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Memories from… the Tuscan gravel roads, 2010: Evans’ rainbow amid mud and rain


The 2010 edition of the Giro d’Italia was one of the most entertaining and exciting in the recent history of the race. Among many other things, it is remembered for the famous breakaway from L’Aquila, on Stage 11, which was the climax of 10 truly electrifying stages. Our memory goes back to Stage 7, the one arriving in Montalcino and featuring several stretches of gravel, in the wake of the great success that the Strade Bianche had been enjoying since 2007.

Conditioned by the rain, the stage featured numerous crashes, including that of Maglia Rosa Vincenzo Nibali in the crucial downhill section just before the gravel roads, a fall which involved most of his team. The atmosphere in the bunch was bordering on anarchy and the work of the flagships proved futile as it was impossible to assist all the riders properly and promptly. In the midst of the mud and water, however, Cadel Evans and Aleksandr Vinokourov were ready to attack and shatter the peloton. In the final forcing in the last 700 metres uphill, it was the World Champion Evans who prevailed, ahead of Damiano Cunego. Nibali, who closed two minutes behind Ivan Basso, lost the Maglia Rosa to Vinokourov.

That stage was voted the most beautiful of the year and boosted the rising myth of the Strade Bianche even further. It is no coincidence that, from then on, the Tuscan dirt roads periodically return to the Giro d’Italia.

That day in Montalcino, and even more so the disastrous stage in L’Aquila, forced Liquigas to change tactics, imposing a second part of the Giro all on the attack, which culminated in Ivan Basso’s second triumph and Vincenzo Nibali’s third place.


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