If you were settling in for a game of Giro bingo today as the riders lapped Rome on the final stage, you won’t have been disappointed.
Chris Froome on a pink bike – check. Sprint finish described as “gladiatorial” – check. Froome as the new “Roman Emperor” – check. Team Sky coasting across the finish line band-of-brothers style – check. Limited edition Rapha kit for the occasion – check. Lingering shot of the trophy engraver, mid-engrave – check.
After the punishment of the mountains during the last week it was like watching a different bike race.
Such was the change of pace, in fact – a processional stage and a peloton of riders with a few thousand kilometres in their legs – I’m pretty sure I could have comfortably sat on and ridden in the wheels.
When the inevitable sprint came, Viviani’s Quick Step lead out train resembled HTC Highroad back in the glory days of Cav, on the Champs Elysees, in 2009.
Hitting the final kilometre Vivian had three teammates in linear formation.
They were delivering him with precision, for his adoring public.
He launched, on the shiny city cobbles of the finishing straight. He hopped and skipped and slithered around looking for traction. And Sam Bennett, working to a different script, powered past for the win.
Final Score: Viviani 4, Bennett 3.Embed from Getty Images
And the 2018 Giro wasn’t the occasion when the law of averages kicked in and the leader of a Grand Tour hit the deck on the final procession, broke a leg, and failed to finish (it’ll happen one year…mark my words).
In celebration, you would hope Froome hit the nightlife of Rome post-stage, for a pizza and six or seven Peronis.
A pub crawl, Team Sky style.
The bars were recce’d thoroughly six months ago; bespoke, wind-tunnel tested evening wear was worn; and the whole team were forced to warm down on turbo trainers before they could pass out in their hotel rooms.
Perfectly choreographed, beautifully executed fun.
(Image: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5/deed.en via Wikimedia)