After the three stages of the Giro d'Italia in the Netherlands, the overall classification is still very close but has given a first indication of how the rest of the race could evolve and how the main overall contenders will perform.
Just like in Italian schools, the Gazzetta dello Sport newspaper has published their report card on the leading Giro contenders, giving them marks out of ten. Anything above six is considered sufficient but anything below that is considered a failure.
Lead columnist Paolo Condo' also wrote some colourful comments about each rider that describes how they have performed so far in the Giro.
Alexandre Vinokourov (Astana): race leader
Marks out of ten: 8
"Vinokourov is like a wolf that hides in the bushes but is able to strike hard and fast at exactly the right time. At 36 he's able to understand his rivals like an old sailor and seems to be getting even stronger as the race goes on. A lot of people think he'll struggle on the steep climbs in the final week, but the Alps is the terrain of wild wolves as they store reserves for the winter. His ice-cold eyes are scary."
Ritchie Porte (Saxo Bank): 2nd at same time
Marks out of ten: 7.5
"He's second only by 18/100 of a second and is the real revelation of the start of the Giro. He's a strong time trialist and has a strong team to back him up. He hopes to win the white jersey (of best young ride) this year but hopes to win the pink jersey in the future."
Ivan Basso (Liquigas-Doimo): 14th at 18 seconds
Marks out of ten: 7
"He hopes to limit his losses in the Netherlands but arrived in Italy with most of his rivals behind him. He's riding strongly but without taking any crazy risks. He's a virtual race leader in waiting."
Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas-Doimo): 4th at 5 seconds
Marks out of ten: 7
"He was a late entry at the Giro but could take the maglia rosa in the team time trial. The Terminillo is like a Tour de France climb and so everyone better watch him, including teammate Ivan Basso."
Michele Scarponi (Androni Giocattoli): 11th at 16 seconds
Marks out of ten: 6.5
"He's using his relaxed attitude to race wisely. This could be the Giro of his life and everything he is doing indicates he could be on track for glory."
Cadel Evans (BMC) 24th at 43 seconds
Marks out of ten: 6
"He fought like a lion on the good day to Utrecht and on the bad day to Middelburg. Yet when the race became hard, he was suddenly on his own. The doubts about the BMC team are increasing and nobody has ever won the Giro without a team."
Bradley Wiggins (Team Sky) 55th at 4:22
Marks out of ten: 5.5
"His time trial win in Amsterdam was amazing but nothing has gone right since then. The first crash may have been somebody else's fault but allowing yourself to be caught out on other occasions is his fault."
Carlos Sastre (Cervelo TestTeam): 43rd at 1:40
Marks out of ten 4.5
"Even if he'd been on the Titanic, he wouldn't have fought for a place on a lifeboat. He doesn't like fighting for a place at the front and is waiting to jump away on his own in the mountains. It's just a pity he will start with a 100-second handicap."
Damiano Cunego (Lampre-Farnese Vini): 50th at 2:07
Marks out of ten: 4
"He's lost seconds everyday, like a leaking bidon. Perhaps it will help him go on the attack later in the race, it may even be a tactic, but it's disappointing to see."
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