While the longest stage of the 2018 Giro d’Italia looked innocent enough on paper, the races longest stage at 240 km ended up being one of the most exciting up to date. The 15-km drag up Fonta delle Creta proved decisive with Colombian Esteban Chaves, who was sitting second overall to teammate Simon Yates, losing contact with the peloton and finally dropping 25 minutes to his general classification rivals. Michael Woods Strava numbers show how this happened.
The climb should have been straightforward for riders competent in the mountains averaging a steady six per cent but it came early in the day. Many teams spent time on the trainers before getting in the saddle for over six hours including Chaves and his teammates.
— Mitchelton-SCOTT (@MitcheltonSCOTT) May 15, 2018
Canadian Michael Woods profited off the Colombian’s slide moving up to ninth in the overall standings. Woods shared his ride on Strava accompanied by his data including power and cadence. On the Fonta delle Creta climb, Woods averaged 371 watts for 35 minutes. After a rest day, there is no doubt this would have stung. Chaves teammate Jack Haig who stuck with Yates also posted his data on Strava and hit his max heart rate on the day on the climb hitting 189 bpm while also averaging 370 watts.
With over five hours still to race, this is a massive effort so early in the day. Rain and constantly undulating terrain didn’t make the stage any easier and despite being accompanied by teammates, Chaves was unable to make it back to the front of the race. At the end of the stage, the peloton had climbed 4000 m and Chaves would drop out of the GC battle.
The pace on Fonta delle Crete was fast enough for the pros to snag the KOMs up its length. The previous KOM holder now sits 50th in the overall standings on the San Quirico – Rigopiano segment and the peloton was shattered to bits on its slopes.
After cresting the climb, the Chaves group tried desperately to chase back with the help of Quick-Step Floors who tried to bring Elia Viviani back into contention. The group came within a minute at one point before hitting the climb to Bruzzolana where the chase was finally abandoned. Woods averaged a sprightly 346 watts on the 6-km climb. While the lead peloton maintained a speed of over 40 km/h to the finish, the chase including Chaves travelled the final 185-km at 37 km/h.
A large portion of the peloton is on Strava at this years Giro and the names the riders gave their rides indicates how difficult the stage was. Laurens ten Dam went with ‘I need 3 xtra rest days now‘ while Alex Dowsett opted for ‘O.M.G‘. Chris Hamilton joked the stage took years off of his life titling his ride ‘Giro stage 10= 10 years off my life span.‘ George Bennet who has been climbing with the best titled his ride ‘Queen stage???‘ despite the Monte Zoncolan and Colle Delle Finestre still to come.
The Giro continues tomorrow with a 156-km stage to Osimo which suits Woods well with a pair of kickers at the end.