By Laurence Guttmann
We’ve just witnessed one of the most thrilling conclusions to the Giro d’Italia in its history. Just a few days ago, it looked like the ‘human coat hanger’, Steven Kruijswijk, would claim a surprising yet deserving victory. With only three stages remaining, Vincenzo Nibali languished in fourth place, 4:43 down – almost an eternity in a grand tour. In a devastating show of strength, panache and experience, and with a little luck (which is always necessary), Nibali managed to overrun Kruijswijk, Valverde and Esteban Chavez, to claim his second Giro d’Italia title. In the end, he wasn’t a surprising victor but it was a very surprising, and thrilling, victory.
With the excitement of the race still bubbling briskly, it seems timely to look ahead to next year. The 2017 Giro d’Italia will be the 100th edition of the event – a milestone that will be celebrated by organisers, riders and fans. As such, we can expect to see the most iconic climbs of the Giro’s history to be tackled by cycling’s greatest.
It’s always been a great race but the Giro d’Italia has often been viewed as the second grand tour after the Tour de France. While numerous GC contenders have attempted the Giro-Tour double, it’s not since Pantani in 1998 that it was last achieved. These days, the ‘double’ is generally considered too hard (although that doesn’t stop people trying – Contador attempted it just last year). As a result, some of the best riders have skipped the Giro to save their legs for the Tour. But next year, the celebratory allure of the centenary should attract the best. As Chris Froome said, “I know that 2017 will be a historic Giro and this will be an extra incentive to think about it.”
Alongside Froome, Contador, having shelved his retirement plans for another year, is likely to race, as is defending champion Nibali. And, like a snowball, all of the best will be drawn to the event. Nairo Quintana won’t want to miss the fight. Richie Porte will be looking to finally string three weeks together. The ever-green Alejandro Valverde and the new kid on the block, Esteban Chaves, will want to improve on this year’s exploits. And Steven Kruijswijk will be back for revenge.
We can also speculate about which of Italy’s famous mountain passes will be included. Like the riders, we can expect to see a best-of compilation of climbs from the Giro’s extensive back catalogue. To continue the music metaphor, the Stelvio is the greatest hit – when included, its 48 hairpins almost always come near the end of the race and therefore go a long way to deciding the winner. Other chart toppers include the Passo di Mortirolo, the Passo di Gavia, Monte Zoncolan, Blockhaus, Marmolada, Tre Cime Di Lavaredo, Plan de Corones, Colle delle Finestre and Mount Etna. It will be impossible to fit them all in but Giro organisers will do their best and you can be sure there will be a lot of climbing.
The climbs, the riders and the spectacle can only truly be appreciated in the flesh. Mummu Cycling will be offering a range Giro d’Italia cycling tours for the 2017 edition. Being present at the 100th Giro d’Italia will be a truly memorable event for any cycling fan. Get in touch with Mummu Cycling today to organise your dream Giro cycling tour.