Sports regularly bring out extremes, from exhilarating human performance to the most fanatical behaviour from its followers. There’s no other sport where you witness this more than in cycling. When it comes to extremes it produces the most weird and wonderful of human behaviour. And with the platform being Italy, you always know it’s going to produce a chaotic beauty. Russ Ellis has been capturing the chaos of the Giro d’Italia; from sea-level to mountain tops, to inside team cars.

Time trials are thrown in to shake up the general classification and that’s exactly what this week’s one did, with the Butterfly of Maastricht, Tom Dumoulin taking a chunky lead ahead of number one favourite Nairo Quintana.

Italy prides itself as a nation that has bred many a cycling stallion, its history is ripe with legends such as Coppi, Gimondi, Pantani the list is long. But the 2017 Giro has seen Italy’s driest spell to date; never has there been a Giro d’Italia without an Italian stage win like this year. Maybe it’s the curse of the 100th edition. Too much pressure?

A country still mourning a character that was as colourful as the Giro itself. As a sign of remembrance to Michele Scarponi, Astana chose to send a team of only eight men to the Giro. The memory of Scarponi would ride as the ninth.

If there was to be a man of the match then Fernando Gaviria would be up there. With four stage wins in his Grand Tour debut, this flamboyant young sprinter has made a mark sporting the Maglia Ciclamino during the 100th edition of the Giro d’Italia.

Two weeks into a Grand Tour the pressure increases day by day, the Maglia Rosa faces the biggest challenges going into a savage third week of climbing. The lagging GC contenders ever aware of time’s ticking omnipresence. It’s going to be a brutal week of battles over mouth watering mountain peaks. See you next Sunday in Milano!

Words: Hannah Troop Photos: Russ Ellis