Giro 2017: A to Z part 1 – from amore infinito to moto mayhem

It was a humdinger of a Giro d’Italia – exciting, controversial, beautiful and crazy – and we’ve alphabetised it for you … Here’s Part 1 of our A to Z of Giro100.

A  is for amore infinito

The most beautiful trophy in professional cycling.

B  is for Bora

Bora-Hansgrohe started Giro100 off with a surprise win by Lukas Postlberger, which earned him the first maglia rosa of the GT. It was the first time an Austrian won a stage in the Giro and he was also the first Austrian in the maglia rosa. Postlberger also took a third place in stage 6 and teammate Rudiger Selig took second place in stage 3’s sprint.

Bora’s main sprinter Sam Bennett had high hopes for this Giro, but he didn’t count on Fernando Gaviria [see G for gosh!]. In the end, Sam posted three 3rd places (stages 5, 7 and 12) and a second place in stage 13. He also found time to write a brilliant Giro diary for the Irish Independent, with such enticing headlines as: ‘You can end up with an arse like a teenager’s face’ and ‘With eight bottles stuffed down my skinsuit, I rode back up like John Wayne’.

Bora also won the Giro’s Fair Play Award, which I didn’t even realise was an award, but it is and is calculated by the least amount of infringements in the race. Bora had only 20pts. At the bottom of the listings were Movistar with 300 and Bahrain-Merida with a whopping 1080! #JustSayin’ [For a full explanation about this award – and all the awards and cash prizes, check out stickybottle’s post]

C  is for Controversy

There was plenty of this! First up, a spat turned explosive between Javier Moreno (Bahrain-Merida) and Sky’s Diego Rosa on Mount Etna, when Moreno had words with Rosa and gave him a push. As with almost everything in this Giro, it doesn’t seem quite as straightforward as that, as Moreno claimed Rosa hit him first. Moreno got kicked off the Giro, Rosa finished the Giro 36th overall.

I really hope that Tom Dumoulin will be known for more than an ill-timed bathroom break by the end of his career. It was stage 16, coming to the end of the race, when he jumped off his bike, stripped down and, well, did what bears do in the woods. No one ahead waited or slowed for him. Was the race on? Did Sunweb let the other teams know that the pink jersey had to strip off in the weeds? Was he attacked at his most vulnerable? Again, not particularly straightforward and probably we’ll never know for sure. Dumoulin himself didn’t seem particularly perturbed about it, even though he lost about 2mins on his rivals. However, it made the rest of the final week’s racing so much more exciting!

He was able to keep his sense of humour throughout the Giro, it’s good to see.

One thing that did perturb Big Tam, however, was the belief that Quintana and Nibali would not riding to win but to wait for him to lose (technical term: negative racing). So he spoke his mind. Which pissed them both off but Nibali particularly.

D is for Dutch and domestiques

Tom Dumoulin became the first Dutch rider to ever win the Giro d’Italia. To make the final day even sweeter,  Jos Van Emden (LottoNL-Jumbo) finally got his stage win on the last day of the Giro, out-time-trialling his compatriot, and Van Emden didn’t try to hide just how much it meant to him.

Meanwhile, the Dutch were going crazy!

D is also for Domestiques and this is to give a shout-out to some hardworking guys who left everything out on the road for their leaders. Riders such as Movistars’ Andrey Amador and Winner Anacona; FDJ’s Sebastian Reichenbach; Sunwebs Simon Geschke and Laurens Ten Dam; Katusha’s Robert Kiserlovski and Maxim Belkov; and Bahrain’s Franco Pellizotti.

E is for Ewan and Elissonde

Like Sam Bennett, Orica-Scott’s Caleb Ewan was hoping that he would reap a clutch of Giro 2017 sprint stages. He too did not count on Fernando Gaviria showing up and raining on his parade [see G for Good God, what was that?] After a few misfirings, he actually did finally win the sprint on stage 7 – and was awarded his prize by Dr Dreamy, Patrick Dempsey, one of the few celebrity sightings at this year’s Giro.

E is also for Elissonde, Kenny Elissonde

Midge favourite Kenny was also hoping to get mountain glory out of this year’s Giro, either for himself and/or his team leaders Mikel Landa and Geraint Thomas, especially as it was his first in the black and cyan of Team Sky. Unfortunately, Kenny had a nasty crash on stage 15, turning himself black and blue, and climbed off the bike during stage 16. It definitely wasn’t Sky’s Giro.

F is for Fraile and the Fonz

Any day’s a good day when a rider from Team Dimension Data wins a race. And it was a very good day on stage 11 for Omar Fraile, who took his first GT stage win by sticking in the break allllll day long and then outsprinting Rui Costa at the line. He also picked up enough KOM points to put himself in the maglia azzurra on stage 12, keeping it for two stages before handing it over to Tom Dumoulin on Oropa.

F is also for Fonzi, who added a little something to his TT skinsuit on the final day of the Giro. Ahhhhhhh

G is for Go Faster!

Quickstep had an amazing Giro [see Q for … Quickstep] with five stage wins, four of which came from sprint sensation, Fernando Gaviria. The young Colombian (only 22!) was nearly unbeatable, wore the pink jersey for a stage and once he took the maglia ciclamino, he wasn’t giving it back, winning the category by a margin of 133 over Trek’s Jasper Stuyven.

G is also for Andre Greipel

One of the most consistent sprinters in the peloton, Greipel won stage 2 of this year’s Giro, which meant that he had won at least one stage in the last 12 grand tours he has ridden. Quite an accomplishment. With the stage win went the maglia rosa, which was the first time in his career that he wore the leader’s jersey in a grand tour (I find that rather astonishing). As with all the other sprinters, he hadn’t counted on the whirlwind that was Gaviria, who he ceded the maglia rosa to with the Colombian’s first win on the next stage.

H is for hairline fracture

Adam Hansen – Mr Grand Tour – completed his 17th (!) consecutive grand tour when he rolled across the finish line in Milan, waving and smiling at the crowd (unconcerned with his TT time). All did not go smoothly for the Lotto-Soudal rider, however, as he crashed on stage 14 (which brought a collective sharp intake of breath amongst fans) but finished the stage holding his arm. After a few x-rays, it was determined that he’d suffered from a hairline fracture of the wrist. But something as insignificant as that wasn’t going to stop the Australian hardman from continuing through the Italian countryside.

I is for Interviews

The new Eurosport commentator line-up was not universally applauded by fans, as they broke up the dream team of Juan Antonio Flecha and Ashley House. However, as the Giro progressed, it became clear that we were going to see a lot of both of them as they were out and about, grabbing interviews (in multiple languages) with riders and team staff before and after the stages. They even had time to save a car from going over a cliff (slight exaggeration) and shed tears of joy for a rider whose grand tour finally came good.

Make sure you watch this clip all the way through …

J is for Bob Jungels – BOB JUNGELS!

Teammate Fernando Gaviria might have won more stages, but Bob Jungels – BOB JUNGELS – was all over this Giro from first stage to last. Stage 3, he was part of the Quickstep team that absolutely schooled the peloton in how to ride aggressively in crosswinds, delivering Gaviria to his first of four stage wins. Stage 4, he donned the maglia rosa, keeping it until the Blockhaus stage 9 when Quintana took it on. He again showed what an aggressive, canny rider he was with a balls-to-the-wall win on stage 15 – his first ever grand tour win. He was also in and out of the white jersey all Giro, keeping it in play until the final stage, when he took it back from Adam Yates with a sizzling TT. The second year running he’s won the Best Young Rider category and only the third rider since the competition began to accomplish that feat.

K is for Knackered

It was a hard Giro. The final stages had many on their knees. Joe Dombrowski seemed to express the feeling the best.

L is for Landa, Mikel Landa

Mikel Landa went into Giro100 as co-captain with Geraint Thomas for Team Sky. As sceptical as we were about co-captaincy working in a GT, we hadn’t any idea that their dreams of Giro glory would be dashed by a badly parked police moto on stage 9 into Blockhaus [see M for moto mayhem]. Landa ended up losing 26min on that stage and all hopes of winning the Giro. But once he recovered from his crash, he was frisky in the breaks every chance he got, picking up KOM points along the way until he moved into the maglia azzurra on stage 16 (never to relinquish it). He then took a well-deserved win on stage 19, after getting pipped at the post by Vincenzo Nibali in stage 16 and Tejay van Garderen in stage 18 to give Team Sky something to celebrate in Milan.

M is for misplaced motos

Stage 9, nearing Blockhaus, and Sunweb’s Wilco Kelderman clips a badly parked police moto (on the right side of the road instead of the left, for one thing), taking down almost the entire Sky team along with Orica-Scott’s Adam Yates. Kelderman had to abandon, Thomas abandoned after stage 10, Landa lost his chance to compete for the title, and Adam Yates lost his own chance to vie for a podium spot.

Then, in trying to help Quintana who went down on a corner during the Oropa stage, Movistar parked their team car on the right hand side of the road – on a bend, no less. It’s a wonder guys didn’t go through the back window of the car as they were coming around that corner.

To go to part 2, N to Z, click here 

Header image: ©GETTY/ Corbis Sport / KT 

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