Giro analysis: Can a sprinter win the points jersey this year?

The Giro d’Italia is a little bit different to the norm in the way it handles its points competition. In most major stage races this jersey is the domain of the sprinters. Not so the Giro.

Last year, due to the excessively mountainous nature of the parcours, the points competition effectively became a shadow version of the GC. The one-two-three in both classifications were identical (Contador-Scarponi-Nibali), with the top-placed sprinter being Roberto Ferrari [yes, him – Ed] in a distant eighth.

In 2010 the maglia rosso was won by the redoubtable Cadel Evans, who is many things but would never claim to be the new Robbie McEwen. 2009? Overall champion Denis Menchov doubled up as that year’s points winner. You have to go back to Daniele Bennati in 2008 to find the last sprinter to win the red jersey. Continue reading

Giro d’Italia stage 15: Richly deserved victory for young Rabottini

Stage 15 – Busto Arsizio to Lecco/Pian dei Resinelli, 169km

24-year old Matteo Rabottini (Farnese Vini-Selle Italia) lit up today’s stage in his mud-spattered dayglo kit as he took his maiden Giro win atop Pian dei Resinelli. He’d ridden on his own  – having dropped initial fellow escapee Guillaume Bonnafond (AG2R La Mondiale) on the first climb – for most of the cold, wet and foggy stage. To maintain his hard-fought advantage over the chasing group, he’d indulged in some harum-scarum descending on the penultimate climb, slid off on a treacherous curve, remounted and soldiered on. More importantly, he delighted the home crowd and every single television viewer when he dug deep into his surely extinguished reserves to find the grit, determination and strength of mind to beat off Joaquim Rodriguez‘s (Katusha) last-minute challenge in the final few hundred metres to the summit.

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Giro d’Italia stage 14: Demon descender Amador finds a second kick to win

Stage 14 – Cherasco to Cervinia, 206km

Having completed the majority of the final climb on the first big mountain stage of this year’s Giro d’Italia on his own, Movistar’s Andrey Amador was not going to be denied with the finish line in sight. As NetApp’s Jan Barta sprinted past him in the last 150 metres, he tapped energy reserves which perhaps even he did not realise he possessed to find a second kick which propelled him to a richly deserved victory. Meanwhile a late attack by Ryder Hesjedal saw him reclaim the maglia rosa from Joaquim Rodriguez as the favourites rode a surprisingly conservative race.

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