WorldTour Wrap: climbs, crashes, handbags and red faces at the Giro

Geraint Thomas and Adam Yates crash; Javi Moreno gets sent home; Luke Pibernik celebrates prematurely; Tom Dumoulin is not happy

It’s been another tumultuous week in the WorldTour, with the 2017 Giro d’Italia making it to mainland Italy.

Gone were the glorious azure seas off Sicily and Sardinia, replaced with brutal climbs and breakaway brilliance. And some very poorly-timed attacking off the front…

Going á Blockhaus

Sunday’s Blockhaus stage was ringed in some Giro fans’ calendars since the route was announced back in October. On paper it looked like just the sort of day that would shake up the general classification; a relatively short distance, with an epic climb at the end, and right before a rest day. The way it worked out, this stage did have a momentous effect on the GC, but not just because of the parcours.

The cause of the crash was a police motorbike on the far left of the screen, which Team Sunweb’s Wilco Kelderman clips on his way past. The Dutchman then tumbles to the tarmac, taking with him a host of the peloton’s biggest names, including Team Sky’s Mikel Landa and Geraint Thomas, and Orica-Scott’s GC hopeful, Adam Yates.

– Geraint Thomas and Adam Yates vow to fight on –

With just 15km to go until the finish (and 13 of that uphill) there wasn’t enough time for any of the GC favourites caught out in the crash to catch back on – especially not with Movistar (the team of Nairo Quintana) absolutely drilling it on the front of proceedings and motoring away up the brutal ascent of Blockhaus.

In the end it was a predictable win for Quintana, who excels on the steep gradients that characterise the Blockhaus climb and who has also looked like the strongest rider heading into this race.

The Colombian made a flurry of attacks on the way up the climb, eventually managing to dislodge a determined Vicenzo Nibali and Thibaut Pinot from his wheel. Thibaut and Dutchman Tom Dumoulin now sit in second and third place on GC.

Movistar take a brake

There’s been criticism from some quarters about Movistar’s decision to keep driving the pace, with Orica-Scott’s director, Matt White, especially peeved. Maybe it was he who, in a fit of pique, took the handbrake off this Movistar team car and started it slowly trundling towards the edge of a cliff.

Tell us how you really feel, Tom

It might be my gigantic man crush speaking, but there’s something adorable about this Tom Dumoulin interview…

Not only does he utter an obscenity in the first three words of his answer to the first question, but then when he goes on to explain that he is sad to have lost his teammate Wilco Kelderman, he says it is because he, ‘was feeling very comfortable with him’. Nawww, sweet.

Handbags and red faces

Of course much more happened in this first week of the Giro than just Sunday’s action.

There were the fisticuffs between Diego Rosa and Javi Moreno, which led to Moreno being sent home from the Giro.

– Pack your bags: Javi Moreno joins Grand Tour ‘hall of shame’ – 

While we do not want violence creeping into cycling, it is fun to compare this perfectly legal ‘hit’ from a recent rugby game, with this act of naked physical aggression that saw the perpetrator expelled from one of the year’s biggest races.

And who could forget this glorious ‘win’ from Luka Pibernik? On the face of it it looks like a superb opportunistic attack off the front of a charging peloton, with enough power in the legs to drive on and keep ahead to cross the line first.

– Luka Pibernik’s premature celebration…and seven more finish line fails –

Except, this was not the final lap of the finishing circuit and poor old Luka crossed the line arms aloft, only to look behind and find the peloton giving it the full beans. He eventually finished 148th on the stage. Poor sod.


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