Giro 2018: A to Z, Part 2 – from Nera to Zoncolan

Part 2 of our alphabetised take on Giro101! (If you haven’t read Part 1 yet, click here)

N  is for Nera

The maglia nera to be precise – the Giro’s version of the Tour’s lanterne rouge. The honour went to Guiseppi Fonzi in 2017 and in the Giro’s unlikeliest double, he repeated the feat this year. In a remarkably consistent fashion to boot.

It all nearly went very wrong when Fonzi got into the breakaway on stage 18 and found himself upwards of 15 mins ahead. Could a stage win be looming?

He made it to Rome and even had a little fun when the racing eventually started by popping off the front with a teammate

The black jersey may not be presented on the podium, but it’s an honour to receive it nonetheless

Here he is with the maglia rosa. Fonzi n Froome – has to be a Happy Days spin-off there, surely! [Aaaaaayyyy – ed]

O is for Over

Bike racing is capricious. One minute everything is going to plan, the next your hopes and dreams are snatched away from you and it’s over.

There is something about this image from Matthew Beaudin that captures the emptiness of Simon Yates in the aftermath of stage 19. when he lost the maglia rosa and tumbled out of the top ten in spectacular fashion. He gave his interviews afterwards, but right there it just hurt. What words are there in moments such as these?

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Tough one.

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One stage later and Groupama FDJ’s captain Thibaut Pinot saw his dreams of a podium in Rome slip away on the first climb of the day. He’d been magnificently stomping his way through Italy but now he could hardly pedal. Surrounded by teammates he (unwisely) gritted his way to the finish only to be rushed to hospital dehydrated and suffering from pneumonia. It was hard to watch.

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P is for Peloton point of view

From Tom Dumoulin‘s expressive quotes

To the dry wit of Trek Segafredo’s Ryan Mullen

We’ve been spoilt for choice for the inside scoop from those that know how it feels to wake up in the morning knowing you have to face the Zoncolan, not just watch the action from the sofa

Nico Denz (AG2R La Mondiale), the young German riding his first Grand Tour, has written a blog about his experience Here’s a little translated excerpt from the stage where he was just pipped to a stage victory by Matej Mohoric.

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What a day. I’ll probably remember that for a long time. At the moment I am still a bit confused. I am not sure if I am disappointed not to have won or would rather be happy about my 2nd place. At the moment, the disappointment prevails over the big coup.

But still; there are not many such crazy days and then to be at the very front in the end still fills me with pride.

In contrast, Sunweb’s Chad Haga distilled the complexity of every stage to twitter-sized jewels with his over-simplified stage reviews

Over on Instagram, Alex Dowsett‘s post’s provided a snapshot of life in the Katusha-Alpecin camp.

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1/2 A fair few yesterday asked what we chat about in the moments of calmness in the bunch, those moments have been quite few and far between this giro I won’t lie, Mum will be pleased though, all too often I hear “every time I see you racing Alex all you seem to be doing is chatting to someone” so naturally this giro I avoided the cameras to conduct my chatting for fear of the wrath of Jan. (Jokes, my mum’s actually an absolute hero) . I’ve been rooming with Tony so we’re fully up to speed on everything roommates/mates needs to know about each other, and of course we’re sharing mad tt knowledge, kind of the same for the rest of my teammates so convos with the Katusha boys are generally very present tense about the race and how we’re feeling, f£&ked being the last weeks highest % responses. . With other guys in the race I’d say it’s pretty much pub chat but without the beers, if I find livestrong/academy alumni then we chat about racing back in the day and how different those years were, fellow Car enthusiasts then we clearly chat cars. I’ll always try and scope out Adam Hansen for a good chat, he’s an outside the box thinker, far too intelligent to be a bike racer and willing to share what he’s working on at the time, really fascinating. Then lastly my fav pastime is winding Mullen up for how many more watts he has to lay down in a tt to go the same speed as me, if I’m feeling down in a stage that’s a sure fire way to pick me up again 😂😂 . Often there’s a lot of idle chat just about the race though as we’ll acknowledge similar sensations, “isn’t this stage…insert one of the following; hot, cold, long, short, fast, slow, boring, mental, a gift, f&£ked, what were they thinking” and then maybe a chat about how we think the race will pan out, whether it be a chaos finish or what we might need to do to achieve time cut… . See next post for part 2 . #TeamKatushaAlpecin #raceasafamily⠀ •⠀⠀ •⠀⠀ •⠀⠀ • @katushasports @alpecincycling @canyon #instacycling #cyclingshots #cyclist#fromwhereiride#roadcycling#stravacycling #outsideisfree#cyclinglife#livetoride #roadslikethese#cyclinglife#cyclingphotos #velo #bici#bicicletta#ciclismo #cycling #cyclingpics @gettysport

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If you’ve not been listening to Mitchell Docker‘s Life in the Peloton podcasts, then you have missing a treat. He’s produced a whole series for the Giro interviewing his EF Education First teamies.

Q is for Quirky

It’s always the out of ordinary that catches my attention. Whoever is running the Quick-Step Floors twitter account deserves a medal for quirkiness. Sure, there’s all the stage action and post-stage reports, but mixed in among them have been some real gems…

And I’d say they were definitely Lord of the Rings fans

Wijtze Valkema produced a charming set of illustrations to mark the finishing position of Laurens Ten Dam for each of the 21 stages. You can find them all on his Twitter account as #liveslowdrawfast

This is my favourite….

Staying with drawing skills, the Global Cycling Network team challenged riders to draw a bike in 15 seconds.

R is for Roommates

Taking part in a Grand Tour means you’re spending close to four weeks with your team. Take it from King Kelly, you need a shared sense of humour and synchronised sleep patterns

Trek Segafredo’s Mads Pedersen and Ryan Mullen tick both boxes

S is for Side by side

Winning stages

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Journey’s end

Through no man’s land

Chatting in your mother tongue

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Mission accomplished

Two old friends

T is for Tanti auguri a te

A birthday on Zoncolan day? Surely an extra slice of cake for Alessandro De Marchi


Birthday pie! What more would anyone wish for on their special day

Except perhaps to pop the prosecco on the stage winner’s podium

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Happy Birthday Mikel Nieve, a brilliant finish to a storming Giro by the Mitchelton-Scott guys.

U is for Unforgettable

Whichever way you want to slice it, Stage 19 will be talked about for years to come.

With the Colle della Finestre on the menu (my favourite climb in Italy), fans were abuzz with excitement. Everyone was expecting a huge day for the GC contenders and the word around the team buses was that Sky would attack.

I don’t think anyone predicted precisely what went down on the Queen stage. Sky set out their stall with a blistering pace on the hairpins at the start of the day. Riders were shed from the bunch faster than maple leaves in autumn – including the maglia rosa who never regained the favourites group again.

That last fierce pull by Kenny Elissonde to launch Chris Froome‘s attack – I’ve never seen him ride better. Well you know, except when he conquered the Angliru in Vuelta 2013 and rode for days as King of the Mountains in Vuelta 2016 – his coming-of-age ride #myleftfoot

The 80km solo raid. The complexity of the chase behind.

A 3 minute 22 second deficit overturned; the pink jersey changing hands; the reaction. Even now, the whole stage seems unreal… unbelievable…

It’s never all about the podium on days like these…

Rusty Woods captures the brutality day…

V is for Vivz

Elia Viviani was bitterly disappointed to miss the 100th Giro last year. This year, with a Quick-Step team in full pomp, he came, he raced and he conquered. Four stage wins, two in Israel and two in Italy and styling it out in the maglia ciclamino from Tel Aviv to Rome.

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Each win was taken with track-skill smarts and speed that only an Olympic Omnium champion could bring. Add that to a team with the power and discipline to control a chaotic finale, the experiences to put things right and the best lead-out men in the business and it’s no wonder the QuickSteppers walked away with the maglia ciclamino for the second year running.

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Last word to …

W is for What happens in Roma stays in Roma

Ten circuits of the heart of Rome’s Centro Storico, neutralised for the GC after three circuits due to the cobbles, corners and the crater-like condition of the road. The final sprint was taken by a jubilant BORA-hansgrohe team and Sam Bennett‘s third stage win. Then, the pink confetti of the final podium presentations and the Giro all over – la basta

Finally, the riders can relax and celebrate getting through a hard three weeks of racing and social media comes alive

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And that’s the giro done and dusted. Happy to finish, a crash on the final stage wasn’t exactly how I’d hoped to round off a solid 3 weeks but these things happen (a narrowing in the road, more riders than space, crazy circuit, little harm done to the body thankfully). . It feels like a long time ago we were in Jerusalem, it feels like I long time ago I saw Albert & Mary back at home & I’m excited to get back, it’s basically been 4 weeks but feels like a lifetime given the distances & hurdles each day has thrown at us, I’ve spent these 4 weeks with a great bunch of riders & staff though, a family, & thank you to all of them for everything this giro. . Last night round the dinner table with a couple beers and some burgers was hilarious though and highlighted the differences between guys and girls, Mad’s other half Louisa in 20mins discovered more about each of the riders on the team than we as guys had learnt all month, who was married, who had kids, what their names were etc, shame on us right! That said like I’ve said in a previous posts, our conversations are very present tense in terms of the race we’re in, “how you feeling?” “f£&ked, you?” “Same” 😂 Either way, it tickled me to be finding out so much about the guys I’d spent 4weeks living very closely with in the final hour of our time together, thanks to Louisa. . Right now I’m shattered, sat on the runway currently of Rome airport waiting to head home, @yourroyalthighness_ is a few seats ahead of me and claims she is shattered also, I’ve not got a huge amount of sympathy there! I’m in this weird state of hunger where I want to eat everything I haven’t eaten in the last 4 weeks, namely Mcoy’s salt and vinegar crisps & a burger or 4 yet also I’m kind of sick of eating, spent 4 weeks throwing food down our necks before during and after stages that I think I’d be ok with a salad or glass of water also. . Riding wise, for a week I’ll do what I feel like, if that’s nothing then it’s nothing, if it’s something then it’ll be a hanningfield loop, or @kneadfood and back, then probably another easier week before starting to train again properly, safe to say the giro has also served as quite endurance block!

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It didn’t all go smoothly, however

As for after Rome, I’ve gotta say I prefer Sacha Modolo‘s plan to the reality of Dan Lloyd‘s.

X is for X-files

Strange happenings for which I have no explanation…

Y is Yates – Simon Philip Yates

Simon Philip Yates is a born racer (but why we’ve all of a sudden decided to call him by his full name, we have no idea). He knew he needed a buffer for stage 16’s time trial and three minutes was the figure bandied about. In true British fashion, he set about gaining seconds and letting the minutes worry about themselves. Mitchelton-Scott were immensely strong and even when their ace up the sleeve Esteban Chaves had a jour sans they carried right on controlling the race and setting up Yates for those all-important bonus seconds.

Chris Juul Jensen explains all about the engines in the team…

A second place on Mount Etna put him in pink and from then on Yates attacked with panache on every finish that suited his style.

Victories on the ramps of Gran Sasso, Ossimo and Sappada, a second at Monte Zoncolan and he was sitting on a nest egg of 2:11 mins before the time trial, and still holding nearly a minute on Dumoulin after it. A dreadful day on the slopes of Colle della Finestre tumbled him right out of contention. The best rider over 18 stages? Without a doubt. A race leader, on the attack, is what every bike race needs. We know he’ll learn the lessons and come back stronger and smarter in his next Grand Tour.

Z is for Zoncolan

Or the mythical, mighty Monte Zoncolan to give it its full title. As soon as the route was announced the excitement about this stage started to build.

At 11 kilometres, 12% average gradient with vicious ramps at 23%, Zoncolan is brutal, relentless and agonising. From the moment you ride through the gates of hell at the start to the exit from the tunnel into that iconic natural amphitheatre at the finish.

Chris Froome adds the climb to his palmares…

… but it’s an experience none of the riders will forget. There was even a Dane in the break!

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Jack Haig supplied the obligatory wheelie #chapeau

In case you were in any doubt how brutal this climb is…

You would not get me in one of these crazy, swinging cubicles for love nor money –  stuff of nightmares

That’s it from #Giro101 roundup. Here at VeloVoices Towers, we love the Giro with a passion that cannot be quenched. And we all agree that the trophy, the Trofeo Senza Fineis second to none in beauty and elegance. Long may it shine.

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Amore infinito

For all stage results and final classifications, go to the official Giro website

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