This year’s Giro d’Italia was an incredibly exciting race which saw eight different riders wearing the pink jersey with eventual winner Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) only taking over the lead on the penultimate stage.
The race started in Apeldoorn in the Netherlands with home rider Tom Dumoulin (Giant-Alpecin) winning the opening 9.8-kilometre time-trial. Marcel Kittel (Etixx-Quick Step) won the following two stages before the race transferred to Italy.
Tim Wellens (Lotto-Soudal) won the first mountainous stage of the race over 157 kilometres from Ponte to Roccaraso with Dumoulin hanging onto pink.
Stage 8 featured the sterrato climb of Alpe di Poti. Gianluca Brambilla took the victory in Arezzo. However, behind him, a battle amongst the general classification favourites commenced.
Dumoulin was dropped, and lost a minute to the other favourites while Brambilla’s advantage was sufficient to give him the pink jersey, the first Italian to wear it during the 2016 Giro.
The lead changed hands again over the following stages with Bob Jungels (Etixx-Quick Step) taking over pink with Andrey Amador (Movistar) also wearing it for a stage before Steven Kruijswijk (LottoNL-Jumbo) moved into the lead.
It looked like Kruijswijk could hang on to win the Giro overall. Stage 19 was the first to head into the high mountains, featuring the Cima Coppi, the Colle Dell’Agnello, and the summit finish to Risoul in France.
On the descent of the Colle Dell’Agnello, Kruijswijk crashed and ended up crossing the line almost five minutes down on Nibali and more than four minutes behind Esteban Chaves (Orica-Greenedge).
Chaves took the maglia rosa with a 44-second advantage over Nibali as Kruijswijk, who would later be diagnosed with a fractured rib, fell to third overall at a minute and five seconds behinds.
Stage 20 was the final decisive stage in terms of the general classification, with three first category climbs on the menu and the steep third category climb to the finish at Sant’Anna di Vinadio. The stage was won by Rein Taaramae with Nibali finishing in 6th place to take over the lead from Chaves. It marked his second overall win in the Giro having also won the 2013 edition.