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May 30, 2016
The Giro d’Italia was full of drama in the final stages and now that it’s over we can take a 30,000-foot view to see how the general classification unfolded.
Nobody could have predicted that Steven Kruijswijk who was leading the race by three minutes would crash and lose the maglia rosa to Esteban Chaves, and likewise with Vincenzo Nibali taking the lead in stage 20. After what looked set to be a comfortable overall victory for Kruijswijk, the Giro had been turned on its head. In the space of two stages, Kruijswijk had dropped from first to fourth, Chaves had gone from second to first and back again, Valverde went from fourth to third then back to third, and Nibali went from fourth up to first.
Perhaps the largest rise in GC throughout the Giro was Etixx-QuickStep’s Gianluca Brambilla who went from 81st position to holding the overall lead after his day-long breakaway victory on stage 8. Another mention goes to the Colombian from BMC, Darwin Atapuma who broke into the top 10 in the final week after a steady rise from the bottom of GC.
In fact, you can see many of the pure climbers rose from the bottom of the GC to the top third after stage 4 and pretty much held steady from stage 14 onwards. This is of course not a revelation, but interesting to see an aggregated view. It’s easy to see why the likes of Marcel Kittel, Andre Greipel and Caleb Ewan went home in the first half of the race.
You can see that Nibali and Valverde shadowed one another for nearly the entire race and were nearly inseparable in the GC standings with only a few seconds between them at any moment. The same can be said of Chaves and Kruijswijk.
The most erratic rider in the top 25 of the GC rankings looks to be Mikel Nieve who was playing a different game and fighting it out with Damiano Cunego for the mountains classification.
The chart below shows up to the top 25 riders in the 2016 Giro d’Italia general classification and looks at their path towards the final stages in Turin. Have some fun looking around.
For another excellent view of how the race played out, have a look at VisualVelo.com.