m sad to see him leave under such circumstances but look forward to seeing The Vivz exhibit all his classy speed and style very soon.

When your family come to cheer you

The Giro passed through Groupama-FDJ’s Jacopo Guanieri home town of Fiorenzuola d’Arda and he was allowed to ride off the front of the peloton to greet his friends and family. More of this lovely tradition in the modern peloton please.

Last word to…

…our baby kangaroo Esteban Chaves (Mitchelton-Scott). VAI VAI VAI the mountains are coming.

Stage Results – Top 5

1 Caleb Ewan (Lotto-Soudal) 5:17:26

2 Arnaud Demare (Groupama-FDJ) same time

3 Pascal Ackermann (BORA-hansgrohe) s/t

4 Elia Viviani (Deceuninck-Quickstep) s/t

5 Davide Cimolai (Israel Cycling Academy) s/t

General Classification – Top 10

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1 Valerio Conti (UAE Team Emirates) 45:02:05

2 Primoz Roglic (Team Jumbo-Visma) +1:50

3 Nans Peters (AG2R La Mondiale) +2:21

4 Jose Joaquin Rojas (Movistar Team) +2:33

5 Fausto Masnada (Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec) +2:36

6 Andrey Amador (Movistar Team) +2:39

7 Amaro Antunes (CCC Team) +3:05

8 Valentin Madouas (Groupama-FDJ) +3:27

9 Giovanni Carboni (Bardiani CSF) +3:30

10 Pello Bilbao (Astana Pro Team) +3:32

All the jerseys

Maglia rosa – Valerio Conti (UAE-Team Emirates)

Maglia blanca – Nans Peters (AG2R-La Mondiale)

Maglia azzurra – Giulio Ciccone (Trek-Segafredo)

Maglia ciclamino – Arnaud Demare (Groupama-FDJ)

For full stage review and race results, go to cyclingnews

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