A pictorial review of the first week of racing from the 2015 Giro d'Italia. Photos by Graham Watson and Yuzuru Sunada
Stage one: San Lorenzo al Mare San Remo (TTT) 17.6km
The first stage saw a team time trial immediately shake-up the GC, with some not insignificant time gaps between the likes of Richie Porte (Team Sky), Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) and Fabio Aru (Astana). But it was Orica-GreenEdge who took the day’s glory, with Simon Gerrans donning the first maglia rosa of the race.
The Aussie team celebrate another TTT win and the first pink jersey of the race (Sunada)
Stage two: Albenga – Genova 173km
The second day was a chance for the sprinters on a fast and flat run into Genoa, with Sky making up for first stage disappointment by leading Elia Viviani to victory. Michael Matthews kept the pink jersey within Orica-GreenEdge, while a huge crash caused by a fixie rider left some of the peloton battered and bruised on just the second stage.
Stage three: Rapallo – Sestri Levante 136km
Matthews cemented another day in the maglia rosa, after winning a testing, hilly stage which saw huge 25-man break go up the road and many of the Australian’s key rivals fade away, leaving him to claim the day’s glory.
Stage four: Chiavari – La Spezia 150km
There was a first success for a breakaway rider on stage four, as young Davide Formolo (Cannondale-Garmin) launched an attack with 15km remaining to seal his biggest ever victory. Behind him, Fabio Aru (Astana) attacked Porte and Contador on the final climb as Astana dominated the day’s proceedings, as another Orica rider took the pink jersey.
Stage five: La Spezia – Abetone 152km
The fifth stage of the 2015 Giro saw the first chance for the GC contenders to really make their mark, with a category two summit finish to climax the day. While Jan Polanc took an impressive breakaway win on the mountain finish, it was all about Contador, Porte and Aru, who couldn’t be seperated as they attacked one another. Contador did enough though to take the overall race lead and the maglia rosa.
Stage six: Montecatini Terme – Castiglione della Pescaia 181km
Day six should have been a straightforward sprint, but there’s nothing straight forward in cycling. While André Greipel overpowered his sprint rivals for the stage victory, the biggest talking point was a huge crash in the final straight, which put Alberto Contador’s participation in doubt after he dislocated his left shoulder.
Stage seven: Grosseto – Fiuggi 263km
The longest day at the Giro d’Italia was ridden like transition by the riders, averaging 35kmph over the whole day, with really the only action coming on the final climb and uphill drag to the finish, with Diego Ulissi (Lampre-Merida) coming out on top. Alberto Contador got through the stage safely, despite carrying an injury from a crash on the previous day.
Stage eight: Fiuggi – Campitello Matese 188km
Day eight’s summit finish to Campitello Matese saw the GC battle reignite after the previous day’s sprint finish, but once again there was nothing to seperate the three favourites as they crossed the line together on the category one finishing climb. Movistar’s Beñat Inxausti took the stage, as the breakaway riders fought it out ahead of the overall contenders.
Stage nine: Benevento – San Giorgio del Sannio 212km
The final stage before the Giro’s first rest day promised little chance of any serious gaps between Porte, Contador and Aru, but the difficult terrain with thre categorised climbs and an uphill drag to the finish, promised another explosive day of racing.
Astana continued to show their strength, with Paolo Tiralongo stealing victory, while the biggest kudos of the day went to Tom-Jelte Slagter (Cannondale-Garmin), who battled on in a solo break for 60km.