At the start of the day it looked as if the 16th day of racing in the 106th Tour of Italy could be a day for the runaways. A strong group broke out.
But since Jack Haig (Victorious Bahrain) and Aurelien Barrett-Binter (AG2R – Citroën) were also drivers who weren’t entirely uninterested in the overall standings, the group had no chance in the end:
Groupama–FDJ and Jumbo–Visma kept the leaders on a relatively short series, and finally on the final climb, the agonizing pace of Almeida’s team-mates in the Emirates ensured that today’s win was among the favourites.
Kamna passes the stress test but lacks support
3 hours ago
No wonder, because Almeida had a generous day this Tuesday.
Three things stood out:
1) Kamna’s glass is more than half full
He lost a few seconds to his direct rivals, but still climbed one place in the overall standings: was it a good or bad day for Lenard-Kamna? The 26-year-old wasn’t able to keep up his best around Almeida, Tomas, Roglic, Eddie Dunbar (Jaiko – AlUla) and Roglic’s co-pilot Sepp Koss on the long final climb with five kilometers to go and ended up losing to the chasing group by a few seconds, but left Andreas Leknesund (DSM) and Bruno Armirael (Groupama – FDJ) trailed behind and thus both moved past them to sixth overall.
This means his goal in the Giro will still be too much and the German hopeful can sum up: “I think he was fine. I’m satisfied.” The fact that he lost four seconds to the pack around Damiano Caruso (the victor of Bahrain) in the last few meters as the 11th of the day was his fault anyway and probably had less to do with fitness than wasted energy.
“Unfortunately I pulled ahead again with 1.5km to go, I accelerated because I wanted us to narrow the gap. Then the others attacked on top of her and I fell,” he explained to radsport-news.com in the finish scene that can’t be seen in TV pictures.
Kamna passes the stress test but lacks support
Considering that Almeida, Tomas, Roglic and possibly also Dunbar are currently a better class on the mountain, Kamna did well in Monte Bondone and lost nothing to his direct rivals in the fight for the top ten. In this regard, the answer to the initial question may be: more than half full!
However, for the remaining two mountain stages, the approach at Bora-hansgrohe must change somewhat in order to support Kämna in the best possible way. As Tuesday showed again, Patrick Conrad is the only one in the team who can really back him up in the high mountains in the final of the challenging mountain stages. Therefore, it is advisable to leave the Austrian alongside Kamna on Thursday and Friday, rather than send him to splinter groups in which he will lose his strength and in the end he can do nothing more for Kamna.
2) The smell of roast
Kamna had already indicated this in his press conference on the rest day: for him, he had made it clear that João Almeida was the favorite to win the Giro. The 26-year-old showed he had a good eye for his opponents, as it turned out the next day. Because the Portuguese were the strongest on Monte Bondone – perhaps not the smartest, see below, but the strongest.
Perhaps Almeida’s Emirates team was sure of it too, and made a terrible pace on the final climb, making the field of favorites smaller and smaller until Guy Fine, the last assistant, was used, and Almeida finally increased his stroke count again. Only Roglic, Thomas, Dunbar and Kiss remain with him. But rather than asking Roglic’s assistant Kos to improve his pace, the Portuguese continued to drive from the front with full commitment. He seemed to sense that Roglic was wobbly and thus kept pressing on.
Favorite analysis: Thomas uses his Monte Bondone experience
Twice he tried to shake off the competition at a consistently high speed before changing style with five kilometers to go and now starting more explosively – with effect: Roglic, Koss and Dunbar were now held up. Only Thomas jumped the Portuguese and then the two shared the main action until Almeida got livelier and stronger on the home stretch, even winning the stage.
3) Thomas: He’s back in pink thanks to his expertise
While Almeida tried with all attack and crowbar to take advantage of Roglic’s weakness – perhaps still after his fall on Stage 11 – and put the Slovenian under pressure on Monte Bondone, Geraint Thomas held back at the start.
The 2018 Tour de France winner watched his opponents from behind, waited and did just what was necessary: stick it out. Even Roglic obviously had problems with Almeida’s blunt start.
Now Thomas also went with the Portuguese and then worked with him to drive away the Slovenian and Irishman Dunbar as far as possible. In the end he lost to Almeida in the duel for stage victory and therefore had to give the Portuguese four extra seconds, but the pink jersey was a consolation. And the certainty that he left a few grains on the asphalt at Monte Bondone.
Last kilometer: Almeida and Tomas decide to win the stage between themselves
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