It was somewhat of a surprise to see the Costa Rican rider finishing third in the short time trial at the start of the race, and even more surprising to see him get a top 10 in the first sprint stage the following day.
The mountains are where Amador excelled in last year’s Giro and he was up there with all of the general classification favourites on the first summit finish on stage six. He helped his leader, Alejandro Valverde, up the climb and then finished alongside Vincenzo Nibali, 21 seconds down on then leader Tom Dumoulin.
Sitting 13th in the classification after stage eight, Amador set off on the time trial in some of the worst conditions of the day and still managed to finish 10th on an incredibly wet and technical course.
That performance saw Amador move back up to third overall – finishing the week exactly how he started.
It’s hard to call a stage winner an ‘unsung hero’, but Primož Roglič has come from virtually nowhere to put in two storming performances.
On the first stage the Slovenian was just two hundredths of a second down on winner Tom Dumoulin in the 10km time trial in Apeldoorn and then made the most of the good conditions on stage nine to win the test against the clock in Chianti.
It was the longest time trial he’s ever done as a cyclist, he did it on a bike that wasn’t set up for him and he beat some of the best time triallists in the world.
LottoNL-Jumbo made up the numbers for large parts of 2015, but this season they are right in the thick of the action.
Team Sky talk of Mikel Landa’s ‘incredible result’ in the Giro d’Italia time trial
Three top 10s, second place on the general classification and wearing the young rider’s jersey after nine stages equals a successful week for Bob Jungels (Etixx-Quick Step).
It’s strange to think that Jungels is only 23, given that he’s such a good all-round cyclist already. A force in the time trials and a threat in the hilly stages; only a sensational performance from teammate Gianluca Brambilla has kept Jungels out of the pink jersey this week.
It’ll probably be too much to ask for Jungels to stay with the big dogs in the mountains this week and he’ll probably lose his white jersey to Cannondale‘s natural climber Davide Formolo, but it’s all great experience for the Luxembourger.
The name Moser is pretty famous in the world of Italian cycling – Moreno’s uncle Francesco won the Giro in 1984, while his other uncle Enzo wore pink for two days in 1964.
Moreno (Cannondale) had the chance to emulate his family members in the first week and write his name in the Giro history books, being out in the decisive breakaway with Brambilla on stage eight.
On the white, gravel roads the 2013 Strade Bianche winner will have been confident of his chances when it became clear that the peloton wasn’t going to catch the break.
Brambilla accelerated away from his fellow Italian on the gravel climb and Moser was only able to sprint to third place.
That podium finish, and the sixth place on the opening time trial, made for a good week for the Cannondale youngster overall.
Fabian Cancellara’s Trek Speed Concept TT bike
For someone who sits fourth in the general classification, Steven Kruijswijk doesn’t get much attention as a genuine contender for this race.
Maybe on Sunday he was overshadowed by LottoNL-Jumbo teammate Roglič’s achievements, but the Dutchman has quietly been putting together a solid ride all week.
He’s there every time he needs to be there – crucially on stage four to Praia a Mare, where he came third behind Diego Ulissi and Dumoulin, and on the summit finish on stage six, where he finished alongside all the big favourites.
Kruijswijk is a sponsor’s dream. His coathanger shoulders give plenty of airtime to the sponsors on his upper arms and he’s making a name for himself as a GC contender at the Giro on a regular basis.