While perhaps not an absolute classic, this year’s 98th edition of the Giro d’Italia was full of drama and intrigue.
For much of the race, Alberto Contador was in charge. His victory did not come without incident, but a shoulder dislocation on stage six couldn’t stop him, and nor did getting stuck behind another crash on stage 13, which led him to sacrifice the pink jersey to Fabio Aru.
The Spaniard took the overall lead straight back in the following day’s individual time trial and would not relinquish it again, despite a late resurgence and two stage wins from his young Italian rival.
Meanwhile, Richie Porte (Team Sky), touted as a potential winner before the race, crashed early, losing time thanks both to his injuries and to a penalty for taking a wheel from fellow Australian Simon Clarke (Orica-GreenEdge), and pulled out after stage 15.
Elsewhere, there was plenty for the home crowds to cheer, with Italians taking nine stage wins, as well as a strong performance from Cannondale-Garmin’s Ryder Hesjedal and a breakthrough ride from Mikel Landa (Astana).
And then, of course, there was Alberto Contador’s storming ride up the Passo di Mortirolo on stage 16.