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Gallery: The best images from the Giro d'Italia 2021

In-depth
1 Jun 2021
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The best images of the 2021 Giro d'Italia courtesy of Chris Auld

Words: Joe Robinson Photography: Chris Auld

From those who believe that Ed Sheeran is one of the greatest songwriters of all time to those who would rank the recent Mare of Easttown on Sky as one of the best television dramas to grace our screens, recency bias is present in every facet of life.

The cognitive trait which sees us humans favour recent events over those from the past, our beliefs on a given event will often be distored by the sheer fact it is at the forefront of our mind. 

It is forever existent in cycling too.

As the dust settles on the 104th Giro d'Italia and Ineos Grenadier Egan Bernal packs up his first – yet unlikely his last – Trofeo Senza Fine back to his native Colombia for what will be a hero's welcome, many of us will marvel in what we believe to have been an outstanding Grand Tour.

Bernal's victory, Remco Evenpoel's Grand Tour debut, the television blackout on the Passo Gavia, Damiano Caruso doing it for the domestiques, 13 first-time Grand Tour stage winners, Victor Campanaerts and Taco van der Hoorn. Together, these things seems to amount to a race that will have us reminiscing for years to come.

But give it a week, a month, a year and I'm not so sure we will be regaling the tales of the 2021 Giro on a regular basis.

If we are honest, we never had a battle for the maglia rosa. After taking the pink jersey on Stage 9, winning atop Campo Felice in the process, Bernal never looked like giving it up. He flexed his muscles on Stage 11 to Montalcino and obliterated the opposition on Stage 16 over the snowy Passo Giau.

Even in the final week when he showed the slightest of cracks and rumours about that bad back spread like wildfire, he never looked in real doubt, always able to hold pace, give or take, with those closest in the GC fight and with enough of a lead in pink to allow the rope to slacken. We tried to convince ourselves that the fight for pink continued to Stage 20 but let's be honest, it didn't.

And beyond the blackout on Stage 16 to Cortina d'Ampezzo, when bad weather not only saw the Passo Fedaia and Passo Pordoi removed from the race but scuppered live coverage, the race lacked theatre. There were moments, do not get us wrong. Van der Hoorn's victory brought a tear to the eye as did Giacomo Nizzolo finally winning a Giro stage. And Caruso's victory on Stage 20 to Alpe Motta had us on our feet applauding but none will go down as iconic moments of the Giro.

Chris Froome's 2018 solo raid, Stephen Roche's 1987 betrayal of Roberto Visentini, Francesco Moser vs Laurent Fignon in 1984, that's drama. Don't get us wrong, the 2021 Giro was a good Grand Tour but it will not be entering the annals of history any time soon.

Luckily, the Giro's constant saving grace is that it takes place in Italy, the most stunning country in the world. So regardless of what's happening on the road it will always look good.

Want proof? Well here are Chris Auld's best images from the Giro d'Italia 2021: