Kathi, Midge and Euan chew over the first week of the Giro d’Italia and pull apart the Tour of California.
Time trials aren’t often spicy. There is often a predetermined flow to them, determined many centuries ago. Okay, maybe not… but the point is time trials are often drab affairs that lack enthusiasm across the board, both from fans and the riders. With that said, today’s 34.7km individual time trial from Riccione to San Marino brought the heat. With a course that gradually tilted upwards, and ended with a bang of a climb, stage 9 of this year’s Giro d’Italia was set to the first serious test for the overall contenders prior to the race reaching the mountains in week two.
It was the longest stage in this year’s Giro d’Italia and, boy, did we feel it. With the threat of rain, mumblings of possible neutralisation of the finish and a technical sprint finish, it felt like quite a cautious stage, with perhaps the crashes over the past few days weighing heavy on the riders’ minds. But nothing was neutralised, there was only a touch of rain and the double zebra-crossings of slippery paint didn’t bring anyone down. The sprint was won by Lotto-Soudal’s Caleb Ewan, after a heroic effort by his team from 50km out to keep him in the running over the cat-climbs. Elia Viviani (Deceuninck-QuickStep) took second, while maglia ciclamino wearer Pascal Ackermann (Bora-hansgrohe) was third.