Giro d'Italia: The pain of a long-distance solo break

The solo breakaway is a gamble that rarely pays off, but is one a lot of riders are willing to take

Photo: Graham Watson

A Giro d'Italia win so close or so far? It is hard to understand what goes through a cyclist's head when he attempts to blow away his rivals and arrive solo.

On the ninth stage of this year's Giro, Tom-Jelte Slagter (Cannondale-Garmin) was part of an 11-man breakaway that escaped with more than 150km still to go. Slagter left the rest of the group with 60km left after what had already been a brutal stage — and despite a lead over the peloton of almost seven minutes at its peak, he was caught by Astana's Paolo Tiralongo with around 5km to go.

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Gregor Brown

Gregor Brown is an experienced cycling journalist, based in Florence, Italy. He has covered races all over the world for over a decade - following the Giro, Tour de France, and every major race since 2006. His love of cycling began with freestyle and BMX, before the 1998 Tour de France led him to a deep appreciation of the road racing season.