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Giro d'Italia: the final assessment

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Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) wins stage 20

Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) wins stage 20 (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Carlos Alberto Betancur (AG2R - La Mondiale)

Carlos Alberto Betancur (AG2R - La Mondiale) (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Mountains classification leader Stefano Pirazzi (Bardiani Valvole-CSF Inox)

Mountains classification leader Stefano Pirazzi (Bardiani Valvole-CSF Inox) (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma QuickStep)

Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma QuickStep) (Image credit: Bettini Photo)

So the Giro d'Italia finished with the result that everyone could see coming, final GC honours for the home favourite Vincenzo Nibali and another Mark Cavendish sprint win to go with his four previous ones.

It's quite remarkable that given five chances of a stage victory the Manxman won five times but with that kind of success rate it's easy to understand why he has the whole Omega Pharma team dedicated to his cause. When Cavendish is in top form, like he was here, then other teams must weep into their road-books at the suggestion of a bunch kick.

Set against the successes of guys like Nibali, Visconti and Pirazzi you have the relative disappointments of Scarponi and Pozzovivio both of whom never really had any great influence on the race. The Lampre rider showed some glimpses of what could have been now and then but it wasn't anything memorable and little Pozzovivio got overshadowed by his Colombian twin, Betancur. Maybe if it had been sunny and warm things would have been different for them but then that applies to a lot of others also.

Mitigating circumstances for Vacansoleil and Blanco as they at least put guys in the breaks when they could and Kelderman was near the front in the young rider’s classification but FDJ were invisible most of the time. For a WorldTour team their performances and results were dire.

So the five star teams from this years Giro will be Astana, Omega Pharma, Movistar and Bardiani.

Three stars for BMC, Lampre, Lotto Bellisol and Argos Shimano.

Two star performances from Garmin Sharp, Blanco, Colombia, Euskaltel, Radioshack, Saxo Tinkoff and Vacansoleil.

And one star goes to Androni, Cannondale, FDJ, Orica Greenedge and Vini Fantini.

It wasn't a great Giro because it was never a thrilling contest between the main riders but it will be remembered for the epic weather conditions. And the photo best suited to show that has to be of Vincenzo Nibali in the leader’s jersey on the Tre Cime di Lavaredo in the blizzard, that's the historical image.


Robert Millar was one of the last pure climbers of the Tour de France, winning several stages in the mountain stages and finishing fourth overall in 1984. He is also the only English speaker to have ever won the prestigious polka-dot jersey climber's competition jersey.

Millar retired in 1995 but has continued to follow the sport closely. He was often critical of the media and quickly cuts through the excuses and spin to understand why and how riders win and lose.