There may not have been many Six Day Series riders to keep track of at the Giro d’Italia – but that certainly did not mean it lacked in intrigue and spectacle.
While we tend to be more a fan of riding round an oval at breakneck speed, there is something to be admired about the grinding nature of a three-week Grand Tour.
And the 100th edition of the Giro did not disappoint, with talking points galore and a controversy revolving an ill-timed toilet stop – what’s not to like?!
Keisse a key component for Quickstep
With Iljo Keisse the sole Six Day Series rider taking to the start line in Alghero, on Sardinia, three weeks ago we could have forgiven Six Day Series fans for giving the Giro a miss.
But with five stage wins, a man in the top ten and winning the white jersey for best young rider, Keisse’s QuickStep Floors team had a Giro to remember.
Keisse helped set up the quartet of stage wins for Colombia’s Fernando Gaviria, and acted as a key domestique and rouleur to help teammate Bob Jungels to a stage win, eighth place overall and the white jersey.
More importantly though – he stayed dry all the way round.
Fact: not a single raindrop during this years #giroitalia ??— Iljo Keisse (@IljoKeisse) May 29, 2017
Unlike in Six Day where we actively encourage motorbikes onto the track in our Derny races, the presence of motorbikes in road races has been the subject of much discussion in recent years.
And that discussion grew further on stage nine of the Giro as a police motorbike, parked up on the road, caused a crash that put paid to the hopes of Britain’s Geraint Thomas and Adam Yates.
They both got up and finished the stage, but had lost a significant chunk of time that meant their general classification hopes would have to be put on hold.
Thomas bounced back with a fantastic second place behind eventual winner Tom Dumoulin in the first time trial of the race, but later pulled out as the injuries sustained in the crash persisted and he was in too much pain to continue.
Yates, who was held up in the crash but suffered only minor scrapes, finished the race and almost got the better of Jungels in the white jersey competition – only to be overtaken in the final time trial.
But the Orica-Scott rider will be happy with a second top ten finish in only his fourth Grand Tour, especially considering the time he lost on stage nine.
Dumoulin may have gone on to win the race, but the decisive moment almost came on stage 16 as the Dutchman – suffering from illness and a ‘dodgy stomach’ (we’re being kind here) – was forced to pull to the side of the road and make an emergency toilet stop.
Well, we say toilet, it was more like answering the call of nature in all its glory as he was filmed taking his helmet off, peeling off his jersey and pulling down his bib shorts before the cameraman twigged what was happening and pulled away.
While some may have waited for the race leader, Movistar’s Nairo Quintana and Bahrain Merida’s Vincenzo Nibali pushed on and by the time he crossed the line Dumoulin had lost 2:18 to the pair.
But the Sunweb rider had the last laugh and, having trailed going into the final stage, put in a sterling time trial performance to leapfrog both Quintana and Nibali take the overall win.