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.
|1||1||–||HINDLEY Jai||BORA – hansgrohe||850||400||21″||86:31:14|
|2||2||–||CARAPAZ Richard||INEOS Grenadiers||680||290||14″||1:18|
|3||3||–||LANDA Mikel||Bahrain – Victorious||575||240||3:24|
|4||4||–||NIBALI Vincenzo||Astana Qazaqstan Team||460||220||9:02|
|5||5||–||BILBAO Pello||Bahrain – Victorious||380||200||4″||9:14|
|6||6||–||HIRT Jan||Intermarché – Wanty – Gobert Matériaux||320||190||15″||9:28|
|7||7||–||BUCHMANN Emanuel||BORA – hansgrohe||260||180||13:19|
|8||8||–||POZZOVIVO Domenico||Intermarché – Wanty – Gobert Matériaux||220||170||17:29|
|9||10||▲1||CARTHY Hugh||EF Education-EasyPost||180||160||17:54|
|10||9||▼1||LÓPEZ Juan Pedro||Trek – Segafredo||140||150||6″||18:40|