One of the best Giro’s we’ve ever seen – Street furniture causing mayhem, team pile-ups, missing breaks, mud and rain, 6 feet of snow and a TT finishing in a amphitheatre – what else would you expect from the Italians?
Basso victorious in pink for the second time, Porte in white, Cadel in red and Matt Lloyd taking the mountains jersey made for a massive oz representation in the standings.
After a TT around Verona it finished:
- David Arroyo
- Cadel Evans
- 3400 kilometres in the 2010 edition.
- 2618 metres above sea level of the ‘Coppi’s peak’ – the Gavia Pass.
- 265 kilometres in the longest stage.
- 4 riders have led from start to finish to take the pink jersey.
- 42 stages which Cipollini won during his career.
- 298 the most riders ever entered, in 1928.
Our favourite stages: Stage 7 – “the muddy one”
Strade bianche was the reason for this stage becoming one of the talking points of the 2010 race.
These are the historic gravel roads of the Chianti region which were turned to mud with heavy rains, turning most of the riders’ vibrant team kit into a muddy, clogged mess, not to mention the state of the bikes at the finish.
When you have the right kit and enough motivation riding in the rain and muck can be just as enjoyable as in the sunshine, don’t pretend not to be proud of your mud lines when you take yours socks and shorts off! But this stage was a real test, we missed the live coverage of the race and on first seeing the finish line photos we wondered what had gone on! It seems that rain and gravel mix giving each rider coming over the line a complete colour change.
With mud on the menu Cadel Evans took the stage win, his background in MTB’ing serving him well. Vinokourov moved back into the overall lead of the race after he finished third on the stage.
—–Stage 15 – The mighty Zoncolan—–
To sort the men from the boys stage 15 included the iconic Monte Zoncolan which hosted the finish for the third time in the race’s history, with the peloton going up the west side for the first time, getting a taste of the 11.9% average gradient on the 10.1km of climbing. According to Wikipedia (the gospel for all students): “This is a very demanding climb, and one of the most difficult in Europe…”.
A bright Sunday afternoon made for a festival atmosphere on the Zoncolan with an estimated 1,000,000 spectators on the mountain side cheering on everyone through the final tunnels of the climb.
1250 metres in just 10km meant that only the tough would survive. We saw Wiggins go backwards coming in 25:32 down.
4 men (Basso, Evans, Scarponi and Pinotti) led up the charge up the initial ramps, it soon became 2 with Evans and Basso showing their wildly contrasting styles of climbing (I’d take either!) and inevitably Evans couldn’t stick with the pace, Basso rounded the final corners and tunnels and was cheered like a hero at the top. He distanced Evans by only 1,19 – does this man ever give less than 100%???
—–Stage 20 – Passo di Gavia – “The snowy one”—–
What I’d call an epic Giro stage – as a skier and cyclist I don’t know which I’d rather be doing. The novelty of skiing in Europe at the end of May or cycling up a path cut out of 4/5m walls of snow??? In case the boss reads this I’ll of course say cycling up the Passo di Gavia, especially with this company. As expected Basso rode well, finishing 3rd, and notably Cadel got second with a great last minute surge over the line.
If you saw the coverage – I thought I was a brave descender until I saw these guys coming off the Gavia – the road was patchy wet with melt water, narrow, twisty and seemed to have lots of last minute barriers/ski netting along the sides. Tschopp, the Swiss rider who won the stage went for it down here, pulling out all the stops – a stand out moment of the 2010 Giro for sheer nerve. Once the peloton reached the top it was gilet time to prevent wind-chill and Liquigas did their best to lead Basso down. This was the second to last climb and Tschopp held his lead to take the win.
Contador: missing from the Giro, you really can’t afford to under estimate him.
The storming Aussies – 3 out of 4 jerseys on their backs.
What better finishing attire than Simoni’s shirt and tie, ready for his next job?!