Photos by Yuzuru Sunada
The 2014 Giro d’Italia proved once again that the Italian grand tour features some of the most aggressive racing on the World Tour. It continues to resist the type of clinical, surgical control we have seen teams assert at the Tour de France over the last few years.
The team time trial in Belfast, Ireland was won by Orica-GreenEDGE, putting the Canadian Svein Tuft in pink. He traded the jersey off to the Aussie Matthews the next day, in a repeat of Orica-GreenEDGE’s Tour de France performance last year. Mathews hung on to the jersey until Stage 8, even winning stage 6 in the Maglia Rosa. Matthews handed the jersey off to fellow Aussie and BMC rider Cadel Evans who looked to possibly take commanding control of the race.
On stage 12, the individual time trial to Barolo, the Aussie’s luck ran out and the Colombians would take control of the Maglia Rosa. Rigoberto Uran stunned the former grand tour winner, Evans, with an incredible ride that signaled he was the man to beat.
Uran wouldn’t spend long in the jersey. Another Colombian, the revelation of last year’s Tour, Nairo Quintana of Movistar, would claim the jersey after an epic day on the Gavia and Stelvio. He donned pink amid accusations of poor sportsmanship and an attack under neutral on the frigid descent of the Stelvio. As empty as those claims may have been, Quintana removed all doubt with a dominant performance in pink during the stage 19 time trial and a flawless defense on stage 20’s ascent of the diabolical Zoncolan.
In a race dominated by Aussies and Colombians (Mick Rogers and the young Arredondo helped), with a new Italian revelation named Fabio Aru crowned, and the upstart Bardiani team winning three stages, Quintana was crowned, undisputedly the strongest man, and the Giro’s Fight for Pink once again proved the Italian’s know how to put on a bike race.