Giro d’Italia – Top 10 Time Analysis 1998-2014

This is part of my project to analyse the Grand Tours by looking at the times of the top ten riders in relation to the race leader. This produces some rather lovely graphs which show an interesting picture of the race, showing the time gaps between riders at different stages, the rate of gain they were making at different stages and when they overtook other riders etc.

The graphs should be fairly self explanatory, but I’ve hopefully added enough comment to explain any issues with them. There will undoubtedly be mistakes somewhere, but I’ll sort them out if they’re spotted.

I’ve put all the Giro time graphs on the same scale so that comparison over time can be carried out, as this allows you to see if races were particularly close compared to others or if there was more movement between riders.

Clicking on the image greatly expands it.

The four segment represent four different things:

TOP LEFT: This shows the time from the leader of each rider who would end up being in the top ten at the end of the race. It is worth noting that there will be times when none of these riders were leading the race.
BOTTOM LEFT: This shows the position on the General Classification of each rider after the stage.
TOP RIGHT: This shows the time from the leader of the three riders who would finish on the podium. The scale is adjusted to make their duel clearer.
BOTTOM RIGHT: These images are pictures of each stage win by a rider who would finish in the top 10.

It should be noted that these are all taken on the results of the race at the time, rather then after the endless (and pointless in some cases) revisions. So people like Floyd Landis are down as winning the 2006 Tour etc.


In the 17 editions between 1998 and 2014, there have been thirteen different winners from five different countries:
Marco Pantani (ITA) 1998
Ivan Gotti (ITA) 1999
Stefano Garzelli (ITA) 2000
Gilberto Simoni (ITA) 2001, 2003
Paolo Savoldelli (ITA) 2002, 2005
Damiano Cunego (ITA) 2004
Ivan Basso (ITA) 2006, 2010
Danilo Di Luca (ITA) 2007
Alberto Contador (ESP) 2008, 2011
Denis Menchov (RUS) 2009
Ryder Hesjedal (CAN) 2012
Vincenzo Nibali (ITA) 2013
Nairo Quintana (COL) 2014

Official records would of course make it fourteen from five, as Alberto Contador would be removed from his 2011 berth and the record amended to show…
Michele Scarponi (ITA) 2011


Team wise, there is a fairly diverse mix.
Astana – 2/3 wins (Contador 08/11, Nibali 13)
Mercatore Uno – 2 wins (Pantani 98, Garzelli 2000)
Saeco – 2 wins (Simoni 03, Cunego 04)
Liquigas – 2 wins (Di Luca 07, Basso 10)
Lampre Daikin/ISD – 2 wins (Simoni 01, Scarponi 11)
Team Polti – 1 win (Gotti 99)
Index Alexia – 1 win (Savoldelli 02)
Discovery Channel – 1 win (Savodelli 05)
CSC – 1 win (Basso 06)
Rabobank – 1 win (Menchov 09)
Garmin-Barracuda – 1 win (Hesjedal 12)
Movistar – 1 win (Quintana 14)

Bike brands have also been fairly mixed and rich.

Cannondale – 4 wins (Simon 03, Cunego 04, Di Luca 07, Basso 10)
Trek – 2 wins (Savoldelli 05, Contador 08)
Cervelo – 2 wins (Basso 06, Hesjedal 12)
Bianchi – 2 wins (Pantani 98, Garzelli 00)
Coppi – 2 win (Gotti 99, Savoldelli 02)
Specialized – 1/2 wins (Nibali 13, Contador 11)
Fondriest – 1 win (Simon 01)
Willier – 1 win (Scarponi 11)
Giant – 1 win (Menchov 09)
Canyon – 1 win (Quintana 14)

From a possible but unlikely total of 170 different riders, 90 different riders have been in the top ten of the Giro, having taken part in a combined 428 Tours between them (averaging 4.75, or 5 Giros each). There were 68 withdrawals (15.88%), 2 disqualifications and 1 instance of being outside the time limit.


To the Giros…

1998 Giro d’Italia


The 1998 Giro was the first half of the last Giro-Tour double, a feat that will be attempted again by Alberto Contador this year after a previous failed effort in 2011, with the only other serious attempts being those by Gilberto Simoni in 2003 (who bombed at the Tour) and Ivan Basso in 2006 (who was refused entry to the Tour).

The main thing to notice is that whilst Pantani was quite away back in terms of position early on, he was essentially on the same time as everyone else anyway.However there was little movement on GC for the first two weeks, which suggest a somewhat boring time was had for that time.

1999 Giro d’Italia


The 1999 Giro originally seemed to be a duel between Laurent Jalabert and Marco Pantani, with the former winning 3 stages and the latter 4. But Pantani doesnt get on the graph, explaining the gaping gap at the top of the leaderboard, because he was removed from the race before the penultimate stage for a overly high red blood cell count. It is widely perceived that Ivan Gotti “inherited” the lead as a result, but he was actually slightly behind Paolo Savodelli going into the stage where he took the jersey, so perhaps he should be given a little more credit.

Still, the 199 tour was basically all about Pantani, to the extent that Gotti has even said he wouldn’t mind if the race was awarded to the late Italian.

2000 Giro d’Italia


This Giro was a bit more intriguing then the previous cople of editions, with the top three riders all withing two minutes of each other at any point of the race.It also helps show the extent of Vladimir Belli’s late collapse, as he was right up there with the Garzelli/Casagrande/Simoni trinumverate until the 19th stage, where he collapsed down the standings to 7th place. Garzelli had been sitting fairly close to Casagrande, gaining and losing small chunks of time before pulling away on the penultimate stage.

2001 Giro d’Italia


This graph follows a pattern that would probably be best described as the “domination” model. Bar a couple of slight rises back towards the leader Simoni, they keep dropping huge chunks of time (and in the minutes, rather than the seconds), and the GCis sorted by stage 15. Not much else to say really.

2002 Giro d’Italia


Another Giro hit by doping claims, with German Jens Heppner holding the jersey for  along while thanks to a long break (hence the U shape of the graph as the favourites lose time then gradually haul their way back) and Cadel Evans poaching the jersey for a day before dropping out of the top 10. Francesco Casagrande, Gilberto Simoni and Stefano Garzelli all left the race for reasons ranging from skulduggery to doping, leaving Paolo Savodelli, who did not win a stage, as the race winner. Whilst the podium graph looks fairly interesting given it constantly intersects, the problem is that none of the men occupying the positions were really being considered at the time because of their more illustrious GC chums who were yet to drop out. Still, its an excellent example of a “breakaway” race, where a break is allowed off and gradually brought back.

2003 Giro d’Italia


Basically, this was shaping up as a nice battle between Simoni and Garzelli until the final week, where Simoni took about 6 minutes and a young Yaroslav Popvych almost overhauled Garzelli. Simoni won at Monte Zoncolan, Alpe de Pampeago and Cascate del Toce to win overall, with most of his time atcually coming on the stage to Canole won by Daniel Frigo (note that on the stage where everyone seems to take a dive, Frigo stays level ), and it looked like he might actually have a chance at his hoped Giro-Tour double. The second part didn’t go so well however.

2004 Giro d’Italia


The 2004 Giro saw a mix of contrasting styles, with Olympic Team Pursuit champion Bradley McGee’s slow burn up against Damiano Cunego’s punch and Gilberto Simoni’s endurance. It was Cunego who was ultimately the victor, taking 4 stages but somehow “only” winning by 2 minutes, which perhaps helps explain why Cunego was perhaps slighlty overhyped after this – it wasn’t the hardest route (Honchar was second, after all) and he didn’t win by much on each stage, which explains why he and Simoni were pretty close to one another for most of the race. Popovych almost crashed the part for 3rd again, briefly holding that position for a couple of stages, before falling to 5th.

2005 Giro d’Italia


One of the more entertaining Grand Tours, the 2005 Giro is defined by its penultimate stage up to Sestriere after climbing the gravel road of the Col de Finestre. Before that, the eventual winner Paolo Savodelli had actually been in pink for sometime, having wn the 11th stage and put distance between Simoni and tiny Colombian Jose Rujano in the time trials. Danilo Di Luca had also had a good go, as had Ivan Basso, who won two stages after haemoragging time on the Stelvio after picking up a stomach bug (he didn’t finish in the top 10), But it will always be remembered for the Finestre, where under bottle blue skies, Rujano, Di Luca and Simoni left Savodelli stranded without support and looked set to take away his pink jersey, only for the Italian to rally to take his second Giro by a mere 28 seconds. Four men had set off in pursuit of the jersey on the Finestre, but it was the “Falcon” that would swoop to the win.

2006 Giro d’Italia


Ivan Basso’s defining race? It ended up defining his career in more ways then the thought. In hindsight, it makes his claim that he didn’t dope, only “planned to” look utterly ridiculous, given his absurd 9 minute winning margin, but otherwise it was just a destructive force. Last year’s winner Savodelli was doing pretty well for a while, having won the prologue and holding third for a while, but eventually he was simply blown away by Basso.

2007 Giro d’Italia


A post Puerto Giro with a top10 that looks slightly laughable in that context. Danilo Di Luca’s transformation to Grand Tour winner from Arennes classic poacher was complete, and once he assumed control on stage, he was essentially in control. he race did see the arrival of 22 year old Andy Schleck, who took the first of 4 Grand Tour second places (although one became 1st), and also the rare sight of Schleck gaining time in a time trial. The messy middle section of the race shows it was quite entertaining, with a variety of positions changing, although nothing changed in the final TT.

2008 Giro d’Italia


The Contador Beach Giro, as Astana turned up on a little over a weeks notice with the Spaniard, Levi Leipheimer and Andreas Kloden having originally not received an invitation due to their doping issues the year before. A “U” shaped tour graph is due to Giovanni Visconti’s break and long lead, during which Contador and main rival Ricco pretty much stayed level. Ricco did get within 8 seconds of Contador, but the Spaniards superior TT skills gave him a decent winning margin. Danilo D Luca was also a threat for a while, closing the podium to 21 seconds at one point, but he eventually fell away. This race has revealed a number of unidentified positives for EPO CERA, which, given he tested positive for the same thing at the Tour, are presumably for Riccardo Ricco, as well as Emanuelle Sella, who lost a huge amount of time to fall into the 40s place wise, before storming off for three mountain stage wins to haul himself up to 6th.

2009 Giro d’Italia


The Centenary Giro was critisised for its non-historical looking course, but it produced an interesting race, once the fever over the participation of Lance Armstrong subsided. Armstrong never really got going thanks to an earlier broken collarbone, and finished 12th overall, whilst teammate Leipheimer fell off to 6th after originally looking reasonable, The race was arguable decided by the mid race TT, where Menchov assumed the lead from Di Luca, but then Di Luca did begn to creep back towards the Russian, as did (defending Tour winner) Carlos Sastre, who’s up and down track shows his two stage wins as he tried (and failed) to get himself onto the podium. Menchov of course fell off on the final TT into Rome, which became the defining image.

2010 Giro d’Italia


Probably my favourite Grand Tour of this period, the 2010 Giro had everything, as the completely unpindownable graph shows. The riders fought through the flat stages in the Netherlands, where Cadel Evans gained and lost the lead, before Vincenzo Nibali took it and lost it on the strade bianche, after Alexandre Vinokourov had taken it and lost it by pushing his team too far in the TTT. And that was only the first week. Things seemed to settle down, but then the stage to L’Aquila went and gave Richie Porte and David Arroyo a huge advantage that favourite Ivan Basso, aided by team mate Nibali, had to gradually wear down. Basso eventually did so on the Mortitolo after winning on the Zoncolan, with Arroyo holding on for second. Porte, a neo pro at the time, fell down the standings, but still managed 7th place.

2011 Giro d’Italia


A race that was over once Contador stormed off at Mount Etna, but the race will be remembered for the tragic death of Wouter Weylandt. Contador was in the throes of his clenbuterol case, and would eventually be stripped of the title, which went to Michele Scarponi, who had been tied closer to Nibali for most of the race, as though they were racing for the title of best Italian. Still, the race was Contador’s, and the graph shows a clear dominant profile.

2012 Giro d’Italia


Joaquim Rodriguez would be peeved twice in 2012, athough this probably wasn’t the cruellest of the two, despite losing the lead on the final day to lose by just 16 seconds. This was a weird Grand Tour – it was in hindsight a battle between Rodriguez and Hesjedal, as the graph suggests, yet no one really gave Hesjedal much of a hope, even when he stole what arguably turned out to be the winning seconds on the 14th stage. Thomas de Gendt’s ascent to third , pipping Scarponi at the death (and in doing so preventing any Italian making the podium) is also impressive, built as it was on his win on the Stelvio.

2013 Giro d’Italia


Originally billed as Wiggins v Nibali on the basis of a minor squabble between then at the previous years Tour, this quickl became the Nibali show  after Wiggins fell off and abandoned. Nibali also slid off on wet descent, but got back on and held his nerve to begin taking chunks of time out of everyone. Uran and Evans where meanwhile slowly converging, with the Colombian, who was meant to have been supporting Wiggins had he not abandoned, overhauling Evans on the final mountain stage to Tre Crime, with the Australian blaming the freezing conditions that defined the race for freezing his gears.

2014 Giro d’Italia


A race for new blood, as Nairo Quintana took the win on the Stelvio stage despite actually planning to abandon it due to the cold. The controversy over that continues to bubble, but the graph shows that Quintana gaining enough time after that stage to probably have won anyway, plus his uphill TT win showed he was the best climber in the race. Fabio Aru also announced himself to the world to come third after taking a stage win.

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