Hello and welcome to our live coverage from stage 11 of the Giro d'Italia. We're in Porto Sant’Elpidio and we're heading to Rimini for what should be another day for the sprinters in this year's Giro d'Italia.
After everything that took place in the race yesterday I think everyone could benefit from a relatively calm and easy day in the saddle (or in this case the CN blimb). The official roll out will take place in about 25 minutes or so and already most of the peloton signed on. We'll be here throughout the day with live text updates and news from the race, while we'll also have live coverage from Scheldeprijs coming up a bit later on today.
After yesterday's stage Sagan has narrowed the gap to Arnaud Demare in the race for the points competition but the Frenchman has a prime chance to take his fourth win of the race today. He's the favourite, for sure, and here's how the standings look in that competition.
1 Arnaud Demare (Fra) Groupama-FDJ 167
2 Peter Sagan (Svk) Bora-Hansgrohe 147
3 Filippo Ganna (Ita) Ineos Grenadiers 51
4 Joao Almeida (Por) Deceuninck-Quickstep 41
5 Davide Ballerini (Ita) Deceuninck-Quickstep 40
In terms of the race for the maglia rosa, here's how things currently stand coming into today's stage. We shouldn't see any changes but you never know with this race.
General classification after stage 10
1 Joao Almeida (Por) Deceuninck-Quickstep 39:38:05
2 Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Team Sunweb 0:00:34
3 Pello Bilbao (Spa) Bahrain McLaren 0:00:43
4 Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) NTT Pro Cycling 0:00:57
5 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Trek-Segafredo 0:01:01
6 Patrick Konrad (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe 0:01:15
7 Jai Hindley (Aus) Team Sunweb 0:01:19
8 Rafal Majka (Pol) Bora-Hansgrohe 0:01:21
9 Fausto Masnada (Ita) CCC Team 0:01:36
10 Hermann Pernsteiner (Aut) Bahrain McLaren 0:01:52
As I'm sure you're all aware by now, we're without two teams after both Mitchelton Scott and Jumbo Visma pulled out of the race ahead of stage 10. There's growing uncertainty too that the race will make it all the way to Milan after the news of yesterday's positive cases, while Jos Van Emdem has been critical of the race organisation and the UCI over their handling of the situation.
Sicking on the pandemic beat, we saw yesterday that the Tour of Flanders will ban fans from being on cobbled sections and the climb and the Vuelta - which is still planning on going ahead - will not let fans attend summit finishes.
At this point, I'm obliged to tell you that it's Amazon Prime Day (I think it's technically two days?) and to help Jeff Bezos save up for something nice this Christmas we've collated loads of great deals so you can save time and effort and just buy the cycling stuff you desperately need. Click here.
I might buy a kettle.
Happy Optimus Prime Day, everyone!
We're about 5 minutes from the stage starting, by the way. Almeida is near the front and looking pretty in pink, while there are gaggle of riders near the front who pretending like they're not going to try and get in the break. "[yawn] Me, get in the break? Nah, I was up all night looking at Amazon Prime Day sales. I now have a Garmin for each limb. And a kettle."
Gaviria, remember him? He's still in the race and could be a potential winner today. He has looked off the pace in the sprints, however, with just one top-ten in the race so far. He spoke to the organisers this morning and had this say:
"Peter was really impressive yesterday, really strong. I’m happy for him because difficult year also for him because no victories this year, but yesterday he take a really nice victory. My team-mate McNulty is a really good rider and he’s getting better because he’s the first first Grand Tour and then we’ll see what happens every day. I feel OK and we see what happens today."
The stage has now started, but no major splits just yet.
5km into the action and it looks like Giro d'Italia breakaway specialist Marco Frapporti has moved clear with a group of four other riders. They only hold about a minute over the peloton but this could be out break of the day.
The five leaders have moved their advantage out to just over 2 minutes now, so this really is the break of the day. The riders in the move are: Mattia Bais, Fabio Mazzucco, Francesco Romano, Sander Armee and as we mentioned before, Marco Frapporti.
Three minutes now for the five leaders and the bunch have sat up.
164km to go and with the gap at 3'52 Demare has posted one of his teammates on the front of the peloton as they try and hold the break where they are. We're travelling along the coast right now, the sun is out, and there's little in the way of wind - so near perfect conditions for the peloton.
We had 144 riders in the bunch this morning as we rolled out, but all of the Groupama riders are near the front now and riding around Demare. He's won three stages already in this year's race and is gunning for a fourth today. The bunch has lined out, so the pace isn't exactly relaxing, with the gap at 3'55 with 161km to go.
UAE have also shown some interest in leading the chase, presumably for Gaviria, who is their sprinter in the Giro d'Italia. The Colombian has won five stages in the Giro during his career - with four of those wins coming in 2017, and one in 2019. He also wore the maglia rosa back in 2017 too.
Meanwhile, our five leaders have 3'46 over the peloton with 157km to go.
We have two intermediate sprints today, one at 105km and another at 144km. So it'll be interesting to see if Demare is confident enough to snaffle up points on both of those occasions or if he'll bank it all on the final sprint for the stage. Given how he's raced so far, he will probably go for the lot.
Demare has been in incredible form since racing resumed, with 13 wins (including GC) titles in just a matter of a few months. No other sprinter has even come close to those numbers.
On the other side of that we have Elia Viviani, who is yet to win a race in Cofidis colours, having signed for them at the start of the season. He has put a man on the front to keep the chase moving along but the Italian appears to be desperately short of form and confidence. A win today would be huge for the former QuickStep rider.
The entire field has lined out, and with 151km to go the gap is still hovering around three minutes, so the leaders really aren't being given a lot of wiggle room at this point. That's unlikely to change but several riders in the break simple want to increase their KMS in the break.
And now the gap is under three minutes for the break as UAE, Cofidis, and FDJ set the pace. 2'53 is the gap with 148km to go.
In other news: Bidding on eBay-listed EF Rapha x Palace Giro d'Italia jersey could surpass the £600 mark. Click here for the news.
While back in the real world, Greg Van Avermaet will decide this Friday as to whether he will start the Tour of Flanders or not.
"There's still a greater chance that I won't start," Van Avaermaet said. "If I start, it will be to play a meaningful role. I'm not going to just ride from Antwerp to Oudenaarde; I could do that on any day. There's a big difference between riding and racing.
I spoke to a rider who understandably didn't want to be named about the situation inside the Giro d'Italia bubble, or lack of it. You can read the story, here. It illuminates the feelings of some - not all - of the riders in the peloton and the knife-edge that the race is currently balancing on.
Back to the action in the stage and the break are holding at 2'58, while Cofidis continue with one rider on the front of the peloton. We have 138km to go.
A reminder of the riders in the move: Mattia Bais (Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec), Fabio Mazzucco (Bardiani CSF Faizane), Francesco Romano (Bardiani CSF Faizane), Sander Armee (Lotto Soudal) and as we mentioned before, Marco Frapporti (Vini Zabu-KTM).
The situation has calmed down, with the bunch easing slightly and the gap holding at exactly three minutes. 127km to go as we race along the countryside.
Today's b/a driven by Bais-Frapporti rivalry in twocompetitions. Bais is 3rd in Fuga Bianchi, Frapporti is 4th with 12 km fewer than Bais. Frapporti leads the intermediate sprints classification with 32 points. Bais is 4 points behind him with 28 points.October 14, 2020
It's the same three riders from UAE, Cofidis, and Groupama, as we see Armee drop back to the car for a quick word with his DS - who isn't wearing a face mask.
It's Mathias Le Turnier who is doing the work for Cofidis as the peloton once more lines out along the coastline. The 25-year-old has been with the Frenchman since turning pro and is making his Giro d'Italia debut this season.
Back to the COVID-19 situation and Mitchelton Scott will start internal discussions today over whether or not they race the Vuelta a Espana, which is scheduled to start next week. Click here for the latest news.
"We're not going to make a decision tomorrow but we will have an open discussion over where we go next because the numbers in Spain are increasing rapidly," Brent Copeland told Cyclingnews.
By the way our Scheldeprijs - Live coverage has started and it's just a click away.
Just over 100km to go and there's no significant change in the race with the bunch holding the five-rider break at 2'48. Up front and the two Bardiani riders continue to set the pace in the break - the others are helping too, of course.
A few clouds overhead but they don't look too threatening.
At 34 this could be Sander Armée's final race. He's out of contract this year at Lotto Soudal and the Belgian team, I believe, put him and a batch of riders on notice. That's actually standard procedure at Belgian teams with riders out of contract but the experienced Belgian is still good enough for the WorldTour. Won a stage in the Vuelta and made the top ten a couple of years ago. If he moves teams at the end of the year we can always roll out New Model Armee headlines too.
The bunch race through the feedzone and we can see Jakob Fuglsang tucking into his lunch. 91km to go and the gap is at 3'01.
We are 10km from the intermediate sprint. It will be interesting to see if the bunch wake from this relative slumber and Demare goes for the points available.
Demare is just having a few words with his leadout with 84km to go. If he wins today he'll halt Sagan's momentum in the points competition.
Gaviria, with most of his team, are coming back through the team cars. 77km to go, with the gap at 2'20.
The break hit the intermediate and Francesco Romano takes first ahead of Frapporti. The bunch will compete for the final 3,2, and 1 points available in just a moment.
Demare and Sagan are going to go head-to-head.
Demare is too good and he takes 3 points, Sagan 2 and that means that the Frenchman is 20 points clear in that competition. We're 74km from the finish.
The break are now battling for KOM points on this short 4th cat. Mattia Bais is clearly the better climber, and on the big ring he goes clear. He picks up the three points.
The bunch are climbing right now but the pace remains steady and relaxed as the break finds another 15 seconds, and the gap moves out to 3'20.
Mattia Bais (Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec), Fabio Mazzucco (Bardiani CSF Faizane), Francesco Romano (Bardiani CSF Faizane), Sander Armee (Lotto Soudal) and Marco Frapporti (Vini Zabu-KTM) have 3'26 over the peloton with 63km to go.
Valerio Conti is the UAE rider who has been on the front of the peloton since the break formed earlier in the stage. He's helping to keep the break in check, with the gap now at 3'29 with 58km to go.
Demare hasn't even been outside the top-ten riders on the road all day. His FDJ team have only committed one rider to the chase, and that's fine because they don't need to put everything into the chase, because they've already won three times in the race. 55km to go.
Over in Belgium, Mark Cavendish has spoken about his comments that came after Gent-Wevelgem. He's given more background as to what he said, and why he said it. And he's talked about his desire to keep racing in 2021. The story is here.
The five leaders have 2'40 with 43km to go as we see Conti (UAE Team Emirates) still on the front and setting the pace.
The second intermediate sprint takes place and I think Frapporti just edged that. The five leaders, however, have seen their lead cut to just over two minutes and it's only a matter of time before the catch is made.
Groupama are taking a bit more responsibility for the chase but we have a few shallow climbs on the route at this point - it's certainly not flat at this point.
33km to go and the Armee and Bais are clear of the rest of the break, though their gap is only at 15 seconds to the three other riders. The bunch are at 2'14.
Crash and several Cofidis riders, a motorbike and NTT are involved.
It's Viviani and it looks like he was hit by the motorbike.
The Italian is back on his bike and racing back to the bunch, with some teammates around him. The motorbike was in the middle of the bunch, riding through a roundabout and simply drove into the Italian's back wheel.
The Frapporti trio are now 48 seconds behind Bais and Armee, with the peloton at 2'29 with 30km to go.
These twisting and technical roads help the break in terms of staying clear but they simply don't have comparative firepower when put against the peloton. FDJ sit on the front of the bunch now with most of their team.
On a short little climb Armee has attacked and dropped Bais with a really good move. The Belgian is looking good at this point but only has 1'48 on the bunch with 24km to go.
Six FDJ riders hold the front of the peloton with Conti from UAE neatly tucked in for good measure. There are a few Bora riders starting to move up but they're not organised just yet.
Just over two minutes now for Armee as the Frapporti trio are about to be caught. Viviani still hasn't been able to come back to the bunch since that motorbike drove in to him.
Bais isn't giving up though and is still holding off the main field. Armee is well clear though, and still has two minutes with 21km to go.
Back onto some flat roads and Armee still has 1'56 with 20km to go. He's doing a great job but he'll know that the odds are stacked against him as we see a few more teams start to organise their leadouts.
Viviani is still chasing back through the team cars and finally he makes it back. Who knows, maybe the adrenalin will help him in the final but those scenes earlier are not what you want to see in a bike race.
Viviani has a problem with his left ankle and wrist as the car moves up. Armee, meanwhile, still has 1'50 with 16km to go. This is starting to get a bit interesting.
1'38 now for Armee with 12.9km to go. The bunch will not panic just yet as we see UAE now move up and set the pace.
Ineos are also in the mix, and QuickStep for Hodeg and that takes 10 seconds off Armee's lead.
He's starting to fade now, and Armee is losing time with the gap at 1'04 with 11km to go. So many teams are chasing now and Cofidis have joined the party.
Armee is gritting his teeth as Ineos move to the front and try and position their sprint options as the gap drops to 46 seconds.
The road is straight and wide and the bunch can see Armee up ahead as the Belgian loses a few more seconds, with the gap now down to just 35 seconds with 9.2km to go.
18 seconds now for Armee with 8km and it's almost all over for the Lotto Soudal rider.
It's all Ineos at the front as we enter some technical sections with lots of road furniture. Now UAE are back on the front for Gaviria.
6.4km to go and Armee has been caught with Gaviria's men on the front right now.
Demare is quite far back at the moment but he's got plenty of time to move into contention. All UAE right now though.
ISN now hit the front with 4.4km to go as they look to set up Zabel.
Dowsett, winner of a previous stage, sets the pace with 3.8km to go.
Demare, Sagan and Gaviria are all in contention at this point.
UAE come back again with 2.5km to go as we take a tight right hand corner.
Another tight left-hander, with everyone come through it safely. Now it's FDJ who hit the front.
1.6km to go and the sprint is really on now.
Gaviria is on Demare's wheel. 600m to go.
Groupama lead out.
Gaviria goes first with 200m to go but Demare almost instantly responds.
Demare is coming through, but what can Sagan do?
Hodeg is there too and here comes Sagan.
But there's no stopping Arnaud Demare who takes win number four in this year's Giro d'Italia. He's simply unstoppable.
Groupama just have the best leadout and the best sprinter in this year's Giro. No one can come close to him and he extends his lead in the points classification once more.
It looked for a brief moment as though Gaviria had the legs and he opened his sprint first after a good leadout but he just didn't have the power he needed. Then Sagan followed Gaviria and then switched to Demare and that cost him but I'm not sure he would have won anyway.
|Pos.||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Arnaud Demare (Fra) Groupama-FDJ||4:03:52|
|2||Peter Sagan (Svk) Bora-Hansgrohe|
|3||Alvaro Jose Hodeg Chagui (Col) Deceuninck-Quickstep|
|4||Simone Consonni (Ita) Cofidis|
|5||Rick Zabel (Ger) Israel Start-Up Nation|
|6||Nico Denz (Ger) Team Sunweb|
|7||Fernando Gaviria Rendon (Col) UAE Team Emirates|
|8||Stefano Oldani (Ita) Lotto Soudal|
|9||Jacopo Mosca (Ita) Trek-Segafredo|
|10||Elia Viviani (Ita) Cofidis|
|Pos.||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||João Almeida (Por) Deceuninck-Quickstep||43:41:57|
|2||Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Team Sunweb||0:00:34|
|3||Pello Bilbao (Spa) Bahrain McLaren||0:00:43|
|4||Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) NTT Pro Cycling||0:00:57|
|5||Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Trek-Segafredo||0:01:01|
|6||Patrick Konrad (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe||0:01:15|
|7||Jai Hindley (Aus) Team Sunweb||0:01:19|
|8||Rafal Majka (Pol) Bora-Hansgrohe||0:01:21|
|9||Fausto Masnada (Ita) CCC Team||0:01:36|
|10||Hermann Pernsteiner (Aut) Bahrain McLaren||0:01:52|
Here is our full report, results and photos from the stage.
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