Starting in Belfast, ending in Dublin, the race travelled across Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland. The opening team time trial in Belfast set the general classification with Orica-GreenEDGE specifically building a team around this opening stage and stacking the team with TT specialists. It was a gamble that paid off because the Australian team took the victory by five seconds and gifted the maglia rosa to Svein Tuft on his birthday and have held onto it ever since.
Orica-GreenEDGE Michael Matthews wasn’t able to beat sprint favourite Marcel Kittel in the stage 2 bunch kick, but he was good enough to get 8th place which earned him the honours of moving into the overall race lead and wearing the pink jersey.
In stereotypical Irish weather the race made its way down to Dublin, but neither the course nor the weather was able to break up the race and upset the sprinters. It’s not a race stacked with sprinters and sprint teams, but Nacer Bouhanni, Vlia Viviani, and Ben Swift are challenging Kittel. In stage 3 however, Kittel recovered from a bad position to come back and take an impressive win in the same manner that hasn’t been seen since Robbie McEwen did the same on stage 1 of the 2007 Tour de France.
You can catch up on the full 2014 Giro d’Italia race results here.
Here are some photos which capture the landscapes, atmosphere and racing from the Giro’s visit to Ireland.