The Climb, The Weather And The Underdog 05/27/2010
It would be tempting to say that tomorrows 12.8km of the Passo del Mortirolo will decide the fate of what has been one of the best ever Grand Tours. But with the following day going over the Gavia, weather permitting, and a time trial into Verona there are still plenty of places to gain and loose time. If you think it is between Basso and Evans, then 42 seconds is nothing. There are time bonuses on the finishes and if Evans hangs with Basso until the last KM of the climbs I expect to see him attacking. In the time trail he should pull between 20 and 30 seconds out of Basso. But if Basso has the Pink jersey on his back, and Evans crumbles at the end of what has been a brutal three weeks and the pressure of his first GT win, he might want be a little closer than the power meter numbers from their coach Sassi says. So that puts it back on the Mortirolo and maybe more importantly the descent of the Trivigno.
Then there is the weather, if it hits tomorrow then the odds and players change somewhat. We have already seen Basso back off on the wet, while riders like Evans and Vino pile it on. So the descent of the Trivigno may well be the ideal place to gain time and maybe by the the time we hit the Mortirolo it will all be about minimizing loses. Andy Hampsten must be laughing at them all as the potential for snow at the summit of the Gavia the next day may redirect the stage, but with that type of weather threatening you could even see abandonments! I say let them go up, providing it is ridable of coarse.
And what of David Arroyo Duran? Who thought he would have turned in the time he did on the slopes of Plan de Corones? This will be his first time up the Mortirolo, not really the circumstances you want to be tackling one of the most famous climbs in the world. But a Spaniard winning the Giro, now what more carrot do you need? Plus he will have seven teammates all determined to control the race at least until the Motirolo. If he rides to limit his loses and still looses 1.30 min, that still gives him nearly a minute going into the final two days.
This is going to be good. Very good.