Giro d’Italia

Giro d’Italia favourite Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) extended his lead over Mikel Landa (Astana) to more than five minutes on stage 18, as Philippe Gilbert (BMC) took his second stage win after making a solo break.

Astana’s original leader Fabio Aru suffered on stage 16 on the slopes of the Mortirolo to drop to third overall, and is now over six minutes back on the leader.

Landa looks likely to be the Astana team leader now, having taken a second stage win on Tuesday. But no-one looks like desposing Contador in the final few stages of this year’s Giro.

The 2015 Giro route includes six mountain finishes and a long 59.4-kilometre individual time trial, providing an ideal showcase for the overall contenders. For the sprinters, there are six flat stages to take the honours in bunch finishes, with Sky’s Elia Viviani, Orica-GreenEdge’s Michael Matthews and Lotto-Soudal’s André Greipel taking one apiece thus far. Matthews and Greipel both withdrew from the race after stage 13.

With victory at the Giro d’Italia 2014, Nairo Quintana (Movistar) became the first Colombian to win the race, but decided not to return to defend his title in 2015 as he concentrates on the Tour de France in July.

Former Giro winner and defending Tour de France champion Vincenzo Nibali has also skipped the Italian race, handing Astana leadership over to Aru.

Key info: Route guide | Start list | Contenders | TV guide

Key riders: Rigoberto Uran | Alberto Contador | Richie Porte | Fabio Aru

Previous editions: Giro d’Italia 2014 | Giro d’Italia 2013 | Giro d’Italia 2012 | Giro d’Italia 2011 | Giro d’Italia 2010