Belated Giro review…

My holiday had an inconvenient side effect of taking me away from wifi and 4g for the final weekend of the 2022 Giro D’Italia.

I had left for the solitude of a boat on the Norfolk broads with Richard Carapaz of Ineos looking the likely winner in Verona.

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves here.

The race had started back on 6th May in Hungary which put on its best sights and weather for the arrival of the race. A year or so late due to Covid, of course.

Mathieu van der Poel did his thing avoiding a tumbling Caleb Ewan to get the first pink jersey before Simon Yates shocked the peloton in the next days time trial.

The Brits were 2 from 3 in the Hungarian stages as Mark Cavendish kept the “will he won’t he?” Tour de France narrative going by outsprinting his rivals in Balantonfured. The debate is still raging as that was the high point for Cav with no other stages wins. He did make the finish though and has taken that form into the most recent Belgian semi classics.

Stage 4 had the first mountain finish of the race and Leonard Kamna showed his class by taking the win on Mount Etna. Juan Pedro Lopez of Trek took the leaders pink jersey at this point and despite being a relative newcomer to the top table of world cycling was able to hang on for 9 days.

As we journeyed up the West coast for a few days Arnaud Demare put Cavendish, Ewan et al. in their place with back to back wins. This was enough to win the points jersey at the end of the race.

A couple of midi montagne stages followed with typically swashbuckling breakaway wins from Koen Bouwman of Jumbo (with a massive assist from Tom Dumoulin) and Thomas De Gendt.

De Gendt won in the way only he can, dangling off the front in a group that was pretty dysfunctional but just about had enough time to win it.

A sign of things to come was shown on stage 9 with Australian Jai Hindley winning the showpiece finish on Blockhaus. He would stay within a few seconds of the race lead until the final weekend.

Jesi is a place I know so it was great to see more barriers broken down by Biniam Girmay. Let’s savour his win for now and hope the eye injury he got post stage won’t affect him long term.

After no stage wins in 10 so far, the home nation of Italy got a pair on consecutive days with Alberto Dainese winning a sprint before Stefano Oldani showed his Etna breakaway was no fluke with a brilliant win in the port city of Genoa.

Demare and Yates won more stages as Lopez finally conceded the leaders jersey to Carapaz.

The race settled into the mountainous final week with more breaks winning stages. Santi Buitrago was the standout with a thrilling counter attack after crashing on a downhill.

Perennial trier Dries DeBondt showed his ‘new De Gendt‘ credentials as we headed into the key final stages.

All eyes were on the Marmolada stage where Allesandro Covi crossed the line first to save the race from a UAE Team Emirates perspective. The drama was behind though with team mate Kamna dropping back from the winning break to set a fierce pace for Hindley.

It was too much for the pink jersey and Carapaz was dropped for good seeing a late in the race new leader in the Aussie.

The final time trial was a lap of honour for Hindley who put the hurt of losing on the last day 2 years ago behind him. It was a great win and well deserved.

RnkPrev▼▲RiderTeamUCIPntTime BonusTime
11 HINDLEY JaiBORA – hansgrohe85040021″86:31:14
22 CARAPAZ RichardINEOS Grenadiers68029014″1:18
33 LANDA MikelBahrain – Victorious5752403:24
44 NIBALI VincenzoAstana Qazaqstan Team4602209:02
55 BILBAO PelloBahrain – Victorious3802004″9:14
66 HIRT JanIntermarché – Wanty – Gobert Matériaux32019015″9:28
77 BUCHMANN EmanuelBORA – hansgrohe26018013:19
88 POZZOVIVO DomenicoIntermarché – Wanty – Gobert Matériaux22017017:29
910▲1 CARTHY HughEF Education-EasyPost18016017:54
109▼1 LÓPEZ Juan PedroTrek – Segafredo1401506″18:40
from Procyclingstats.com

2020 Giro review

RnkPrev▼▲RiderTeamUCIPntTime
12▲1 GEOGHEGAN HART TaoINEOS Grenadiers85040085:40:21
21▼1 HINDLEY JaiTeam Sunweb6802900:39
33 KELDERMAN WilcoTeam Sunweb5752401:29
45▲1 ALMEIDA JoãoDeceuninck – Quick Step4602202:57
54▼1 BILBAO PelloBahrain – McLaren3802003:09
66 FUGLSANG JakobAstana Pro Team3201907:02
77 NIBALI VincenzoTrek – Segafredo2601808:15
88 KONRAD PatrickBORA – hansgrohe2201708:42
99 MASNADA FaustoDeceuninck – Quick Step1801609:57
1010 PERNSTEINER HermannBahrain – McLaren14015011:05

The last day drama of the 2020 Giro D’Italia was only a part of the race long narrative that saw excitement and attacking racing.

There was also confirmation of the changing of the guard at the top of stage racing with Vicenzo Nibali joining the ranks of also ran along side the other cast offs of the season.

It looked for so long like the British challenge was over before the race made the mainland with Geraint Thomas crashing on a bidon a losing time before quitting.

Ineos Grenadiers changed tack at this point smashing riders into all breakaways and proving that the Michal Kwiatkowski/Richard Carapaz tandem from the Tour de France was no fluke.

Fillipo Ganna was a revelation of the race, unbeatable in time trials and showing that his ability to finish off moves in bad weather marks him out as a possible classics rider of the future.

Rohan Dennis proved his can be famous for more than an Instagram post showing him breaking lockdown in Girona by guiding Tao Geoghagan-Hart back into contention after he’d lost time nursing Thomas.

Despite getting deeper and deeper into the race whilst wearing the pink jersey, Joao Almeida started to look flaky in the mid race mountain stages before hitting the buffers for good on the Stelvio.

It was there that perennial grand tour contender Wilco Kelderman seemed to fall into the jersey. However he looked weak in taking the race lead with Geoghagan-Hart and his own team mate Jai Hindley riding away to contest the stage.

Kelderman said all the right things about being in the race lead with 2 days to go but he was clearly beaten.

He fell away totally on the final Saturday of the race leaving Hindley to follow and take the pink jersey. It’s third occupant in three days of racing.

Hindley was on the same time as Tao going into the final days time trial after a trade of stage wins and time bonuses across the previous 48 hours.

It was Roglic-Pogcar and LeMond-Fignon but with no head start for any rider and with only fractions of a second from previous time trials used to decide who was race leader.

The destiny of the 2020 Giro was perfectly balanced, however this one wasn’t quite an exciting as the Tours mentioned above.

Tao was 10 seconds up according to GPS very early in the stage and by the official time check it was a situation where barring accident or misfortune, he would win the race.

And that he did. It was great to see local rider to us Hannah Barnes greet him after the finish as his partner. They are cyclings Posh and Becks!

He is a rider who is still young and fresh faced but whose time has now come. He saw his leader fall out of the race and then took his time to find his feet as leader, chipping back time as and when he could.

With the new Ineos style of attacking racing suiting him more than wattage based mountain trains, this was a case of right rider, right time and right place.

Well done Tao!