The first nine stages of the 2016 Giro d'Italia have offered up plenty for discussion and set the scene for the remaining two weeks of racing with Gianluca Brambilla (Etixx-Quick Step) holding the maglia rosa with the majority of pre-race general classification favourites still in contention.
Three riders have now worn the leader's pink jersey with seven individual stage winners. German sprinters Andre Greipel and Marcel Kittel are the only multiple stages winners at this point in the race while Tim Wellens, Gianluca Brambilla and Primož Roglič have all enjoyed debut grand tour stage wins.
With today a rest day, it's a prime opportunity to re-live the opening stanza of the Giro with video highlights from all nine stages.
Stage 1: Apeldoorn (ITT), 9.8km
For the second time in the Giro's history, the Italian grand tour started in the Netherlands where local favourite Tom Dumoulin lived up to expectation by winning the stage 1 time trial by less than one second ahead of LottoNL-Jumbo's Primoz Roglic.
To read the Stage 1 race report, click here
Stage 2: Arnhem - Nijmegen, 190 km
Just as Dumoulin delivered on his favourite status, Marcel Kittel lived up to the hype as the German won his first grand tour stage for Etixx-Quick Step in a dominant display of sprinting power ahead of FDJ's Arnaud Démare. The win also saw Kittel close into within one second of former teammate Dumoulin's overall lead.
To read the Stage 2 race report, click here
Stage 3: Nijmegen - Arnhem, 190 km
Marcel Kittel won his second stage of the 2016 Giro to take his personal tally to four overall without ever racing in Italy. The German's stage win also saw him move into the pink leader's jersey ahead of the transfer to the south of Italy with a rest day to enjoy his bounty.
To read the Stage 3 race report, click here
Stage 4: Catanzaro - Praia a Mare, 200 km
First stage back on Italian soil, first Italian winner as Diego Ulissi finished off a day of teamwork by Lampre-Merida. Ulissi won the fifth Giro stage of his career thus far courtesy of a late attack and held his nerve to hold off a fast finishing group of general classification riders including Dumoulin who picked up bonus seconds with his second place finish.
To read the Stage 4 race report, click here
Stage 5: Praia a Mare - Benevento, 233 km
Andre Greipel extended his stint of winning a stage in every grand tour he's started since 2008 as the German simply proved to be too strong and too powerful in the sprint to Benevento. Greipel lead out the sprint, and just like compatriot Kittel, left his rivals in his wake for Lotto Soudal's first win of the race.
Dumoulin finished safely in the main group to hold onto the pink jersey ahead of the first GC test of the race to Roccaraso.
To read the Stage 5 race report, click here
Stage 6: Ponte - Roccaraso, 157 km
Tim Wellens gave himself a late birthday present with the Belgian rider riding to his first win in a grand tour. Having turned 25 on stage 4, Wellens also gave his team reason to celebrate with its second stage in as many days. Wellens rode away from his breakaway companions and enjoyed enough of a lead that he could lift his bike over his head after crossing the line.
Behind Wellens, the GC men were testing each other for the first time with Astana's Jakob Fuglsang kicking things off on the final 18km climb. Teammate Vincenzo Nibali was next to launch his attack but faded before Dumoulin launched an attack that would see him gain more time on his rivals and extend his overall lead.
To read the Stage 6 race report, click here
Stage 7: Sulmona - Foligno 211 km
Andre Greipel won his second race of the Giro and third straight for Lotto Soudal as Marcel Kittel was struck down by a flat tyre. Caleb Ewan lead out the sprint in his distinctive aero tuck position before Greipel, Sacha Modolo and Giacomo Nizzolo buzzed past with the German having enough time to raise his arms in celebration.Tom Dumoulin arrived in Foligno with the peloton to retain his pink jersey for another day.
To read the Stage 7 race report, click here
Stage 8: Foligno - Arezzo,186 km
Gianluca Brambilla (Etixx-QuickStep) took the biggest win of his career yet as he arrived solo in Arezzo and was rewarded with the pink jersey from Tom Dumoulin's back as the Dutchman cracked on Alpe di Poti climb. Brambilla, the first Italian to wear pink in this year's Giro, had targeted stage 8 and having made his way into the breakaway, was then set up for the win by teammate Matteo Trentin as he powered away for Etixx-Quick Step's third stage of the race.
Dumoulin was the biggest loser of the GC men as he struggled on the Alpe di Poti when Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) raised the tempo and caused a selection. At the finish line, there was a handful of seconds between the GC men but minor in comparison to what the high mountains of the north will dish up.
To read the Stage 8 race report, click here
Stage 9: Chianti (ITT), 40.5 km
To read the Stage 9 race report, click here
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