Giro d'Italia 2015 awards
We celebrate the race's best rider, team, climber, sprinter and more...
By Matt Westby
Last Updated: 31/05/15 9:47pm
The Giro d’Italia is over and Alberto Contador has been crowned winner, but the Spaniard was not the only impressive rider on show.
Here, we celebrate all of the best performers at the race…
Best all-round rider: Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo)
An obvious one, but in a race in which everyone seems to have had a bad day, Contador has held his form together better than anyone else and gained crucial time on his rivals in both the mountains and the individual time trial.
He has also been the best crisis-manager, whether it was his recovery from a dislocated shoulder on stage six, minimising his losses after another crash on stage 13 or keeping his cool after being dropped by his rivals on stage 20.
Best climber: Mikel Landa (Astana)
Contador was majestic on the Passo del Mortirolo on stage 16 and Fabio Aru showed outstanding form to win both stage 19 and 20, but Landa has topped them both in the mountains.
The Spaniard flourished equally on both the steep ascents and the long, gentles ones, picking up two stage wins on the way to a third-place finish overall. While Contador and Aru both had days where their climbing legs deserted them, Landa never did.
Best young rider: Fabio Aru (Astana)
Aru only just qualifies for this category (he is 25 in July) and wobbled badly on a handful of stages, but there can be no denying that he has been the outstanding young rider of the race.
Not only did he hold the youth classification leader's white jersey from stage five, but also the manner in which he bounced back from his troubles on stages 14-17 by winning stages 19 and 20 was worthy of the accolade.
Best sprinter: Sacha Modolo (Lampre-Merida)
There wasn’t a great deal to choose between the sprinters, with Modolo, Elia Viviani, Andre Greipel, Michael Matthews and Nicola Boem all claiming wins, but Modolo takes the accolade courtesy of the fact the he triumphed twice.
Best team: Astana
The Kazakh squad have had a torrid last 12 months, with five failed drugs tests at the end of last year and a subsequent slap on the wrist from the International Cycling Union, but they grabbed attention for much more positive reasons during the Giro.
They finished second and third in the general classification and won five stages with three riders. They have also been the dominant force in the mountains, climbing en masse at a tempo that has blown the peloton to pieces and other teams out of the water.
Special mention to Lampre-Merida, who won four stages and assembled an impressive lead-out train for Modolo.
Best breakthrough performance: Mikel Landa (Astana)
Landa was highly regarded before the Giro and performed well at both the Tour of the Basque Country and Giro del Trentino in the build-up, but his two stages wins and podium finish went far beyond what was expected from him.
He is out of the contract at the end of the season and, after this race, a big pay rise with a new team should not be too difficult to come by.
Best sportsmanship: Simon Clarke (Orica-GreenEdge)
It might have landed himself and Richie Porte with two-minute time penalties, yet Clarke giving his fellow Australian - member of a rival team - a wheel after an untimely puncture was a shining symbol of sportsmanship and one of the endearing images of the race.
Best piece of opportunism: Davide Formolo (Cannondale-Garmin)
The 22-year-old Italian had been tipped prior to the race as a future Giro winner, so it wasn’t a major surprise to see him claim a stage victory. The mature and intelligent manner in which he took that win was, however, eye-catching.
Having formed part of a high-pedigree breakaway seemingly certain to prevail on the day, Formolo opted to attack his rivals on a flat stretch before the final climb rather the ascent itself and the tactic worked perfectly, as he secured a 22-second win in La Spezia.
Biggest disappointment: Rigoberto Uran (Etixx – Quick-Step)
His formed improved dramatically in the final week of the race, but it was a case of too little too late for the Colombian, who finished 28min 26sec down in 14th overall.
For a rider who had finished second in each of the last two Giros and had been one of the pre-race favourites, it was one of the most underwhelming results of his career.