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It’s a funny old game. OK, cycling isn’t a game per se but the old adage coined by the late Jimmy Greaves endures in relation to all sport. The whimsical nature of sporting endeavour, replete with all its ups and downs both physical and emotional, is what endows it with such resonance – when good follows bad, it’s all the sweeter for the pain endured to make it to the joy.

Perhaps Julian Alaphilippe might feel a bit like this after his incredible victory on stage 12. It’s possible that after all of his struggles with injury and public battles with his team boss that this victory tastes a little bit sweeter than some of the others he’s amassed over the years. For us fans, as a collective? I can 100% speak for the majority of us when I say: WE ARE ELATED.

There aren’t many riders who inspire such universal joy and adoration as the showman they call ‘Loulou’. Flamboyant and stylish on and off the bike, his expressive riding and even more expressive face have endeared him to hearts around the globe, and when he suffered, particularly in 2022 following his crash at Liège–Bastogne–Liège, we suffered with him. Today’s win, a stage win which brings with it the Grand Tour hat-trick for Alaphilippe, was a win for all of us – a win for cycling. It’s not just the fans who seemed to feel this way. Riders from throughout the peloton lined up to congratulate the two-time former World Champion, and even his breakaway companion, Mirko Maestri, looked delighted to have been a part of such a memorable stage win. Maestri himself finished 9th and was part of a breakaway duo that defied all the odds, going all the way to the line despite sustained pressure from a massive chasing group, whose size may well have been its undoing in the end.

Ultimately, it was a day shared across the world, via social media, where the outpouring of joy, emotion and celebration was ubiquitous and flooded timelines with a sea of cries of ‘LOULOU!’ with a range of celebratory emojis. It was what we had all dared to hope for, and almost dared to believe after his earlier attempts at the race to strike out for the stage win, but today he did it. He took a win for all of us.

Oh I am supposed to talk about the other stages, aren’t I. Hey, summarising three in one is tricky when they are this good. Stage 10 was another absolute corker of a stage – short but with a lot of climbing and a summit finish, the fight for the breakaway was intense and not really resolved even as the first climbs of the day began. Tucked safely away in the bunch, we would later find out that Pogačar had not been content to let the opportunity for another win go, but he followed team orders and the GC neutralised itself for the majority of the day.

Up in the breakaway, it was a pair of Frenchman who struck out for home on the long final climb of the stage. Romain Bardet and Valentin Paret-Peintre looked equal to the task and it soon became a matter of which of two would make it, rather than if they would. But it was the pretender to the 'French legend' throne that took off, leaving his childhood hero Bardet in his wake, and the younger brother matched elder brother Aurélien’s feat from a year ago, taking his first professional win – what a way to do it. Heartbreak for Bardet, who probably won’t come that close again. Decathlon-AG2R are truly flying, and Ben O’Connor sprinted to win from the GC bunch to put a cherry on the no-longer-brown-shorts cake.

Paret-Peintre the younger marks his first professional victory (image credit: LaPresse)

Stage 11 was one of THOSE Giro stages. Frankly the biggest surprise was that it had taken this long – over halfway through the Grand Tour – to get a stage like this. You know the ones. Soporific hours watching the same three guys slog away in the break, while the peloton chills and the commentators talk amongst themselves and we all sigh dreamily as we watch the Italian scenery fizz past in a blur of colour and beauty.

Isn’t it great that it’s been sunny this year? I don’t think we’ve talked about this enough.

Anyway, I digress – the sum total of the action – aside from a dog and boulder on the course – can be boiled down into the final 20km in which we had: two crashes, a fruitless breakaway attempt from Andrea Piccolo, a mega hardcore sprint finish into a headwind featuring the megawatts of power monster Jonathan Milan, and a deviation from Tim Merlier that would later see him relegated.

Milan marches to victory number 2 (image credit: LaPresse)

I said everything that needed to be said about stage 12 at the top of this section, but for the sake of completeness, here’s a word for the rest of the day. It was one of the most chaotic stages I can remember. Well done to the broadcasters for making the best of an impossible situation as the peloton threw itself at the race with reckless abandon, threatening ‘fastest stage in Giro history’ records all the while making it nigh on impossible to keep track of them all, the pesky little blighters. Just when you get used to them being in a neat little bunch, they ping off in all directions like toddlers at a disco. One where the cake has blue icing.

Giro 107

Whoever told you three was the magic number hadn’t got an eyeful of this glorious segment yet! Filled with info and occasionally a prophecy or two, let’s delve into the magic of the number 107, at the 107th edition of the race.

What happened at kilometre 107?

OK, look this started out as a bit of silliness but it's proving more and more eerily accurate as the race pushes on. Here's what happened in the 107th kilometre of the last three stages - tell me we're not onto something.

Stage 10 - as you can see, there are no riders pictured on the 107th kilometre of stage 10. This is because with a large breakaway up the road, we had no idea who would win the stage... it's a literal representation of a mystery.

Stage 11's km107 snapshot HAS THE ACTUAL WINNER IN THE PICTURE. Tell me this isn't getting spooky?

And stage 12, well, it's an ironic one really, because it's the exact moment where Arkéa-B&B Hotels' Ewen Costiou begins to get into mechanical difficulty while trying to chase down the leading duo of Maestri and Alaphilippe... Who was in the breakaway duo with Alaphilippe on the Napoli stage when he attacked towards the end? Um, it was Ewen Costiou (play spooky music here).

Rider 107

Stage 10

Our first winner of the second week of this Giro is for the first time a reigning national champion! Today it is Luke Plapp who finished 107th.

Luke was born on Christmas Day 2000 in Melbourne. He rode a few years for his local club in Australia until 2021, when he caught the eye of the INEOS Grenadiers’ scouts with his victory in the Australian ITT Championship at the age of 20. The same year, he also won the silver medal at the World Championships U23 ITT, only 10 seconds behind the Dane Johan Price-Pejtersen. INEOS decided not to waste such a talent so they signed Plapp as a trainee in August, before giving him his first professional contract in 2022. The first season of “Plappy” as a pro started amazingly as he won the first of his three consecutive Australian Championship titles. He also showed his qualities as a climber, with a fifth place at the top of Jebel Hafeet on the UAE Tour. His top ten on the general classification of the Tour de Romandie opened the gates of his first Grand Tour: La Vuelta, where he helped Carlos Rodriguez to finish 7th.

Last year, Luke confirmed that he loved the beginning of the season by finishing second on the general classification of the UAE Tour behind a man named Remco Evenepoel. Unfortunately, the rest of his season was not as good so he left INEOS at the end of his contract and joined Jayco-AlUla this winter. After his double (ITT and RR) at the National Championships, he continued his great form on the roads of Paris-Nice, where he finished 6th after wearing the yellow jersey for 2 days. Luke’s progress was confirmed at the beginning of this Giro, where he was supposed to help Eddie Dunbar to reach a top ten. However, with the withdrawal of his Irish teammate, Luke had the chance to shine and he took it, on the road of Rapolano Terme, where he went in the breakaway and finished 3rd. He even reached 5th place on GC, becoming wearer of the white jersey after the ITT the next day, but he lost time on the slopes of Prati di Tivo. Luke’s Giro is surely not over and we should see him at the front a few times, in order to win the first win of his career outside Australia.

PLAPPY! (image credit: Wikimedia Commons)

Stage 11

Today we have the honour of welcoming one of the biggest champions in the peloton to our 107th contest, former World Champion Julian Alaphilippe!

Julian was born on the 11th June 1992, in the city of Saint-Amand Montrond in Central France. His career is so amazing that it will be very hard to mention all of it but let’s try! He signed his first professional contract with the team of Patrick Lefevere, Omega Pharma-Quick Step at the time, in 2014 after spending one year in what looked like a Development team at the time, Etixx-inHed. In his first year as a pro, he stood out by posting three top fives on stages of the Volta a Catalunya but also his first win on the last stage of Tour de l’Ain ahead of Dan Martin, showing amazing puncheur abilities of He confirmed these impressions with an amazing campaign at the Ardennes Classics, finishing second on both Liège-Bastogne-Liège and Flèche Wallonne. He also took his first World Tour win on the Californian roads, showing to the cycling World that he was a man to watch for the future.

He took part in his first Tour de France in 2016 but he could not do better than a second place, the same as at the European Championships. The next year, after a stage win at Paris-Nice, Julian arrived at the start of La Vuelta with one objective: a stage win. The Frenchman succeeded and he took the first major win of his career on the slopes of Xorret de Cati, after a breakaway. He also started to write his legend with the World Championships in Bergen, with a tenth place after an amazing race. 2018 was the beginning of the love between Julian and the public. After dethroning Alejandro Valverde on the Flèche Wallonne and winning a stage on the Dauphiné, “Loulou” wrote his story with the Tour de France in capital letters. He won two stages, on Le Grand Bornand and on Bagnères-de-Luchon and took the Polka Dot jersey home, along with the hearts of all cycling fans. Everyone thought that it would be very difficult to do even better the year after, and we were all wrong. 2019 started perfectly for Julian, winning Strade Bianche and above all his first monument: Milano-Sanremo. At the Tour de France, he had a lot of pressure on his shoulders, as he was now known by everyone in his country. That didn’t seem to affect him as he took the Yellow Jersey on the third stage, after winning solo in Epernay. He kept it day after day, without losing time on climbs such as the Tourmalet. He even won the ITT in Pau, extending his lead. Unfortunately, the 19th stage between St Jean de Maurienne and Tignes broke the heart of thousands of French as he lost his jersey to Bernal, while Thibaut Pinot withdrew. Julian finished the Tour an unexpected 5th place in which remains among the best performances of his career.

During the Covid crisis in 2020 and 2021, Julian did not win a lot but when he did, it was big races. Two stages at the Tour, one Flèche Wallonne, one Brabantse Pijl but above all, two back-to-back World Championships. The first one, in Imola, was the first World title for a French male rider since 1997. Both times, he rode in his style, with panache, lending his victories even more flavour. Unfortunately, ever since, it has been more difficult for Loulou and he hopes to get back to winning ways on this 107th Giro. Indeed, Julian has not won a race since last year’s Dauphiné so he will hope to raise his arms on the Italian roads and to enter the club of the winners at all three Grand Tours. We already saw him feature in breakaways since Venaria Reale and he even finished 2nd behind Pelayo Sanchez in Rapolano Terme. Let’s hope that finishing 107th will give him luck and a boost to chase this victory that will please every cycling fan!

Alaphilippe becomes two-time World Champion in Leuven (image credit: Wikimedia Commons)

Stage 12

It worked!! Julian Alaphilippe, 107th of yesterday’s stage won today!! Let’s hope for another World Champion that this enchantment will continue. It is Filippo “Pippo” Ganna who finished 107th today, after spending a good part of the day in the break.

Filippo was born in Verbania, in Northern Italy, on the 25th July 1996. After showing some great qualities as a time trialist in the Junior category, he was taken on as trainee by Lampre-Merida but the Italian team did not keep him for 2016, where he rode with Team Colpack at the Continental level. With them, he won Paris-Roubaix Espoirs and the U23 Italian ITT Championship, aged 20, before finally signing his first World Tour contract with UAE Team Emirates. The two years that Pippo spent with Emirati team were not amazing as he needed time to adapt to this new level. In 2019, he joined Sky, where he found the way to victory as early as his first race under his new colours: the prologue of Tour de la Provence. This same year, he also won his first National ITT title along with the time trial of Den Haag at the BinckBank Tour, his first World Tour win.

The next year was the year of the revelation for Filippo. He finished almost unbeaten in the time trial discipline, winning the World Championships in his home country but also four stages on his first Grand Tour: The Giro! Indeed, along with the three ITT, Filippo also won the first road stage of his career in Camigliatello Silano. In 2021, after two new stage wins at the Giro, Filippo managed to keep his title at the World Championships, six seconds ahead of Wout Van Aert. The amazing Italian is also a monster on the track, with one Olympic title and seven World Championships in the individual and team pursuit. Last year, he also showed his talent in the Classics with 2nd place at Milano-Sanremo and 6th place at Paris-Roubaix, before winning the only ITT of La Vuelta. In 2024, Filippo Ganna still hasn’t won, which is an anomaly. He finished second on the first ITT of this Giro, behind Tadej Pogacar. If the main objective of Filippo’s season is the Olympics, he will nevertheless try his best to beat the Slovenian on Saturday, in the second ITT. Let’s hope for him that this 107th place will help him, like it helped Julian Alaphilippe today.

He'll never be 107th on the track - Ganna in his other favourite guise (image credit: Wikimedia Commons)

Rider 107 – Nick Schultz (Israel-Premier Tech)

OK, it seems that the old adage ‘good things come to those who wait’ applies in the case of our rider wearing the 107 dossard, our mate Schultzie. He’s not troubled the top half of the leaderboard over the past few stages but we live in hope that he’s planning a coup de grace later on in the race (and if he does it, I’m claiming partial credit for keeping the faith).

Preview 107

Three stages previewed in the space of 107 words (yes we can do brevity on occasion). LET’S GO:

I’ve met pancakes with more altitude gain than stage 13. Not a single KOM point available. Climbers stay in bed, the sprinters are coming out to play. Flat is also a word that could describe stage 14 – an individual time trial that’s far more suited to Ganna than Pogacar this time, though the Slovenian can still take time on everyone else. Stage 15. The mighty. The fearsome. The abominable Livigno stage. Behold its 5,000+m of altitude and weep! Then dry your eyes and wave goodbye to Pogi as he puts this Giro to bed, reads it a story and tucks it in.

Giro Duos

As we hit the halfway point of the Giro d’Italia, the Giro Duos competition is as follows: INEOS Grenadiers continue to dominate the leaderboard. The Movistar Team is making significant gains and climbing the rankings, showing their strength on the challenging terrain. Unfortunately, Team Visma | Lease A Bike is experiencing a steep decline in rankings, due to their dwindling team numbers.

It's a tough competition out there, with teams pushing themselves to the limit in pursuit of victory. INEOS will need to maintain their lead, while Visma | Lease A Bike fights to regain lost ground. The second half of the race promises to be intense as these teams battle it out on the road to the finish line.

Throwback Thursday

Stage 10 | 2023 : Scandiano – Viareggio (196km)

Grand Tour Trilogy completed!

Shocker at the start of this stage! Remco Evenepoel, the Maglia Rosa and one of the main favourites for the overall Giro win, is forced to withdraw due to a positive Covid-19 test during the rest day. 

The Belgian had just reclaimed Maglia Rosa from Andreas Leknessund after the final stage of the first week, a Time Trial between Savignano sul Rubicone and Cesena. He had a 45+ seconds gap over his main rivals Geraint Thomas and Primož Roglič. But the race never stops and we’re back to racing with Geraint Thomas inheriting the lead and its legendary Maglia Rosa. 

If you asked me “what’s an iconic breakaway?”, I would probably include the four guys that took part in this Stage 10 breakaway: Magnus Cort Nielsen (EF), Alessandro De Marchi (Team Jayco-AlUla), one of the Bais bros, namely Davide (Eolo-Kometa) and the hero of 2023 Giro: Derek Gee (Israel Premier Tech). Could it get any better?

These four stuck together until Passo delle Radici where Davide Bais’ work was done after taking KOM points. The gap was reducing but Cort, Gee and De Marchi were not looking back. And rain started to fall on Tuscan roads. Luckily, we were not racing on Strade Bianche roads today.

Multiple crashes forced the peloton to take a more cautious approach in the chase of the three breakaway companions. Cort, Gee and De Marchi benefitted from this abysmal weather, and they still had 40 seconds under the 5-kilometre banner. That should be enough to fight for the win!

Cort Nielsen is obviously the fastest, Gee knows it, De Marchi knows it.
Unfortunately, Alessandro didn’t have the legs today and couldn’t launch an attack, but Derek Gee still had some left in the tank and tried to run out on his companions under the flamme rouge! 

But that was not enough to distance Cort Nielsen who came back on Gee’s wheels, to eventually go past him and to claim his first Giro stage and complete the Grand Tour tryptic : winning a stage at all three Grand Tours! Already a fan favourite, it was pure joy from cycling lovers to see Magnus win this one.

We were heartbroken for Derek Gee though, who had already finished 2nd on stage 8. He would eventually go on to finish 2nd twice more during this Giro with more than 900km in the breakaway, earning him the combativity award of this 2023 edition and the hearts of all cycling fans. 

This stage didn’t decide the outcome of the Giro, that’s for sure. But all the characters involved and side quests completed during this stage really made it one to remember! And I’m sure you still do today.

Youtube: from Giro d’Italia channel

Stage 11 | 1977: Forlì - Mugello (103km)

Speedy Freddy

Disclaimer: if you’re a cycling purist, you’ll probably say that this stage was actually stage 8a of the 1977 Giro. But technically, it was the 11th time riders were racing. So we’ll take that!

Stage 11 was the last stage won by Freddy Maertens in this 1977 Giro edition. Stage 11… Last win… Okay, he was an excellent overall rider so he may have won like two or three stages, right? Stage 11 was the 7th win of Freddy Martens in this 1977 Giro. Yup, seven stages won of 11 stages completed. Pretty impressive right?

Even more impressive, Freddy Maertens was no stranger to such feats. Having won eight stages at the Tour de France the year before, he would eventually go on to win 13 (THIRTEEN!) stages at La Vuelta later in the year. To top it off, he would win the GC, leading the race its entirety and never finish outside the top 8 in every stage (except for the 14th). Save some for the others, Freddy!

After such a demonstration, Maertens’ goal was to win the Giro. Unfortunately, he wasn’t able to do so and maintain his winning streak due to a broken wrist sustained during a severe crash on stage 12. Maertens was such an important rider that after his abandon, his team, Flandria, thought about going home! Purely and simple: no leader, no race! 

Maertens persuaded them to keep racing even without him. And Maertens had good intuition: his leadout man, Marc Demeyer, went on to win two stages but most importantly, Michel Pollentier, his second leadout and mountain lieutenant, eventually won the Giro! Everything happens for a reason it seems, and sometimes it’s for the best!

On paper, this stage was just another sprint win for Freddy Maertens, but in the end it is part of an incredible winning streak and the start of a Cinderella story for one of his teammates, Michel Pollentier. So, pretty iconic right? 

Youtube : from RetroCycling channel (only stage 7 footage found)

Stage 12 | 1967 : Caserta - Blockhaus (206km)

A day of firsts

1967, the Giro d’Italia’s 50th anniversary. May 31st. The Giro d’Italia peloton is getting ready to tackle a mythical mountain for the first time: the Blockhaus. Considered for a long time as an impregnable eagle’s nest in the heart of the Abruzzo region, it is now part of the legend of the Giro.

Local fan favourite, Vito Taccone, launched the first attack among the favourites with 50 kilometres to go. Unfortunately for the “Abruzzo chamois”, weather conditions worsened and it became too hard for a lone rider to keep pushing on the terrible slopes of the Blockhaus. Taccone quickly ran out of gas not long after the start of the last ascent.

What was left of the peloton eventually caught him with 13 kilometres to go. Among them, the Maglia Rosa Perez Francés, Anquetil, Motta, Gimondi, Adorni, Schiavon and Zilioli. It was only stage 12 and the Blockhaus had never been scaled before. With a lot of unknowns, the favourites marked each other for most of the ascent. 

With the finish line almost in sight, the aptly named Italo Zilioli launched the first attack, accompanied by Schiavon. They thought if they made that extra effort, they could battle each other for the win. But a 22-year old rider would eventually fly past them to claim his first ever Giro win on his first ever Grand Tour start.

This young rider from Belgium would win another stage two days later and finish 9th overall in Milan. Yeah, you already probably guessed it… Stage 12 of 1967 Giro d’Italia was the birth of the Eddy Merckx legend at Grand Tours.

A day of firsts, but also a Giro of lasts. Giro 1967 was Jacques Anquetil’s last ever Grand Tour. After five Tour de France wins, two Giri and one Vuelta, “Maître Jacques” decided to bring his GT career to an end after a sour ending to this 1967 Giro. Anquetil felt this Giro was robbed from him by Gimondi, who dealt the final blow thanks to a car who propelled him to the win on the penultimate stage. Anquetil then suffered from depression. He would still go on to race for two more seasons, but without taking part in any Grand Tours. He retired in 1969.

Youtube: from RetroCycling channel


(Italian for 'brainteaser')

This edition we have something a little bit different…

Harness your detective skills to unravel the secret identity of the pro-cyclist hidden within the puzzle. Decipher each clue, and with the aid of the deduction grid, pinpoint the identities of all three riders. Are you up for the challenge? Dive in and put your skills to the test.

How to: When you have solved the clue to the identity of the rider, put a cross in the box that corresponds to your answer, marking off nationality, team colour, and bike brand. 

As you eliminate options, you will be left with blank squares. These empty spaces will lead you to the identity of the third and final rider. 

Design: Sam Mould

Clue 1:  

The rider with the most Giro stage wins at the start of this race is Italian.  

Clue 2:  

This Colnago rider's top overall Giro finish was 97th, but he has 3 top 10 stage finishes.

Il Magnifico Sette

Stage 10

Back after the rest day, sadly with a few missing sprinters (sniff) but the rest of the peloton was not hanging about at the beginning of stage 10. From the wave of the flag, some riders clearly said “Let’s Run!” (or yelled, I imagine, it was quite hectic, like the song). After a lot of back-and-forth breakaway action, we all had ourselves a moment of 2023-style nostalgia as Clarke and De Marchi found themselves Together Again in a repeat of their fated Napoli stage front duo. It didn’t last, and after some brave attempts from Tratnik, Valentin Paret-Peintre out-climbed Bardet and took a mountain stage win to match his big brother’s from last year.
Valentin is, if we go by available info the lightest rider on the Giro
startlist, and as his (slim but much sturdier) big brother Aurélien embraced him after the winner’s interview, I knew his stage win soundtrack had to be The Hollies’ 60s classic “He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother”... and ain’t that the truth.

On a less results-based level, this was also the stage that prompted a lot of debate about whether Pogačar, still comfortably in pink, was annoyed or sad over the talk about his supremacy – or just frustrated with letting the stage win go as he has to spare some matches for his upcoming Tour de France attempt later this summer. While I appreciate a good heel turn as much as the next drama queen, I also get why the Slovenian GC leader is a bit miffed over the current discourse about him. However I also get why some smaller teams may be slightly over UAE’s obsession with winning everything all the time this season… so I will offer Pogačar two options for his ongoing Giro theme tune. He can either embrace his pink clad villain era like he’s Regina George, but like… cooler, and commit to being the Main Offender - or he can look himself in the mirror and ask himself if he has raced and won long enough to see himself become the Anti-Hero of this race. Your choice Pog, you can also choose both and change it up along the coming stages, that’s one way to keep everyone on their toes too!

Stage 11

The stage started with some sad DNS announcements, most dramatically the departure of the race’s white jersey; Visma’s Cian Uijtdebroeks (insert Enric Mas giggles over the potentially wrong spelling…). I will miss his infectious optimism as I sob a little over his team’s extraordinary bad luck in this race to the iconic disco tones of “Don’t leave me this way”... The stage became a bit of a throw-back old-school sprint stage, as 50% of the
remaining Visma-LAB riders and Thomas Champion (whose teammate Oldani also had to go home before the stage) went on an ill-fated trio-adventure that never really got any substantial time, despite lasting until about 30 km from the line. I’ve decided to believe that the three musketeers were trying to honour their teammates who DNF’d the race – so of course they get the feature hit of the 90s Three Musketeers’ soundtrack, aptly named “All For Love”...

After a nerve-wracking final 5km we were treated to another massive sprint battle, which the definitive Tall Boy champion (#TallBoyPeloton 4lyf!) of the peloton won decisively. There’s a surprising amount of Jonny’s in this Giro, but this gives me a reason to feature one of my high school era favourites, the Danish electro rockers in Superheroes with one of their iconic Y2K hits, Johnny and I. A song that, eerily, is older than the rider it is dedicated to. (Yes, I’m old, get over it!)

To illustrate how quiet a lot of the stage was in the peloton, we were treated to clips of Simone Velasco doing a convincing on-bike rendition of a dance we all know and… loathe? Love? Laugh at? Anyways… you all know how it goes… aaaaand JUMP!

Stage 12


Celebrations for the King of stage 12 (image credit: LaPresse)

Today was breath-taking, at breakneck speed and full of bad-assery, and the song selection is gonna reflect this! I’m gonna continue the crazy eurodance throwback from yesterday with another earworm that illustrates both the stage layout, the breakaway gaps and the fluctuating hope/doubt for the front duo’s chances for the win today. It was all very Up & Down, wasn’t it?

In the end the duo of Alaphilippe and Maestri was impossible to hold for the chasing groups of riders (Alexa; play Can’t Hold Us, please!). While this was in the Apennine Mountains, I genuinely believe that Swashbuckling Through a French Chateau is how LouLou spends his free time (to the dismay of a certain grumpy team owner) and today he could roar an emphatic I’m Still Standing to his critics and doubters as the super showman of the peloton finally got his stage win in his debut Giro.

He couldn’t have done so without his breakaway companion in Mirko Maestri, and while the Kaizer’s Orchestra song clearly has a typo (i and o are so awfully close together, no?), he definitely deserves an anthem dedicated to his name, and now he has one!

It did, to most sane people, look like another futile bravado move when the two of them went away with 130+ km to go, but they kept the collaboration rolling, kept riding strong all day, and once they hit the 20% inclines of the final climb, we were suddenly transported back in time to when Julian was the king of Mur du Huy… He was flying, and though Narvaez and Hermans gave it their all, the French superstar showed us all why he is so loved by all cycling fans as he joined the Grand Tour Grand Slam stage win club. This stage wasn’t won the obvious or easy way, but by gods, it was a captivating ride, and I bet Alaphilippe would proudly say he won this stage “My Way”!

Social Media Antipasti

A couple of nice posts to round off this Issue, as the social media teams start to up their game.

First up, this amazing photograph of some of the riders from this year's Giro, apparently back to social distancing (whilst looking moody) in an amphitheatre. Standard!

 And Jens Voigt explains how to make a rice krispie bar... because... of course he does?

THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR READING - if you made it this far. We hope you're enjoying the content, please join us again for three more lovely juicy stage round-ups on Sunday.

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