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.

Giro d'Italia - Stage 1

Team Sky had a disappointing day in the opening TTT (Watson)

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Romand Kreuziger shows the pain on stage one (Sunada)

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The Movistar team on stage one of the Giro d’Italia (Sunada)

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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.

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It was a bright and sunny day on the coastal road to Genoa (Sunada)

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Peter Serry was forced to abandon after a heavy fall (Sunada)

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Viviani pipped Moreno Hofland for the victory on stage two (Sunada)

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Michael Matthews made it Aussie number two in the pink jersey (Sunada)

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.

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TInkoff-Saxo control the peloton on stage three (Sunada)

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Michael Matthews celebrates victory (Sunada)

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A huge breakaway went ahead on the third stage, but couldn’t make it stick (Sunada)

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.

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Tom Boonen made into the into his first Giro d’Italia breakaway, but faded towards the end of the stage (Sunada)

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Aru and his Astana teammates were active on the final climb of the day (Sunada)

Giro d'Italia - Stage 4

Formolo celebrates as the chasing group hit the final straight (Watson)

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Simon Clarke celebrates taking the maglia rosa…apparently (Sunada)

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.

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The peloton on stage five of the 2015 Giro (Sunada)

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Matteo Tosatto puts on the bottle vest in service of his Tinkoff teammates (Sunada)

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Alberto Contador gets a push after a quick bike change before the final climb (Sunada)

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Nothing could separate the three leading contenders (Sunada)

Alberto Contador on stage five of the 2015 Tour of Italy

Alberto Contador celebrates taking the pink jersey (Watson)

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.

Giro d'Italia - Stage 6

It was a fast and generally flat stage for the peloton on stage six (Watson)

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Philippe Gilbert receives some on the go mechanical treatment (Sunada)

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A number of rider had to walk to the finish after a huge crash in the closing straight (Sunada)

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Contador is attended by a soineur after crashing hard on his left hand side (Watson)

Giro d'Italia - Stage 7

The Spaniard was spotted in a sling after heading to hospital after the stage (Watson)

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.

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The eyes of the race were all on Contador ahead of stage seven (Sunada)

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Contador was protected by his teammates throughout the day on stage seven of the Giro d’Italia (Sunada)

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Nature calls (Sunada)

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Ulissi races to the stage win onday seven (Sunada)

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.

Domenico Pozzovivo made a return to the Giro after crashing out earlier in the race (LUCA ZENNARO ANSA)

Domenico Pozzovivo made a return to the Giro after crashing out earlier in the race (LUCA ZENNARO ANSA)

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Alberto Contador was well protected by his teammates in the early part of the stage, as he protected pink for another day (Sunada)

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Three break riders at Santuario di Castelpetroso (Sunada)

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Astana were once again aggressive as they tried to close the time gap on Contador’s lead (Sunada)

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Beñat Intxausti took the day’s spoils (Sunada)

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.

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Rigoberto Uran still manages to raise a smile despite seeing his GC aspirations already start to slip away (Sunada)

Giro d'Italia - Stage 9

Richie Porte chases on as Aru lifts the pace (Watson)

Giro d'Italia - Stage 9

The peloton on stage nine of the 2015 Giro d’Italia (Watson)

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Paolo Tiralongo celebrates as he rides home solo to the stage win (Sunada)