The second week of the Giro d’ Italia has provided plenty of excitement and drama for cycling fans. It’s been filled with exciting finishes, fantastic performances, and disappointment. The riders are now preparing for the final week ahead in Italy. It will all comes down to the next six stages of the race.
Steven Kruijswijk Is King Heading Into Last Week Of The Giro
Steven Kruijswijk (Lotto NL-Lumbo) has proved to be the man to beat in the pink jersey heading into the final week. His consistent performances this week have carried him to the top of the general classification. Especially his performances on stages 14 and 15. Finishing second on the queen stage, and also on the next day in the uphill time trial.
At the start of the week Kruijsijk was 2 minutes and 15 seconds down, and in 12th place in the race for the Maglia Rosa. However, throughout the week he has rode brilliantly to climb the charts and eventually put himself at the top.
On stage 10 he moved himself up into fourth place in the GC, gaining eight spots in one day. The stage was one for the breakaway with Giulio Ciccone (Bardini CSF) winning. Bob Jungels (Ettix-Quick-Step) found himself in the Maglia Rosa at the end of the day.
The next day featured an exciting finish, as Diego Ulissi (Lampre-Merida) won his second stage of the race. Jungels finished third and retained his lead. Kruijswijk held on to fourth place just behind Andrey Amador (Movistar) and Aljeandro Valverde (Movistar)
Stage 12 featured a pancake flat course that was won by Andre Griepel (Lotto Soudal) in the final sprint. The GC standings remained the same in the top 10 after the days action.
Mikel Nieve (Team Sky) took stage 13 with a brilliant ride, a win that was much needed for Team Sky. Amador was the new leader at the end of the day, and Movistar now had riders in first and fourth place overall.
The following day was the queen stage which featured six climbs and a total rise and drop of 4,700 meters. It all came down to a final sprint at the line as Esteban Chaves (Orica-Greenedge) took the stage. Right behind him was Kruijswijk, who took the Maglia Rosa for the first time. Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) remained 41 seconds down in second place, and Chaves was now sitting in third.
On Sunday the week of racing came to a close with an uphill time trial of 10.8 kilometers. The stage proved to be difficult for some, and rewarding for others. Kruijswijk nearly won the stage, as he finished in second place, just a fraction of a second behind winner Alexander Foliforov (Gazprom-Rusvelo). This helped to solidify his lead in the overall standings.
Nibali had one the worst days out of the main GC contenders. His chain slipped during the time trial and was forced to change bikes, losing 2 minutes and 10 seconds in the overall standings. This allowed Chaves to move up to second place. Kruijswijk is now 2 minutes and 12 seconds ahead of Chaves, and 2 minutes and 51 seconds ahead of Nibali.
The Week Ahead
With the final week of the Giro ahead. The GC contenders will have their final opportunities to displace each other. The week features two one star difficulty stages, two three star stages, and two five star stages.
Expect the GC contenders to waste no time attacking each other on Tuesday in stage 16. With a uphill finish at the end of the stage. It could be a chance for Nibali to gain back time lost in Sunday’s time trial.
Stages 19 and 20 will be the final chance for those wanting to have any hope of moving up the standings. Both have categorized climb finishes. Stage 19 finishes with a category one climb, and stage 20 finishes with a category three climb. The stage also features four total climbs with descents.
Kruijswijk has proved his climbing ability this week. If he can repeat his performance of this past week the 2016 edition of the Giro should be his. All that stands in his way now is the five stages that lead to the finish in Torino.