Where's that GPS?
A rest day is a good time to take stock and reflect. (As well as start a freash thread to avoid clutter! )
Over the course of the past two weeks, a lot of assumptions about how this race would progress have been put to the test - some held, many didn't.
Let's start out with our pre-race favorites:
Bradley Wiggins (Sky) - Many tipped Sir Bradley to take a Giro that seemed tailor-made for his TTing prowess. There was an assumption that once Wiggins and his team dominated the others in the Time Trials, that would be all she wrote and Sky would dominate the peloton and suffocate any attempt to challenge Wiggo's stranglehold on the Maglia Rosa.
Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) - "The Shark" had a great Spring and many feared he had peaked too soon and the Giro would find him in the lower end of his performance spectrum - again, Nibali would have to play second fiddle to a GT champion.
Ryder Hejsedal (Garmin-Sharp) - Who made history when he became the first Canadian to capture the final Maglia Rosa last year. We looked back on his performances this Spring and it seemed as though he was peaking at just the right time. The idea of a Giro repeat for the Garmin-Sharp captain did not seem that far-fetched.
Cadel Evans (BMC) - Not even a favorite really for many of us. His performances this Spring were not inspiring of confidence and he was essentially called-off-the-beach to come and do this year's Giro. A top-ten seemed possible if some form kicked in, but a spot on the podium? Few credited him with that possibility.
Michele Scarponi (Lampre-Merida) - He did it before - he could do it again. At the very least, a position on the final podium seemed possible.
Rigoberto Uran (Sky) - Olympic Silver Medalist yes, but few mentioned his name as a Giro podium contender - Henao seemed the more likely bet - and even then, only to take a lower step to Bradley Wiggins.
Robert Gesink (Blanco) - His condition and performance makes him the proverbial dark horse - sometimes he seems world class, and at others just ho-hum - a long-shot for a Giro win in most people's books.
Sammy Sanchez (Euscatel-Euskadi) - Only a contender in his own mind.
Some of these predictions (hopes?) did indeed pan-out - most did not.
Wiggins and Hejsedal preformed badly and it was soon evident that their Giro aspirations were built on sand. In the meantime, Vincenzo Nibali met and exceeded expectations and by the end of the second week has achieved a formidable, but not insurmountable, lead and has worn the Maglia Rosa well even going on the attack to distance his rivals further.
Right when you begin to lose faith in Cadel Evans, he pulls out an amazing performance as he has in this Giro - I for one did not see this coming and I'm sure I wasn't alone.
And Rigoberto Uran in third place and looking dangerous to go higher? Now that has been a revelation as has the continuous ability of Sky to dominate the headlines, if not the peloton, at The Giro this year.
Santambrogio and Scarponi are still in it with a chance, but one or more of the top three will have to falter dramatically for either to hope for a podium place.
Break-aways have done surprisingly well and the harsh wet and cold weather has revealed the ****** in the armor of many big names within the peloton. Young riders like Carlos Batencur (AG2R LaMondiale) and Rafal Majka (Saxo Tinkoff) have shown some metal and have to be considered as possible favorites in future GTs.
And then there is Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) - achieving his centennial stage victory and more at this Giro - he is moving ever closer to the stage win total of The Great One, "The Cannibal", Eddy Merckx.
Danilo DiLuca,"The Killer" - has been amazingly aggressive and seems to go on an attack at least once during each stage - a recent Vini Fantini signing that along with his teammate Mauro Santambrogio, has done his fair share to animate the race.
Any discussion of the last two weeks would be incomplete without mentioning the weather - in short, horrendous weather has left its mark on the race and sunny days have been few and far in between. This has not been the Sunny Italy of the tourist brochures - rather, it has often resembled the rainy Spring classics of Northern Europe instead. One can only hope for improvement in the weather conditions.
All-in-all, a great and unpredictable race thus far that promises to deliver a crescendo in its last week.
Current Top-Ten on GC
1) Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) 62:02:34
2) Cadel Evans (BMC) 0:01:26
3) Rigoberto Uran (Sky) 0:02:46
4) Mauro Santambrogio (Vini Fantini-Selle Italia) 0:02:47
5) Michele Scarponi (Lampre-Merida) 0:03:53
6) Przemyslaw Niemiec (Lampre-Merida) 0:04:55
7 Carlos Betancur (AG2R La Mondiale) 0:05:12
8) Rafal Majka (Saxo-Tinkoff) 0:05:32
9) Domenico Pozzovivo (AG2R La Mondiale) 0:05:39
10) Benat Intxausti Elorriaga (Movistar) 0:05:51
Current Jersey Distribution:
Pink - Vincenzo Nibali (Astana)
White - Carlos Batencur (AG2R La Mondiale)
Red - Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma-Quick Step)
Blue - Stefano Pirazzi (Bardini Valvole-CSF Inox)
The Official Website (English Version):
Giro d'Italia 2013 - Official Site - Gazzetta dello Sport
The Remaining Stages:
Stage 16 - May 21: Valloire - Ivrea, 238 km
Stage 17 - May 22: Caravaggio - Vicenza, 214 km
Stage 18 - May 23: Mori - Polsa (ITT), 20.6 km
Stage 19 - May 24: Ponte di Legno - Val Martello, 139 km
Stage 20 - May 25: Silandro - Tre Cime di Lavaredo, 203 km
Stage 21 - May 26: Riese Pio X - Brescia, 197 km
Information and Press
Giro D'Italia 2013: Stage 15 As It Happened, Route Maps & Results | Cyclingnews.com
Giro D'Italia 2013: Stage 15 Results | Cyclingnews.com
Peloton Visconti Wins Giro Stage 15 on the Galibier
Evans Hopes Worst Is Behind Him After Tough Stage To Bardonecchia | Cyclingnews.com
Cyclisme - Giro - «Pantani m'a peut-être aidé»
Riis-kaptajn tabte ungdomstrøjen i vildt vejr - Cykling
Video: Hansen On The Slog And Triumph Of The Giro D'Italia | Cyclingnews.com
Cyclisme - Giro - Nibali peut-il encore perdre ?
Saxo-Tinkoff pønser på etapesejr - Cykling
Cavendish Survives In The Snow At The Giro D'Italia | Cyclingnews.com
Giro Stage 15: Visconti Hangs On - Podium Cafe
Blanco Looking For Plan B At Giro D'Italia | Cyclingnews.com
Giro d'Italia Maglia Bianca Competition Heats Up - Podium Cafe
Nibali Resists The Call Of History On The Galibier | Cyclingnews.com
Evans Retains High Expectations At Giro D?Italia | Cyclingnews.com
Giro d'Italia: and now for the mountains. Weather permitting - Notizie Giro d'Italia 2013
Visconti Back To His Best A Year After Quitting The Giro | Cyclingnews.com
Giro d'Italia, stage 14: Santambrogio brings home a tough victory in the snow, with Nibali still in pink - Notizie Giro d'Italia 2013
Uran Confident About The Final Week Of The Giro D'Italia | Cyclingnews.com
Giro d'Italia, Nibali: "E' ancora lunga". Santambrogio: "Ancora non ci credo" - Notizie Giro d'Italia 2013
Scarponi Stays In Podium Hunt At Giro D?Italia | Cyclingnews.com
Giro d'Italia, ecco il Galbier accorciato. La tappa nel nome di Pantani - Notizie Giro d'Italia 2013
Parra Calls For Colombian Alliance To Defeat Nibali | Cyclingnews.com
Ciclismo, Giro d'Italia, tappa 15: favoloso Visconti, Nibali resta in rosa - Notizie Giro d'Italia 2013
White Jersey Battle Not A Concern For Majka | Cyclingnews.com
Giro d'Italia, Visconti: "Marco mi ha aiutato da lassù". Nibali: "Difficile fare la differenza" - Notizie Giro d'Italia 2013
Giro D'Italia: 10 Conclusions From The Second Week | Cyclingnews.com
Giro, Evans lancia la sfida a Nibali: "La terza settimana può riaprire tutto" - Notizie Giro d'Italia 2013
Evans Still Ambitious For The Third Week Of The Giro D'Italia | Cyclingnews.com