Bassano del GrappaIljo Keisse won the final stage, and as our amigo Dave is won’t to say at this stage; “our creds are no good to us now.”

Just a curiosity on the windscreen; the Giro is won and lost, Contador confirmed as one of the all time great stage racers.

He’s won all three Grand Tours – one of only six men in history to do so, along with Nibali, Gimondi, Anquetil, Hinault and Merckx.

Iljo Keisse
Alberto Contador, winner of the 2015 Giro d’Italia. Photo©Martin Williamson

He stands fourth in the all time Grand Tour winners list;

  • Merckx has 11
  • Hinault 10
  • Anquetil 8
  • and Bert has 7 (but if you add in the two where he was declassed it’s 9).

He’s had;

  • 23 days in pink (with 13 ‘lost’)
  • 11 in yellow (with 6 ‘lost’)
  • and 26 in red as Vuelta leader.

Meanwhiles, Aru dreams of next year and Landa rings his agent.

Iljo Keisse
Fabio Aru came back from problems to finish second. Photo©Martin Williamson
Iljo Keisse
Mikel Landa Meana has always been good. Photo©Martin Williamson

Up in the Flatlands, sales of Jupiler in Gent go through the roof, Iljo gets the freedom of the city and Patrick Lefevere breathes a huge sigh of relief.

Iljo Keisse
Iljo Keisse in flight. Photo©Martin Williamson

Uran’s Giro was a disappointment but the man was ill in the first week and we saw his real worth late in the race. He’s hugely popular with the fans is Rigoberto – but not as popular as Luca Paolini who’s the ‘Selfie King,’ he must have had hundreds taken after the race, yesterday.

Iljo Keisse
Rigo Uran came out of the Giro better than he went in. Photo©Martin Williamson

But back to the actual race today; the route from Torino to Milano was as bland as you could get but Radio Nostalgia was cool and our coffee stop was a cracker.

The Milano circuit was similarly bland and it’s one aspect where the Giro doesn’t quite get it right.

Iljo Keisse
The circuit wasn’t great but the racing was. Photo©Martin Williamson

The Tour’s finishing circuit across some of the most famous tarmac and cobbles on the planet speaks for itself.

The Vuelta’s finish in the heart of Madrid past the art museums and fountains is fabulous.

But the Giro’s route through anonymous low rise and shops just does not inspire.

The race a was a cracker though; not the usual sprintfest – a cliffhanger with a classy and heroic winner.

Iljo Keisse
Iljo Keisse leads Luke Durbridge. Photo©Martin Williamson

There are a number of reasons that ‘Durbo’ and ‘Eeel-yoh!’ succeeded; not least of which was that they are both fast, classy boys; but the sprinter teams were playing poker, hoping the ‘other boys’ would chase – and of course, they didn’t.

Iljo Keisse
The main sprinter teams played poker. Photo©Martin Williamson

And the other major reason is that most riders are wasted and just don’t have the watts left to mount a concerted chase.

Iljo Keisse
Matteo Tossato. Photo©Martin Williamson
Iljo Keisse
Hugo Houle. Photo©Martin Williamson
Iljo Keisse
Przemysław Niemiec. Photo©Martin Williamson
Iljo Keisse
Luka Mezgec. Photo©Martin Williamson
Iljo Keisse
Sergio Henao. Photo©Martin Williamson

Iljo was too cute and too fast for Durbridge and QuickStep’s Giro was saved.

But the man in third spot deserves a mention – IAM’s big Roger Kluge.

Every day in the mountains we’d see big Rodge battling with gravity, well down the field -last, in fact, a couple of times.

I even gave him a wee push on the Finestre.

And here was a day later out-dragging Nizzolo (who secured the red jersey), Mezgec, Viviani and Hofland – albeit the fastest guys can’t really get their head around sprinting for anything other than the win.

Iljo Keisse
Roger Kluge gets a little assistance. Photo©Martin Williamson

And spare a thought for Trek’s Coledan, Bert got round Italia in 88 hours and 22 minutes – for Señor Coledan as last man it took an additional six hours and 40 minutes.

Iljo Keisse
Alberto Contador is firmly on the all-time greats list. Photo©Martin Williamson

It just remains for the Gazzetta to dish out ‘end of term marks’;

  • Alberto 10
  • Fabio 9.5
  • Mickey 9
  • PhilGil and Tiralongo 8.5
  • Modolo and Kruijswijk 8
  • Formolo, Hesjedal, Visconti and Ulissi 7
  • Uran 6.5
  • Basso 5
  • and – Sir David isn’t going to like this – Richie 4.5.

Best give this hire car a wash before returning it …

Ciao ciao!