The 100th Giro d’Italia was a fantastic opening to the 2017 Grand Tour season. Although it started slowly, with the first big GC showdown on Mount Etna a stalemate, the race ended with the four top riders within 53-seconds of one another before the finale. Achievement was spread fairly evenly throughout the peloton, although Quick Step stands out because of its five stage wins, two jerseys and eighth place.

Riders from 12 countries and 13 teams won stages, with seven escapees earning the flowers from 19 road stages. Some of those wins–those of first pink jersey holder Lukas Pöstlberger, Silvan Dillier, Omar Fraile, and Jos van Emden–were the riders’ biggest career victories. Tejay van Garderen’s stage triumph was a tremendous relief to the American and his supporters.

Lukas Pöstlberger’s surprise opening stage victory might be a career definer.

However, there were no wildcard team stage wins for first time since 2013, although 12th place Czech Jan Hirt of CCC was certainly the Leopold Konig-at-the-2014-Tour-de-France/Louis Meintjes-at-the-2015-Vuelta-a-España of the race and surely caught the eye of a WorldTour squad for next season.

Some teams had bummers balanced with triumphs, like Mikel Landa’s stage victory and blue mountains jersey compensating for Sky teammate Geraint Thomas’s injury and LottoNL-Jumbo’s final day victory leveling out the effects of Steven Kruijswijk’s abandonment.

A unfortunate outfit was Astana, with no stage wins, the loss of Michele Scarponi looming over affairs, and Tanel Kangert crashing out on Stage 15 when he was 7th. The team’s solace was Dario Cataldo’s 14th place, his second best Grand Tour result.

2017 Giro d’Italia Final GC

1) Tom Dumoulin (The Netherlands/Sunweb) 90:34:54
The Butterfly of Maastrict fought very hard under all sorts of duress in the mountains, but his time trialing prowess was the telling factor. Like Chris Froome and Miguel Indurain, he can open up large gaps in the chronos, but he doesn’t quite have the ascending power of Froome. He’ll want to target Grand Tours with 60-70-kms of time trialing (the 2017 Tour de France has 36) for future crowns, of which I’m sure we’ll see more. He’s the first new Grand Tour winner since Fabio Aru in the 2015 Vuelta, where Dumoulin nearly pulled off his first GT title.

2) Nairo Quintana (Colombia/Movistar) +0:31
Now with four Grand Tour runner-up spots on his palmares, Quintana was clearly not 100% and has said that he was ill on Stage 19. Chronos aren’t Quintana’s forte, and if it wasn’t for the Comfort Break Incident, Quintana would have been too far behind to make the final day so exciting. He had the strongest team, but couldn’t quite distance Dumoulin on his favoured terrain. However, it was another capable display of the second best stage racer in the world. He’ll be too depleted to be much of a factor in the Tour de France.

3) Vincenzo Nibali (Italy/Bahrain-Merida) +0:40
One had the feeling that after Nibali’s amazing comeback win in last year’s edition that his Grand Tour winning days were over. However, his attacking in the last week was inspired, and his seventh career Giro stage win was a huge relief to the race, as it was the sole Italian victory. His new squad, especially Franco Pellizotti, was strong, earning fourth place in the team competition. Including his four Grand Tour titles, the 2017 Giro was his ninth GT podium.

4) Thibaut Pinot (France/FDJ) +1:17

What a disappointment for the Frenchman that his time trialing let him down after being arguably the most dynamic climber in the last week. Another downfall was losing time to Nibali, Quintana on Stage 18 to Bormio in the Comfort Break Raid. Still, fourth is his second greatest Grand Tour result in his first ever Giro. He’s seeking stage wins in July’s Tour.

5) Ilnur Zakarin (Russia/Katusha) +1:56

Seeming always on the move with buddy Pozzovivo, Zakarin was often the straw that stirred the drink in the last half of the race, and his acceleration was the one that led to the Comfort Break Incident. The Russian is definitely among the top-12 stage racers in the game. Fifth is his best Grand Tour result by a long shot. Ilnur is off to the Vuelta in August.

Ilnur Zakarin was very active in the latter half of the race.

6) Domenico Pozzovivo (Italy/AG2R) +3:11
Love this little guy. He’ll never win a Grand Tour, and at 34 is running out of time to win a WorldTour stage race, but his 2017 Giro result is his sixth Grand Tour top-10. Bravo, Domenico. He’ll see his pal Zakarin in the Vuelta.

7) Bauke Mollema (The Netherlands/Trek-Segafredo) +3:41

Mollema is one of the most consistent Grand Tour racers out there, with seven top-12’s in 10 completed races. After falling off the podium following the stage to Oropa, he scrapped to hold the line and 6th and then 7th. Bauke is doing double duty this year, contesting the Tour de France alongside teammate Alberto Contador.

8) Bob Jungels (Luxembourg/Quick Step) +7:04
A stage win, his second consecutive young rider’s prize and another spell in pink was the story of Jungels’ 2017 Giro. A stage race chrono ace like Dumoulin, his weakness is hard climbs. But in two years he’s left his mark on the Italian race.

9) Adam Yates (Great Britain/Orica-Scott) +8:10
Of the three big riders who were taken down in the infamous moto-caused crash on Stage 9 to Blockhaus, Yates came off the best, although Mikel Landa’s stage win, 17th and blue jersey were pretty neato as well. Yates and Jungels were engaged in an interesting sideshow grapple for the white jersey, and, like Dumoulin vs Quintana, the Brit couldn’t put time into the Luxembourger in the mountains to resist him in the chrono.

10) Davide Formolo (Italy/Cannondale) +15:17

This is a triumph for Formolo, a young fellow who introduced himself to the cycling world with a win in the 2015 Giro. A top-10 in his home tour is a great accomplishment. Get this: he’s now had top-10’s in the last two Grand Tours, with 9th in last year’s Vuelta as his high mark. Formolo ensured that the Italians had three representatives in the top-10.

Blue mountains competition: Mikel Landa (Spain/Sky)
After placing second twice in two-up sprints, Landa came good on Stage 19. He won the blue jersey by nearly twice as many points as runner-up LL Sanchez.

Purple points jersey: Fernando Gaviria (Colombia/Quick Step) Gaviria’s four stage wins put him in the company of Andre Greipel, Mark Cavendish and Marcel Kittel. Only 22, the Colombian is probably the best sprinter in the world right now.

White young rider jersey: Jungels Can this exciting young rider podium in a Grand Tour? A seven or eight-day WorldTour stage race win seems inevitable.

Team competition: Movistar. Quintana’s second place, Andrey Amador’s 18th and Winner Anacona’s 25th accounted for this award.

The Canadians

Michael Woods’ first Grand Tour was a success, though his 38th doesn’t enrapture the imagination. A three-week GT is a different prospect from the three WorldTour stage races in which he has come in the top-20. Hampered by his time trialing, he nonetheless finished in the top-10 thrice and, perhaps most importantly, was a key factor in teammate Pierre Rolland’s Stage 17 victory. Formolo, Rolland and Woods’ times gave Cannondale fifth in the team competition.

Svein Tuft put in a lot of work for Caleb Ewan and Adam Yates, and his 20th in the time trial finale hearkened back to his earlier career. The 40-year-old completed his 10th Grand Tour with his third best result.


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