You’d swear the Giro race organisers are teasing the riders. Mountains either side, stage 17 wasn’t only run on the base of some cols topping 2000 plus metres, but they were in plain sight all day.
Mr Organiser also seemed to give the middle finger (thankfully for our entertainment) to the sprinters once again, in a striking move that certainly reaffirmed just why the Giro is the best Grand Tour going around. I’m referring to that sneaky 5km berg nestled 15km to go.
Maybe tomorrow I’ll build on what could be a whole article outlining exactly how and why the organisers of Il Giro are, innately, sadists. Maybe not though, because that’s obvious!
So as the most kamikaze-esque of all riders charged forth for the looming 214km breakaway, blind-sided to what was coming tomorrow, I was delighted to see the resplendency of our Aussie icon Luke Durbridge out front and as colourful as ever.
Luke is not only the toughest and fastest guy I know, but maybe the kindest as well.
The cruelty continued as the peloton not only wove threads through the vineyards out-skirting Vicenza, but the organisers must have thought it to be humorous by reminding the riders just how far away from the beach they were by erecting the biggest, pinkest 25km to go sign possible, sponsored by Rio Mare, Italy’s staple tuna supplier.
Out of place I thought, but anything is possible in this world.
Returning to typical Giro fashion (exciting racing, as opposed to that mundane predetermined stuff we see every July), and we hit the ‘Berg To End All Flat Stages’. Here’s a summary:
Durbo hit the wall as hard as anyone ever has,
Miguel Rubiano rode out of his skin, with huge courage, and jumped on the passing-but-fading Danilo DiLuca.
Giovanni Visconti actually used ‘timing’, as opposed to DiLuca’s use of ‘blunt aggression’.
Visconti caught and dropped all of the above (worth noting that Rubiano showed great resilience).
Visconti capitalised on the unorganisation of the chasing bunch to arrive solo, beautifully and emotionally, showing just how effective initiative can be.
Looking onto what will be: tonight, a stage of monumental spectacle. A stage unparalleled in recent years in its quantity of kilometres ‘flat’ (0km of flat to be precise).
Considering this, I want to note Visconti neglected the looming madness for what he thought may be his day, and it was.
He planned it, timed it, organised it, and acted on it, even though tonight’s stage will make him pay a thousand deaths for it.
This sport is amazing, it’s ambitious and it’s insane, but that’s the way we like it.