It’s back! Here’s a selection of cycling snippets which absolutely won’t happen at this year’s Giro d’Italia. If any of this nonsense actually happens, it might be time to stop watching pro cycling. Enjoy some Giro fiction…
Stage 1 – Jerusalem, 9.7km, Individual Time Trial
To everybody’s surprise, Israel’s Guy Niv wins the time trial before explaining a training programme which required him to stay exclusively on the 9.7km course for the last seven months. Rohan Dennis quits the race, and retires.
Stage 2 – Haifa -Tel Aviv, 167km, Sprint Stage
Quick-Step lead out heavy stage favourite Elia Viviani with such force that they accidentally form an eight rider breakaway in the final kilometre. A modest Viviani describes the stage as a ‘closely fought victory’.
Stage 3 – Be’er Sheva-Eilat, 228km, Sprint Stage
Jakub Mareczko wins the bunch sprint, defeating Viviani by adopting a never before seen aerodynamic position that commentators name ‘The Fallen Eagle’. A special set of handlebars allow the Italian to sprint with his head below his top tube.
Rest Day – Catania, 7th May
Team Sunweb announce they have spent their entire 2018 budget on hiring Tom Dumoulin a world leading nutritionist, three Michelin star chefs and a robot which accurately predicts toilet breaks.
Stage 4 – Catania-Caltagirone, 198km, Hilly Finish
There’s a strange face on the start line as Julian Alaphilippe decides to ride Stage 4, explaining that he is perfectly suited to the finish. He races, wins easily, and Quick-Step scare off protesters by donning wolf masks and howling at the moon.
Stage 5 – Agrigento-Santa Ninfa, 153km, Hilly Finish
Francesco Gavazzi looks to be on his way to victory when Santa Ninfa goes into lockdown after whispers that Lance Armstrong is somewhere in Europe. People are advised to go home and local shops are closed. The stage is abandoned.
Stage 6 – Caltanissetta-Etna, 164km, Summit Finish
Donning a cape displaying the words ‘Volcano Man’, Jan Polanc sets off on an audacious early attack searching for his second win on Mt.Etna in as many years. His cape gets tangled up in barrier and he fades horribly to finish 56th.
Stage 7 – Pizzo-Praia a Mare, 159km, Sprint Stage
A well-known café offers free coffee to the first Trek – Segafredo rider to finish. The stage is dubbed ‘Wacky Races’ as Mads Pedersen punctures seven times, Markel Irizar is given the wrong directions, and Ryan Mullen rides Jarlinson Pantano off the road and into a hedge.
Stage 8 – Praia a Mare-Montevergine Di Mercogliano, 209km, Summit Finish
Louis Meintjes finds himself fifth in the GC, a position he describes as ‘dizzy and uncomfortably high’. He remedies the situation by waiting forty-five seconds before crossing the finish line and falling to tenth place.
Stage 9 – Pesco Sannita-Gran Sasso D’Italia, 225km, Summit Finish
Vasil Kiryienka rides away from Dayer Quintana in the final kilometre to take an unexpected victory. He is greeted at the finish by Nairo Quintana who challenges him to a staring contest in order to avenge his brother’s defeat. After three and a half hours, Kiryienka blinks.
Rest Day – 14th May
Maxim Iglinsky stuns the world of cycling by admitting he doped during his time at Astana. The team state they have ‘never heard of Iglinsky’ and distract everybody by tweeting a photo of Luis Leon Sanchez winning a stage of the Vuelta Pais Vasco in 2016.
Stage 10 – Penne-Gualdo Tadino, 239km, Breakaway
With a climb at the very start of the day, BMC get the rollers out four hours before the stage begins. They start fast but crumble in the final 40km and the entire team miss the time cut. Management call it ‘a slight tactical oversight’.
Stage 11 – Assisi–Osimo, 156km, Hilly Finish
Katusha finally realise that Ilnur Zakarin isn’t riding and decide to activate their secret plan. Maurtis Lammertink takes a stunning solo victory, visiting the Katusha team car to have his hair washed with Alpecin shampoo no less than thirteen times.
Stage 12 – Osimo-Imola, 214km, Breakaway
The stage is won by Matteo Montaguti, who completes the final circuit wearing a Scuderia Ferrari Formula 1 helmet from 2005. He is awarded a replica Grand Prix trophy and a bottle of champagne by Kimi Raikkonen. The entire stage is revealed as a publicity stunt and is met with heavy criticism.
Stage 13 – Ferrara-Nervesa della Battaglia, 180km, Sprint
There’s sad news at the start of the stage as all eight Bardiani riders fail a drugs test dating back to last September and are thrown out of the race with immediate effect. The team release a statement describing the events of ‘a wonderful holiday’ in Ayia Napa.
Stage 14 – San Vito Al Tagliamento–Monte Zoncolan, 186km, Summit Finish
Struggling for form, Fabio Aru decides to wear his national champion’s jersey from the previous season. Italian fans are so pleased to see it return that they push Aru up the last 3km before he sprints past Miguel Angel Lopez. Giro organizers take no action stating the stage was ‘highly exciting’.
Stage 15 – Tolmezzo-Sappada, 176km, Summit Finish
Kenny Elissonde finds himself two minutes up the road with 6km remaining only to be called back to help Chris Froome. He responds by pulling out his earpiece, taking off his jersey, removing his bib shorts, and winning the stage in an old Credit-Agricole kit he is handed by a fan.
Rest Day – Trento, 21st May
Disappointed with his lack of support, Domenico Pozzovivo writes an open letter to AG2R pleading for them to bring him home. Bahrain eventually agree a swap deal for Clement Venturini, Nico Denz, and the use of the AG2R team bus for the rest of the race.
Stage 16 – Trento-Rovereto, 34.2km, Individual Time Trial
Tom Dumoulin trails race leader Thibaut Pinot by seven minutes but explains he will be able to seize the Maglia Rosa if he takes 15 seconds per kilometre. Dumoulin falls short but Pinot abandons after being headhunted by a Hollywood director to play a French rockstar in a new romantic comedy.
Stage 17 – Riva del Garda-Iseo, 155km, Breakaway
Alexey Lutsenko and Matej Mohoric attack in the first kilometre and ride away to an eight minute victory. They share energy gels and, at one point, appear to be exchanging phone numbers. They cross the line together, arms raised, and are later dubbed ‘The Greatest Breakaway of 2018’.
Stage 18 – Abbiategrasso-Pratonevoso, 196km, Breakaway
The stage is won in spectacular fashion by Aqua Blue Sport’s Peter Koning, despite the team not officially participating in the race. They convince Giro organizers that they have been riding every day but are still disqualified. A raffle is held and the stage is randomly awarded to Damiano Cunego.
Stage 19 – Venaria Reale–Bardonecchia, 184km, Cima Coppi, Summit Finish
Footage emerges of an unnamed rider stealing asthma pumps from the back pockets of both Chris Froome and Diego Ulissi. The UCI announce a twenty-three step punishment and evaluation process which will be completed by the Tour Down Under 2021.
Stage 20 – Susa-Cervinia, 214km, Summit Finish
At the start of the Cervinia, the lead group is made entirely of riders from Astana and Sky. It is decided that a general knowledge quiz hosted by Ivan Basso will determine who gets to set the tempo in the group. Astana are successful after Jan Hirt manages to name all of Henry VIII’s wives.
Stage 21 – Rome, 115km, Sprint Stage
After a disappointing race, Chris Froome is outside the top ten in the General Classification. However, with no sprinters left, he powers home for victory in Rome and seizes the points jersey. He later reveals that winning the points jersey at the Vuelta Espana and Giro d’Italia back to back will go down as ‘his greatest success’.