The 2010 Giro d'Italia was a spectacular feast of intriguing cycling, with intense competition and mystery until the very last days. Every week was difficult for different reasons, which kept fans on the edge of their seat until the end.
With the dust settled on the year's first Grand Tour, Cyclingnews presents a three-part feature that captures each week of the event and displays some of the race's best images, captured throughout Holland and Italy.
In this second part, we look at week two, where the race hit the mountains, a massive breakaway defined the second stanza of the event and rewarded the endeavour of a Giro debutante, while the Italians finally got their first stage winner of this year's edition.
When the dust settled week two set up a massive run to the finish with the race certainly up for grabs.
André Greipel's Giro drought continued in the rain of stage nine (below) as teammate Matthew Goss HTC-Columbia's first stage win of the event in a hectic sprint finish and received the requisite congratulations (above).
Another sprint, another missed opportunity for Greg Henderson... the Team Sky kiwi again suffered misfortune late in stage 10 to Bitonto and was on the back foot heading into the finish (above), which Tyler Farrar won to record his second Giro victory (below).
A Giro debut and the man who would take the best young rider's classification in Verona, Richie Porte, was in pink after stage 11 (above). While the favourites let a dangerous break get more than 11 minutes' advantage, the Australian cashed in on his newcomer status on a day when a Russian prevailed in L'Aquila, which was devastated by an earthquake just last year (below).
The ladies may love him and Filippo Pozzato displays his soft side after winning stage 12 in Porto Recanti, the first by an Italian at the 2010 Giro (above).
The Giro is all about passion, as demonstrated by Manuel Belletti at the end of stage 13... Unlucky for some, lucky for others, including the Italian, who sprinted home to win on home turf and the home of the late Marco Pantani (above). The emotion was obvious (below).
The revered Monte Grappa beckoned on stage 14 and it lived up to expectations, as the race was blown open and Vincenzo Nibali forced the hand of the favourites with a successful late-race attack on the fast, long descent (below), which meant Cadel Evans had to try and peg back the Italian's advantage while teammate Ivan Basso sat on (above).