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 opening part, we look at week one, where the favourites could do anything but work their way into the race; battered by winds and a presented with a nervous peloton, there were crashes, splits in the field and successful breakaways. It set the tone of what was a topsy-turvy event where at times it was every man for himself.
The first bottle of champagne went to Bradley Wiggins (above) after taking out the opening time trial in Amsterdam (below)
Meanwhile, in stage two, Tyler Farrar showed he was the Giro's strongest sprinter by leaving the competition in his wake in Utrecht, having crashed earlier in the day (below). It was the first of two stage wins for the American before he departed later in the race.
A hectic final 10km of stage three in Middleburg saw Wouter Weylandt prevail after the peloton was splintered following a late-race crash. The winds were extreme and the narrow roads didn't help matters either, and several big names were forced to abandon after falling (below).
Back on Italian soil, the team time trial saw Liquigas stamp its authority on the Giro in stage four, while Alexandre Vinokourov lost pink to Vincenzo Nibali after Astana self-destructed in the final kilometre (below).
Stage five saw a slice of bravery on the roads made famous by one of Italy's favourite cycling sons, Fausto Coppi. Experienced Frenchman Jerome Pineau took the stage while the overall contenders scavanged for seconds behind (below).
Australian rider Matt Lloyd showed us what he's made of with a solo stage six victory after a day-long break, while the field continued to fall over its feet behind him. He climbed into the mountains classification lead and stayed there for the remainder of the race (below).
Stage seven in a word: Epic. Cadel Evans won on a day when the maglia rosa fell, there was rain, mud and late-race attacks to contend with... all conducted over the suitably-epic distance of 222km (below).