Alberto Contador drags everyone onto the podium

Photo by: Ciclismo Italia

The way a Grand Tour’s supposed to work is like gravy. You mix everything up, heat it and it’s delicious, but it’s only as it cools that you see the fat slowly rise to the top. In this analogy, fat’s the good bit because fat equals flavour.

The thing is, fat alone doesn’t do the job. To enjoy the gravy, you want it so that you can’t identify the constituent parts. You only want the fat to reveal itself afterwards, once you’ve finished eating. There’s a worry in this Giro that the podium fat has risen rather too soon.

It’s only stage five

But already it’s fairly clear that Alberto Contador, Fabio Aru and Richie Porte are at least one notch better than everyone else. On the first mountain stage – not a hard one – these three finished together, devoid of any other companions.

The time gaps were big enough that Contador has now gone into the overall race lead. At best, these three will keep passing the maglia rosa between themselves until the music stops. At worst, the Spaniard will simply cling to it for the next fortnight or more.

Contador didn’t win the stage though

He didn’t even win the sprint for third from among that trio – Aru did. As on stage four, the victory went to another largely unknown young rider who’d spent the day in the break – Jan Polanc of Slovenia. I’m going to call him ‘Walk The’ as a means of remembering him from now on.

Walk The Polanc saw off gnarly old Frenchman, Sylvain Chavanel, who came second. No-one else managed to stay away from the chasing podium.

Stage six

A few bobbles, but basically a sprint day.