Ryder freaking Hesjedal. Coming into the Giro, Hesjedal truly was a darkhorse contender. Very few people, if any, thought he had any chance of taking top honors at the end of three weeks of racing. Sure, there was the top ten at the Tour de France on his palmares, but did anyone really think he would win? Well win he did, and in impressive fashion, taking on all comers and riding cool all the way to the finish in Milan. Hesjedal has arrived in abig way, and he should enjoy additional opportunties to lead in future grand tours. One thing is certain, he's no darkhorse any more.
Shame on you Italians. From Ivan Basso to Michele Scarponi to Dominico Pozzovivo, all Italians were laid to waste in the 2012 Gir d'Italia. In fact, it was the first time in 15+ years that at least one Italian did not feature on the final podium. Basso, although brave, is looking older and older. He seems set to be a super domestique in the coming years. Scarponi too looks weary, and seems as close as Basso to being passed by forever by younger talent.
Joaquin Rodriguez came oh-so-close to the overall win, but was unable to dislodge Hesjedal in the high mountains. The Spaniard however is having a stellar year, and should be commended for at least trying to drop Hesjedal.
Mark Cavendish misses out on the red points jersey on the final day. So what. He was without a doubt the best sprinter in the race and should be commended for riding to the finish, unlike almost all of the other sprinters.
Is Thomas De Gendt for real? he sure looked like it in the final week at the Giro. Now let's see how well he fares as a pre-race rider to watch.
Damiano Cunego finishes 6th overall, at just about four and a half minutes behind Hesjedal. It would seem he is still hanging around in the grand tour GC scene. With some luck in future editions, could he possible add to his grand tour overall tally?
Rigoberto Uran has a very bright stage racing future.
Romaine Kreuziger reminds me of a new version of Christophe Moreau. Moreau rode for years as a pre-race favorite for grand tours, but was never able to hang with the top riders. Kreuziger seems destined for a similar fate.
John Gadret rode an excellent 2011 Giro. 2012, not so much. He looked overmatched in all areas.