The pineapple scandal
Mathieu van der Poel (27, Ho) was one of the great Giro stars. He won the first stage and wore the Maglia Rosa for three days. Most importantly, it sparked a heated, witty debate. First there was a photo showing the Dutchman in the team bus with a pizza. “Olives are missing,” commented a journalist on Twitter. Van der Poel corrected him: “pineapple”. Pineapple on a pizza? A mortal sin for many Italians! Almost everyone took it with humor, from then on the prickly fruit was present everywhere, including at the side of the track. After the Giro, Van der Poel finally got his Pizza Hawaii.
The Sprint Dino can still do it
Horror falls, injuries, burnout and depression: many thought Mark Cavendish (37)’s clock had long expired. Not even close! After beating Eddy Merckx’s Tour record (34 wins) in 2021, he celebrated his 16th Giro victory in Italy – 9 years after the last triumph.
The shark bit out
There are only seven riders who have won the three Grand Tours (Giro, Tour de France, Vuelta). One of them is Vincenzo Nibali. The 37-year-old, also known as the “Shark of Messina” because of his hometown, was granted a victory with his last fin kick – but with fourth place in the overall ranking he still proved his class.
That was obvious
There was probably nobody who wasn’t happy with Biniam Girmay after the 10th stage. No wonder: the 22-year-old was the first black African to ever win a Giro section. “I want to be an example for all Africans,” he said. But the euphoria was quickly overshadowed by pain. Why? On the dais, Girmay opened the Prosecco bottle so awkwardly that the cork popped into his left eye. The result: bleeding in the anterior chamber of the eye. He gave up the Giro. After all: Girmay does not have to fear any permanent damage.
Can’t get any tighter
In the 6th stage, Arnaud Démare (30, Fri) celebrates perhaps the narrowest Giro victory in history in a sprint. He beat his opponent, the Australian Caleb Ewan (27, Aus), by a few centimetres. “I had luck on my side,” says Démare. Probably true.
The Wheel Freak
Fernando Gaviria (27) was the strongest during the mass sprint in Messina (5th stage). But: His material obviously failed, he couldn’t shift into the highest gear. The consequence? He was only second. Gaviria’s reaction at the finish: “What a shitty bike!”
tears of a friend
Frenchman Romain Bardet (31) made an irresistible impression during 12 days of the Giro. Only 14 seconds separated the Bergflea from the Maglia Rosa. But the heat and a gastrointestinal virus brought Bardet to his knees, and after a night on the toilet he gave up. “We promised each other nice things before the Giro. And now that. We are friends – it hurts so much,” said his DSM teammate Romain Combaud (31) with tears in his eyes.
The star of Mauro Schmid (22) rose a year ago at the Giro, he won a stage. And this time too things were looking good: on the ascent to the Santuario di Castelmonte, the man from Zurich was the strongest of the five breakaway group. But then, at the last corner before the finish, Schmid left a small gap. Koen Bouwman (26, Ho) stabbed mercilessly and won, Schmid was second. At the finish he said angrily: “It wasn’t a fair sprint.”
Corona still exists
The virus is no longer a big issue – one thought. Before the 18th stage, Portugal’s young star Joao Almeida (23) had a bad sore throat during the night. In the morning there was bad news – positive. He had to leave the race and isolating himself in the hotel room.
Giro winner meets parents again after two years
The Giro was held 105 times. And now there was the first winner from Australia. Jai Hindley (26) makes history. Very special: He met his parents again in the Arena of Verona after more than two years. The corona lockdown had separated them. “I am overwhelmed. And when I come back to Australia one day, I will enjoy every second, »said Hindley.