The last Sunday in August means it’s time for the peloton to migrate to Brittany and congregate in the beautiful Moribihan region, not for cider and crepes (at least not until after the race), but for the 49th edition of the GP Ouest France-Plouay.
At the end of a Giro d’Italia which has revelled in its daily unpredictability, it was fitting that the concluding sprinters’ stage instead came down to a straight mano a mano between two of the peloton’s unsung powerhouses. Iljo Keisse finally delivered something for his Etixx-Quick Step team to celebrate at the end of a lacklustre three weeks, edging out Luke Durbridge who narrowly failed to provide a victory that would have neatly bookended a successful race for Orica-GreenEDGE, the dominant squad in the opening stages.
Alberto Contador finished safely to confirm his seventh grand tour victory. He joins Bernard Hinault as the only rider to have won all three grand tours at least twice.
It was supposed to be an innocuous transition stage at the Giro d’Italia. With not a classified climb in sight on the short 147km trip across Veneto, it looked like it would have no bearing on the general classification whatsoever. How wrong we were. A crash near the finish of the stage caught a significant chunk of the peloton out, allowing Sacha Modolo to take the stage win and, more importantly, Fabio Aru to overtake Alberto Contador and seize the maglia rosa. Continue reading