It was the Queen stage of this year’s Giro d’Italia – 210km, 5 mountain passes and a nasty kick at the finish. We had Movistar meltdowns, a Shark with a damp squib, Dutch derring-do and a little kangaroo that could. Orica-GreenEDGE’s Esteban Chaves nipped out from behind Steven Kruijswijk (LottoNL-Jumbo) and Georg Preidler (Giant-Alpecin) to take the stage win with long-suffering breakaway rider Darwin Atapuma (BMC) fading in the last 100m. Kruijswijk slips the maglia rosa over his unfeasibly wide shoulders. Continue reading
Most of the Tour de Pologne’s pre-race favourites went AWOL, with Orica-GreenEDGE’s Pieter Weening emerging from the field to capitalise. He took the yellow jersey after the final time trial to Kraków, edging out Jon Izagirre (Euskaltel-Euskadi) and Christophe Riblon (Ag2r La Mondiale), and adding a victory to his palmarès for the first time since winning a stage at the Giro d’Italia in 2011.
Pocket rocket Domenico Pozzovivo (Colnago-CSF Inox) took the biggest win of his career – his first for two years – and recorded a prestigious victory and welcome boost for his ProContinental team ahead of the Giro d’Italia, when he emerged victorious to win the 36th edition of the Giro del Trentino. In addition, he won both the third stage and the mountains classification.
With the exception of the team time trial on stage one, won by BMC, this really was a race for diminutive mountain goats – the more diminutive the better. On the queen stage three, we were treated to that rare spectacle, riders in 34×29 granny gears, moving as if in slow motion, up the 15% average gradient along little more than a track to Punta Veleno. Runner-up Damiano Cunego (Lampre-ISD) said it was even worse than the Zoncolan! Sylvester Szymd (Liquigas-Cannondale) rewarded his team’s efforts by hanging onto third place overall. Continue reading