The first nine days of the Giro have been jam-packed with action – and stories. Last week seems to have been all about paradoxes – the good and the bad, the mouthy and the silent, the boring and the restful – in the form of Contador, Formolo, Flecha, Cipollini, Dowsett and Sagan (among others).
Twists of fate
Every race is a microcosm of life – good things happen, bad things happen. And that was true for the first week of the Giro. Let’s start with the good. Cannondale-Garmin have been trying to find their feet all season. They found it on stage 4 when Davide Formolo took time off from his paper route to take a lovely solo win and was a popular winner all round.
There was also the bad. Once again, we had a significant crash that left a rider hospitalised. I don’t think we need to see the pictures of Daniele Colli‘s arm again – just suffice to say, it was a gruesome injury.
Alberto Contador was also caught up in the crash, leading to much speculation – and confusion – for the rest of the week. Was he faking? Was it dislocated, broken, partial dislocation? In instances like this, I go with whatever The Inner Ring says, the Voice of Reason™.
His every movement was scrutinised in the next stage – the longest (and most drawn-out) stage of the Giro. Hostilities were laid to one side, for one day only.
Then yesterday we see Baby Blackbird with an icepack on his face at the end of the stage. More speculation (and some humour).
Beth hits the nail on the head.
But the good news this weekend from a bad day earlier in the week was the appearance of Domenico Pozzovivo in the Giro press room.
Oleg has, again, put the cat amongst the pigeons – in other words, shot his mouth off, tried to shame his riders, and basically pissed off anyone who loves cycling. His target was Peter Sagan. If I remember correctly, he was thrilled to have signed the Velvet Samurai last year.
If in doubt, blame the bloke you fired.
Peter Sagan, on the other hand, has said that he doesn’t want to talk to Oleg through the press and that was that. He just went about winning the Tour of California.
And just in case anyone was under the impression that Oleg was in it for anything other than ego, he had this to say.
The longest stage
With 264km of go-slow, tweeters had to amuse themselves on Friday.
Whoever is in charge of the Giro’s twitter account scored the best tweet of the day. “I’m watching you”
The lack of great road art continues to be a point of exasperation for many of us. The Classics’ tractor parades are hard to beat – you have to really put your back into it, people.
Tom Dumoulin tweets what we’re all thinking.
There’s boring and then there’s the rest day – a much needed day off for the peloton.
He’s here for the whole Giro.
No banana strategy today.
We’re so sorry, Uncle Albert …
Do NOT mess with the pink jeans. You will feel our wrath!
Okay, so Juan Antonio isn’t an eyesore, but what we really love about him is his enthusiasm when he talks about the stage and the rapport he has with the riders as he interviews them. Contador has never looked so animated in an interview as when he’s talking to our hero.
I’m too sexy for my shades …
Very possibly a wardrobe error here.
And this. I suspect alcohol has something to do with this outfit. Just maybe.
Podiums and all
Just some great pictures from the week.
One of my favourite podium pictures ever, from the magificent Karen Edwards.
Julian Alaphilippe‘s expression says: ‘French women would never be caught wearing those hats. Jamais!”
A smile that could launch a thousand ships.
He was new for maybe a day – Simon Geschke holds the maglia azzurra into the rest day.
“So, here’s the deal. I’m just going to ride on your wheel for three weeks, take time on the ITT, and we’ll see how that goes, okay?” “You ride your race, I’ll ride mine.”
Just me, or do these three look slightly inflated?
What is the significance of the cactus – just phallic or something more? And is that a blurred Mick Jagger?
Vowels to consonants
Trying to disguise himself to avert the attentions of the owner?
Rapha has been a bit off the boil lately but this jersey is gorgeous.
Just rustling up some shoes for lunch. Ah, remember the Sidi days?
Tom. Wish we were seeing more of him in this Giro.
Tinkoff bidon vest.
“Hello, control? Yeah, he still recognises me even when I’m disguised as Marge Simpson. I can’t drop him. What’s the plan?”
One of my favourite tweets all week.
The last word