Roglič Destroys Tre Cime di Laverado Record before Final ITT

Tre Cime di Lavaredo – Italy – cycling – Primoz Roglic (SLO – Jumbo – Visma) – Geraint Thomas (GBR – INEOS Grenadiers) pictured during Giro dÕItalia 2023 – 106th Edition – stage -19 from Longarone to Tre Cime di Lavaredo (183km) – 26/05/2023 – Photo: Ilario Biondi/SCA/Cor Vos © 2023

The Queen stage of the Giro d’Italia 2023 featured a very difficult parcours, but the GC teams all picked a conservative strategy to wait for the final climb, with no one daring to try a mountain raid or pacing hard on the early high mountain passes. Fortunately for the interest in tomorrow’s time trial, Geraint Thomas, Primož Roglič and Joao Almeida remain within a minute of each other with GC still to play for.

Giro d’Italia stage 19 2023 profile by La Flamme Rouge

The GC teams rode the start of the queen stage of the 2023 Giro defensively, with no satellite riders making the breakaway and the closest GC threat being Buitrago, over 10 minutes down. The pace on the early climbs was not fast and even on Passo Giau (9.8 km, 9.3%) the peloton was huge. 5.40 ᵉW/Kg for 36:04 min on Giau was 3:19 min slower than Egan Bernal’s time in the 2021 Giro which was in much more unpleasant conditions. At the crest, the group was around 35-40 riders deep as INEOS pace with Swift and Puccio was slow but Jumbo-Visma and UAE-Emirates were not willing to contribute and make the race harder.

GC group going slowly up Giau

On Passo Tre Croci (8.0 km, 7.2%) the group was reduced by a much harder pace from Laurens De Plus but after the climb, there were still 17 riders left. 22:42 min at 5.70 ᵉW/Kg definitely did some damage as the stage was heading into the sixth hour and the it seemed that De Plus paced harder at the end of the climb. Thymen Arensman before the Tre Cime di Lavaredo climb spent 5122 kilojoules for 5:32h which is 13.61 kj/kg/h. A very hard stage as the mountain passes were above 2000 metres sea level but it could have been harder if one of the big teams fully committed.

Pouring rain on Tre Croci

Like last year on the Passo Fedaia stage, the riders saved their bullets for the final steep ramp. Tre Cime di Lavaredo (3.7 km, 12.11%) included extended sections with a 16%+ gradient.

Primož Roglič before the climb even changed to a bike that had a 40-tooth single chainring with a 12-speed 10-44T cassette. It allowed Roglič to spin at his optimum cadence on the steep pinches, despite pushing over 6 w/kg. Probably it was a test before the stage 20 time trial which includes the steepest climb that has been used in any recent Grand Tours with a 21.6% steep 500-metre section.

Mega cassette on Roglič’s new bike

Despite the steep gradients, there was not much action on Tre Cime as Roglič and Thomas stayed together practically until the finish. Both tried to attack but their ᵉW/Kg was too close to make a gap even a 10%+ steep climb. Roglič in the end sprinted to a 3-second gap over Thomas while Joao Almeida trying to hold a steady tempo as always lost 23 seconds to the Slovenian.

Tre Cime di Lavaredo – Italy – cycling – Primoz Roglic (SLO – Jumbo – Visma) – Geraint Thomas (GBR – INEOS Grenadiers) pictured during Giro dÕItalia 2023 – 106th Edition – stage -19 from Longarone to Tre Cime di Lavaredo (183km) – 26/05/2023 – Photo: Luca Bettini/SCA/Cor Vos © 2023

As the climb went up to 2316 metres, the watts were not particularly high as at altitude it is way harder to push the same watts as on climbs that start at sea level or close to it. Primož Roglič did Tre Cime in 14:20 min with 6.43 ᵉW/Kg. It was a new record as Vincenzo Nibali in 2013 (15:02 min) and Danilo Di Luca in 2007 (15:01 min) were way slower but in the 2023 Giro the tempo on previous climbs was not high and everything was saved for this final effort. At sea level we estimate that Primož Roglič would have been able to push 7.01 ᵉW/Kg doing the same effort on such gradients. This huge difference sea level effort and Tre Cime (average altitude 2077m) of 0.58 ᵉW/Kg really shows how much altitude can influence wattage output.

The stage was won by Santiago Buitrago from the breakaway. The lightweight Colombian beat the 75 kg Derek Gee by 51 seconds on the rampas inhumanas which was made for Buitrago and seemed almost unfair for Gee. Thomas is ahead of Roglič by 26 seconds and Almeida by 59 seconds and everything can happen in the final time trial.

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This 18.6 kilometre long mountain time trial will decide the Giro. Based on the climbing performances this week, Roglič and Thomas are very close but anything can happen as the Tour de France 2020 Stage 20 proved. Even Almeida still has left a small chance to win like this teammate Pogačar did three years ago. Currently, the betting odds for the title are @ 1.40 for Thomas, @ 3.00 for Roglič and @ 23.00 for Almeida.

Giro d'Italia stage 20 profile by La Flamme Rouge

There is a 10.8-kilometre false flat section before Monte Lussari but most of the time will be spent on the climb. The Monte Lussari road surface is not of the best quality. It is a pure w/kg battle and the riders will change for a road bike at the beginning as aerodynamics are not as important as the weight on 15%+ gradients.

  1. I hope that Roglic takes the pink jersey but I think it’s highly unlikely.
    Let me guess, Monday morning we’ll start hearing about how this was a great Giro. Every year the bar that a race has to clear to be considered great gets lower and lower. I’m Canadian so I love Derek Gee but when 90% of the excitement in a GT comes from, at best, a middle of the pack rider who didn’t really accomplish anything beside racking up an impressive number of k’s at the front, there’s something horribly wrong. When the queen stage of a GT is fought out between three, again, middle of the pack riders, there’s something horribly wrong.
    I blame Ineos and Geraint Thomas especially. Ineos doesn’t do racing. They do anti-racing. Un-racing. The last thing they want is to actually have to ride aggressively and be at the front fighting it out. They want a stately, dull procession to the end. I understand it, but I don’t have to like it or watch it.
    As for Thomas, I’ve watched bike racing for a little over 40 years and until recently I can honestly say I’ve never hated a rider. I’ve disliked a few, but hate? No. I hate Geraint Thomas. I hate the way he “races” because he doesn’t race. I hate that he can’t be bothered to even try to win a stage or animate things. I especially hate that he picks one race a season and basically ignores the rest of the calendar. I genuinely don’t understand the mind of a person who’s satisfied with that. How can anyone feel good about that?! Doesn’t he like cycling? I’m just baffled by riders like that. Last season Evenepoel won major races in three separate time periods, from April to almost October. Thomas “raced” basically, once. Once! Geraint, you’re a joke. Every rider in the entire history of the sport who has battled through an entire season should feel nothing but contempt for you. I feel nothing but contempt for you. You’ve already proven that it’s possible for a GT to be won by a rider who isn’t really a GT champion level rider, yet you keep going.
    I hope, if you do climb onto the top step of the podium(make sure you have a team rider in front to set the pace), you know deep in your heart that you’re only there because an infinitely better rider dropped out. **** you Thomas and **** you Ineos.

    1. Why the hate on for Thomas? He’s not a GT champion level rider? His collection of yellow jerseys would suggest otherwise. You sound bitter – did he steal your girlfriend or something? I mean seriously dude he’s just doing the best he can to try to win races based on how he perceives his strengths. Cycling’s history is filled with guys who were super boring racers – remember Indurain or Ulrich? And remember how guys like Rasmussen, the parade of Colombians, Pantani etc. were supposed to become major champions, and instead almost always flamed out spectacularly? Also it must be said that Thomas’ focused and limited performances seem a lot more believable than Evenepoel, Van Aert and Pogacar, who absolutely must be doping out of their minds to be winning such a wide array of races throughout the entire season. I know they haven’t got caught yet, but again neither did LA, and fool me once, shame on you, fool me 46,000 times, shame on me.

  2. How do you estimate sea level power?

    Hemoglobin has a sigmoid shaped oxygen saturation curve, so power is not linearly correlated to altitude or atmospheric oxygen partial pressure.

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