Nine stages down and twelve more to come and another rest day, but the first week has fed our Covid-19 need for bike racing. Ed Hood has been tied to the TV in 'Sunny Scotland' watching the 2020 Italian Grand Tour unfold. Here are his thoughts as the peloton enjoys the first rest day.
Ruben Guerreiro out-sprinted his escape partner, Jonathan Castroviejo at the end of a tough stage 9. The stage could have been a GC battle, but the 'Break of the Day' went all the way for a Portuguese win. Another man from Portugal, João Almeida held the overall lead going into the first Giro rest day.
Ex-World champion, Mads Pedersen out-sprinted an elite group at the end of Gent-Wevelgem. Top favourites, Wout van Aert and Mathieu van der Poel, were watching each other and missed the final move. Action packed Flemish racing at its best.
Alex Dowsett, took the Israel Start-Up Nation's first Grand Tour stage win in Vieste. Dowsett was a part of the 'Break of the Day' in-front of a peloton that had decided on a day off. The British time trial specialist attacked on the finish circuit from the group of six and solo'd to the line. João Almeida had an easy ride to hold the overall lead.
After a windy day of echelons and crashes, it was the French national champion, Arnaud Démare who won the bunch gallop into Brindisi and he made it look easy again. Peter Sagan took yet another second place with Michael Matthews in third. The pink jersey stayed with João Almeida.
French champion Arnaud Démare (Groupama-FDJ) battled his way to the front at the end of a chaotic finalé and held off all the others for what he made look like an easy win. The Frenchman also pulled on the points leaders jersey. João Almeida (Deceuninck – Quick-Step) finished in the bunch to hold the overall lead.
Time trial specialist and stage 1 winner, INEOS Grenadiers Filippo Ganna surprise everyone by winning the hilly stage 5 to Camigliatello Silano. The young Italian went with the early break and then left them to solo to the finish. Behind; João Almeida held the pink jersey, finishing in third as the GC men looked at each other.
Do you remember Kuurne and the Het Nieuwsblad back before Covid-19 stopped the 2020 season? Normally they would be the foreplay to the main act of Wevelgem, Flanders and Roubaix, but... Ed Hood takes us from Gent (Iepre/Ypres) over the cobbles and the bergs to Wevelgem before Sunday's race.
A day for the sprinters that was nearly ruined by the climb of the Portella Mandrazzi, in the end the fast-finishers battled it out. On the line, the photo finish equipment was needed to separate Peter Sagan, Arnaud Démare and Davide Ballerini. It was the French champion who was given the victory. João Almeida added 2 seconds to his overall lead, thanks to the intermediate sprint.