Well that's the first week of the Giro completed, and it's been a memorable one for all kinds of reasons. The tragic accident that claimed the life of Wouter Weylandt will cast a shadow over the whole race, and Leopard-Trek's decision to pull out is an entirely understandable one. When the racing returned after the neutralised stage, however, it was hammer-and-tongs stuff right from the off, just as it had been before the crash.
In the realms of the road.cc and Evans Cycles Fantasy Cycling, it's been a very interesting week too, with some high scores posted. Let's have a look back over the start of the Giro to see who's done what, and who's in the overall lead moving into the second week of racing.
Stage 1 was, of course, the team time trial, and it was HTC Highroad who lived up to their favourite billing on the day, with dark horses Radioshack running in second and Liquigas third. So if you picked two each from those three teams you were onto a winner, and if you completed your squad with riders from fifth-equal Lampre and Garmin-Cervélo, even better. That's what Dreamers CC did, to net a haul of 72 points, the best of the day.
Stage 2 from Alba to Parma was one for the sprinters, and it was Petacchi who won the day, edging (or nudging, depending on where you're sitting) Mark Cavendish to take the line. Most of our top scorers were backing Cav though, including top scorer on the day All aboard the autobus who racked up 95 points with a bit of help from Ferrari, Belletti, Apollonio and Pinotti.
Stage 3 was, of course, the day that Weylandt fell. But ahead of the tragic crash the racing continued, and it was a big day for David Millar who took the Maglia Rosa, even though he was pipped on the line by Vichioso. Castello di Marley took the honours in the scoring stakes, netting a first Giro century thanks to Millar, Le Mevel and Lastras, among others.
As a result of Weylandt's accident there were no scores for stage 4, and the fantasy racing resumed with the real racing, on stage 5 from Piombino to Orvieto. Pieter Weening was the man who conquered the Strade Bianche to pull on the pink jersey, and Fingers Flyers topped out the stage table, netting 107 points thanks to Weening, Le Mevel, Nibali and Pinotti.
Stage 6 saw Francisco Ventoso take a win from a charging – and then stalling – Petacchi, who eased up metres from the line to hand the Movistar rider the win. Fantasy stage winner Team Leotard - Trek didn't have Ventoso, but they did have Petacchi, and eight other scoring riders. Bandit Racers managed the same trick, and the pair of them tied on an impressive 127 points.
New pro Bart de Clerq of Omega Pharma - Lotto was chased down but not caught by Michele Scarponi on stage 7, winning by a wheel for a famous victory. With eight scoring riders, including Scarponi, Gazpacho were the fantasy stage winners with 126 points.
Stage 8 brought another surprise winner, Oscar Gatto of Farnese Vini-Neri Sottoli. No surprises that Alberto Contador was not far behind though. With a full compliment of nine scoring riders and a best-so-far total of 139 points, it was Scattered pedals who took the fantasy win.
139 points was the top score on stage 9 to Mount Etna, too. Contador blazed away from the entire field to take the win, with Rujano – and everyone else – in his wake. Top scorer kerbader didn't have Contador, but they did have any number of other well placed riders – including Rujano – to post their massive score.
And at the top of the table? Well, at the moment it's all about jauman. 755 points from eight scoring stages is an average of 94 points a stage, more than most of us have managed in any stage so far. They currently have a 28-point lead but it's tight behind the leader, with the next five places separated by just ten points. So there's still everything to play for at the top.
And there'll be plenty to play for this week, too, with spot prizes throughout the weeks stages; even if you're nowhere near the top of the pile you might still walk off with some schwag! To kick things off we're awarding a spot prize to both of our top stage scores for the first week: 139 points is some haul, we think you'll agree. Here's what's up for grabs in week two:
Stage 10 (Tues) Looks like it's made for a sprint this one, but who's the uphill finish going to favour? Pick the stage winner in your team and you're in with a chance of walking off with a prize; we'll pick a winner at random from everyone who has the stage winner in their squad.
Stage 11 (Weds) This one has got breakaway written all over it, but who's going to be showing the peloton a clean pair of heels? If you've picked the rider who's first over the top of the Penna San Giovanni at the halfway point, you're in the hat for a spot prize.
Stage 13 (Fri) Out of Italy and into Austria, a chance for the GC contenders to get their teeth into a really big climb. The spot prize today is for your whole team: biggest points haul of the day wins. If it's a draw we'll decide it on who's got the most scoring riders, and then who's had the fewest transfers in the Giro. And then we'll toss a coin. Fate, eh?
Stage 14 (Sat) The Zoncolan: the most feared climb of the Giro, rated by some pros as the hardest climb of all. Simple then: pick the first man to the top, for the stage win, and you're in with a shout of winning the schwag.
Stage 15 (Sun) Today features the Cima Coppi, the highest point of the 2011 Giro. This year it's the Passo Giau. Double points in the game, and if you pick the first man over you'll be in the draw for a spot prize.
So there you go: five spot prizes up for grabs and you don't need to be troubling the top of the leaderboard to be in with a shout of nabbing one. Good luck!
Dave is a founding father of road.cc and responsible for kicking the server when it breaks. In a previous life he was a graphic designer but he's also a three-time Mountain Bike Bog Snorkelling world champion, and remains unbeaten through the bog. Dave rides all sorts of bikes but tends to prefer metal ones. He's getting old is why.