Across a thrilling three weeks, from the coast of Emilia Romagna to the peaks of the Dolomites, the Giro d’Italia revealed again why it is one of cycling’s most beloved – and beautiful – races.
The race was book-ended by time-trial victories from Filippo Ganna, and across the three weeks showcased a stunning return to form for Egan Bernal, a crowd-pleasing second place for underdog Italian Damiano Caruso, numerous breakthrough stage wins for riders, and the full spectrum of weather conditions.
The gaze of the cycling world will now move on to the Dauphine, Romandie, the Tour. But before we bid farewell to Italy, let’s take a behind-the-scenes look back at the Giro d’Italia.
The photos you see below come courtesy of Jered and Ashley Gruber, and Cor Vos.
Hey look, it’s Yukiya Arashiro! Looking forward to the Giro, Yukiya? Great stuff! Me too! I bet it’ll turn out well for your guy Mikel Landa. I’ve got a great feeling about him this year. Is there a more quintessentially Italian vehicle than the Fiat Panda, a four-wheeled-drive titan of the roads? Ah yes, this stupid thing. Here’s another one. How rustic. I don’t know if there’s an Italian version of Mr Bean, but if there is, I have to believe that one of these is getting tipped over for comic effect multiple times per episode. A very fine early Giro dog that belongs to the aforementioned Yukiya Arashiro and his wife, photographer Miwa Iijima. The town of Notaresco now has a country-wide monopoly on pink umbrellas, its decorative decisions having plunged the broader economic region into a pink-polyester shortage. Bahrain-Victorious were doing their best on the social media front. Here’s the classic ‘GoPro through the sunglass lens’ manoeuvre. #nailedit In this edition of #shitstatueofemiliaromagna, we see a giant giving a semi-trailer a piggy-back. Why is this happening? What does it symbolise? I do not have answers to either of those questions. Art™. Roger Kluge pulls up at the finish in Cattolica, on stage 5, to rewatch Caleb Ewan’s stage win. Some bold spectator clothing choices on the Zoncolan. A neck crack so potent that it split a glove in half. Damiano Caruso welcomes warmth, hope and improbable team leadership into his life, stage 11. Also on stage 11, Edoardo Affini rewards himself with a crisp litre of full-cream 750ml serving of B-Better Immunity Water, “a sip that’s so much more than water, but still low in calories: thanks to its refreshing taste of orange and ginger”. After breaking his long streak of not winning at the Giro d’Italia on stage 13, Giacomo Nizzolo poses in front of a fan banner featuring two more Giacomo Nizzolos. He is truly the tricampioni of the public’s hearts. You can trace the contour lines of the Giro d’Italia on Dan Martin’s legs. Bauke Mollema is either confused about a trophy or doesn’t care for the photographer’s vibe, not one bit. Another day in paradise. A thoroughly unimpressed pinto surveys the race. The penile pinecone and structural integrity of the lower torso of this snowman has me concerned, just quietly. Big Statler & Waldorf vibes (but with a wistful tinge of ageing continental romance). This old boy, immaculately dressed to watch some cycling from a traffic island, gives me heavy nostalgia for a place I’ve never been. Ditto here. Smell the engine oil and Old Spice; hear the reassuring scritch of rectangular pencil on lumber; feel the rustle of Werther’s Original wrappers in his pocket. A grizzled old gent eyes off a pair of Bardiani riders, pondering the age-old question – “cyclist or eggplant?” – and liking neither answer. Evocative, that’s what this is. A confident stroll through the dust in some comfortable shoes with a big purple umbrella and a bottle in the pocket. Oh, to be a man of a certain age in Italy. Gosh, the Grubers are good at their job. Here’s one of them now, enjoying some sort of regional sandwich. Daniel Oss – tall, hairy, Italian – is a crowd favourite. Here he is, jostling with a spectator for an air-horn that I really hope he carried to the finish line, laying waste to eardrums all the way. I have nothing of value to contribute here, other than “EF Pro Cycling knows how to put together a vibe at the Giro”. Alexis Gougeard (foreground) and an enormous pile of lumber (background) on stage 17. Alberto Bettiol has a headband and knows just what to do with it. Angry motivator, Dani Martinez, in the moment that launched a thousand memes. George Bennett rode a simultaneously quite good and slightly disappointing Giro to finish 11th overall on the GC. On stage 16, he carried a bag of treasures all the way to the finish line. What was inside? A can of L&P? A bag of Pineapple Lumps? A tub of Hokey Pokey icecream? We don’t know, and George isn’t sharing. We interrupt this gallery to bring you a selection of pictures of Filippo Ganna’s excellent dog, Mia, who visited him at the stage 20 start in his hometown of Verbania. Verbania, on the shores of Lake Maggiore, is famous as the hometown of someone who was briefly – and then quite suddenly not – the oldest person in the world (Emma Morano, 1899-2017). Ganna is now the town’s golden child … … although, obviously, I’d like to see Mia climb the rankings. What a Good Girl. Look at her! Look at him! Oh, to be a dog/dog-owner, separated by three weeks of bicycle cycling and then brought together again in front of the cameras of the world. Excellent dog, excellent on-theme leash/ribbon thingy, excellent owner. … I think I want a dog. Egan Bernal expertly casts a musette at the feet of a fan, in a UCI-approved fashion and location. That’s why he’s the best in the biz. Amanuel Ghebreigzabhier, Eritrea’s national time trial champion, is a blur in a wall of print media. Greta Garbo and Monroe/ Dietrich and DiMaggio/ Marlon Brando, Jimmy Dean/ On the cover of a magazine. Don’t just stand there, let’s get to it/ Strike a pose, there’s nothing to it/ VOGUE. Peter Sagan and his son Marlon fire a t-shirt cannon (I hope) into the crowd. Story time: in 2009, a lean and spiteful younger version of me visited the city of Milan with my friend Andy. We stayed in a hotel near the Duomo called the Diablo (reviews as a 4.4/10, which seems generous). It had an implausibly tall toilet, an open shower that drained down a tiled ramp into the middle of the room, and a tiny sink with an enormous tap. There was a noise curfew, there were cigarette butts littered across the roof outside the window, and Andy and I would lie there in oppressive summer heat on single beds next to each other and try to understand the skin-heavy Italian TV game shows that we watched, while not speaking a word of Italian. On the second day of our stay in Milan, we went for a walk to the Duomo. Big white cathedral in a square – can’t miss it. In a brief and stressful few minutes, Andy got conned into holding bird seed, then had a gazillion pigeons land on top of him, got quite badly scratched, got shat on, and then got bullied into paying the man with the bird seed quite a lot of money. It was the best thing that happened to me in Milan. And for that reason, I am including these two pictures of the Duomo, one without pigeons (great) and one with (even better). FIN