The rain keeps falling and the crashes keep coming at the 2014 Giro. But while the unlucky, such as Luke Durbridge (Orica GreenEdge) and Fabian Wegmann were forced to abandon, the competition for the jersey has been lit.
Our sister site, Cyclingnews.com, is covering every minute of the race, providing stage reports and results plus features and insider analysis. Head on over to their Giro d'Italia section for complete race coverage. Here, we present the highlights of the last three stages, courtesy of Cyclingnews.com.
Michael Rogers (Tinkoff-Saxo) broke a 12-year drought and finally won a stage of a grand tour. He did it with style too, attacking the group of leaders on the technical final descent into Savona and building up a healthy lead that gave him the time to drink in the adulation of the crowds. He was followed over the line 10 seconds later by Simon Geschke (Team Giant-Shimano) and Enrico Battaglin (Bardiani-CSF), who led home the bunch.
Earlier in the day, Fabian Wegmann (Garmin-Sharp) was hospitalised with a ripped hamstring and Luke Durbridge (Orica GreenEdge) a broken collarbone, and at the finish following yet more crashes, riders crossed the line battered and bruised and with some of the worst ripped jerseys and shorts we’ve seen for some time.
Adriano Malori soldiers on
The first individual TT was always going to be crucial in re-shaping the general classification, and, through the hillside vineyards around Barolo, it was Rigoberto Uran (Omega-Pharma-QuickStep) who snatched the pink jersey decisively from Cadel Evans (BMC) who had a shocker: on a day where he was expected to pad out his lead, he lost ground.
The Colombian stopped the clock in the 41.9km TT in 57.34 – 1m34sec ahead of Evans. By the end of the stage Uran had the maglia rosa by more than 30 seconds from the Australian 2011 Tour winner.
There was surprise on both sides. “I saw Uran coming into form, but I honestly did not expect him to have such an amazing time trial," Evans said. "Of course, I had hoped to have done better myself. The time trial course suited me well, but as I said yesterday, the verdict is on the road."
Evans' grip on the pink jersey slipped away in the time trial to Barolo...
Uran was happy with his ride. "It's incredible, I'm really surprised," he said. "I didn't think that I would win it. It's a great day for my team and myself."
A right royal fluff up by the peloton opened the door for an unlikely trio of breakaways to contest the final in Rivarolo Canavese. Marco Canola (Bardiani-CSF) carried the day with a 250m sprint from the last corner to keep Jackson Rodriguez and Angelo Tulik (Europcar) at bay. The trio – originally a quintet – escaped early in the stage, but when the sprinters teams failed to follow traditional formula and take charge of closing down the break, it gave the escapees all the invitation they needed to bolt. Nacer Bouhanni (FdJ) who could have claimed his fourth sprint win, instead had to settle for fourth must have been particularly peeved.
Now the race heads back into the mountains with a hilltop finish in Oropa. Get ready to see the tifosi line the mountains. Stay tuned to Cyclingnews.com for all the action from the 2014 Giro d’Italia.
Canola took an unlikely win