Sunday 29 May 2011 at 23h30

This afternoon a final time trial in the streets of Milan announced the end of the Giro d'Italia 2011. This 94th edition of the Tour of Italy, which celebrated the 150th anniversary of the reunification of its host country, was dominated by the Spaniard Alberto Contador (Team Saxo Bank-Sungard) who thus won his 6th Grand Tour after 3 Tour de France (2007, 2009 and 2010), one Vuelta a España (2008) and his previous victory in the Giro d'Italia in 2008.

The race route which was meant to be selective with a high number of mountain top finishes and twice as much high mountain stages than flat stages, was maybe just a bit too selective?

How El Pistolero managed to win the Tour of Italy 2011

Right from the 9th stage, which had its finish on top of the Etna, Alberto Contador showed everyone that he was definitely the strongest in the mountains. Accompanied by Michele Scarponi (Lampre-ISD) he went to get back on the leading group before finishing solo on top of the volcano. He thus took 50 seconds on Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas-Cannondale) and 1'07" on Scarponi, the two riders who finally turn out to be his biggest rivals in this Giro.

After a stage for sprinters, the 11th stage was won in a beautiful way by a French rider of the AG2R La Mondiale team, John Gadret, who finally ended on a very nice 4th place overall. In this stage, Contador finished 5th place while Scarponi and Nibali, respectively 8th and 10th, don't lose any time on the Spaniard that day.

Another stage for sprinters which was won by Mark Cavendish (Team HTC-Highroad) preceded the stage which had it's finish in Austria on the Großglockner where Contador leaves the stage win to José Rujano (Androni Giocattoli). This time the Spaniard decided to attack by himself, followed only by Rujano. He doesn't manage to get rid of him and thus decides to collaborate with him and finally even offer him the stage victory, as if he wanted to thank him for the 1'36" gap he managed to create on his main competitors.

During the 14th stage it was the turn for another Spaniard to show his power because Igor Anton (Euskaltel-Euskadi) won this stage on top of the Monte Zoncolan. Alberto Contador first let Vincenzo Nibali do all the hard work to control the gap but finally started the pursuit himself in the last few kilometers. He thus reduced the gap on Anton to 33 seconds, while he also takes -in addition to the bonus seconds- yet another 7 seconds on Nibali and 38 on Scarponi.

Last Sunday it was time for the Queen's stage of this Giro d'Italia, from Conegliano to Gardeccia/Val di Fassa over a distance of 230 kilometers including the climbs of Piancavallo (1,290 m), Forcella Cibiana (1,530 m), the Passo di Giau which formed the roof (cima coppi) of this Giro d'Italia 2011 with its 2,236 meter and the Passo Fedaia (2,057 m) followed by the final climb. This stage took place in quite bad weather conditions and when the main leading groups were taken back it was up to Stefano Garzelli (Acqua & Sapone) to attack solo. Mikel Nieve (Euskaltel-Euskadi) managed to get back on him and even to continue his attack and thus arrive alone in Gardeccia. Garzelli finished 1'41" later while Alberto Contador managed to get away from his main competitors and thus finish seconds ahead of Garzelli and 6 seconds ahead of Scarponi. John Gadret showed once more in this stage to be in good shape by finishing at 2'28" behind the winner and thus 37 seconds behind Contador while Nibali again lost time on the Spaniard by finishing at 1'43" behind him.

After the rest day, Alberto Contador used the individual time trial from Belluno to Nevegal to take some extra time on Nibali and Scarponi: respectively 34 and 38 seconds on the two Italian riders who finished 2nd and 3rd in this individual effort.

The rest of the week was thus not really interesting anymore due to the big time differences which existed after this stage. The top 3 of the general classification never lost sight of each other and thus finished almost every day in the same group. More interesting were the good results of the young Dutch rider Steven Kruijswijk (Rabobank) who showed to be able to follow the big names and thus to deserve his second place in the best young rider classification.

Before the final time trial this afternoon, the time difference between the numbers two Michele Scarponi and three Vincenzo Nibali was 56 seconds while Scarponi was at 5'18" behind El Pistolero. Except big surprises, it was thus more a duel between the numbers 2 and 3 than the final victory of this Giro d'Italia 2011 which was at stake. The time trial was finally won by David Millar (Team Garmin-Cervélo) ahead of Alex Rasmussen (Team HTC-Highroad) and Alberto Contador, Richie Porte (Team Saxo Bank-Sungard) and Yaroslav Popovych (Team Radioshack). Nibali finally took back only 10 seconds on Scarponi.

The suspense the organisor of this Grand Tour wanted to create was thus not really present, at least not as much as last year when I really liked the Giro d'Italia ...

The final classifications of the Tour of Italy 2011


The general classification of the Giro d'Italia 2011

Alberto ContadorAs expected, there were no last minute changes in the general classification of the Giro d'Italia 2011 which was won by Alberto Contador !

Especially the nice 4th and 9th places of John Gadret (AG2R La Mondiale) and the young Steven Kruijswijk (Rabobank) are worth being mentioned.

1/ Alberto Contador (Team Saxo Bank-Sungard) - 84h05'14"
2/ Michele Scarponi (Lampre-ISD) - +6'10"
3/ Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas-Cannondale) - +6'56"
4/ John Gadret (AG2R La Mondiale) - +10'04"
5/ Joaquin Rodriguez (Katusha Team) - +11'05"
6/ Roman Kreuziger (Astana) - +11'28"
7/ José Rujano (Androni Giocattoli) - +12'12"
8/ Denis Menchov (Team Geox-TMC) - +12'18"
9/ Steven Kruijswijk (Rabobank) - +13'51"
10/ Kanstantsin Sivtsov (Team HTC-Highroad) - +14'10"

Classification by points

In the classification by points, it's pretty much the same riders leading.

1/ Alberto Contador (Team Saxo Bank-Sungard) - 202 points
2/ Michele Scarponi (Lampre-ISD) - 122
3/ Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas-Cannondale) - 121
4/ José Rujano (Androni Giocattoli) - 107
5/ John Gadret (AG2R La Mondiale) - 97


King of the Mountains classifcation

Stefano Garzelli wins the King of the Mountains classification, ahead of Alberto Contador and José Rujano.

1/ Stefano Garzelli (Acqua & Sapone) - 67 points
2/ Alberto Contador (Team Saxo Bank-Sungard) - 58
3/ José Rujano (Androni Giocattoli) - 43
4/ Mikel Nieve (Euskaltel-Euskadi) - 39
5/ Gianluca Brambilla (Colnago-CSF Inox) - 29

Best young rider

Roman KreuzigerIn the best young rider classification the winner is a rider who got used to getting white jerseys in several cycling races in the past few years: Roman Kreuziger (Astana). Again the second place for Steven Kruijswijk (Rabobank) is worth mentioning.

For the Czech rider of the Astana team it's the last year he can get a white jersey for best young rider, so no one will be surprised he gave everything he could to keep it ...

1/ Roman Kreuziger (Astana) - 84h16'42"
2/ Steven Kruijswijk (Rabobank) - +2'23"
3/ Peter Stetina (Team Garmin-Cervélo) - +38'41"
4/ Jan Bakelants (Omega Pharma-Lotto) - +43'39"
5/ Bart de Clercq (Omega Pharma-Lotto) - +52'57"

door Thomas Vergouwen
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this publication is published in: Giro d Italia | Giro d'Italia 2011


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