Giro 2015 and More
02 Jun 2015
GIRO - Alberto Contador deservedly won his third Giro, despite a performance level lower than that of his previous victories.
He looked rather uneasy and "tied up" on the climbs, very often out of the saddle and pushing too long a gear relatively to his power outputs.
Without any team support in the crucial moments of the most demanding stages (Mortirolo, Colle delle Finestre) Alberto managed to get through with experience, legs, and a little luck in those situations that were potentially decisive for the final result.
Good, but not exceptional were his VAM values: 1730 m/h on the Mortirolo, 1703 m/h on the Passo Daone, while on the 1700m of total difference of height of the Colle delle Finestre, Contador seemed to bonk just as sometimes (rarely) happened to him on the longer climbs in the past.
Mikael Landa was always superior to him on the uphill parts: probably "caught up" by team games on the Mortirolo, the young Basque unleashed his power on the dirt stretches of the Colle delle Finestre, actually improving by 45" the time set by the trio Di Luca-Simoni-Rujano in 2005 (27'20" was his time on 722m of climbing).
Fabio Aru confirmed his skills as a climber and finisseur, but he needs to improve on long climbs. He showed surprising resilience after some difficult days in the second week, which suggests further room for improvement for 3-week stage races in the coming seasons.
He still shows limitations in his Time Trialling; issues that are related to his physical structure of a pure climber, which are difficult to solve even with specific training.
Contador won the Giro in 2015 thanks to a good time trial, where he expressed power outputs clearly superior to his rivals: 7.3% more than Aru, 10% more than Landa (perhaps held back by team orders to preserve energy for the next stages in the mountains).
A time trial of 59 Km judged by many to be too long, but whose duration (80 min) was less than the sum of the times of Mortirolo and Colle delle Finestre (100 min); climbs that, for their gradient and length, negated the advantage of drafting and forced the athletes to individual efforts similar to time trialling. I also remind that gaining time while riding at 48-50Km/h is twice as costly than at 16-20 km/h (see my article of 10/13/2011).
Uran (struggling with health problems) and Porte (touted as the absolute favorite by many) were rather disappointing.
Although damaged by unfortunate incidents, the Tasmanian of Team Sky arrived at the start in Sanremo already on the wane, after more than three months of great performances, winning all the stage races he took part in (Paris-Nice, Catalunia and Trentino, among others).
Skilled with excellent aerobic power, confirmed by his fantastic record on the Col de la Madone (29'40": 30" better than Froome, 1' better than Lance, 1'50" better than Rominger), he has yet to prove he can compete for the podium in a race of three weeks.
The overall level of the aspirants to the podium for this year's Giro was therefore quite lower than what the organizers were hoping for, although the show did not suffer at all presenting numerous twists and surprises, including the crisis of Contador on the Colle delle Finestre.
The captain of the Saxo-Tinkoff Team will have to improve, especially on the climbs, in view of the TdF, where he will find other much more aggressive opponents.
ELECTRIC BIKES - Ten years after the first "infiltrations" within the peloton, the UCI eventually and belatedly defined the penalties for this technological "doping".
So we started seeing the first wave of organized controls, even though a bit pre-announced and rough, sort of like a warning that "the party is over": my impression is that the UCI would not be able to hold this scandal at bay and it is doing its utmost to prevent and avoid serious investigations on the past.
I wonder if the inspectors checked, as well as frames, lenticular wheels and spokes, ideal structures where small motors can be hidden in the hubs...
GREG HENDERSON - In the case of any other Federation of Professional Sports, disciplinary action would be undertaken against a licensed athlete who publicly addressed such serious accusations (without evidence) against a colleague, but I do not think this is the case of the ineffable UCI.
The episode is serious if the allegations are false, but even worse if they happen to be true: how is it that Henderson is in possession of information relating to the Biological Passport of Aru, if there is no officially open proceeding?