While the adult Giro d’Italia takes on its potentially decisive individual time trial today with Simon Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) and Tom Dumoulin shooting out for pink, an interesting change to proceedings has been approved at the under-23 Giro.
It has been confirmed by the race that the UCI, which approved the proposals yesterday, will allow the final day’s ‘real time’ time trial to take part in pursuit format with the brains behind the new format, Davide Cassani, stating, ‘Essentially there will be a metre-by-metre updated general classification and according on the arrival at the finish line, we will immediately have the final GC top places of the Giro d’Italia Under 23.’
What this means is that the rider leading the general classification on the final day will roll off of the start ramp first. The time gaps behind will then deem when the next riders will start their time trial. The first rider across the finish line wins the race.
The individual test will be a rolling course of 22.4km from Il Muro di ca’del Poggio to Capo del Poggio. Starting with a fast downhill, two sharp kickers and an uphill finish finish a route that could see plenty of change if the time gaps are small enough.
This Stage 9 time trial will also form part of a double stage day with a lumpy 72.8km road stage in the morning.
While this may not seem significant in terms of immediates effects, if a success, we could see this experimentation begin to creep in to the WorldTour.
This method of a ‘chase’ time trial is already utilised by the Hammer Series, which returns this weekend, as the conclusion to the race. Although, this involves a team time trial as opposed to an individual race against the clock.
It proved a mixed bag in Limburg with an exciting race between Team Sunweb and Team Sky for the victory but a farcical show behind as six teams grouped together en-route, riding together to the finish.
This style of racing was also used at La Course although with a slight tweak. With the women’s La Course, drafting was permitted, with various riders waiting for teammates to chase down others, most notably Lizzie Armisted waiting to support Megan Guarnier.
In the ‘Baby Giro’ drafting will be strictly prohibited however how this will be marshalled could cause controversy.
It is clear that race organisers such as ASO and RCS are currently exploring ways in which to reinvigorate stage racing. This year’s Tour de France sees an exceptionally short 65km mountain stage while the Giro has also experimented with these shorter stages.
If the pursuit format begins to produce nail-biting racing, do not be surprised to see it trialled in one-week stage races such as Tirreno-Adriatico and the Criterium du Dauphine before the Giro and Tour.