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Grand Tours have unique personalities, each and every one different from the last as 176 stories unfold, all arriving at their own individual denouements. While the main storylines play out on the broadcast and in the media, plenty more stories go untold – of loyal domestiques quietly going about their business, of sprinters clawing their way up huge mountains to buy themselves the opportunity to have another shot at victory on another day, and of breakaway hopefuls who strike out in search of victory against the odds.

This Giro has been different to every other, and will be remembered for many reasons, and as we reflect on the race over the next couple of weeks, I think it’s fair to say we’ll agree it was a good one. History was made, legacies secured, bright futures promised and comeback trails blazed. The gravity of a Grand Tour that drags you in and holds you in thrall for three weeks releases us back out into the regular world, dazed and little confused, like a technicolour punch that leaves us reeling for a while as we reconcile the vast entity we’ve been drawn into with the rest of the cycling world and maybe even re-emerge into our own real lives.

Just for a little while, though eh? It’s less than five weeks until the Tour de France.

The man of the moment (image credit: LaPresse)

Here’s a round-up of the final three stages of the 2024 Giro.

A relatively short stage with progressively tougher climbs on the profile, but without the category 1 climbs suggestive of a GC day, stage 19 was always going to be a tough day to get in the break, and so it proved, with a couple of major attempts featuring strong riders trying to get away. The first group of riders didn’t stick, but the second one did, and the peloton finally decided to clock off and relax. What resulted was the biggest gap of the Giro so far opening up – it ended up at over 16 minutes. It was a greatest hits group of leaders, all four of them former stage winners looking to add another to their palmares, but when one of the larger breakaway group made it back, little did Alaphilippe, Narvaez, Sanchez and Steinhauser know, it would be he who would have the legs to go all the way.

Andrea Vendrame soloed his way to the second Giro stage win of his career, and the second stage win of this edition for Decathlon-AG2R La Mondiale.

In the GC group there was late drama as Geraint Thomas suffered an innocuous crash a few kilometres from the finish, and though his chain came off he was able to get back to the group, who sportingly waited for him, showing their class by effectively neutralising the race on a day when they had basically made a gentleman’s agreement to do just that.

A wet day in Prosecco country with an Italian duo leading – could the start of stage 20 have BEEN any more quintessentially Giro d’Italia? Pog got pinker prior to the stage, his gradual transformation into the pink panther pretty much complete. The day’s early drama centred around some mysterious arm-rubbing on the part of a discombobulated maglia rosa, but it was explained when we learned that the UAE team car had lost the sunscreen – apparently pink skin from sunburn was a step too far in the race leader’s transformation.

It a day of celebration in the peloton, as rather improbably there were four birthdays being celebrated, plus Ian Stannard in the INEOS team car, but unless you really enjoy over 36km of climbing at upwards of 8% average gradient it probably wasn’t the party these four lucky riders were hoping for.

It had been eight long years since Bardiani had won at the Giro – back then it was a young Giulio Ciccone – now with Lidl-Trek, he went on to the World Tour, and it looks as though yesterday’s animator, also an Italian named Giulio – this time Pellizzari – will go on to reach similar career highs at he bravely attemped to repeat the feat. While his teammate, and oldest rider in the race Domenico Pozzovivo bows out after this Giro, the Giro’s youngest rider Pellizzari has truly made a name for himself, and ensured he would wear the maglia Azzurra on the final day in Rome with a fine solo ride that almost invoked a little bit of hope for a while, that Bardiani might have their underdog moment, but of course, the day would belong to one man.

He had already stated prior to the stage his intention to win and Tadej Pogačar and his team played the day to perfection, domestiques used up one by one as the race leader held his nerve despite clearly itching to attack – it was academic in the end, and he would have his day in front of the incredible crowds, many of them from his home nation. The GC group shattered as Rafal Majka put the hurt on and with 30-odd kilometres left on the stage, Pogi launched, gobbling up Pellizzari and moving into the lead, a majestic ride to the summit of Monte Grappa and down the other side. He even had time to take a bottle from a soigneur and immediately pass it on to a young fan at the side of the road – inspiring the next generation along the way.

Six stage wins, a gap on the overall standings of almost ten minutes – we’ve used and reused every superlative going to describe the achievements of this man, and he’s still only 25. He sealed the deal on a beautiful debut at the Giro d’Italia, raised his bike aloft and tomorrow in Rome, he will relax and enjoy it. Then it’s time to refocus before he heads back to the Tour de France for a shot at the double. In this form, I don’t think anyone will be betting against him.

Sunday’s processional stage 21 in Rome unfolded according to the script, even adding a few flourishes – an impromptu team photo for Movistar, despite not winning a classification, a furry toy in Filippo Ganna’s back pocket, and a guard of honour that turned out to be a team comfort break by UAE Team Emirates. The winning team were in a hurry to get to the business end of the race, prompting senior peloton members Geraint Thomas and Alessandro De Marchi to ride up and ask them to slow down a bit, but once they were onto the circuit,  aside from a classy gesture as 41-year-old Domenico Pozzovivo took a moment to ride out front, in recognition of his incredible 18 Giri on his final stage, everything continued as you would expect.

That was until a crash unsettled the bunch, and later a mechanical threatened to end the chances of the maglia ciclamino, Jonathan Milan. 45 seconds behind the bunch with 6km to the finish line, Milan faced a desperate chase to bring himself back to the front of the race in time for the final sprint, and aided by his teammates and a probably fairly substantial amount of motorpacing, he did get back just in time, only to see Tim Merlier sprint to his third victory of the Giro.

It was a Giro of domination, both in the GC and in the sprints, to a point. Touted as one of the strongest sprint fields at a Grand Tour in recent years, just three riders took victories, with Olav Kooij the only rider to break the Merlier v Milan duel, which ended in three stages wins apiece.

Here are some of snapshots from a day of celebration in Rome.

Throwback Sunday

Stage 19 | 2018 : Venaria Reale to Bardonecchia (Monte Jafferau) (185km)

80-km solo to overthrow Il Giro

Simon Yates has proudly worn la Maglia Rosa since stage 6, claiming it on top of Mount Etna. The Brit even won three stages with this iconic jersey on his shoulders. He’s the top dog of this 2018 Giro, the man to beat.

Stage 19 is the antepenultimate stage of this edition, with the terrible Colle delle Finestre and the 9 final kilometres on gravel roads, the climb being the Cima Coppi this year. Stage is set, time for fireworks!

There were some breakaway attempts to start the stage but the peloton, led by Mitchelton-Scott and Team Sky, was holding them on a tight leash. With Il Giro almost coming to an end, there was something huge on the line, Team Sky, notably, had something in the back of their minds…

With Colle delle Finestre in sight, Team Sky took command of the peloton, riding at quite a high tempo on the lower slopes, eventually catching the breakaway with less than 90 kilometres to go. Then a shocker as halfway through the climb, race leader Simon Yates seemed to be already suffering!

Yates is slowly losing ground on the peloton, while Team Sky intensifies the tempo. The Brit will lose the pink jersey tonight. One Brit suffers, another one thrives. Right at the start of the gravel section, Chris Froome goes solo! Tom Dumoulin, 2nd on GC and virtual Maglia Rosa, Thibaut Pinot and his teammate Sébastien Reichenbach and Richard Carapaz are on the chase. Simon Yates is sinking, 5 minutes down.

While Miguel Angel Lopez joins the chase where Dumoulin is doing most of the work, Froome is flying. Almost a 40-second gap on top of the Colle delle Finestre. On the descent, chasers are losing time by waiting on each other, especially Reichenbach who recently fell and is taking a very cautious approach. Froome doesn’t look back and is almost two minutes clear from the chasers starting Sestrières climb.

On top of the Sestrières, Dumoulin's virtual jersey is only hanging for nine seconds! Froome eventually extends the gap in the descent, he now has three minutes over the chasers. Only Bardonecchia climb left!

Froome left no room for doubt on the last ascent. In his particular pedalling style, the Sky rider won the stage with more than three minutes over the chasers, Carapaz finishing 2nd and Pinot 3rd. Simon Yates eventually finished the stage, but lost around 30 minutes.

A sensational ride from Froome with an 80km solo which remains to this day one of the greatest performances ever witnessed on Giro roads! Froome would eventually go on to win the overall classification by controlling the last mountain stage the day after even taking six more seconds on Dumoulin.

Giro 2018 is Christopher Froome’s last Grand Tour win and probably the most memorable one!

Stage 20 | 2012  Caldes Val di Sole - Stelvio Pass (219 km)

Making his way to the podium in style

With two stages to go on this 2012 Giro, Joaquim Rodriguez is leading the overall classification with a slender gap over Ryder Hesjedal, only 17 seconds. Literally anything can happen today on a stage featuring Mortirolo and ending on this year’s Cima Coppi: Il Stelvio. The Queen stage!

A large group goes clear on the first smaller climb, including yesterday’s stage winner Roman Kreuziger and KOM leader Rabottini, their advantage going over six minutes. As they are starting Mortirolo, the gap is reduced by half. The breakaway started to fall apart on the ascent and riders attacked from the peloton.

Among them is Oliver Zaugg, from RadioShack, who took the lead of the stage alone. Behind him are six riders including Damiano Cunego, 10th overall, and a 25-year old Belgian currently sitting 9th on GC: Thomas De Gendt. They are five and six minutes behind on GC.

With 30km, De Gendt and Cunego’s group eventually caught Zaugg with 30 kilometres to go and the Stelvio approaching. The Belgian and the Italian now have four minutes on the reduced peloton and definitely have their eyes on that podium spot. De Gendt attacks!

Only Cunego and Nieve are able to follow him on the first one. They still stay with him on his second attack. But the third one is dealing the death blow: De Gendt goes solo and now has a five-minute lead on race leader Joaquim Rodriguez! Only 15 seconds more and he takes the overall lead!

In the GC group, it’s all a mess. Rodriguez definitely can’t chase Thomas De Gendt! Shouldn’t Hesjedal try something? He’s only 17 seconds behind on GC? But neither of them seems to be able to catch the Belgian. What a sensational ride from the Vacansoleil rider. Luckily for Rodriguez and Hesjedal, John Gadret attacks at the front, lifting the pace, and they slowly reduce the gap.

De Gendt is undoubtedly the strongest rider today though, no competitors were able to match. He won the stage with almost a minute over Cunego, coming in second and more than three minutes over the GC contenders group, led by Rodriguez. De Gendt now stands 4th overall, less than 30 seconds behind Scarponi in third. And tomorrow is a time trial day…

On top of the overall classification, Hesjedal lost some time today, now being 31 seconds behind Joaquim Rodriguez on GC. But on the final stage, an individual time trial of 28 kilometres, the Canadian rider eventually won the overall classification by 16 seconds, taking advantage of Rodriguez’ sub-par time trialling abilities. He becomes the first Canadian rider to win a Grand Tour.

De Gendt’s win, the day before, combined with his time trialling skills, eventually brought him on the third step of the podium in what remains one the greatest performances of his career. What a crazy couple of days to end this 2012 Giro!

Youtube: from Serge Sergey channel

Stage 21 | 1984 : Soave - Verona (42km)

Another dramatic Italy versus France in sport!

If there’s one Grand Tour that knows how to drama until the very last day, it’s the Giro. While the Tour de France usually decides to finish on a cool, yet suspense-free, procession throughout the many wonders of Paris, the Italian Grand Tour outcome has sometimes been decided in the very last minutes of racing. And 1984 was one of them. Just add a huge backstory leading up to it and I guess we have… What do you call it again? Oh yes… An iconic stage!

The 1984 Giro was a duel between Francesco Moser, the local and fan favorites, and Laurent Fignon, despised by the Italian tifosi because, you know, besides being insanely talented and Moser’s main rival, he’s French.

Moser won the prologue and took the first Maglia Rosa while Fignon claimed it the next day by winning the Team Time Trial. Moser took it back on stage 5, only to give it back to Fignon on stage 19. They were the only two wearers of the pink jersey during this Giro.

So here we are at this last stage, an individual time trial of 42 kilometres, with Fignon wearing la Maglia Rosa and the last rider on the start line. Can you feel the tension? No? Let’s rewind it back a bit then.

What you have to know before this last stage is that the 1984 Giro has been marred with accusations of race organisers favouring Moser. Moser was supposedly seen drafting behind cars and being pushed in the toughest climbs with no sanctions while other riders were being punished for any infraction seen. For example, Fignon was awarded a 20 second penalty for receiving a musette outside the feeding zone. Yes, these are the rules so the penalty is deserved, but the Directeur Sportifs were irate they were not applied to everyone.

Then the Stelvio Pass was cancelled due to heavy snowing while footage (mainly from French newspapers obviously 😏) showed roads were perfectly rideable, supposedly favouring Moser over better climbers and resulting in a collective finish. Roberto Vinsentini apparently quit the race because he thought it was fixed.

Even with these odd (yet unproven) features, Fignon eventually led the race after 20 stages. But the last stage would definitely take this Giro into legend. Fignon eventually lost the last stage to Moser in dramatic fashion.

Moser recently beat the cycling hour-record and his time trialling gear was the best you could find at this time. He started with a special lenticular bike and ended up winning the stage by a minute over Fignon.

Quickly after the finish, Fignon complained about the race helicopter. It was “almost mowing the number off of my back with his rotor blades", Fignon said in his autobiography, accusing it of slowing him down. Moser insisted that only the crowd cheering helped him to find extra motivation and win the stage and the Giro overall classification.

Anyway, we will never know the real truth behind this 1984 Giro, and that’s what makes it iconic. Italians and Frenchs arguing with each other? A tale as old as time!

Youtube: from Lucio Celletti channel

Giro 107

The 107th edition of the Giro has been a memorable one, and our obsession with the number has totally been worth it. We’ve gotten to know many riders who might otherwise not have seen the glow of the spotlight, and witnessed snapshots of stages that have told the story of the race. Sort of. Let’s find out who our final three riders are, to finish 107th, and even more importantly: who was 107th on GC.

Rider 107

By Remi Massart

Stage 19

The end of the Giro is near and the race for 107th is more intense than ever. Pieter Serry is our winner today!

Pieter was born in the city of Aalter on the 21st November 1988. He signed his first professional contract with Jong Vlaanderen-Bauknecht in 2010, before joining the Pro Continental level with Topsport-Vlaanderen-Mercator the following year. Pieter’s third place on De Brabantse Pijl along with his first place in the Youth classification of the Tour of Belgium 2012 caught the eye of Patrick Lefevere, who obtained Pieter’s signature for Omega Pharma-Quick Step. With the Belgian team, today’s 107th posted two beautiful top 10s in the Clasica San Sebastian and Il Lombardia, confirming his great punching abilities. As the years passed, Pieter became a road captain in his team. Since joining QuickStep in 2013, he took part in 7 Vueltas and 10 Giros but also in 16 Monuments. Unfortunately, despite numerous podiums in races such as the Tour of Wallonie, Pieter has never won a non-TTT race. At 35 years old, he could retire at the end of his contract with his almost forever team, in 2025.

Stage 20

Today’s winner has shone on this 107th Giro by already winning three stages. Indeed, it is Jonathan Milan who finished 107th today!

Jonathan was born on the 1st October 2003 in the city of Tolmezzo, in Northern Italy. He started his professional career with Team Friuli, an Italian Continental team linked with Bahrain-Victorious. With them, Jonathan showed his sprinting abilities by winning a bunch sprint in the Giro Ciclistico but he also became the ITT U23 Italian Champion. These results allowed him to become professional with Bahrain-Victorious in 2020 but his first year was marked by COVID, making it even harder for the young Italian. Happily, 2021 saw him raise his arms for the first time as a pro at the CRO Race, after several podiums at the Tour of Poland. Last year, after a stage win at the Saudi Tour, Jonathan took the start of his first ever Giro. He managed to win the second stage, the first bunch sprint of the race, revealing himself to the World. He also took home the Ciclamino jersey after four second place finishes. In 2024, Jonathan Milan confirmed his new stature by winning twice at Tirreno-Adriatico and finishing 5th on Gent-Wevelgem. At this Giro, he already won three bunch sprints and posted two second places, making him the leader of the Ciclamino jersey. He should wear it until Rome, where he will try to bring home a fourth win.

Stage 21

That’s it, that’s the end of this 107th Giro where we had the pleasure of (re)discovering 21 different riders during these three weeks. Our last winner is Movistar’s Albert Torres.

Albert was born on the island of Menorca on the 26th April 1990. The beginning of his career was quite tumultuous with several years spent on the Continental circuit, in South and Central America with team Ecuador and Inteja Dominican. During these years, Albert raced all over the world, from the Dominican Republic, where he won his only professional success, to China, passing by Guadeloupe and Morocco. During this time, Albert also raced on the track, where he became World Champion of the Maddison in 2014. In 2020, after a year without racing on the road, Albert Torres was approached by Movistar, where he posted his first World Tour contract, at the age of 30 years old. He revealed himself as a good teammate, helping his leaders on the flat but also placing his sprinters during the last kilometres. During his four years with Movistar, Albert did not raise his arms but he took part in 4 Giros and 1 Tour de France, being a very good support for his teammates. 

Rider 107 – Nick Schultz

Our chosen rider for the race, Israel-Premier Tech’s Nick Schultz, sadly retired from the race prior to stage 19. Sad times, and we hope all is well and that being our chosen mascot for the race didn’t curse his efforts. A top ten on stage 6 (8th) was his best result and hey, those 35 UCI points are not to be sniffed at! Onto the next Schultzie, and congrats for making it that far!

Vital Statistics

It’s the legend that’s unfolding before our eyes – Tadej Pogačar’s Grand Tour stats at the age of just 25 are something to behold. And that’s before you add in all the Monument victories. Adding the scale of his Giro win this year to these stats and there is no doubt any longer that this is one special bike rider.

What happened at kilometre 107?

A final round-up of incredibly prescient and meaningful things that happened at an incredibly arbitrary point in the race (except not really because GIRO 107!)

On stage 19, the all-star breakaway team head for glory. Stage 20 sees UAE Team Emirates dominating on the Monte Grappa, with the once and future king shining bright in pink. And finally, on stage 21, kilometre 107 was truly representative of the final stage in Rome. The peloton bears down on the breakaway, in the shadow of the Coliseum. What an truly incredible arena for our sport to play out on, right?

I Magnifici Sette

by DJ Momo

Stage 19, 20 and 21

The last 3 stages and the first of them was fun even with the dreadful weather; I especially enjoyed when 4 (one could even call them Four Tops…) previous stage winners of this year’s Giro all formed a breakaway together with Vendrame, who ignored his rider designation as “kinda sprint” and ended up winning the stage, proving that despite being mostly the same riders, Decathlon AG2R have seriously got a New Vibe Who Dis thing going on this season. Some ad for those Van Rysel bikes, eh?

Back in the GC group, there was a nerve-wrecking moment as Geraint Thomas got his wheel clipped and hit the ground, but it was classy to see his main competitors Pogačar and Martinez agree to make the group Wait Up.

Saturday’s monster mountain stage felt like a case of a One More Time replay of so many of this year’s stages, already from the get go. Big fight for the breakaway, break doesn’t get much leash, UAE churns the gap down and Pogi launches, job done, day over. I imagine the other riders in the GC top 10 must feel a bit like they’ve been destined to relive the same painful stage Over And Over in this race, because with the Pink Pogačar bagging 6 stages, several mountain stages have had a touch of History Repeating to them. That doesn’t take anything from the dominant, omnipresent winner of both the stage and the Giro obviously, Tadej Pogačar simply was Unbelievable in this 107th Giro d’Italia.

And then came Sunday and sunny Rome. Where Tim Merlier showed everyone that he has indeed learned some New Tricks lately, one of them being winning the last sprint stage of a grand tour as well as the first one.

Milan’s chase back to the peloton after his mechanical alone was impressive, but him still getting 2nd on the stage was the ultimate Comeback Kid move, even if I think he would have liked to crown his ciclamino jersey (and bike!) with a final stage win too.

With 3 riders winning over half the stages (12/21) and 2 of those winning 3 of the 4 jerseys the song selection has kinda been challenging at times, so I’m gonna turn my attention to some of the other riders of the race for a bit now.

It was super encouraging to see so many Young Folks do well in a variety of ways, stage wins (VPP, Kooij and Steinhauser to name a few), GC performances (like Tiberi, Arensman, Zana and Piganzoli, and Uijtdebroeks who sadly had to leave the race early) and just with sheer tenacity and enjoyment like Pellizzari and Van Dijke. This was also a race that gave me a renewed appreciation for the road captains of the race, because phew, some of those sprint finales were sketchy for the GC guys. Ineos’ “Swifties” - especially Ben Swift - was a beacon of safety and determination all through the race, as he made sure his captains were kept “Out Of The Woods” metaphorically and on the front of the race literally.

And well, this was also a good race for the riders who are Too Old To Die young. Between G podiuming at the tender age of 38, Loulou being the super combatif of the entire race after a long, hard couple of years, Pozzovivo getting 20th overall at the age of 41 and Valgren (Valle, if we stick to slang names) also making it back to his top level two years after his crash… yeah, that’s joyful to watch!

At the end of the race I doubt anyone will blame Tadej Pogačar for doing a victory dance to 2NE1’s I Am The Best, he deserves it. Though I don’t know how So Raise Your Glass Tadej, and celebrate your pink jersey!I imagine that the rest of the riders will probably all be celebrating too. I hope they do!

Lidl-Trek earned themselves another spot on the playlist with their rambunctious reel of 8 Giro worn and glowing riders dancing (partly topless) to Gala’s Freed From Desire, which really seem like must-have components for any party, don't they?

Thank you for this musical Giro adventure. I hope you all enjoyed it.

And yes, I know the playlist is only 99 songs (and Bicycle Race ain’t one) - you’ll just have to imagine how it would have hit the magic 107 song spot if a wider variety of riders had won stages between them, I guess?

All that’s left for me to say is Where Do We Go From Here?

Some riders go on to the Tour, and me? Well, I can honestly say I’m kinda excited for the Dauphiné to start in a week or so… 

Giro Duos

by Sam Mould

As another chapter of the Giro d’Italia is written in history, we bid adieu to the debut edition of the Giro Duos competition. In a fierce display of competition, Ineos Grenadiers emerged victorious, claiming the coveted top spot. Following closely behind were UAE Team Emirates and Decathlon AG2R La Mondiale, securing their places on the podium in second and third positions, respectively. The riders pushed themselves to the limit, displaying unwavering determination and skill throughout the race. Cheers and applause filled the air as the cyclists crossed the finish line, each team giving their all in pursuit of victory. The Giro d’Italia once again proved to be a thrilling spectacle of athleticism, teamwork, and sportsmanship, leaving fans eagerly awaiting the next instalment of this prestigious cycling event.

Animals of the Giro

We have waited and waited and the final mountain stages delivered us animal content of the most unexpected varieties. Behold! A maglia rosa horse, a dinosaur, and a taxidermy fox (a frequent visitor by all accounts).

Social Media Antipasti

We’ve had some quality content over the past few days, let’s look at the best of team Twitter from the past three days.

First, little Juanpe with his tallest teammies.

And a summary of what it's like when everyone's in rain jackets.

And this post featuring a younger Pogi and Giulio Pellizzari, which for me just sums up this Giro in a nutshell.

And so we bid you arrividerci for a final time. If you have read a part of one of our Giro magazines, or if you have read every word of every single one, we thank you (seriously, if you are in the latter camp, we actually literally love you forever). Thank you to our sponsor, DOLAN Bikes, and from me (Katy) thank you to every one of my brilliant contributors who have all worked incredibly hard to bring you what we hope has been entertaining and informative content throughout this year's Giro. Join us again for more cycling fun in future weeks.

Il Giro Sette has been brought to you by DOLAN Bikes.

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