Gruber Gallery: Best of the 2017 Giro d’Italia

    Giro withdrawal? Yep, us too. (Luckily we’re less than a month out from the Tour.) Relive the excitement, drama and passion of the 2017 Giro d’Italia with this “best of” gallery from Ashely and Jered Gruber.

    On the bus, before the stage, I always feel a bit out of place. I feel like I’m intruding in the riders’ bedroom, and I’m sure they’d confirm it. At the same time, it feels so…ordinary. Sunscreen, coffee, adjustments, listening to music, chatting, doing absolutely nothing – the bus feels like an escape from the insanity of the bike race. It’s a little bubble of peace and normalcy.
    Sardegna was great. Two spots stood out to me the most – these two. One in some town in the middle of the first stage, where we met a 101-year-old woman who looked like she wasn’t a day over 80, and then this tunnel – just past the second stage’s crucial final climb and just before the important descent to the finish. It felt like a field sprint, but there were still 40k to go.
    This shot was going to be a nice town shot with riders rolling by, but then a few people walked out of their house to watch the race go by, and it felt like the image took on a new dimension. I really like this shot. It’s one of those that makes me happy, and I always find myself going back to it as an image I’m proud of.
    Those legs though! Michael Woods is not carrying anything extra.
    Joe Dombrowski gets a push near the top of Blockhaus. I love happy fans that give each and every rider a couple of seconds of easy. I know it can quickly get out of hand – I know that pushes amongst the favorites are terrible; I know that favoritism amongst Italians vs. the rest of the world can be a real bummer, and the practice of pushes for bottles is obnoxious, but at its essence, when the fans push for the pure joy of it – I like that.
    Big, beautiful Blockhaus – and the gruppetto.
    I can spend all day just taking pictures of the people on the side of the road of a bike race, but I’ll spare you the full view of my pet project from the past four or so years and send this along as a small token of how great the people on the side of the road are.
    Davide Formolo, in the white best young rider’s jersey, gives everything he has left on the final climb of the difficult mid-Giro time trial in Montefalco.
    Davide Formolo, in the white best young rider’s jersey, gives everything he has left on the final climb of the difficult mid-Giro time trial in Montefalco.
    Around the switchback and through the throngs of fans, a rider in green emerged standing on a huge gear – smooth – almost effortless if not for the grimace on his face. Just a few seconds behind him, riders rocked and grabbed for any extra power they could find, chasing Pierre Rolland. Rolland didn’t win that day, but his riding was the stuff we normal riders dream about.
    The insanity of the climb to Bergamo’s Citta Alta. The speed of the World Tour peloton is endlessly impressive, but the lead group’s sprint up this climb was mind-boggling. It felt like the 10+% grade had to be flat – it felt like gravity was not affecting them in any way. It was amazing.
    Joe Dombrowski, pursued by a fan and cheered on by thousands on the Stelvio.
    Snow on the Stelvio.
    The gruppetto climbs while the tifosi descend the Stelvio.
    Top of the Stelvio, end of May – on a year marked by a serious lack of snow.

    Down, down, down the Stelvio
    Check out the line that Tom-Jelte Slagter took through this switchback on the Stelvio. We all know the basic rule of descending: outside, inside, outside, but this is taking the inside part to an all new razor sharp level. Hats off to Slagter for the line of the day.
    A day after winning in Canazei, Pierre Rolland was back at it again, riding up to the head of the race on the Pordoi in this year’s fantastic stage through the Dolomites.
    Davide Formolo riding strong in the front group up the Passo Gardena.
    Rolland descends the Passo Gardena.
    Howes and Carthy working their way up and towards the finish.
    My all-time favorite switchback.

    Through the crazy mass of fans on the climb you’ve probably never heard of, the Muro di Ca’ del Poggio.

    The Giro’s final climb – to the town of Foza – has long been a favorite of mine. I’ve been through this tunnel near the top so many times, and I’ve always thought that the little hole of light in the side of it would make a pretty picture. I also take painful note that this is the hardest part of the whole climb. So while I love the switchbacks through the canyon at the bottom, there was only one real choice for where I was going to take my last pictures of this year’s Giro.
    Davide Formolo rounds the corner at the top of Foza – almost done.
    Davide Villella makes his way up through the happy fans along the climb of Foza.