With the Giro done and dusted. We take a look back at the top 10 things that shaped the Giro over 3 long weeks of racing.
The race would have played out completely differently without time bonuses. Simon Yates gained 41 seconds in bonuses alone. Chris Froome gained a further 20 seconds in time bonuses. The race would have been tighter and Yates would have lost the jersey on stage 16. I personally am not a big of fan of the time bonuses. But the race would have truly turned out different if it weren’t for 10/6/4 seconds handed out on the finish line.
Chris Froome pre race crash
This started back in 2013 when Bradley Wiggins failed his GC bid at the Giro. Every following year any leader for Team Sky always had bad luck. 2015 was Richie Porte’s 2-min time penalty for taking a wheel from a non teammate, followed by a crash. 2016 Mikel Landa fell sick after only 9 stages. It seemed as Chris Froome’s Giro was almost over before it had truly begun. As his crash affected quite a bit. Because of his crash he lost time during the first 13 days and only slightly recovered enough on stage 14 to take a stage win, but cost him more time on stage 15. But as we all know Froome was able to overcome this heavy setback.
Fabio Aru’s lack of form
Since 2015 Fabio Aru has been able to be at the head of affairs during any grand tour he starts. With his first win coming at the 2015 Vuelta. We’ve also seen him struggle at races and have bad days. But nothing as close as this. From the start things didn’t look promising, losing close to a min on the stage 1 time trial. But his ship would soon sink further and further until his abandon on stage 19 before the first climb even began.
Tom Dumoulin’s tactics
All I can honestly say is that if you want to win the race you have to take the race by the balls and fight for it. Stage 19 was Dumoulin’s to loose. Video later came out about his pre-race tactics for the day. His plan was to stay within 1min of Chris Froome and hold him off on the descent. Unfortunately he decided to work with Pinot who hadn’t worked with him on stage 14 or 15. This small mistake cost Tom a repeat giro win and any hope of victory.
Miguel Angel Lopez troubling first week
While he did end up on the podium and the winner of the white jersey it wasn’t without its troubles. Lopez had a terrible first week losing time left and right. A pre race crash saw him lose 56 seconds in the opening time trial, stage 4 saw him lose 21 seconds in the finale, not trusting his teammates saw him lose a further 43 seconds and a stern talking to by the team boss. Without those time losses he could have certainly wrapped up the white jersey competition sooner and who knows may have helped Tom Dumoulin to do some chasing on stage 15 and 19. The final stages could have played out very differently without his early crash and setbacks in the first week.
Pinot’s 43min fall from grace
I like to call this the curse of the Alps. Before the giro in early April there is small warm up race for the giro called “The Tour of the Alps”, since 2014 every winner of this small stage race has gone on to either fail at the giro or abandon the race entirely. In 2014 it was Cadel Evans who after failing in his bid for Giro victory decided that maybe he wasn’t fit enough to race for GC and retired the following January. 2017 for example was Gerraint Thomas who ended up getting caught up in a pileup during stage 9 and had to abandon 3 days later. The latest victim was of course Pinot, while on track for his highest placing in the Giro completely fell apart from exhaustion and had to abandon the giro one day before the finish.
The rise and fall of Simon Yates
There’s no way around it. Yates took this Giro by storm. 13 days in pink and 3 stage wins (almost 4 if he didn’t gift one to Esteban Chaves). He put time into all his rivals any chance he got and truly looked in control every step of the way. After his solo effort on stage 15, he only needed to limit his loses on the time trial and pass the final week, and the Giro would be his. But as we know it all took a turn for the worse on stage 19 when he cracked and lost over 35mins on Chris Froome. We later learned that he had gone a little too deep on stage 15 and 16. He needed an easy day to recover but stage 17 was everything but that. And it only got harder for him. At only 25 this was a huge stepping stone and his future is still very bright.
Estaban Chaves’s allergies
After his stage 6 win and holding second overall. It looked as if Chaves had found his best form again that had allowed him to podium the Giro and Vuelta in 2016. But an allergic reaction to pollen had caused him to lose over 25mins on stage 10. Any hope of a high GC placing was out the window. It seemed as he would become Yates’s right hand man in the mountains, but Chaves couldn’t recover and could only help Yates slightly.
Quickstep and Mitchelton Scott strength in numbers
Quickstep came last year with a young Fernando Gavira and grabbed 4 stage wins and the points jersey. This year they grabbed 5 stages and the points jersey. While Mitchelton Scott grabbed 5 as well and 13 days in the pink. Both teams combined took almost half of all the stages and denied the breakaway barely any chance at success. Both teams have to be commended for their strength in numbers.
One word to describe the day is WOW. On stage 18 we saw Simon Yates crack in the last 2 km and lost 30 seconds. On stage 19 we saw him completely blow, Chris Froome launches his race winning attack, Tom Dumoulin put his race in Pinot and his teammate’s hand, a young Ben O’Conner crashed out of the race, and the whole GC blow apart. It was truly a day for the history books and to watch it live was pure insanity.