Even though your favourite rider probably didn’t win, and you probably had something to say about the crowds in Israel, and you didn’t understand why the peloton chased every break, the Giro d’Italia was still pretty great. Looking past the obvious, here are five great moments that had absolutely no impact on the race.
Ciccone doesn’t give up…
If you’re thirty-three minutes down, you’ve probably earnt yourself a bit of breakaway freedom. Which is why Giulio Ciccone’s presence in the GC group at the end of Stage 9 was somewhat bemusing. The breakaway had been caught by the day’s final summit and the peloton had been whittled down to the GC favourites. The young Italian moved off the front inside the final 3km hoping to exercise his freedom. The gradient was steep and the group kept him at a short distance. He was caught, overtaken, almost dropped, came back, and put in another dig as if to say ‘PLEASE GUYS’.
He was relentlessly tailed this time, but put in one last furious attack which led to an even bigger response and Simon Yates’ eventual victory. Brave ride.
Dumoulin pursues Yates…
It seems harsh to put the brilliant Stage 11 in a list of unimportant moments as it was arguably the best finish of the race. At the time, Dumoulin racing through the streets of Osimo seconds behind Simon Yates in a desperate attempt to keep the Giro under his control seemed to be the most pivotal of moments. Sadly, it had no bearing on the outcome of the race.
Yates turned a punchy transitional stage into a cracker. He attacked late and Dumoulin responded with steady pedal strokes. The big Dutchman loomed behind in trademark fashion, stalking Yates all the way to the line and losing just two seconds. The gap rarely changed in the final corners but as Dumoulin edged closer he assumed the role of a video game villain from a frantic escape.
Ruben Plaza comes all the way back…
With the peloton finally reaching an agreement, we actually got as successful breakaway on Stage 17. It was one of those proper ones, where a full ten riders came home minutes ahead of the Maglia Rosa.
At the head of the field we had 125/1 shot Maximilian Schachmann with Mattia Cattaneo. Behind we had 38-year old, former Tour de France stage winner, popular in the peloton, Israel Cycling Academy signing, Ruben Plaza. He was distanced easily by his junior companions, but clawed his way back before the final corners and looked equipped for some late drama. Moments later Schachmann attacked, took chunks out of his rivals, and ruined the fairytale. Still, it was a great effort by the veteran.
Carapaz attacks Lopez…
After annoying Dumoulin on the way up to Sestriere and down into the valley, it became obvious Richard Carapaz and Miguel Angel Lopez only had eyes for eachother, or rather, the Giro d’Italia’s young rider competition.
Carapaz needed less than a minute on Lopez at the start of the race’s final climb. Lopez spent most of the final week glued to the Movistar man’s wheel and that didn’t change when the Ecuadorian put in his final attack. In what was a relatively predictable move, Carapaz came flying out of a slowing GC group and Lopez followed with sprinter-like reactions. With similar styles and builds, the two danced up the next 500m like kids racing up the big hill at the back of the park. They were evenly matched and Lopez held on.
Dumoulin’s last stand…
Another from Stage 20, where Dumoulin was faced with the challenge of wrestling 40 seconds from Chris Froome. He jumped out of the saddle on three occasions but was kept at bay by the pink jersey behind him. Eventually he cracked, shook his head, and dropped out of the main group…
…for less than a kilometre. With no hope of retaining his Maglia Rosa, the reigning champ rode back up to the lead group (who had perhaps slowed) before heading to the front and pulling them to the finish, in aid of loyal lieutenant Sam Oomen’s quest for the top eight. Lovely stuff.
1 comments on “Five great – but unimportant – moments from the Giro d’Italia”
…. I’d add Yates taking on intermediate sprints !
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