Krushing the Giro: Stage 3

"In my heart, I know this is an ugly helmet."

What a stage! A most welcome day of real racing after yesterday's banausic lycra parade.

Most would say that Luca Paolini won the stage today. I'd argue that the winner was actually cycling. Special thanks to Garmin and Ryder Hesjedal for animating the stage by attacking not once, but twice during the last 25 kilometers. Some may consider it a waste of energy to be this aggressive this early in the Giro, since, at the end of the day he didn't win significant time on Nibali, Wiggins, or even Evans. I disagree with that. He got almost a minute on Scarponi, and I think psychologically he made a statement, not only to the other favorites, but to his own team.

Back to Paolini: He stated on the RAI post-show that he saw today as a one-day classic race, and it really felt that way. Despite cruising the last 600 meters to the finish line, the Italian takes the Pink Jersey from fellow countryman Puccio, who looked in trouble as far back as the beginning of the second climb. Bravo Luca! Thank you, too for making today yet another amazing Giro stage.

Paolini also took over the points classification while Willem Wauter, who was in the early breakaway, took over the Maglia Azzurra. Fabio Aru's excellent season continues, as he gets the White Jersey.

On other important topics:
- I'm all for Vini Fantini hyper-fluo kits, but them ass-grapes gotta go. They give me the heebie-jeebies.
- Colombian Jarlinson Pantano looked awesome in the signature breakaway, but PLEASE note his name is pronounced "Har-linson," with a soft J.
- A shout-out to some of my faves that had a good stage: Sanchez, Intxausti, Santambrogio, Uran, and Henao.

Photo Manual For Speed, via my brother in Cycling Inquisition

Randomness:

- Sponsor spotlight: Banca Mediolanum KOM Blue Jersey- Italian consumer bank
- Mario Cipollini mention counter: 2
- Helmet talk counter:6
- Euskaltel guys on the deck counter: 2
- Stage winner wearing cycling cap / baseball hat / no hat counter: 0 / 2 / 0