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Giro d’Italia scrapbook, week two: Breakaway beefs, contract-clashes, Mr. Modest in the maglia, and more

Here's your ultimate collection of scraps, out-takes, and oddities from the second full week of this year's Giro d'Italia.

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The GC action fizzled, the breakaway racing sizzled, and the rain near-constantly drizzled (and worse).

They’re the takeaways from the second week of this Giro d’Italia.

But what else happened at the race last week that might have passed you by?

Also read:

Here are just some of the scraps and out-takes you might have missed from stages 10 through 15 of the corsa rosa:

Breakaway beefs and race radio rallying cries

Berwick was doomed in a breakaway with two heavyweights. (Photo: Tim de Waele/Getty Images)

Ever wished you could get a closer ear on the peloton?

What are Geraint Thomas and Primož Roglič saying to each other while they soft-tap through the neutral zone?

What was frustrated Frenchman Thibaut Pinot shouting at Jefferson Cepeda in their summit finish slugfest on stage 13?

And what advice do directors dish out to riders in the frantic finals when victory is at stake?

Well, good news is we got a glimpse into that on Thursday’s 12th stage when young Aussie featherweight Sebastian Berwick refused to roll through in the break with rouleur beefcakes Toms Skujins and Nico Denz.

“I’m not doing shit!” Berwick shouted as he came to terms with the prospect of sprinting against two riders 12kg heavier and hella’ lot faster.

Israel-Premier Tech director and recently retired racer Sam Bewley steeled Berwick’s nerve over race radio while the whippety climber flinched against evil eyes and angry gestures.

“They understand, they’d do the same if they were you,” Bewley said. “Don’t be afraid to be an arsehole for seven kilometers of your life, mate. You’re a f*cking great guy but seven Ks of being an arsehole, that’s not bad.”

That’s the type of motivation we could all use a little of at times.

Kudos to you, Israel-Premier Tech

Gee’s stage 14 antics earned him the combativity prize. (Photo: Stuart Franklin/Getty Images)

Speaking of which … kudos to you Israel-Premier Tech.

The recently relegated team of Bewley, Berwick, Derek Gee, and Simon Clarke has been the standout squad of this corsa rosa.

Clarke came heartbreakingly close to victory in his two-up break on stage 6.

Gee finished second three times.

Marco Frigo finished third behind Brandon McNulty and Ben Healy on Sunday.

And despite Bewley’s unique brand of motivation, Berwick couldn’t match fast-finishing Denz and Skujins on Thursday and made do with third.

“The boys are doing incredibly well and the morale is sky-high at the moment,” Bewley said Sunday. “We’re going to take this momentum with us into the last week and keep trying to get that win.”

Israel-Premier Tech was rocked when it dropped out of the WorldTour last season.

Patrick Bevin and Alessandro de Marchi left, Alex Dowsett retired, and GC prospect Carl Fredrik Hagen switched to Q36.5. The team called on its devo team riders and pulled a mixed bag of youth and experience from where it could.

Israel-Premier Tech so far only picked up one win this season, but if the past two weeks showed anything, it’s that the underdog team is knocking at the door of a whole lot more.

Jay Vine’s contract-clash conundrum

Hands up who wants a stage win. (Photo: Getty)

Jay Vine proved before he’s not one to mince his words. From frustration at being labeled an E-Racer to revelations about life as a pro, UAE Emirates’ latest big signing makes his opinions known.

The 27-year-old was back at it again Thursday morning ahead of stage 12.

“I keep getting told [by the team] that I can ride for a top-10, but that’s not interesting for me personally. In an ideal world, my goal would be to lose 45 minutes and then target some stages,” Vine told Eurosport on Thursday.

“There’s no interest for me [in a top-10] because it has no monetary value at all,” Vine continued.

The interview gives a fascinating insight into the pushes and pulls facing any modern pro.

Alongside Ag2r-Citroën star Ben O’Connor, Vine is touted as Australia’s next grand tour hope in the post-Porte era. Testing his three-week legs in a quest for Giro top-10 would make for a crucial stepping stone in him maybe one day fulfilling that hype.

But the man’s also got bills to pay and bonus payments to race for.

“I’ve signed for four years and part of the negotiations was ‘top-10s are meaningless,’” Vine said.

“It might be great for the team, for social media, but wins or podiums [are what matters] … Apart from that, I’m happy to help João [Almeida – teammate and GC leader, ed], but I personally don’t care.”

Who is Bruno Armirail?

Ever-humble Armirail admitted being uncomfortable on the podium. (Photo: Luca Bettini – Pool/Getty Images)

It would be rude not to shed some light on Bruno Armirail, the Giro d’Italia’s current pink jersey.

The journeyman domestique became first Frenchman to wear the maglia rosa since Laurent Jalabert in 1999 when he rode the breakaway to the top of GC this weekend.

And in that moment, he became pro cycling’s least likely high-profile star.

Armirail, who is defined by his self-sacrifice and work ethic, only found his racing legs late in life after he dedicated his youth to helping at his family farm.

Born and raised in a sleepy town in the center of the Pyrénées, Armirail had so humble an upbringing he’d not even been on a train until the age of 20, when he left his childhood stomping ground to join the Armée de Terre army-affiliated team.

When a horrific training crash left Armirail with a triple-fractured patella, he was dropped by the army and spent the 2017 season lost in the amateur wilderness.

“When I had this accident, I started from very, very low. When I resumed racing at the end of 2015, I was doing 15 minutes and I was dropped from the peloton. It was hard psychologically,” Armirail told l’Equipe.

“In 2016, I still could follow, so I did rehabilitation again. By 2017, I was a little better and I went back to being pro.”

And ever since Groupma-FDJ coach Yvon Madiot spotted Armirail’s amateur talents and salvaged his cycling career, he’s been grinding away pulling for David Gaudu and Thibaut Pinot.

“I’ve never been on the podium apart from the French time trial championships last year,” Armirail said after he claimed the pink jersey Saturday. “I’m not really used to opening bottles of champagne. It’s team leaders who do that. This is something exceptional for a domestique.”

Chapeaux, Bruno.

And lastly, some meme-worthy moments:





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