Video Reviews of 105th Giro d’Italia
Written by Kevin Kemp
Trofeo Senza Fine, Giro Winner’s Cup. | Photo: Cor Vos
05/05/2022 | (rsn) – The first Grand Tour of the year starts in Hungary on Friday with the 105th edition of the Giro d’Italia. Three riders have won seven of the nine three-week rounds, but neither Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates), Primus Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) nor defending champion Egan Bernal (Inios Grenadiers) will start in Budapest. This opens opportunities for competitors such as Olympic champion Richard Carapaz (Inios Grenadiers), winner of the Giro 2019.
The Ecuadorean is one of the hot contenders again this year. “I want to win my second Grand Tour and I am sure everything will go well. My preparations in Ecuador were very good,” said Carapaz, 28, who last raced in Catalonia at the end of March. He was second place.Beside him, Simon Yates (BikeExchange), another winner of the GrandTour (Vuelta 2018), is the main contender for the pink jersey.
Vincenzo Nibali (Astana Kazakhstan, 2013 and 2016) and Tom Dumoulin (Jumbo-Visma, 2017) have also made it to the Giro winners in the past, but the Italian in particular has passed the peak of his ability. Dumoulin has followed suit in recent years. “It’s been a long time since I’ve been on the podium on a Grand Tour, which makes it exciting for me as well. Can I still drive at the ratings?” asked the 31-year-old Dumoulin himself in an interview with Wielerflits.
Richard Carapaz (Inios Grenadier) became the first Ecuadorean to win the Giro d’Italia in 2019. | Photo: Cor Vos
Alejandro Valverde is the fifth former GrandTour winner (Vuelta 2009). But even the 42-year-old Spaniard was given little chance of winning overall at his last Giro appearance. Things are different for Joao Almeida (UAE Team Emirates), Mikel Landa (Victorious Bahrain), Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana Kazakhstan) and Roman Bardet (DSM).
They are seen as the biggest contenders for the top two candidates. The 23-year-old Almeida is the best test player among the contenders, and thus could be wearing the pink jersey early on. “The training went really well – everything is focused on one big goal. And I’m going to do my best for it,” said the Portuguese, who finished fourth on his moto debut and finished sixth last year.
Almeida is also the man to beat in the junior rankings. His rivals are ninth last year’s Tobias Vos (Jumbo-Visma), Ivan Ramiro Sosa (Movistar), who recently won the Tour of Asturias, and Pavel Sevakov (Inios Grenadiers), who returned after two years weaker in 2019 form – when he finished ninth on the Tour of Italy – It looks like he’s getting close.
Thymen Arensman (DSM) appears to have no ambitions. The Dutchman recently sparkled in third place in the Alpine race, but he wants to put himself entirely at the service of his leader Bardet: “Classification is not an objective for me at all. We are here to go to the general classification with Romain and I am very motivated to help him with that,” said Arensmann.
One hears something similar from compatriot Matteo van der Poel (Alpecin – Fenix), who is believed to have good chances in the fight for the points ranking. “I don’t start with the goal in mind. Tim Merlier’s retirement is bloodshed, and now we’re trying to ride for Jacob Marischko,” explained the four-time cyclocross world champion, who wants to focus on the somewhat difficult stages, to rebel.
Mark Cavendish (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl) has Michael Morkoff, currently the world’s best driver, on his side, but like Van der Poel, he’s not thinking about Maglia Ciclamina. “No, I’ve been saying for over ten years that if you consistently get good results, the points shirt comes naturally,” explained the 36-year-old Briton, who won the 2013 Maglia Ciclameno title.
Arnaud Démare (Groupama – FDJ) is likely to be the front-runner to win the points classification, especially since the Frenchman was able to secure the runner’s jersey in 2020 with four stages. Also Fernando Gaviria (Emirates 7 Team Emirates Trophy winner 2017), Giro Biniam Germay (Intermarchy – Wantti – Joubert), Giacomo Nizzolo (Israel – Premier Tech 2015/2016)), Phil Bauhaus (Victorious Bahrain), Magnus Court ( EF Education – EasyPost) and last but not least Caleb Ewan (Lotto Soudal) are able to win the flat stages and win the points classification.
If none of the ratings favorites are interested in the mountain jersey, the first things to note when looking at the starting roster are aggressive Guillaume Martin (Cofidis) and last year’s Giro discovery, Lorenzo Fortunato (Eolo-Kometa).
Trek pros Giulio Ciccone and Bauke Mollema have also participated in the Mountain Points battle in the past – Ciccone even won the Blue Jersey in 2019. If he gets the freedom, the Blue Jersey could also be a target for Lennard Kämna (Bora – hansgrohe).
The German fans’ hopes for the overall standings rest on Emmanuel Buchmann (Bora-Hansgrohe). | Photo: Cor Vos
Prospects for German-speaking beginners
Emmanuel Buchmann starts the race with Wilco Kildhermann and Guy Hindley as the Bora trio. In an interview with Deutschland Funk, the 29-year-old, who last finished in the top ten at the 2019 Tour de France, wasn’t too optimistic: “At the moment I’m not one hundred percent fit, or not the way I would if I wish. After the Basque Country Tour I was sick. Until then I was on the right track. Our preparation went really well. Then we had to postpone the whole training camp for a week.”
His teammate Kamna would try to escape on the mountain stages if he didn’t have to support the team captains. The Bauhaus definitely has a chance of winning a stage in a team race. Other German professionals will be considered primarily in support roles.
Four Austrians will deal with the gyro in Budapest. Felix Gall (AG2R – Citroën) drove his power as ever on the Alpine Tour and finished sixth. Nobody is ahead of him on his team, so he is completely free to either go to the ratings or win a stage.
Reto Holenstein (Israel – Premier Tech) and Mauro Schmid (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl) will be the only Swiss in the race. As a new pro in a Qhubeka jersey, Schmid won a tough Giro stage last year. After switching to Quick-Step, he was able to confirm this reading. Like Gall, the Swiss have all the freedom, which means that his coup can be repeated in Montalcino.
Chances of winning the third Giro for Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) are rather poor. At 37, the Italian exceeded the peak of his ability. | Photo: Cor Vos
This time the Tour of Italy begins in Hungary, with the first stage ending directly on a hill. Also on the following day, the rating riders are challenged in the 9.2km time trial before continuing past the third flat stage and a day of rest in Sicily, with Mount Etna right on the Division Four agenda.
There are two more opportunities for runners, while the seventh and eighth divisions are very hilly. In the eighth stage, the second part of the mountain with Blockhaus in central Italy is planned. The second day of rest comes on Monday.
Although only the eleventh division is a classic flat stage, runners always have chances to let their fast legs do the talking from the tenth stage to the thirteenth stage. The next two sections appear on paper to be too easy for rating drivers, providing break-up opportunities.
After the third rest day, things are renewed again for the candidates from the sixteenth stage. Mortirolo is then passed first from a somewhat easier side, before reaching Aprica via an unusually difficult climb. A day later, finally on the way to Lavarone, two Class I climbs await the field.
The last chance for the runners is on Thursday en route to Treviso. To do this, however, they have to overcome a wall that is 11.3% steep, 50 kilometers from the finish line. This is followed by two mountain finishes: on Friday to Santuario di Castelmonte, before crossing the Pellegrino on the penultimate day of the Giro. Then, with Pordoi and the finish on Fedaia, he climbed twice to over 2,000 metres.
But the Giro will only finally be determined in the final 17.4-kilometer trial in Verona. It won’t be really difficult on Sunday, there is only one Category 4 mountain rating on the flat track.