Giro d’ Italia: Amore Infinito

2017 sees the 100th Anniversary of the Giro d’ Italia.  The Giro saw its first race in 1909 organised to increase sales of the newspaper La Gazzetta dello Sport.  As the Giro gained prominence and popularity the race was lengthened, and the peloton expanded from primarily Italian participation to riders from all over the world.

Although the route changes every year, the format of the race stays the same.  This years Giro d’ Italia finishes in Milan, which was where the first edition of the Giro ended in 1909.  Further, that the final stage of the centenary edition will be an individual time trial.

With 9 stages already under the belt for the 2017 Giro d’ Italia, and 12 stages left to go before its finish on 28th May 2017; here is a breakdown of all the action so far: The first stage took place on Friday, 5th May 2017; starting at Alghero and finishing in Olbia with the total distance of 206km for day 1.

The first stage saw a bit of a surprise victory by Bora-Hansgrohe ride, Lukas Postlberger.  The Austrian, who was meant to be the lead out man for team-mate Sam Bennett, found himself at 2 kilometres to go with a substantial gap between himself and the bunch.  Postlberger took advantage of his lead and took the pink jersey (Maglia Rosa).  Along with the stage win, Postlberger also took the Maglia Ciclamino jersey and the Maglia Bianca jersey.
The second stage, on the 6th May 2017, took place between Olbia and Tortoli, at a distance of 221km.  This stage is more rolling than the first day.  The Maglia Rosa on day two was taken by Lotto-Soudal rider, The Gorilla, Andre Greipel.  It was a bunch sprint finish, with Greipel beating Roberto Ferrari (UAE Team Emirates) and Jasper Stuyven (Trek-Segafredo).

The general classifications after stage two saw Andre Greipel in the top position with a time of 11:18:39; Lukas Postlberger in second (4 seconds behind Andre Greipel) and Caleb Ewan (Orica-Scott) in third at 8 seconds.

Day three, on the 7th May 2017 saw the riders cycling 148km between Tortoli to Cagliari.  This being a relatively flat stage.

The last 10km of the stage were dominated by team Quick-Step Floors.  The team delivered their team mate Fernando Gaviria to the biggest win to date; this being his first Grand Tour stage win.

Rüdiger Selig of Bora-Hansgrohe finished second and Giacomo Nizzolo (Trek-Segafredo) third.

General classifications after stage 3 saw Andre Greipel pushed into second and Lukas Postlberger into third; with Fernando Gaviria positioned first with a time 14:45:16.

After a rest day, stage 4 took place on 9th May 2017.  This stage took place between Cefalu and Etna, seeing the stage finishing on the summit of Mount Etna.

Stage 4 saw a victory for Team Uae Abu Dhabi, with Slovenian Jan Polanc taking the Maglia Rosa.  It’s Polanc’s first victory since winning a stage of the Giro in 2015, and UAE Team Emirates first Grand Tour win.

Ilnur Zakarin (Katusha-Alpecin) took second and Geraint Thomas (Team Sky) in third.  Although finishing in 7th on the stage; Bob Jungels (Quick-Step Floors) claimed the overall race lead.  General classifications after day 4 now saw Jungels in first, Geraint Thomas second, at 6 seconds; and Adam Yates of Orica-Scott, at 10 seconds in third.

The 10th May 2017 saw stage 5 of the Giro d’ Italia; a 159km route between Pedara and Messina.  The first part of the route was hilly; however flattened out towards the end.  Fernando Gaviria took his second stage win with thanks to his team mates’ (Quick-Step Floor) strong lead-out efforts.  Gaviria comfortably took the stage ahead of Jakub Mareczko (Wilier Triestina) who edged out Bennett for second.  Gaviria’s efforts push his ranking into the Maglia Ciclamino jersey and kept Jungels in the Maglia Rosa.

General classifications at the end of stage 5 saw Bob Jungels still in pink with a time of 23:22:07; Geraint Thomas still in second position at 6 seconds and Adam Yates in third at 10 seconds.

Stage 6 was a 217km ride between Reggio Calabria and Terme Luigiane which saw the biggest win of Silvan Dillier’s (BMC) career. Dillier as well as Jasper Stuyven of Trek-Segafredo who took second place for the day; were both part of a five man breakaway from early on in the stage.

Dillier, Stuyven and Lukas Postlberger reached final climb to the finish together, which featured sections of 10 per cent gradient, where the trio rode together up the climb until 200m to go with no attacks.  Dillier made his move, putting any chances that Postlberger might have had to bed.  Stuyven was able to stay with Dillier; however Dillier was able to hold his speed, beating Stuyven to the line by half a wheel.

At the end of day 6, the general classifications had Jungels, Thomas and Yates still in the top 3 positions.

Stage 7, on 12th May 2017 saw a simpler 224km route between Castrovillari and Alberobello.  This stage saw a three-way photo finish between Caleb Ewan of Orica-Scott, Fernando Gaviria (Quick-Step Floor) and Sam Bennett (Bora-Hansgrohe).

Ewan was the first to open his sprint with 200m remaining at the end of uneventful stage, and was able to hold off the charges of Bennett and Gaviria on the run to the line.

General classifications still remained unchanged after day 7, with Jungels still in pink with a time of 33:56:07 and Thomas in second at 6 seconds and Yates in third at 10 seconds.

The 189km 8th stage took place between Molfetta and Peschici.  The stage winner, Gorka Izagirre of Team Movistar made sure he was constantly towards the front of affairs during the ever-changing day of racing.  At 36km to go, there was an attempt by UAE Abu Dhabi rider, Valerio Conti to move into the pink jersey, however an attack from Team Sky’s Mikel Landa upped the pace and put an end to Conti’s efforts.

Conti attacked again at 800m to go, again his efforts were put to an end, when his bike slipped out from underneath him on a hairpin bend.  That opened the door for Izagirre, beating his components Luis Leon Sanchez (Astana) and Giovanni Visconti (Bahrain-Merida) to the line.  Visconti took second and Sanchez third.  As the general standings contenders (Jungels, Thomas and Yates) all finished together closely behind the stage leaders; they maintained their general classification standings.

Stage 9 was a 149km route between Montenero di Bisaccia and Blockhaus; seeing a summit finish into a rest day.  Early on in the stage there was a 12 rider break, which held a just under 4 minute gap from the peloton. However, with team Movistar at the front of the peloton, this gap was quickly diminished. At 22km to go, it was anyone’s race, with all the favourites gearing up for a final fight to the finish.

An accident with a stationary motorbike marred events; however Movistar continued to push on the pace, and it soon became clear that Nairo Quintana was in fine form on his favoured kind of terrain.  At 6.7km Quintana attacked, only taking Vicenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida) and Thibaut Pinot (FDJ) with him.  At 4.7km Quintana attempted another attack, causing Nibali to fall back. With over 2km remaining, Bauke Mollema of Trek-Segafredo and Tom Dumoulin of Team Sunweb caught up with Pinot.  Pinot and Dumoulin eventually dropped Mollema, and were able to ride together to just 24 seconds back on Quintana, who calmly took stage victory and overall control of the Giro d’Italia.

General classifications after the 9th stage saw Nairo Qintana in the Maglia Rosa jersey with a time of 42:06:09 and Thibaut Pinot and Tom Dumoulin in second and third place at 28 seconds.

The 15th May 2017 is a rest day; with the 10th stage on the 16th May being a 40km Time Trial.

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