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Giro d'Italia

Giro d’Italia Verona TT to serve nailbiting test of power and recovery: ‘No hiding place for fatigue’

A TT of pure strength Sunday could see 30-second gaps that rapidly erase any advantages forged in Saturday's mountain stage.

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Sweat and tears shed in the mountains Saturday could evaporate in the Giro d’Italia’s decisive 17.4-kilometer time trial Sunday.

Richard CarapazJai Hindley, and Mikel Landa hit deadlock in the mountains this month, leaving the three separated by just 65 seconds ahead of stage 20. Judging by how things have been going so far, the standings may be little different as the Giro’s three capi warm up for a Verona TT that will decide the pink jersey Sunday.

Microscopic gaps suffered over in the mountains could crumble in a time trial where pure power and an all-out commitment to aero is everything.

“On a course like we’re seeing for Sunday, you could lose half a minute by getting things wrong – getting your pacing wrong, getting your equipment wrong, or whatever. Those errors could be that even 10 times the gap between the main riders by the end of stage 20,” aerodynamics expert and WorldTour consultant B Xavier Disley told VeloNews.

“Teams will have done a lot of preparation, but there’s still room for error. The riders will need to be ‘on it,’ no matter what the preparation. This is a time trial that will show power, form, and fatigue.”

Soar in the mountains, suffer in the time trial

No seperating these three

The Giro’s final week has done nothing to crowbar open stretching gaps between the race’s three climbing kings. Carapaz, Landa and Hindley have been locked into the wheels and barely a meter has stretched between them when the road pointed uphill.

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Saturday’s monster tappone through the Dolomites could demolish the three seconds between Hindley and Carapaz or the further minute to Landa.

But any rider that puts it all on the line for a few extra seconds in the Dolomites could quickly come undone in the “race of truth” that is a time trial.

A TT that will be decided by outright wattage rather than handling skill or descending daring means fatigue will be writ large in Verona.

“It’s definitely not a course where you can survive on skill. There’s no hiding place for fatigue here,” Disley said in a call Friday. “The kind of race you can ‘blag’ would probably be something that’s really technical, where you can just get through on skill alone. Sunday is definitely not that.”

Disley, a leading performance analyst with experience working with WorldTour teams and running the Aero Coach consultancy, has run the numbers on Sunday’s Verona circuit. A 17.4km test with a 5km, 5 percent climb will crown the maglia rosa.

“Because the climb isn’t steep, riders should all be in full TT gear. But even if they’re super aero and hold their position well, any rider that is tired or on an off-day will get found out on such a ‘power climb,'” he said. “There’s no room for blagging here.”

Carapaz and Co. will be caught in two minds in the “queen stage” Saturday.

In a race as tightly wound as this Giro, any advantage needs to be exploited. But any huge moves on the Pellegrino, Pordoi or Marmolada could cause chaos for the ultimate power-test Sunday.

“This type of time trial course will make sure that the people who are ‘on it’ and relatively fresh do well. And if you’re on an off day you’re in trouble,” Disley said.

Reading the runes – record books ripped up after such a hard race

Carapaz was six seconds faster than Hindley when they raced the same course in 2019.

A Giro packing the most elevation in some time playing out under unusually high temperatures will test resilience to the limit.

The element of fatigue means a look through the history books may not mean much, but the records are stark.

Carapaz holds huge pre-stage bragging rights over archrival Hindley.

The Ecuadorian was faster seven of the eight times the two shared a race on the TT skis, including in the Giro’s final time trial in 2019 that used the very same course.

Chad Haga surprised the favorites with his stage win that day, while Carapaz sealed pink with his ride to 36th place. Hindley was six seconds slower than Carapaz on the very same parcours they’ll ride Sunday.

Aero is everything

A big hill shouldn’t change an all-out commitment to aerodynamics.

Although a long grinding climb looms large over Sunday’s stage, Disley’s data-mapping suggests the race will be all about pure power output rather than watts per kilo equations.

“I’d expect full TT gear, no compromise for the climb. If people are making back-steps on aerodynamics on a TT like this, then they’ll have no hope,” he said.

Disley’s deep dive points to Sunday being “advantage aero” – deep front wheels, aero-profile bottles, and definitely no road bikes.

“I think it’ll be interesting to see the sort of riders who are winning,” he said. “They’ll probably be a big strong rider rather than someone who’s an all-out climber. The amount of time you’re spending on the climb is still outweighed by the amount of time you’re spending descending and the rest of the time on the course, which is pretty much pan-flat.”

Who knows how the GC standings will look when riders reach the Marmolada summit Saturday.

But the time gaps grown through six hours in the high mountains could be overturned in 20 minutes through Verona.

Want to dive deep into the nerdy nuggets unearthed by Disley ahead of Sunday’s stage? Check the full tweet thread here.

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