In progress (Image credit: RCS Sport)


Sat 28 May – Stage 20: Belluno-Marmolada (168 Km) Altitude gain 4490m

Covi wins on the Marmolata and Carapaz cracks. The Giro in Hindley hands.

@ RCS Sport

Alessandro Covi (UAE Team Emirates) won the 20th stage of the 105th Giro d’Italia, the traditional Dolomite ride that took the riders from Belluno to the Fedaia Pass through 168 tough kilometers. The rider from Borgomanero accomplished a splendid feat with a 55-kilometer solo attack that began on the ramps from the Pordoi Pass. Second was Slovenian Domen Novak (Bahrain Victorious) at 32″ with the Italian Giulio Ciccone (Trek Segafredo) third at 37″. Coming to the fight for the final victory, with a peremptory action with four kilometers to go, in the very hard straight leading from Malga Ciapela to Capanna Bill, Australian Jai Hindley (Bora Hansgrohe) took the pink jersey, overturning, probably decisively, the general classification. The 26-year-old from Perth now leads the classification by 1’25” over Olympic champion, Ecuador’s Richard Carapaz (Ineos Grenadiers) and 1’51” over Basque Mikel Landa (Bahrain Victorious). Barring unthinkable events, tomorrow the Arena of Verona will witness the coronation of the first Australian to win the Giro d’Italia.

At the start, after 20 kilometers, not without tribulation, the decisive breakaway, with 15 riders, departed: Treviso’s Andrea Vendrame (AG2R Citroen), Dutchman Mathieu Van der Poel (Alpecin Fenix), German Lennard Kamna (Bora Hansgrohe), Slovenian Domen Novak (Bahrain Victorious), Tulipans Gjis Leemreize and Sam Oomen (Jumbo Visma), Spaniard Antonio Pedrero (Team Movistar), Belgian Sylvain Moniquet (Lotto Soudal), Canton’s Davide Ballerini and Mauri Vansevenant (Quick Step Alpha Vinyl), Veneto’s Edoardo Zardini (Drone Hopper Androni Giocattoli), Teatino Giulio Ciccone (Trek Segafredo), Piedmont’s Alessandro Covi and Verona’s Davide Formolo (UAE Team Emirates), and Dutchman Thyman Arensman (Team DSM). The attackers climbed the Passo San Pellegrino, the first asperity of the day, with a lead of 5’30” over the peloton. The climb was tackled quietly by both the outriders and the peloton with the lead remaining unchanged. At this point Landa deployed the team in front. The Bahrain train, however, could not affect the breakaway riders’ lead. Halfway up the Pordoi climb, Covi set off while Vendrame, Van der Poel, Zardini and Moniquet gave way. The Borgomanero rider went on to conquer the Cima Coppi with a lead of one and a half minutes over the immediate pursuers and five over the peloton. Covi then threw himself at dizzying speed into the long descent to Caprile, the starting point of the final climb with 14 kilometers to go, where he passed with two and a half minutes on his former breakaway companions and a good six on the top group. The distance of the top GC riders from the outriders induced Bahrain to give freedom to Novak, who set off late in pursuit of Covi. Behind, meanwhile, the fate of the race was being decided. Ineos forcing led to Landa’s collapse but not Hindley’s, who, on the contrary, attacked to the minus-four mark, immediately stampeded by Carapaz. On the road the two met Kamna, from the day’s breakaway. The Etna winner produced a final effort that sapped the Ecuadorian’s resistance. With a powerful effort, the Perth rider leapt toward the finish line as the “Locomotora”, also risking losing second place in the rankings from the returning Landa.
An anthem never before heard in the history of the pink race will sound tomorrow at the Arena of Verona. Full results here

Classic Dolomite stage: the last uphill finish of the Giro d’Italia 2022. The start will therefore be from Belluno, with the route that in the first 17 kilometers will propose a very slight descent before facing a couple of ups and downs between San Gregorio nelle Alpi and Sospirolo, short spurts along which the formation of the breakaway of the day could be witnessed. At that point it will then enter the Val Cordevole with the road already starting to climb slightly for about thirty kilometers, until the flying finish in Cencenighe Agordino, past which the peloton will approach the first ramps of the Passo San Pellegrino, the first GPM on the program. At 18.4 kilometers long, this climb will present an average gradient of 6.2 percent, with the most challenging section, however, to be tackled in the second part, where peaks of 15 percent will also be reached.

It cannot be ruled out that a few bigs may already want to blow up the race along this climb, however, for those who should attempt an attack, it will be important to have a teammate with them or to stop one sent in an earlier breakaway; after the top of the climb, in fact, a simple descent and a falsopiano of about 18 kilometers between Moena and Canazei will be encountered, where a well-organized formation would have an easy time catching up with a possible lone attacker. In any case, once this section is over, things will get even more interesting since they will immediately start climbing the second GPM of the day, the legendary Passo Pordoi, a very regular 11.8-kilometer climb with an average gradient of 6.8 percent and peaks of 10 percent, which with its 2239 meters of altitude will be the Cima Coppi of this edition of the Giro.

Having reached the top, therefore, there will be 45 kilometers to go, some 30 of which will be almost exclusively downhill, with the first part up to Arabba also being quite tortuous, though not particularly technical. After a short flat section and a small tear towards Cernadoi, the descent will resume for a few more kilometers to Caprile, where the final climb to Passo Fedaia will begin, a 14-kilometer ascent at an average gradient of 7.6 percent that will be quite uneven in the first 8,000 meters, alternating between harder stretches above 8 percent and slight falsiplans around 2 percent. After the intermediate sprint to Malga Ciapela, however, the last 6,000 meters will climb smoothly with an average gradient that will be close to 12 percent, reaching peaks of 18 percent.

Weather forecast: Cloud with temperatures up to 25°. Some chance of rain and wet tarmac. Only light winds are expected. Bookmakers favourites: R Carapaz 3, J Hindley 4. M Landa 7, H Carthy 8, G Martin 16, W Poels 19.

Startlist with dropouts here

The 105th Giro d’Italia will start on 6 May 2022: from Budapest to Verona until 26 May, for 3 weeks the contenders will fight hard to conquest la ‘Maglia Rosa” won last here by Egan Bernal. There will be 7 stages for sprinters, 6 medium-mountain stages, 6 high-mountain stages (4 with uphill finish) and 2 time trial stages (26 km in total), for a total of 3445,6 km to cover with an altitude gain of 50.580m, . This will be the 14th departure from abroad for the “Corsa Rosa” with a departure from the Hungarian capital and the end in Verona that hosted the final in four occasions, 1981, 1984, 2010 and 2019, all with an individual time trial.

Fri 6 May – Stage 1: Budapest-Visegrad (195 Km) altitude gain 900m

Van der Poel is the first star to light up the Giro

© RCS Sport

Dutchman Mathieu Van der Poel (Alpecin Fenix) won the 195 km Budapest-Visegrad opening stage of the 105th Giro d’Italia. The grandson of Raymond Poulidor, who had never competed in the Giro d’Italia, won the pink jersey at the first attempt, adding to the yellow jersey he wore for six days at the Tour de France last year. Eritrean Biniam Girmay (Intermarché – Wanty – Gobert) finished second, confirming that his recent victory at Ghent-Wevelgem was no accident. Surprisingly third was the Basque Pello Bilbao (Bahrain Victorious) who preceded the Danish Magnus Cort Nielsen (EF Education Easypost) followed by a trio of classification men who decided to engage in the sprint: the Tulipan Wilko Kelderman (Bora Hansgrohe), the Ecuadorian Richard Carapaz (Ineos Grenadiers) and the other Frisian Bauke Mollema (Trek Segafredo). Eighth, and first of the Italians, came Diego Ulissi (UAE Team Emirates), who closed the group of those who reached the finish line with the winner’s time. The stage unfolded sleepily as we waited for the final 5,600m climb. Before the race director had even lowered the chequered flag the day’s breakaway had already begun. We had anticipated yesterday the role of the Drone Hopper Androni Giocattoli riders of Gianni Savio as the race’s animators. The men of the “prince” have kept faith with their mission literally chasing the machine of Stefano Allocchio. Mattia Bais and Filippo Tagliani staged a revival of the never-to-be-forgotten Trofeo Baracchi with a two-man breakaway of 182 kilometres. At this point, with the Savio boys having gained more than 10 minutes, the slow and inexorable comeback began and was completed in the last 13 minutes from the finish. On the final climb, the Belgian Lawrence Naesen (AG2R Citroen Team) and the German Lennard Kamna (Bora Hansgrohe) attempted a solo attack, but were both sucked into the increasingly stretched-out peloton. It all seemed to turn in favour of Caleb Ewan (Lotto Soudal) who seemed to be holding his own on the climb. However, on the bend fifty metres from the finish, the almond-eyed Tasmanian collided with Girmay, who was in turn trying to fend off the return of Van der Poel. Ewan ended up on the ground, fortunately avoided by the following riders. Tomorrow’s second stage is a short city time trial of 9 kilometres in the heart of the Hungarian capital. The final 1,300 metres will be uphill. There will certainly be a small gap with Van der Poel expected to confirm his place in the pink jersey. Full results here

The Giro opens with a no too demanding uphill finish, after a long stage of almost 200 km, through the slightly undulating plains north of the capital to the Slovakian border marked by the Danube. After a certain breakaway, the race will be controlled by the day favourites and after 190km, once in the centre of Visegrad, the route will climb about 5 km at 5.5% (max 8%) to the imposing citadel where the first Maglia Rosa will be awarded. An average gradient of nearly 6% should blow out the chances of the pure sprinters and give a puncher an early chance to wear the Pink Jersey. Weather forecast: Cloudy all along the stage with temperature around 20° and chance of rain at the arrival in Visegrad. Bookmakers favourites: M Van der Poel 2, C Ewan 6, B Girmay 6, A Valverde 16, R Carapaz 19, J Almeida 19, D Ulissi 21, V Albanese 21, P Bilbao 21.

Sat 7 May – Stage 2: Budapest-Budapest (9,2 Km) – TimeTrail altitude gain 150m

Simon Yates surprises everybody and wins Giro d’Italia stage two time trial in Budapest

(Photo Credit: Tim de Waele/Getty Images)

Britain’s Simon Yates (Team Bikeexchange Jayco) took a surprise win in the second stage of the 105th Giro d’Italia, a short city time trial of 9,200 metres, with the last 1,300 metres uphill, in the heart of Budapest. The rider from Bury, who covered the distance in a time of 11.50,41 at the average of 46.621 kmh, preceded by 3″ the Dutch Mathieu Van der Poel (Alpecin Fenix) who kept the pink jersey. In third place, at 5″ from the winner, another tulip, the vice Olympic champion Tom Dumoulin (Jumbo Visma). Fourth, the Italian TT champion, Matteo Sobrero (Team Bikeexchange Jayco), at 13 “. Yates’s victory was a decidedly unexpected one, considering that he lined up a host of specialists who were far more credited with today’s victory than he was. The general classification, decidedly lively after only two stages, sees Van der Poel keep the lead with 11″ on Yates, followed by Dumoulin, third at 16″, and Sobrero, fourth at 24”. Filtering the ranking and limiting it to the contenders for the final victory, Yates now has an advantage of 5″ over Dumoulin, 13″ over Wilco Kelderman (Bora Hansgrohe), 18″ over Joao Almeida (UAE Team Emirates), 19″ over Nibali and, above all, 24″ over the great favourite Richard Carapaz (Ineos Grenadiers), who is tied in the ranking with Frenchman Romain Bardet (Team DSM). After so much excitement in these first two stages, tomorrow should see a much more sedate stage in the 201 kilometres, flat as a billiard table, from Kaposvar to Balatonfured on the banks of the famous lake. No sprinter is close enough to think of taking the pink jersey thanks to time bonuses. Full results here

Depending on the 1st stage winner, the pink jersey could change immediately, if . The race is back in Budapest and the 9.2km time trial will go through the Hungarian capital from Pest to the historic centre of Buda. Departure from Heroes’ Square to head straight for the Danube, which separates the two souls of the city. The first flat part will end with 1.3km to go, where riders will start climbing up to the finish line, with a peak of 14% and an average gradient is 5% which, partly on cobblestones, leading to the square where the arrive line is located. Weather forecast: Cloudy without any rain and temperature around 22°. Bookmakers favourites: T Dumoulin 2, M Van der Poel 4, J Almeida 5, T Foss 11, E Affini 11.

Sun 8 May – Stage 3: Kaposvàr-Balatonfured (201 Km) altitude gain 890m

Cav(never)endish story: Mark wins the first Giro sprint!

 © RCS Sport

Mark Cavendish (Quick Step Alpha Vinyl Team) won the third stage of the Giro d’Italia, the last on Hungarian soil. The manx imposed his law on the finish line in Balatonfured at the end of a sleepy 201-kilometre stage that started in Kaposvar. Frenchman Arnaud Demare (Groupama FDJ) took the runner-up spot ahead of Colombian Fernando Gaviria (UAE Team Emirates). The general classification remains unchanged with the Dutch Mathieu Van der Poel (Alpecin Fenix) in pink jersey with 11″ ahead of the English Simon Yates (Team Bikeexchange Jayco) and 16″ ahead of his compatriot Tom Dumoulin (Jumbo Visma). In fourth place, 24″ behind, is the Italian riders, Matteo Sobrero (Team Bikeexchange Jayco). The stage was very similar to the opening one with the Drone Hopper Androni Giocattoli duo of Mattia Bais and Filippo Tagliani again interpreting the lowering of the flag by race director Stefano Allocchio as a signal to go into a breakaway. They were joined by Samuele Rivi (Eolo-Kometa Cycling Team). Had it not been for that, a viewer might have thought a repeat of the first stage was being broadcast. Within 20 kilometres the trio had built up an advantage of 5:30 over the peloton, who had now woken from their slumber and brought the situation under control. With 45km still to go, the reunion almost complete, Tagliani was reabsorbed the group but the peloton slowed down again, giving Bais and Rivi another 20 kilometres of glory. Then Pascal Eenkhoorn (Jumbo Visma) attached and the 25-year-old Dutchman went for the Tihany Gpm, 11 kilometres from the finish, and then tried to make a big move. After Eenkhoorn had been caught with 6km remaining, the sprinters’ teams came into the picture. The Wolfpack laid down the law, placing its train ahead of the others in the last kilometre. Michael Morkov (Quick Step Alpha Vinyl Team) launched Cannonball who, having started at three hundred metres, resisted the return of Demare. It was Cavendish’s 16th victory at the Giro d’Italia, almost nine years since his last one on 26 May 2013. Tomorrow the pink caravan will return to Italy, moving to Sicily. On Tuesday, from Avola in the Syracuse area, they will climb Mount Etna for the fourth time in the last six years. They will tackle the Nicolosi slope with the finish line, after 172 kilometres of racing, at the 1892 metres of Rifugio Sapienza. It is highly unlikely that there will be a repeat of what happened in 2011, when Alberto Contador, on stage nine, killed off a Giro d’Italia that would later be stripped from him in favour of Michele Scarponi. The question is whether Van der Poel will commit to keeping the pink jersey and how much it will interest Simon Yates to take the leadership symbol and the associated burdens.

This is a long stage, 201km offering the first chance for the fast wheels, which ends the Hungarian Giro stages. Today route landscape will be dominated by Lake Balaton with the last 50km along its shores. The key point of the race should be the passage on the Tihany promontory, with a short and easy climb towards the 4cat GPM placed in front of the abbey. But the return along the lake is rather tortuous and this stretch may prove decisive for the organisation of the sprint in view of the long avenues without curves of the very last km. With 1km to go, riders will find a big roundabout, then a very wide straight to the finish line. Weather forecast: Sunny with a few clouds with temperature around 24°. Light tailwind expected for for first 70 km and a head/cross light breeze in the last 95 km. Bookmakers favourites: C Ewan 3, M Cavendish 3, P Bauhaus 7, A Demare 7, G Nizzolo 11, F Gaviria 11, B Girmay 13, C Bol 20.

Mon 9 May – Rest Day

Tue 10 May – Stage 4: Avola-Etna (172 Km) Altitude gain 3500m

Lennard Kamna king on the Etna and Juan Pedro Lopez emotional new race leader

© RCS Sport

Lennard Kamna (Bora Hansgrohe) won the fourth stage of the 105th Giro d’Italia, along the 172 kilometres that from Avola brought the riders to the 1892 metres of Rifugio Sapienza on Mount Etna. The German preceded in a sprint the Spanish Juan Pedro Lopez (Trek Segafredo) with the Estonian Rein Taaramae (Intermarchè Wanty Gobert), third at 34″. These three riders also took the top three positions in the general classification with the Iberian in the pink jersey, followed at 39″ by the winner of the day and 58″ by the Baltic. The verdict on the first uphill finish of the pink race, which claimed a number of illustrious victims, was not, however, the only important event of the day. In fact, a few kilometres after the start, Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana Qazaqstan) withdrew due to a recurrence of thigh pain, already present in the days before the Hungarian start. As the drama of the Colombian unfolded, after 20 kilometres of attacks and counter-attacks, a group of 14 riders formed at the front: Lennard Kamna, Juan Pedro Lopez, Rein Taaramae, Gijs Leemreize (Jumbo Visma), Mauri Vansevenant (Quick Step Alpha Vinyl), Valerio Conti (Astana Qazaqstan), Davide Villella and Remy Rochas (Cofidis), Sylvain Moniquet (Lotto Soudal), Stefano Oldani (Alpecin Fenix), Diego Camargo (EF), Erik Fetter (EOLO Kometa), Alexander Cataford (Israel – Premier Tech), Lilian Calmejane (AG2R Citroen). The peloton was uninterested, allowing the advantage to swell to 11 minutes in the short space of 15 kilometres. Over the next 100 kilometres the peloton halved the gap. So it came down to just over 5 minutes with 25km to the finish line, in view of the “traguardo volante”flying in Biancavilla, where an Oldani solo breakaway shattered the attacking group. The Milanese rider quickly gained a minute on a surviving sextet of Kamna, Lopez, Taaramae, Leemreize, Vansevenant and Moniquet. Meanwhile, Richard Carapaz had deployed the Ineos Grenadiers at the front of the peloton, imposing an acceleration which caused the sprinters and pink jersey holder Mathieu Van der Poel (Alpecin Fenix) to drop back immediately. With ten kilometres to go, Lopez broke away, catching and passing Oldani in the space of two thousand metres. Kamna then set off in pursuit of the Andalusian, while the Carapaz group loosing Tom Dumoulin (Jumbo Visma) first and after also Vincenzo Nibali (Astana Qazaqstan). Kamna caught Lopez with two thousand metres to go. The two seemed to have agreed immediately, making it clear that they would share the day’s victory and the pink jersey at the finish. Taramae came back strongly from behind but it was too late. Kamna easily won the sprint, repeating his success at Villard de Lans in the 2020 Tour de France. Lopez pretended to regret it, gloating under his breath at having won the Corsa Rosa leadership. The best of the pack, a small group reduced to 20 riders, arrived at 2:37, with Carapaz outsprinting them. The virtual classification of the favourites still sees the English Simon Yates (Team Bikeexchange Jayco) in the lead with 13″ ahead of Dutchman Wilco Kelderman (Bora Hansgrohe), 18″ ahead of Portuguese Joao Almeida (UAE Team Emirates), 24″ ahead of Ecuadorian Richard Carapaz (Ineos Grendaiers) and Frenchman Romain Bardet (Team DSM) with Spaniard Mikel Landa (Bahrain Victorious) at 33”. There shouldn’t be any changes in the ranking in the next 48 hours where we will live two fractions that seem destined to a bunch sprint. Tomorrow, in fact, will be staged the second and last Sicilian stage. The race goes from Catania to Messina, 174 kilometres including, just before the halfway point, the long but easy Portella Mandrazzi climb. On this climb, in 1954, Fausto Coppi, in the rainbow jersey, went into crisis loosing there his Giro (he was then forth), won by Swiss Carlo Clerici. Full result here

We are on the fourth day of the race but it’s already time for big challenges. As soon as they land in Italy, and after a rest day, there is a tough stage in the Sicilian hinterland with uphill finish. The stage will be decided on the final Mount Etna climb, which ends at the rifugio Sapienza. The stage includes pedalable climbs in the first part, including the no categorised Monte Lauro after around 50 km, the highest peak of the Monti Iblei. But the real race will be decided on the long final ascent, which partly matches that of 2018 (when, however, the finish was placed lower, at the Astronomical Observatory).

The climb is approached from Biancavilla, on a recently asphalted panoramic route. over 20km with an average gradient of 5.9% (max 14%), with a 2km at more than 9% in the central part of the climb. This side of the Etna climb is dedicated to Marco Pantani. From its start the climb has a stable gradient to 6-8%. Once in Ragalna Piano Vetore a suddenly stretch at 14% may break definitely the leading group. The road continues to climb up to Piano Vetore where in 2018 Esteban Chaves won the sixth stage of the 2018 Giro but to complete the Pantani side there are still 3 km of climb up to the 1910 metres of Rifugio Sapienza. Etna has never made a big difference in recent years, even on more challenging slopes than this one. It all depends on how much the climbers want to challenge themselves and also a bit on the wind that often blows hard on the slopes of the volcano. Weather forecast: Sunny with a few clouds with temperature from 21° to 6° on the Etna. Some wind on the final part and no rain. Bookmakers favourites: L Kamna, P Bilbao12, J Almeida 15, R Carapaz 15, R Taaramae 15, S Yates 20.

Wed 11 May – Stage 5: Catania-Messina (174 Km) Altitude Gain 1200m

Number 6 Giro victory for Demare in Messina

© RCS Sport

Vincenzo, forever I will love you. By Simone Gambino @TPI.it


Today, thanks to a stage with a predictable final solution, saw the excitement take a back seat to a piece of news that had been in the air for some time but nevertheless brings such sadness. On the day on which the Giro d’Italia, which he won twice, in 2013 and 2016, honoured him by passing through his hometown, Vincenzo Nibali, surely the greatest Italian cyclist of the third millennium, announced his retirement from racing at the end of the season. One of the seven outriders capable of winning the triple crown, i.e. victory in the three Grand Tours, Nibali leaves behind a movement whose dependence on him over the last decade has been less than total. The route from here to Verona will be a fitting tribute to a glittering career.

Turning to the race, Frenchman Arnaud Demare (Groupama FDJ) won the fifth stage of the 105th Giro d’Italia, the last on Sicilian soil, along the 174 kilometres that took the caravan from Catania to Messina. For the Picardy rider, it was the sixth partial success at the Giro after the one in Modena in 2019 and the poker in 2020 that allowed him to take the cyclamen jersey. Among the four triumphs in the only autumn edition of the pink race, it is worth mentioning the one in the Catania – Villafranca Tirennica in a stage almost identical to today’s. The Colombian Fernando Gaviria (UAE Team Emirates) took the place of honour, not without regret due to a non-perfect sprint bike, ahead of Giacomo Nizzolo (Israel Premier Tech). The victory also handed Demare the cyclamen jersey in the points classification, snatched from Mathieu Van der Poel (Alpecin Fenix). Instead, the general classification remained unchanged with Spaniard Juan Pedro Lopez (Trek Segafredo) in the pink jersey with a 39-second advantage over German Lennard Kamna (Bora Hansgrohe) followed by Estonian Rein Taaramae (Intermarchè Wanty Gobert), third at 58 seconds. The stage was about a question. There was the question of how much the Portella Mandrazzi climb, located just before the halfway point, would affect the course of the race. The answer was provided by the facts or, to be more precise, by the defaults of the two leading sprinters, Mark Cavendish (Quick Step Alpha Vinyl) and Caleb Ewan (Lotto Soudal), who finally detached themselves on the climb and arrived at the finish line very late. Demare, on the other hand, limited the damage on the climb, losing just over a minute, and then easily came back on the descent. With the team at his disposal, the Groupama FDJ captain took off at the 300-metre mark, thwarting the comeback of Gaviria, who was penalised by mechanical problems to an unknown extent.

Tomorrow is scheduled the sixth stage, the first in continental Italy, in Calabria from Palmi to Scalea along 194 kilometres without difficulty. We should see something very similar to today also because, with what awaits the riders between Friday and Sunday, conserving energy will be a top priority.

From Catania to Messina, starting on the east coast and leading via the long Cat.2 GPM of Portella Mandrazzi to the north coast. The stage is very similar to Villafranca Tirrena in 2020, where the Portella Mandrazzi stretched the peloton out but did not trouble any of the possible favourites for stage victory. This ascent comes early enough for everything to regroup from possible early attach and in time for sprinters to reorganise for a presumable bunch sprint in Messina, Vincenzo Nibali home town. The finish is slightly undulating, but takes place on long avenues that make easy work of the sprinters’ teams. The final 800-metre straight is slightly downhill, which is why it will be a very fast sprint where you can even risk anticipating a little. Weather forecast: Sunny with temperature up to 25°. Tailwind expected along the Tyrrhenian Sea, up to a maximum of 13 Km/h. The same applies to the final stretch along the Messina Strait, but with much less wind (maximum 6 Km/h). Bookmaker Favourites: C Ewan 3, M Cavendish 4, B Girmay 6, A Démare 9, M Van der Poel 9, F Gaviria 11, G Nizzolo 16.

Thu 12 May – Stage 6: Palmi-Scalea (192 Km) Altitude gain 900m

Seven times Demare!!!

© RCS Sport


Frenchman Arnaud Demare (Groupama FDJ) won the sixth stage of the 105th Giro d’Italia, raced entirely on Calabrian soil along 194 kilometres without difficulty from Palmi to Scalea. The sprinter from Beauvais thus repeated his success of yesterday in Messina, becoming, with seven victories, the transalpine record holder in the day’s stages at the Core Rosa. In second position, at the photo finish, was Australian Caleb Ewan (Lotto Soudal) with Mark Cavendish (Quick Step Alpha Vinyl) taking third. The general classification remained unchanged with Spaniard Juan Pedro Lopez (Trek Segafredo) in the pink jersey with a 39-second advantage over German Lennard Kamna (Bora Hansgrohe), followed by Estonian Rein Taaramae (Intermarchè Wanty Gobert), third at 58 seconds. The stage lived on the solo performance of Diego Rosa (Eolo Kometa), who stayed in the breakaway for a good 141 kilometres. Taking advantage of the lethargy that hit the peloton, the rider from Alba reminded the world of the time long ago when he was one of the great hopes of Italian cycling. Rosa, discovered by Gianni Savio and then gone to the Astana of Nibali and Aru, in his two years with the Kazakh team had been able to conquer a Milan-Turin, enter the Olympic quintet for Rio and lose by a trifle from Esteban Chaves a Giro di Lombardia that he deserved to win. At the end of 2016, his decision to move to Sky, receiving a hefty payday but scaling back his personal ambitions, made a decisive mark on his career. Having caught the escapee at minus 28km from the finish, the peloton abandoned touring mode and accelerated violently. A long preparation led to the most beautiful sprint of this Giro with the three tenors finally facing each other on equal terms. Cavendish started too long at 300 metres and was overtaken by Ewan in the last 50m from the finish line. However, the Australian diminutive however, was denied victory by Demare’s powerful  last-gasp effort,  who overtook him right at the line, taking the victory in 5h02’33” at a soporific average speed of 38.076 km/h. Tomorrow is scheduled the seventh stage, one of the most interesting of this edition of the Corsa Rosa. There will be 3,500 metres of elevation gain in the 196 kilometres from Diamante to Potenza in a stage that could do a lot of harm to those who underestimate it. The presence of good weather will make life easier for the riders, leaving only the road to give its verdict.

The start will be from Palmi, in the province of Reggio Calabria, for a route that after 192 km will arrive in Scalea along the stretch of coast known as the Riviera dei Cedri. A slightly undulating stage which will probably end in a sprint. The only altimetrical difficulty is in the first part of the route and will be the 4th Cat GPM of the Luigi Razza Airport of Vibo Valentia, an easy climb, 3.9 km long with an average gradient of less than 4%. From then on it’s all flat, apart from a few notches that won’t put anyone in difficulty. After a slightly bumpy first part the race follows the Tirrena coast of Calabria with its short ups and downs. Stage with a very fast finish (the last 8 km are almost an endless straight) and expected bunch sprint. Weather forecast: Sunny with temperature up to 20°. Crosswind expected along the Tyrrhenian Sea, up to a max of 13 Km/h. Bookmaker Favourites: C Ewan 3, M Cavendish 3, A Démare 7, B Girmay 10, F Gaviria 10, G Nizzolo 15, M Van der Poel 19, P Bauhaus 20.

Fri 13 May – Stage 7: Diamante-Potenza (196 Km) Altitude gain 4510m

Bouwman beautiful stage victory in Giro thanks to Dumoulin

© RCS Sport

Dutchman Koen Bouwman (Jumbo Visma) won the seventh stage of the 105th Giro d’Italia, the eagerly awaited trans-Apennine ride of 196 kilometres, with a good 4,500 metres of elevation gain, from Diamante to Potenza. The 28-year-old from Ulft, who also gained the climbers’ blue jersey along the route, was 2 seconds ahead of compatriot Bauke Mollema (Trek Segafredo) and Davide Formolo from Verona (UAE Team Emirates), who were distanced by him on the final ramp leading to the finish line. In fourth place at 19 seconds was Tom Dumoulin (Jumbo Visma), whose contribution was decisive for his teammate’s victory. The general classification remained unchanged with Spaniard Juan Pedro Lopez (Trek Segafredo) in the pink jersey with an advantage of 39″ over German Lennard Kamna (Bora Hansgrohe), followed by Estonian Rein Taaramae (Intermarchè Wanty Gobert), third at 58″. It was supposed to be a spectacular stage and it was, although it did not affect the classification. The first hour of racing flew by at very high speed with continuous attacks that did not come to fruition. Finally, after 75 kilometres, on the first ramps of the very long climb to Monte Sirino, the only first category GPM of the day, the decisive action took shape, an attack by seven riders: Davide Villella (Cofidis), Davide Formolo (UAE Team Emirates), Wout Poels (Bahrain-Victorious), Bauke Mollema (Trek-Segafredo), Diego Andres Camargo (EF Education Easypost), Tom Dumoulin (Jumbo-Visma) and Koen Bowman (Jumbo-Visma). The breakaway quickly gained a six-minute lead. Bowman won the first of his three daily GPMs, the initial one on the Passo Colla had gone to Poels. The situation remained so for about fifty kilometres until Villella was delayed by a mechanical accident. It was then Poels’ turn to loose contact on the climb leading to the Monte Grande Viggiano. It was at this point that Richard Carapaz (Ineos Grenadiers) deployed the team at the front of the peloton and began the slow but gradual comeback that would allow them to halve the disadvantage at the finish. Meanwhile, Villella managed to rejoin the front group on the descent. On the final climb, La Sellata, first Camargo and then Villella finally gave up, leaving the three Dutchmen and the Italian Formolo to play for the final victory. It would be wrong to claim that the quartet proceeded by love and agreement. Formolo and Mollema tried to attack repeatedly but the Jumbo Visma duo repelled every attempt, capitalising on the numerical advantage in their favour. The final city section into Potenza included two short ramps. On the first, with 7km to go, an acceleration by Mollema caused Dumoulin to give up, losing quickly 20 seconds. However, both the Trek man and Formolo made the mistake of not keeping up the pace, allowing the Maastricht rider to make a spectacular recovery on the descent, which took place under the 3,000-metre finishing line. The winner of Giro number 100 was now in the lead, imposing a high pace to avoid any attack and to favour is teammate. At 200 metres Bouwman started the sprint. Mollema and Formolo tried in vain to respond, but there was nothing they could do. The group with all the classification men, about 40 unit, arrived at 2’59”. Tomorrow sees the eighth stage. A circuit with start and finish in Naples celebrating Procida, Italian Capital of Culture in 2022. The relatively short stage, measuring just 153 kilometres, promises to be particularly intense with a 19-kilometre circuit between Bacoli and Monte di Procida to be covered five times before the finish, presumably a small bunch sprint along the Via Caracciolo seafront. Full results here

It’s time for the first of the two Apennine mountain passes that close the first week. From Diamante to Potenza there are plenty of climbs, often with challenging gradients. It is a beautifully designed stage and the spectacle would be guaranteed. It is only stage seven, the second on the Peninsula, and it is a very demanding stage through the Calabrian-Lucanian mountains with 196 kilometres and 4,510 metres of elevation gain worthy of a Dolomite stage, although the maximum altitude is ‘only’ of 1,405 metres. After 37km from Maratea the sequence of more or less demanding climbs is uninterrupted. After the climbs of Passo Colla and Monte Sirino, the route will reach the hardest climb of this stage, Monte Scuro.

After 123km, the climbs of Viaggiano followed by a short descent will lead the very demanding Cat 2 Monte Scuro with 6 kilometres at 9.1%. The following climb brings to Calvello, no marked as a Gpm but with several stretches of 10-12%.

The last climb, La Sellata, is the most rideable but long enough to create more problems to the riders. With six km to go a final bump in Potenza Centro may offer a further opportunity to the brave raider that wants to conquest a solo win. The last 350m are uphill with a demanding gradient Weather forecast: Some cloud especially in the first part of the race with temperature up to 20°. Little wind expected. Bookmaker Favourites: M Van der Poel 11, M Schmid 11, Cort Nielsen 13, B Mollema 16, P Bilbao 16, D Ulisse 16, D Formolo 18, V Nibali 21, A Valverde 21, F Gall 24, R Carapaz 25.

Sat 14 May – Stage 8: Napoli-Napoli (153 Km) Altitude gain 2130m

THOMAS DE GENDT, FROM STELVIO TO VESUVIO

Belgian Thomas De Gendt (Lotto Soudal) won the eighth stage of the 105th Giro d’Italia, a circuit with start and finish in Naples that celebrated Procida, Italian Capital of Culture in 2022. 3,640 days after his feat on the Stelvio, the man who has made an art of the breakaway liquidated in the sprint, on the seafront of via Caracciolo, in the order, the Italian Davide Gabburo (Bardiani Csf Faizanè), the Spaniard Jorge Arcas (Movistar) and his team-mate Harm Vanhoucke, who sacrificed himself to pull the sprint. The general classification changed slightly. Spaniard Juan Pedro Lopez (Trek Segafredo) retains the pink jersey with an advantage of 39″ over German Lennard Kamna (Bora Hansgrohe), followed by Estonian Rein Taaramae (Intermarchè Wanty Gobert), third at 58″. In fourth place, with a gap of 1’06, came Frenchman Guillaume Martin (Cofidis), who benefited from being part of the day’s breakaway. For the second consecutive day there was an exciting spectacle. Lighting the dust immediately after the start was Mathieu Van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix). The Dutchman, to the delight of the numerous spectators along the route, set off on the attack with his head down. Unfortunately for the grandson of Raymond Poulidor, today was one of those days when Thomas De Gendt was particularly inspired. It was, in fact, thanks to the Flemish rider that Van der Poel was caught and, after some twenty kilometres, a group of 21 riders was in the lead: Andrea Vendrame and Lilian Calmejane (Ag2r Citroen), Fabio Felline and Harold Tejada (Astana), Wout Poels and Jasha Sutterlin (Bahrain Victorious), Davide Gabburo (Bardiani Csf Faizanè), Guillaume Martin (Cofidis), Simone Ravanelli and Edoardo Zardini (Drone Hopper Androni), Samuele Rivi and Mirco Maestri (Eolo Kometa), Biniam Girmay (Intermarché Wanty Gobert), Thomas De Gendt, Sylvain Moniquet and Harm Vanhoucke (Lotto Soudal), Jorge Arcas (Movistar), Mauro Schmid (QuickStep), Mattias Jensen (Trek Segafredo), Diego Ulissi (UAE), Mathieu Van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix). Hindering the expansion of the breakaway was the presence of Martin. The Parisian, 28th in the classification at 4’06” from the pink jersey, was to be considered a potential danger to Lopez. For this reason, Trek Segafredo lined up at the front of the peloton, freezing the advantage of the attackers at two minutes. The decisive turning point came with 46 kilometres to go. Van der Poel set off on a breakaway, crushing the breakaway group. Not without effort, Schmid, Girmay and Poels came back on him, followed by Martin, Vendrame and Skjelmose. The seven did not find an agreement, thus allowing the others to catch up. De Gendt could not believe it. He took off on a counter-attack, bringing along his team-mate Vanhoucke, Gaburro, Arcas and Ravanelli, who, however, gave way almost immediately. The quartet, mainly thanks to the work of the Lotto Soudal duo, quickly gained half a minute, also due to the protracted reluctance of those behind to come to an agreement. With 10 kilometres to go, and the advantage of the four was close to a minute, under the action of Girmay, Schmid and Van der Poel, a rapprochement took place that brought the Dutchman to within 10 seconds of the leaders under the final kilometre banner. De Gendt, however, had done his calculations well today. Resisting the temptation to go it alone, anticipating the sprint, he fuelled the breakaway to the very end and managed to extract from his three companions what little they could offer him. Van Houcke took the lead at 1,500 metres, producing an action similar to that of Tom Dumoulin (Jumbo Visma) 24 hours earlier. The result was identical with the well-deserved victory of the man who had not only proved to be the strongest with his legs today, but had also been able to interpret the race better. Tomorrow the Giro faces its ninth stage, one of the most eagerly awaited. They will ride 191 kilometres from Isernia to the Blockhaus della Maiella overcoming an altitude difference of 5,000 metres. Three GPMs in the first 40 kilometres will ensure that there will be no waiting with the ascent of Passo Lanciano, on the summit of which the riders will pass at minus 45 from the finish line, which will act as an appetizer to the arrival at the 1,665 metres above sea level of the Blockhaus. In 24 hours we will have a much clearer idea of the fate of this edition of the pink race. Full result here

Short and intense stage. From Naples the race heads to Bacoli and here begins a demanding circuit of around 19km between Bacoli and Monte di Procida to be covered five times. This stage is includes a circuit repeated several times that leaves very little breathing space. The route climbs immediately towards Posillipo and the Campi Flegrei, then the terrain is substantially on the flat until km 45. Here it is time for the first ‘wall’ that leads under the Arco Felice with even a short stretch of Roman cobblestones.

Then it is time to enter the circuit on the shores of Lago Lucino: there are a couple of ramps that lead first to Baia and then to Bacoli; then the longest climb of the day, the 2.1 km at 6% (max 12%) to Monte di Procida; then after a few km of flat terrain and a short descent, the climb up the wall of Via Petronio of about 700 metres at 10% before returning to Lago Lucino. The 19 km circuit is repeated four times and we come out of it when there are about 25 km to go to the finish, which is also anything but easy: from Pozzuoli we climb to the Solfatara with about 2.5 km at 4.5%; a descent jagged with counter-slope stretches leads to Bagnoli where the climb towards the Posillipo hill begins, 3.3 km at 4.7% average, but divided into two sections with gradients of up to 7.8%. At the top there are only 7 km to go, with the first 4 of technical descent and the last 3 completely flat leading to the seafront in Via Caracciolo, where the finish is placed. Weather forecast: Partly cloudy conditions. Chance of precipitation: less than 5%. Wind direction NE up to 14 km/h. Expected temperature: minimum 19° C, maximum 22° C.. Bookmaker Favourites: M Van der Poel 2, B Girmay 6, C Ewan 9, Cort Nielsen 14, A Demare 15, F Gaviria 15, G Nizzolo 20.

Sun 15 May – Stage 9: Isernia-Blockhaus (191 Km) Elevation gain 5000

THE RESURRECTION OF JAI

Australian Jai Hindley (Bora Hansgrohe) won the ninth stage of the 105th Giro d’Italia, along the 191 kilometres from Isernia to the Blockhaus della Maiella, overcoming an altitude gain of 5,000 metres. The 26-year-old from Perth, who started in the Pink Jersey in the final time trial of the autumn Giro 19 months ago only to have it taken off by Tao Geoghegan Hart (Ineos Grenadiers) in the shadow of Milan Cathedral, beat Frenchman Romain Bardet (Team DSM) and Ecuadorian Richard Carapaz (Ineos Grendaiers) to the line in a thrilling head-to-head battle. Completing the sextet that played for the day’s success, in fourth place was the Spaniard Mikel Landa (Bahrain Victorious), who preceded the Portuguese Joao Almeida (UAE Team Emirates) and a moving Domenico Pozzovivo (Intermarchè Wanty Gobert), 39nyears old and the best of the Italians, with his sixth place. In seventh place Emanuel Buchmann (Bora Hansgrohe) at 16′ followed by Vincenzo Nibali (Astana Qazaqstan), eighth at the finish line, 34″ behind the winner, both providing a decent performance. The general classification was heavily revised by a stage that saw Englishman Simon Yates (Team Bike-exchange Jayco), Wilco Kelderman ((Bora Hansgrohe) and homeboy Giulio Ciccone (Trek Segafredo), all crossing the finish line with significant gaps and all definitively abandoning the fight for the overall victory. Juan Pedro Lopez (Trek Segafredo) just retained the pink jersey. The Andalusian is now 12″ ahead of Almeida in the classification. Bardet, third at 14″, Carapaz fourth at 15″ and Hindley fifth at 20″. The stage, right up to the final climb, had its main protagonist in Diego Rosa (Eolo Kometa). After Thursday’s rehearsal in the Calabrian stage, the man from Alba attacked from the start, scoring points in the GPMs. In doing so, he won the climbers’ blue jersey, taking the leader’s symbol away from the winner of the Potenza stage, Dutchman Koen Bouwman (Jumbo Visma). Rosa was accompanied by eight other riders: Joe Dombrowski (Astana Qazaqstan Team), Natnael Tesfatsion and Eduardo Sepúlveda (Drone Hopper – Androni Giocattoli), Felix Gall and Nans Peters (AG2R Citroën Team), Filippo Zana (Bardiani-CSF-Faizanè), Jonathan Klever Caicedo (EF Education-EasyPost) and James Knox (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl Team). Ineos, however, never allowed the breakaway to grow beyond a controllable advantage, ending it with twenty kilometres to go. At this point the race between the aspirants to the final success began. Ciccone and Yates gave up almost immediately, while Almeida repeatedly seemed on the verge of collapse but somehow held on. At minus 7km, a skid forced the Pink Jersey Lopez to put his foot down, loosing ground to the race leaders. However, Lopez, did not lose heart and continued to climb at his own pace. With four kilometres to go Carapaz set off, immediately followed by Bardet and Landa. 50m from this trio, another now was formed with Almeida, Hindley and Pozzovivo. The short descent, coinciding with the last kilometre, saw the final recomposition of the sextet, which went on to play for the day’s success with the surprising victory of Hindley. Full results here

The second weekend really leaves no respite and sequences two Apennine stages separated by the difficult Naples stage. High mountainous stage of the Apennines and one of the toughest of this Giro with around 5000m of elevation gain in 191km. From the first kilometres from Isernia to Rionero Sannitico, the route heads upwards to reach the historic Macerone (3.5km, avg 5.4%, max 9%), RioneroSannitico (10.1km, avg 6%, max 10%), Roccaraso (7.7km, avg 6%, max 10%), triad climbs. For sure this will to create confusion and encourage the start of numerous breakaway tentatives. There will be very little flat terrain throughout the stage, leaving very little space to chase down any attacks. Then the final 50km, with the double climb to Blockhaus.

From Pretoro we reach Passo Lanciano, a cat.1 GPM, 13.6km ascent with an average gradient of 8.4% and sections of 14%.

From the top a long descent to Lettomanoppello and then climbing to the finish from Roccamorice as in 2017.

This is the hardest of the three roads up to the Blockhaus with the last 13 km really hard with several sectors featuring double-digit gradients and the final 10km boasts an average gradient of 9.4%. The Blockhaus was first featured in 1967, when a young Eddy Merckx was the stage winner, the Belgian five years later faced one of the rare crises of his career and distanced by José Manuel Fuente on a split stage of just 48km.

Weather forecast: Partially cloudy with chance of rain on the finish line. Temperature up to 28° and chance of rain at the arrival with temperature around 15°. Bookmaker Favourites: Carapaz 3, Yates 6, Landa 8, Almeida 13, Bardet 15, Bilbao 20.

Mon 16 May – Rest Day

Tue 17 May – Stage 10: Pescara-Jesi (196 Km) Altitude gain 1760m

Biniam Girmay supersprint in Jesi! Van dear Poel second showing respect!!

Eritrean Biniam Girmay (Intermarchè Wanty Gobert) won stage 10 of the 105th Giro d’Italia, along the 196 kilometers, flat in the first half and undulating in the second, that took the ‘Corsa Rosa’ from Pescara to Jesi. Forty-three years after the historic first African victory, on May 24, 1979 at the finish line in Pesaro where South African Alan Van Heerden won, the Marche region confirmed itself as the cradle of cycling on the African Continent. Girmay, already the winner of Ghent-Wevelgem at the end of March, preceded after a thrilling head-to-head with Dutchman Mathieu Van der Poel (Alpecin Fenix) with Salerno’s Vincenzo Albanese (Eolo Kometa) earning the third coin. The general classification remains unchanged with Spaniard Juan Pedro Lopez (Trek Segafredo) retaining the pink jersey with a lead of 12″ over Portugal “s Joao Almeida (UAE Team Emirates), followed by France “s Romain Bardet (Team DSM), third at 14”, with the big favorite for the overall win, Ecuador “s Richard Carapaz (Ineos Grendaiers), fourth at 15″. Domenico Pozzovivo (Intermarchè Wanty Gobert), eighth in the rankings at 54”. The fractions that follow rest days always contain an imponderable element because of the different effect the break has on the riders. A breakaway of a large group of attackers was expected at the start today. Instead, only three, albeit very well qualified, attacked after five kilometers: Lawrence Naesen (AG2R Citroën), younger brother of northern classics specialist Oliver; Mattia Bais (Drone Hopper-Androni Giocattoli), the unchallenged leader in the standings for kilometers covered in the breakaway; and Alessandro De Marchi (Israel-Premier Tech), the legendary redhead from Buja, in his own small way the Italian version of the breakaway par excellence, Thomas De Gendt (Lotto Soudal). The trio quickly gained six minutes that were then eroded with steady slowness by the peloton, which re-grouped after 167 kilometers when there were only 25 to go. Meanwhile, the early Marches walls had taken both Australian Caleb Ewan (Lotto Soudal) and Briton Mark Cavendish (Quick Step Alpha Vinyl) out of the equation for today’s victory, and they were immediately dropped, leaving, among the sprinters, only Frenchman Arnaud Demare (Groupama FDJ), in the cyclamen jersey, and Colombian Fernando Gaviria (UAE Team Emirates) in the top group. It remains difficult to assess the weight that the chain jump that occurred to Van der Poel with just over fifty kilometers to go had on the economy of the race. In fact, if his re-entry into the leading peloton, recovering a minute, was immediate, it is likely that the energy expended in this effort prevented Raymond Poulidor’s grandson from attempting an encore of the splendid action that, on these very roads, gave him, starting from a distance, the spectacular victory in Castelfidardo at last year’s Tirreno – Adriatico. The Dutchman, therefore, concentrated his efforts on the descent following the last asperity, the GPM of Monsano, launching an attack 5km from the finish banner that, however, did not prove successful. Launched by Pozzovivo in the sprint, Girmay sprinted to the side of the road with Van der Poel flanking him at 150 meters, but failing to overtake him and finally giving way at the minus 50 mark. Jesi’s 37-year wait for the return of the Giro was definitely rewarded with a historic achievement.
Tomorrow is scheduled for the 11th stage entirely on Emilian soil. The riders are expected to ride 203 kilometers flatter than a pool table in the transfer from Sant’Arcangelo di Romagna to Reggio Emilia. It will be a bunch sprint in close ranks.

Mixed stage with the first part flat and coastal and the second undulating along the Walls of the Jesi area. After Civitanova Marche there are no obvious stretches of rest. It is a typical Marche stage, but not really a wall stage, although undulating and treacherous. The first 100 km are completely flat, while the remaining ninety or so is instead a constant up and down; however, the most challenging ramps (especially the long wall towards Recanati) are far from the finish. It must be said, however, that the finish is practically at the end of a descent, so a sprint can absolutely be averted. To complete the content of the film we simply list the climbs with the relevant data: Crocette di Montecosaro (8.2 km at 2.7%, max 13%); Bv. per Montelupone (1.8 km at 6%); Recanati (3.4 km at 6.9%, max 18%); Filottrano (3 km at 4%, plus another 800 m at 7% to get to the flying finish); Collina (1.2 km at 7.1%, max 15%); Mazzangrugno (1.5 km at 6%); Monsano (4.1 km at 4.2%, max 11%). The last km is slightly up at around 2%. Weather forecast: Mostly sunny with temperature up to 27°. Bookmaker Favourites: Van dear Poel 3, Girmay 6, Schmid 9, Cort Nielsen 16, Covi 16, Oldani 16, Ballerini 26.

Wed 18 May – Stage 11: Santarcangelo-Reggio Emilia (203 Km) Altitude gain 480m

Alberto Dainese breaks the spell and wins in Reggio Emilia with the first Italian victory in the Giro

© Team DSM

Alberto Dainese (Team DSM) won the 11th stage of the 105th Giro d’Italia at the end of the very flat stage that, following the Via Emilia, took the peloton from Sant’Arcangelo di Romagna to Reggio Emilia along 203 km. The sprinter from Padova thus gave Italy its first success in this edition of the pink race. The 24-year-old from Abano Terme overtook in the last 50 meters, with perfect timing, the Colombian Fernando Gaviria (UAE Team Emirates) who seemed to have had the game won by then. In third place came the member of the Tokyo Olympic golden quartet Simone Consonni (Cofidis). The general classification remains almost unchanged with Spaniard Juan Pedro Lopez (Trek Segafredo) retaining the pink jersey with a lead of 12″ over the big favorite for the final victory, Ecuadorian Richard Carapaz (Ineos Grendaiers), who, by gaining the 3″ at the bonus sprint in San Giovanni in Persiceto, has thus joined Portuguese Joao Almeida (UAE Team Emirates) in the ranking. Before the start came confirmation of the withdrawal of yesterday’s winner, Biniam Girmay (Intermarchè Wanty Gobert). The Eritrean, to whom, in the prize-giving ceremony after his success in Jesi, the cork from the bottle of sparkling wine prerogative of the winner had gotten in his eye, raised the white flag. It was supposed to be a bunch sprint and so it was. However, the course of the stage was much more eventful than could have been expected. The start was characterized by the usual initial attack in which Filippo Tagliani (Drone Hopper – Androni Giocattoli) and Luca Rastelli (Bardiani-CSF-Faizanè) were the protagonists. The two attackers reached a maximum lead of five minutes after an hour of racing only to be swallowed up by the peloton, aided by the strong favourable wind, immediately after crossing Bologna. The Ineos Grenadiers lined up at the front of the peloton imparting a very high pace. With 58 kilometers to go, taking advantage of the slowdown of the peloton, former Belgian national champion Dries De Bondt (Alpecin Fenix) set off and quickly gained 100 seconds on the peloton. The sprinters’ teams seemed not to care too much about this attack. De Bondt, however, pressed on, still retaining half a minute at the minus-14 mark that was reduced to 20″ with 6 km to go. At this point, to the rescue of the sprinters’ formations came Ineos again, who produced a strong acceleration to bring Carapaz safely to the minus-three neutralization area. De Bondt was being caught at 1,200 meters from the final banner. The Groupama train seemed in full control for Demare’s sprint but disunited in the turn with 500 meters to go. Starting at 300m was Gaviria, who gave the impression that he was going to make it. The Colombian, however, underestimated Dainese’s comeback, getting passed just before the finish line.

Completely flat stage which together with the third is the longest of the Giro. From the start to Bologna, the route follows the Via Consolare Emilia almost always straight through the Emilia plain. 203 km completely flat kilometers will only serve to move us westward, taking the opportunity to remember the victims of the 2012 earthquake, the 20th anniversary of which falls, and offer the sprinters one of the last chances to play for stage success. Weather forecast: Sunny with temperature up to 28°. Tailwind with some crosswind expected up to 28/30 Km/h. Bookmaker Favourites: A Demare 3, M Cavendish 4, C Ewan 5, F Gaviria 6, G Nizzolo 11, M Van der Poel 17, P Bauhaus 21, Bol 21.

Thu 19 May – Stage 12: Parma-Genova (204 Km) Altitude gain 2600m

The great day of Lorenzo Oldani

© Giro d’Italia

Italian Lorenzo Oldani (Alpecin Fenix) won stage 12 of the 105th Giro d’Italia, the longest of this edition. At the end of the 204 trans-Apennine kilometers from Parma to Genoa, the Milanese rider, who had already distinguished himself by going on the attack on Mount Etna, preceded another Lombard, Bergamo’s Lorenzo Rota, with Dutchman Gijs Leemreize (Jumbo Visma) finishing third. The general classification remained unchanged with Spaniard Juan Pedro Lopez (Trek Segafredo) retaining the pink jersey 12″ ahead of the pair formed by Ecuadorian Richard Carapaz (Ineos Grenadiers) and Portuguese Joao Almeida (UAE Team Emirates). Of note, in the back positions, the recovery of Tulip rider Wilco Kelderman (Bora Hansgrohe), who, entering the day’s breakaway, recovered ten positions, moving up to 12th place at 2’51″. At the start of the Ducal city of Parma, after several attack tentatives, a group of 25 breakaways was formed at the start of the Passo del Bocco, the day’s main asperity, set at the halfway point, and they quickly gained up to five minutes over the pink jersey peloton. Dutchman Bauke Mollema (Trek Segafredo) transited first at the GPM where the attackers remained compact, then transited downhill in front of the stele commemorating the tragic accident in which Wouter Weylandt lost his life 11 years ago. Selection, which had been lacking on the Bocco, took place, however, on the next GPM, the Passo della Colletta, located 50 kilometers from the finish. Rota would break the pace. He was followed by Oldani and Leemreize. Thus was formed the trio that would play for the day’s success. They tried to get back on the three outriders Kelderman and Mollema, accompanied by Santiago Buitrago (Bahrain Victorious) and Lucas Hamilton (BikeExchange Jayco), but there was nothing they could do. Oldani, taking advantage of his experience as a pistard, set the sprint in first position, deliberately beating the left side of the road so that he only had to control his two opponents from one side. He would take off, then, at the two hundred-meter mark, repulsing Rota’s late comeback.

Tomorrow sees the thirteenth stage, a short ride from Sanremo to Cuneo of only 150 kilometers. The presence of the Col di Nava, after a third of the race, should not alter the script, which offers the penultimate chance to the sprinters.

The original design presented in late 2021 was certainly much more tantalizing, as well as decisive for the overall classification. Now the stage, modified, lengthened and softened to pass over the Ponte San Giorgio in view of the finish, seems designed specifically for breakaways. However, treacherous roads are covered where making something up is not impossible, both uphill and downhill. Much could also depend on the fight for the cyclamen jersey, which could someone to keep the race closed and shell the peloton before the sprint. Certainly care must be taken not to underestimate it.

Weather forecast: Sunny conditions with temperature up to 31° C. Little wind expecte. Bookmaker Favourites: M Van der Poel 4, M Schmid 13, A Covi 16, L Kamna 16, Cort Nielsen 19, Bouwman 19.

Fri 20 May – Stage 13: Sanremo-Cuneo (150 Km) altitude gain 1450m

Arnaud Démare hat-trick

@ RCS Sport

Frenchman Arnaud Demare (Groupama FDJ) won the 13th stage of the 105th Giro d’Italia, a short and not too challenging stage that took the pink caravan from Sanremo to Cuneo along 150 kilometers. The success of the sprinter from Beauville, his third in this edition, comes coinciding with the withdrawal of another transalpine, who was fighting for the final victory: Romain Bardet (Team DSM). On the long final straight, the 2016 San Remo winner edged out German Phil Bauhaus (Bahrain Victorious) and Isle of Man man, the evergreen Mark Cavendish (Quick Step Alpha Vinyl). The bunch sprint was anything but a foregone conclusion due to the day’s escapees who procrastinated until the end to rejoin, which occurred with 700 meters to go. Starting in five 15 kilometers after the start were Nicholas Prodhomme (AG2R Citroen), Mirco Maestri (Eolo KOMETA), Filippo Tagliani (Drone Hopper Androni Giocattoli), Julius van den Berg (EF Education Easy Post) and Pascal Eenkhoorn (Jumbo Visma). The attackers passed with 6’30” at the top of the Colle di Nava, orphaned by Tagliani, who broke away on the climb. Meanwhile, there was drama for Bardet, who collapsed on the roadside in stomach pains. On the descent of the Colle di Nava began, to tell the truth in a rather lazy manner, the comeback of the group that at minus 20 from the finish still accused a gap of 2’30”. The action of the sprinters’ teams became more vigorous at this point, systematically gaining ten seconds per kilometer, reducing the delay to one minute under the 10-kilometer finish banner. A brief slowdown behind replenished the hopes of the escapees who, as is always the case in these cases, slowed down at the minus two mark and began to study each other. This brief reflection proved fatal, paving the way for Demare’s eighth Italian triumph.

Tomorrow sees the fourteenth stage, definitely one of the most intriguing of this edition of the pink race. There will be 147 kilometers to be covered from Santena, where the start will be a tribute to the Count of Cavour, to Turin, where the race will end in Corso Moncalieri. After 49 relatively easy kilometers, it will enter a killer loop of similar length, including climbs to the Superga and Maddalena hills, to be repeated twice. There will not be a meter of flat with extremely narrow roads. The general classification, which remained unchanged today except for Bardet’s withdrawal, is expected to undergo quite a few changes.

Last transfer day before entering the decisive stage of this Giro d’Italia. Today the stage is short with only a couple of tricky spot. It runs in the opposite direction to what was the summer Milano-Sanremo of 2020. From Sanremo you pass through Imperia to climb up to Colle di Nava and once in Ceva turn towards Cuneo. Compared to the previous stage this one is for sprinters but could be inviting for the type of riders interested in cutting off pure sprinters by climbing the Col di Nava. The finale is very complicated: all uphill and even with a bit of cobblestones.

Weather forecast: Sunny conditions with temperature up to 25° C. Tailwind expected with the first part and some crosswind once in the last 50km of the race up to 10 Km/h. Bookmaker Favourites: A Demare 4, F Gaviria 5, M Van der Poel 6, A Dainese 9, M Cavendish 10, M Schmid 16, G Nizzolo 16.

Sat 21 May – Stage 14: Santena-Torino (147 Km) Altitude gain 3000m

Simon Yates wins a sensational stage and Richard Carapaz takes the Maglia Rosa.

@ RCS Sport

Britain’s Simon Yates (BikeExchange Jayco) won the fourteenth stage of the 105th Giro d’Italia, a short fraction with an intensely fierce route that, along 147 kilometers, took the riders from the mausoleum of the Conte di Cavour in Santena to the banks of the Po in Corso Moncalieri in Turin. The Briton, who finished out of the rankings on the Maiella, preceded Australian Jai Hindley (Bora Hansgrohe) at the finish line by 17″, in front of Richard Carapaz (Ineos Grenadiers) and Vincenzo Nibali (Astana Qazaqstan). The Olympic champion thus took the pink jersey with the slim margin of 7″ over Hindley and half a minute over Portugal’s Joao Almeida (UAE Team Emirates). That was the verdict of a day of cycling without a moment’s respite, played out on a scorching day. With the preliminary stage over, the race entered into the thick of the action coinciding with the first passage through Corso Moncalieri with 74 kilometers to go. Under the action of Bora Hansgrohe, 12 would go away: the German team’s trio of Hindley, German Emanuel Buchman and Dutchman Wilco Kelderman joined by the Bahrain Victorious duo of Basque Mikel Landa and Pello Bilbao, that of Intermarchè Wanty Gobert, consisting of Domenico Pozzovivo and Czech Jan Hirt, plus Ecuadorian Richard Carapaz, Vincenzo Nibali, Portuguese Joao Almeida, Simon Yates and the pink jersey, Andalusian Juan Pedro Lopez (Trek Segafredo). With 28 kilometers to go, within sight of the Superga GPM, Carapaz set off in a move reminiscent of the one that on the Colle San Carlo in Valle d’Aosta three years ago gave him his first, and so far only, grand tour success. He was drifting away from the pink jersey while the rest of the attackers were within 20″ of the Diablito. It was Vincenzo Nibali’s action on the Colle della Maddalena that ended Carapaz’s solo ride, favoring the lead formation of a quartet that also included Hindley and Yates. The latter, despite being the favorite in an eventual sprint, would finally break away on the last notch of the day, the Parco del Nobile, sprinting to a solo victory. Full results here

Tomorrow sees another five-star stage. It will pedal 177 kilometers from Rivarolo Canavese to Cogne with no less than three GPMs scattered along the way. At Pila and Verrogne, both asperities will be first category while the one placed at the finish will be second. It only remains to be seen how much beer will be left in the riders’ bodies after today’s Herculean exertions.

The stage features an up-and-down circuit with an elevation gain of 3,000 metres concentrated in just 147 kilometres. The route is designed similarly to the Naples stage, but moving from Flanders to Lombardy as types of climbs, with the last 110 km offering a continuous succession of very steep climbs and treacherous descents and almost no ground to chase. After the start in Santena, the only easy terrain of the day is in the initial 35km. Once the riders reach Sambuy, they will then approach the first climb of the day, Il Pilonetto (6.4 km, avg 5.4%, max 12%), one of the slopes of Superga, after which they will head back towards Chieri before turning again towards Turin, where they will enter the final circuit after climbing to the Rimembranza Park. Having already entered the circuit, then, the peloton will descend toward the Lungo Po, but first it will have to tackle the short climb of the Parco del Nobile, which will be ridden two more times during the stage, the last of which will start with less than six km from the finish. Shortly thereafter, they will pass for the first time over the finish line in Turin (located on Corso Moncalieri), a passage that will mark the entry into the second half of the race and the beginning of the first of two laps of the 36.5km final circuit, which 2km later will also see the riders transit the intermediate sprint located in front of the Fausto Coppi Monument.

At that point, the road will go back up climbing another slope of Superga, Bric del Duca (5km, avg 8.6%, max 14%), that could be the perfect setting for several attacks, especially during the second lap. After a short descent, here comes the third GPM of the day, the Colle della Maddalena, a shorter and seemingly less demanding climb (3.5 km at 8.1%) than the previous one, but which will actually feature gradients that, in the first 1500 meters (avg 14%), will reach as high as 20%. This tougher initial segment, however, will be followed by a short downhill section, with the last kilometer then soaring back to 6.5%. At the top there will then be only twelve kilometers to go, almost all of which will be downhill apart from the aforementioned Parco del Nobile climb, which at its last passage will be climbed with only 4km to go to the finish line in front of the Gran Madre di Did Church at the end of the straight stretch of Corso Moncalieri.

Weather forecast: Sunny and very hot with temperature up to 34°. Light winds expected. Bookmakers favourites: S Yates 5, D Formolo 9, L Kamna 11, B Mollema 13, M Schmid 16, P Bilbao 16, R Carapaz 16, K Bouwman 21, G Ciccone 21, J Almeida 24.

Sun 22 May – Stage 15: Rivarolo Canavese-Cogne (177 Km) Altitude gain 3980m

An emotional Giulio Ciccone triumphs in Cogne and throws again his sunglasses into the crowds cheering him in. No changes in the GC.

© Trek-Segafredo – SprintCycling

The Italian from Abruzzo Giulio Ciccone (Trek Segafredo) won the 15th stage of the 105th Giro d’Italia, the 177km long ride of the Aosta Valley mountains from Rivarolo Canavese to Cogne, comprising 3980 meters of elevation gain. The Teatino rider, cut out of the fight for the pink jersey by the disastrous day on his home roads a few days ago, was 1’30” ahead of Colombian Santiago Buitrago (Bahrain Victorious) with Spaniard Antonio Pedrero (Team Movistar) third at 2’19”. The general classification remains almost unchanged at the end of a day of respite, predictable after yesterday’s fireworks on the banks of the Po, in which the top group came within 7’48” of the winner. Ecuadorian Richard Carapaz (Ineos Grenadiers), gaining a couple of seconds in the bunch sprint at the finish, retained the pink jersey and now leads by 9″ over Australian Jai Hindley (Bora Hansgrohe) and 32″ over Portuguese Joao Almeida (UAE Team Emirates).

After an initial phase that saw the pink jersey’s bad luck, first with a fall in the grass without consequences and then in the form of a mechanical accident. On the first GPM of the day, that of Pila, a mass breakaway, full of 28 riders, took off. Dutchman Koen Bouwman (Jumbo Visma), winner of the Potenza stage, sprinted halfway up the climb and thus went on to take back the blue jersey of leader of the climbers’ classification. On the descent, compatriots Mathieu Van der Poel (Alpecin Fenix) and Martjn Tusveld (Team DSM) pounced on Bouwman, thus creating a Dutch trio at the head of the race.

At the beginning of the second climb, the one leading to the GPM of Verrogne, the counterattack of a quartet formed by Ciccone, Buitrago, Pedrero and Englishman Hugh Carty (EF Education Easy Post) started, joined, briefly also by Portuguese Alberto Rui Costa (UAE Team Emirates) who, then, was stopped by the team. With 22 kilometers to go, coinciding with the start of the final climb, Ciccone began to sprint repeatedly, crumbling the resistance of his breakaway companions. Last to give way at -19km was Buitrago. A ride followed that, in parallel with the joy of the day’s victory, left a tinge of bitterness at the thought of what Giulio’s Giro could have been without the ill-fated day on the Maiella. Full Results here

Giulio Ciccone knocks back his critics with Giro d’Italia win in the mountains @ velonews

Tuesday, after tomorrow’s third and final rest day, is scheduled the stage considered by many one of the toughest of this edition of the pink race. Stage 16 will travel along 202 kilometers from Salò to Aprica, stuffed with 5,500 meters of elevation gain. Along the route, awaiting the riders will be the Goletto di Cadino and the Mortirolo, albeit from the less challenging Monno side. It will then descend to Teglio before the last rough patch of the day: the Santa Cristina pass, the one on which in 1994 Marco Pantani made himself known to the world by mortifying Miguel Indurain. The arrival of Aprica should deliver us a ranking circumscribed to a very few names that will fight for the final pink jersey in Verona on Sunday, May 29.

Typical stage in the Western Alps with very long climbs, although without excessive gradients. It climbs in quick succession from Pila to Les Fleurs, Verrogne and Cogne to finish in the Gran Paradiso National Park, which is celebrating its 100th anniversary. Over 46km of the last 80km will all be uphill. A colossal Alpine stage across the Aosta Valley. The route of this stage can be practically divided into two parts: the first, 90 kilometers long, will take the group from the start in Rivarolo Canavese to the first intermediate sprint of the day, placed in Pollein, proposing mostly flat road, although already very slightly uphill and with some undulations. As soon as the intermediate sprint is passed, they will then begin to climb the first of the three GPMs on the program, that of Pila-Les Fleurs, a 12.3km climb with an average gradient of 6.9% and peaks of 15%, which will be followed by a fairly winding descent that will end just before passing through Aosta.

Once past the capital of Valle d’Aosta, it will start climbing again with the 1cat GPM of Verrogne, the most challenging climb of the day with its 13.8km at 7.1% (and spikes of 14% in the initial section). Both climbs are over 10 km each, these climbs are on wide and well-paved roads, with a number of hairpins in-between. Each is followed by a fast-running descent and it cannot be ruled out that there could be attacks in case some big guys are interested in hard racing from a distance.

After the descend from Verrogne, the road will almost immediately surge back up for the final 22.4 kilometers. The final ascent, which will end in Lillaz, a hamlet of Cogne, will propose an average gradient of 4.3%, but the first 9km will be harder at around 7% (max 11%). Instead, the last 13km will feature a long slight slope at around 3% apart from a short section at 9% about 2,200 meters from the finish, one km after passing through the intermediate sprint with a bonus placed in the centre of Cogne. The arrival is placed at the end of a straight of 300m on tarmac road.

Weather forecast: Sunny and hot with temperature up to 30°. Only light winds are expected. Bookmakers favourites: S Yates 7, G Ciccone 11, D Formolo 11, L Kamna 11, I Sosa 11, B Mollema 13, M Schmid 16, P Bilbao 16, R Carapaz 16, K Bouwman 21, J Hindley 24.

Mon 23 May – Rest Day

Tue 24 May – Stage 16: Salò-Aprica (202 Km) Altitude gain 5250m

Jan Hirt first grand Tour win at Giro ‘Italia stage 16 as Carapaz’s overall lead is cut by 3 second

Image Credit @Maurizio Brambatti/EPA

Bohemian Jan Hirt (Intermarchè Wanty Gobert) won the sixteenth stage of the 105th Giro d’Italia, along the 202km all Lombardy stage, comprising an impressive 5,250 meters of elevation gain, from Salò to Aprica. The Czech rider was seven seconds ahead at the finish line of Dutchman Thymen Arensman (Team DSM) with Australian Jai Hindley (Bora Hansgrohe) taking the third position and, with it, four invaluable bonus seconds, outsprinting pink jersey Richard Carapaz (Ineos Grenadiers), the eternal Alejandro Valverde (Team Movistar) and Basque Mikel Landa (Bahrain Victorious), at 1’24” from Hirt. Limited the damage was Portuguese Joao Almeida (UAE Team Emirates), who lost 14″, while Vincenzo Nibali (Astana Qazaqstan), who finished ninth today at 2’06” from the winner, conceded 42″. There were minimal changes that this highly anticipated stage made to the general classification. Olympic champion Carapaz retains the symbol of the lead with only three seconds on the chiseling Kangaroo Hindley. In third place, Almeida is now 44″ away with Landa at 59″. The Giro d’Italia 2022 seems to be a match between these four musketeers place that, in fifth position, we find the stainless Nibali, a good 3’40 away, however, followed by another Italian, today very unlucky: Domenico Pozzovivo (Intermarchè Wanty Gobert), sixth at 3’48”.

Today’s stage lived on a breakaway, formed at the foot of the first climb, the Goletto di Cadino, originally composed of 23 riders: Giulio Ciccone and Dario Cataldo (Trek-Segafredo), Pascal Eenkhoorn and Koen Bouwman (Jumbo Visma), Lorenzo Fortunato (EOLO-Kometa), Filippo Zana (Bardiani CSF), Christopher Juul Jense and Simon Yates (Bike Exchange), Alejandro Valverde (Movistar), Wilco Kelderman and Lennard Kaemna (Bora – Hansgrohe), Nans Peters (AG2R Citroen), Wout Poels (Bahrain Victorious), Hugh Carthy (EF Education Easy Point), Jan Hirt and Lorenzo Rota (Intermarchè Wanty Gobert), Sylvain Moniquet (Lotto Soudal), Mauri Vansevenant (Quick Step), Thymen Arensmann and Chris Hamilton (Team DSM), Attila Valter (Groupama FDJ), Davide Formolo (UAE Team Emirates) and Guillaume Martin (Cofidis). At the summit, at Goletto, it was Ciccone who won the GPM, mocking the blue jersey Bouwman. In the next valley descending towards Edolo, eight were going away: Poels, Kamna, Rota, Valverde, Cataldo, Bouwman, Arensmann and Hamilton. It was these who took the lead on the climb to the Mortirolo Pass where Bouwman passed first, thus consolidating his supremacy among the climbers, followed by Poels, Kämna, Valverde and Arensman, who had been joined, returning in the meantime from behind, by Carthy and Hirt. At the same time, Nibali deployed the team at the head of the peloton to make selection. The Shark then stretched out on the descent, gaining about ten seconds before getting back up, while he ended up on the ground, fortunately without consequences, Pozzovivo. The situation, at this point crystallized, with the outriders maintaining five minutes on the top group, 30 strong at the end of the Mortirolo descent. With minus 30km to go, what stirred things up was the climb to Teglio, valid as a bonus intermediate sprint. Kaemna broke ranks among the attackers, setting off solo. Bahrain, behind, replaced Astana at the front of the peloton, slowly beginning to file down the escapees’ advantage margin. All cooperation ceased among the attackers with, first, Arensman and, then, Hirt setting off in pursuit of the Etna winner. Meanwhile, at the start of the final climb to the Valico di Santa Cristina, Bahrain’s action was thwarted by an unlikely domestic incident with Poels, Landa and Bilbao getting in each other’s way and putting their foot down. Nothing serious for anyone but the momentum after of 20kms of forcing was lost. Arensman, meanwhile, overtook Kamna that lost ground quickly. Among the final success aspirants Carapaz, Hindley and Landa were making a vacuum, quickly realizing that they were equivalent but could pull away from Almeida, who, for his part stoically defended himself. Rain arrived to coincide with the passage to the last GPM with six kilometers to go. Caution prevailed on the last descent in which, fortunately, no one paid a toll on the wet asphalt. Hirt retained a hundred meter lead over Arensman, going on to capture the most prestigious success of his career.

Tomorrow sees the 17th stage, effectively a west-to-east crossing of the Autonomous Province of Trento along the 168 kilometers from Ponte di Legno to Lavarone. It will start uphill with the Passo del Tonale, which will not even be considered a GPM. This will be followed by a hundred or so valley kilometers to Pergine Valsugana when, at minus 47 from the finish, the race will come into its own with the ascent to Passo del Vetriolo, a first-category GPM. The subsequent descent will take the race to Caldonazzo from where the unprecedented ascent to Monte Rovere, also known as the Menador, will begin: eight kilometers at 10 percent with peaks up to 15 percent. From the top to the final finish line there will be only seven kilometers. It remains to be seen whether tomorrow the three tenors will again ally themselves against Almeida or will they finally decide to do battle?

The last rest day is followed by a high mountain stage. Stage 16 is probably the toughest of 2022 Giro, with climbs spread throughout the route and a total elevation gain of 5,250 meters. The toughest climb of the day will be the last one, an element that is not conducive to long-distance attacks and a breakaway group may take advantage from this situation. Departing from Salò to enter the Val Sabbia and after short Bagolino ascent, and 30km in the riders legs, the challenging Cat.1 Goletto di Cadino, climbed for the first time in 24 years. Those who feel like blowing up the race already here would have two good reasons to do so. The climb, with its 30 km at 5% is long and uneven with multiple slightly downhill stretches and several double-digit ramps.

The Goletto is followed by 22kms of technical descent ideal to creating further havoc in an already select group. Certainly it will be important here to have footholds to overcome the nearly 30-km valley floor leading to the foot of the Mortirolo, climbed, however, from the easier Monno side: in any case, it remains a climb to be feared, officially 12.6 km at 7.6 percent (the road actually climbs for at least another 5 km) and with many double-digit sections, especially in the last 2 km.

Mortirolo_dettaglio_salita

From a tactical point of view, the same observations made for the Goletto di Cadino apply: the climb is challenging and the descent to Grosio is hypertechnical; moreover, we are much closer to the finish line. This time the valley floor is shorter (about 23 km) as well as constantly downhill and follow the roads of the Sforzato wine when climbing the short but steep climb to Teglio (5.6 km at 8.2%; max 15%) where an intermediate bonus sprint is placed.

Then the 13.5km of Santa Cristina where Marco Pantani attached Miguel Indurain and Evgeni Berzin on his way to securing the maglia rosa in 1998. The final six kilometres have an average gradient of over 10% and they’re followed by a fast 6km descent to the line at Aprica. The pass of Santa Cristina consists of 13.5 km at 8%, with the first 1300 meters almost flat, and a long final stretch of 6.6 km at 10.1%.

SCristina_dettaglio_salita

The descent be just 6 km from the finish, almost all of it on descents that are once again technical, except for the last 1300 meters on a slight ascent.

Weather forecast: Only a few clouds at the start with temperatures up to 24°, but risk of rain in Aprica with around 16°. Only light winds are expected. Bookmakers favourites: R Carapaz 5, S Yates 6, J Hindley 7, G Ciccone 8, V Nibali 9, L Kamna 16, M Landa 16, L Fortunato 21, P Bilbao 26, J Almeida 26.

Wed 25 May – Stage 17: Ponte di Legno-Lavarone (168 Km) Altitude gain 3730

Santiago Buitrago takes impressive win in stage 17. Carapaz keeps the pink jersey

@ RCS Sport

Colombian Santiago Buitrago (Bahrain Victorious) won the 17th stage of the 105th Giro d’Italia, which, crossing the Autonomous Province of Trento from west to east, took the riders from Ponte di Legno to Lavarone along 168 kilometers. Buitrago, already second Sunday in Cogne behind Giulio Ciccone (Trek Segafredo), was 35″ ahead at the finish line of Dutchman Gijs Leemreize (Jumbo Visma), with yesterday’s winner at Aprica, Bohemian Jan Hirt (Intermarchè Wanty Gobert), third with a 2’28 gap. The men battling for the overall victory came in the immediate back positions: fifth at 2’53 was Ecuadorian Richard Carapaz (Ineos Grenadiers), who set his main rival Australian Jai Hindley (Bora Hansgrohe), while the third tenor, Basque Mikel Landa (Bahrain Victorious), was 6″ behind his two rivals. The news of the day is the crisis of Portuguese Joao Almeida (UAE Team Emirates), who lost 1’10” to the Olympic champion in the pink jersey. In the general classification Carapaz retains 3″ on Hindley with Landa, up one position, now third at 1’05”. Probably out of the running for the overall victory is Almeida, who dropped to fourth in the standings at 1’54” from Carapaz.

As in the previous fraction there was an entertaining race, albeit divorced from the overall context of the race, place that struggle between the contenders for the final victory was practically absent if we exclude the above total agreement between the three tenors at the moment when Almeida went into trouble. At the start, a breakaway was going away that was consolidated on the descent of Passo del Tonale. Twenty-five riders made it up: Thymen Arensman (Team DSM), Jan Hirt and Rein Taaramae (Intermarché), Mathieu Van der Poel (Alpecin Fenix), Felix Gall and Nicolas Prodhomme (AG2R Citroen), Filippo Zana and Luca Covili (Bardiani CSF), Koen Bouwman, Sam Oomen and Gijs Leemreize (Jumbo Visma), Alessandro Covi (UAE Team Emirates), Damien Howson (BikeExchange), Hugh Carthy and Diego Camargo (EF Education Easy Post), Giulio Ciccone, (Trek Segafredo), Antonio Pedrero (Team Movistar), Mauri Vansevenant (Quick Step Alpha Vinyl), Diego Rosa and Lorenzo Fortunato (Eolo Kometa), David De la Cruz (Astana Qazaqstan), Santiago Buitrago (Bahrain Victorious), Attila Valter (Groupama FDJ), Simone Ravanelli (Drone Hopper Androni Giocattoli), and Guillaume Martin (Cofidis).

The top group was totally disinterested in this action although Hirt, ninth overall at 7’42” at the start from Ponte di Legno, was in it. The first two GPMs consolidated Dutchman Bouwman’s leadership in the climbers’ classification. On the descent of the Passo del Vetriolo, with 35 kilometers to go, two Dutch went away: Van der Poel and Leemreize, who quickly gained a minute on the survivors of the initial breakaway: Gall, Carthy, Bouwman, Buitrago and Hirt. Raymond Poulidor’s grandson then decided to attach at the start of the last climb, the Menador. He had not, however, reckoned with the hardness of the climb. After five kilometers in the lead, in fact, Mathieu was being overthrown by Leemreize, who remained patiently in his wake. Meanwhile, from behind, set off Buitrago who caught the Jumbo Visma rider 800m from the GPM. After a brief pause to catch his breath, the Colombian set off at the minus 300m from the summit, sprinting to victory. Behind, among the bigs, there was the now traditional futile forcing of Bahrain Victorious, which obtained as its only concrete result the collapse of Almeida.

Tomorrow sees the 18th stage, the last one offered to the sprinters. It will be 156 kilometers on a slight descent from Borgo Valsugana to Treviso. On the route the riders will encounter two GPMs, symbolic but full of history. First they will climb the Scale di Primolano, where Fausto Coppi fractured his pelvis at the 1950 Giro, and then tackle Ca’ del Poggio, a traditional meeting point for cycling enthusiasts in the Marca Trevigiana. With the cyclamen jersey in the safe, Arnaud Demare (Groupama FDJ) will attempt to hit the poker, thus repeating his 2020 exploit.

Slightly less elevation gain for this day than the previous one, with 3730 meters total but still two first-class GPMs to tackle. The race will start from Ponte di Legno upwards towards the Passo del Tonale, followed by a stretch of over 70 km always substantially downhill, crossing the Adige River and through the Sole and Non valleys, taking the peloton to San Michele all’Adige. At this point it will climb to Palù di Giovo (5.9 km at 6.8% max 13%), a town linked to the figure of Francesco Moser and Gilberto Simoni. After the climb, 35km of a roller-coaster section, which can be the scene of unpredictable and unexpected ambushes, the race will be heading to the Valle dei Mocheni to reach Pergine Valsugana. Here immediately after the first intermediate bonus Sprint, you will begin to climb towards the Passo del Vetriolo (11.8km at 7.7% max 12%), a regular but mean climb, the kind perfect for the typical third-week sudden debacle.

Past the GPM you will descend towards Levico Terme and Caldonazzo, where the second intermediate bonus sprint will take place, and approach the Monterovere/Menador climb (7.9km at 9.9% max 15%). With its gradient, surging on the climb to up to 15%, and the narrow roadbed, the Menador will provide a very tough challenge to the riders.

To create more interest and encourage the widening of the possible gaps are the 8 km towards the finish in Lavarone, made up of irregular ups and downs and the last kilometre slightly uphill.

Weather forecast: Risk of rain and possible thunderstorms towards the final kilometres with temperatures up to 16°. Only light winds are expected. Bookmakers favourites: J Hindley 5, R Carapaz 6, S Yates 8, S Hamilton 13, G Ciccone 14, S Buitrago 16, V Nibali 19, M Landa 20, A Valverde 25, P Bilbao 26, J Almeida 26, L Kamna 28.

Thu 26 May – Stage 18: Borgo Valsugana-Treviso (156 Km) Altitude gain 1150m

Dries De Bondt revels in Treviso over Edoardo Affini, Magnus Cort Nielsen and Davide Gabburo. João Almeida, fourth overall, retires for covid

Flemish rider Dries De Bondt(Alpecin Fenix) won the 18th stage of the 105th Giro d’Italia, a long 156-kilometer slide from Borgo Valsugana to Treviso. The former Belgian champion edged Mantova’s Edoardo Affini (Jumbo Visma) by a whisker over the finish line with the other two members of the breakaway quartet, Magnus Cort Nielsen (EF Education Easy Post) and Simone Gaburro (Bardiani CSF), third and fourth, respectively. Alberto Dainese (Team DSM) took fifth place, ruling the top group that arrived 14″ behind. The withdrawal for Covid positivity of Portuguese Joao Almeida (UAE Team Emirates) causes a shift of positions in the back positions of the general classification with Vincenzo Nibali (Astana Qazaqstan) rising to fourth at 5’48”. The top three positions remain, however, unchanged with Ecuadorian Richard Carapaz (Ineos Grenadiers) retaining the pink jersey with a lead of 3″ over Australian Jai Hindley (Bora Hansgrohe) and 1’05” over Basque Mikel Landa (Bahrain Victorious). The stage was entirely consumed on the breakaway attempt of the quartet consisting of De Bondt, Affini, Cort Nielsen and Gaburro. Starting after only five kilometers, the four traveled in perfect harmony, although the peloton never gave them too much space. In fact, the maximum lead they achieved was 2’40” with 50 kilometers to go. Yet, by dosing their energies wisely, thanks to the great fatigue in the peloton today, the attackers managed to complete the breakaway, playing for the victory among themselves. The copious popular participation in today’s stage cannot be omitted. In the passage to Ca’ del Poggio alone, 50 kilometers from the finish, twenty thousand people were present.

Tomorrow the nineteenth stage is staged, divided between Friuli Venezia Giulia and Slovenia. It will start from Marano Lagunare to arrive after 178 kilometers at the Castelmonte Sanctuary above Cividale del Friuli. The first 70 kilometers will not be challenging. Two third-category GPMs, Villanova Grotte and the Tanamea Pass, will be climbed in quick succession at this point. At the end of the descent of the second will enter Slovenia at Kobarid, known in Italian as Caporetto, 62 kilometers from the finish. From the site of the October 24, 1917 military defeat will begin the ascent to the day’s main asperity Mount Kolovrat, 12 kilometers long with an elevation gain of 920 meters and an average gradient of 7.7 percent. After passing the summit and then returning to Italy, the riders will face a 35-kilometer nosedive to Cividale del Friuli. From there will start the final climb to the finish, 8,000 meters long with an average gradient of 6 percent.

Deprived of an Almeida to distance, will the three tenors finally do battle?

Breaking news: João Almeida out of the Giro d’Italia after COVID-19 diagnosis

The Giro d’Italia 2022 loses Joao Almeida. The fourth in the general classification has tested positive for covid and will not start stage 18 this morning due to a covid positive test. After Jonathan Caicedo on Tuesday, this is thus the second case in a few days in a peloton. The UAE Team Emirates leader experienced mild symptoms, thus also partially explaining the major breakdown that occurred yesterday towards Lavarone, and a series of tests unfortunately led to this outcome that clearly no one hoped for. His teammates, who were also all tested, have instead all had negative results.

Last bunch sprint of Giro 2022. The first part of this stage is slightly undulating with the Scale di Primolano leading to the Piave valley and then cross the Prosecco production area between Valdobbiadene and Refrontolo. The last climb is the short Muro di Ca’ del Poggio, then a long and very light descent toward the final Treviso circuit. The start is from Borgo Valsugana with the riders facing after 20km the first of the day’s two GPMs, Le Scale di Primolano (2.3 km at 5.7%, max 10%), which could be a good springboard for the attackers in case the breakaway has not already managed to take off in the previous section. The next 40 km will not offer any particular difficulties except for a short tears towards Quero and Valdobbiadene with the intermediate bonus sprint, located about halfway along the route. After around twenty quieter kilometers, a slight uphill stretch toward Refrontolo will anticipate the second and final GPM on the program, the tough Muro di Ca’ del Poggio (1.1 km at 12.3%, max 19%), which could put more than one sprinter in trouble if a few teams decide to tackle it at full speed. However, there will still be 54 kilometers almost exclusively flat from the top of the climb to the finish, so sprinters detached on the challenging climb may have a chance to rejoin the peloton. Once past the next intermediate sprint in Susegana, the peloton will then head toward Treviso, where with 22.2 kilometers to go they will enter the final circuit, to be ridden one and a half times. The circuit will offer mostly long straights and only a few corners to watch out for, the last of which is about 1,200 meters from the finish.

Weather forecast: Some cloud with temperatures up to 28°. Only light winds are expected. Bookmakers favourites: A Demare 4, M Cavendish 7, P Bauhaus 9, F Gaviria 10, M Van de Poel 11, M Cort Nielsen 11, A Dainese 12.

Fri 27 May – Stage 19: Marano Lagunare-Santuario di Castelmonte (178 Km) Elevation gain 3230m

Bouwman takes his second stage victory in chaotic finale

@ RCS Sport

Blue jersey Koen Bouwman (Jumbo Visma) won the nineteenth stage of the 105th Giro d’Italia, 178 kilometers starting in Marano Lagunare and finishing at the Castelmonte Sanctuary above Cividale del Friuli. The ever-convincing Dutchman duplicated his success in Potenza, sprinting ahead of his four breakaway companions. Second place went to Swiss Mauro Schmid (Quick Step Alpha Vinyl), who preceded in order Italian Alessandro Tonelli (Bardiani CSF Falzanè), Hungarian Attila Valter (Groupama FDJ) and Treviso’s Andrea Vendrame (AG2R Citroen). Nothing changes in the general classification with the three top contender coming in at 3’56” from the winner after battling, more in form than substance, on the final climb. Thus, Ecuadorian Richard Carapaz (Ineos Grenadiers) remains in the pink jersey with a 3″ margin over Australian Jai Hindley (Bora Hansgrohe) and 1’05” over Basque Mikel Landa (Bahrain Victorious).

Returning to today’s stage, the central part of which was raced in Slovenia, a 12-rider breakaway with Vendrame, Colombian Fernando Gaviria (UAE Team Emirates), Tonelli, Dane Magnus Cort Nielsen (EF Education Easy Post), Valter and Frenchman Clement Davy (Groupama FDJ), Mantuan Edoardo Affini and Bouwman (Jumbo Visma), Davide Ballerini and Schmid (Quick Step Alpha Vinyl), Belgian Eduard Theuns (Trek Segafredo) and Austrian Tobias Bayer (Alpecin Fenix). After the attackers had reached a maximum lead of 12 minutes at kilometer 55, the peloton, slowly began to make up ground. Going, meanwhile, was Australian Richie Porte (Ineos Grenadiers) who was forced to retire. After the peloton’s delay had dropped to nine minutes, a new slowdown cut the big boys off from the day’s success. Meanwhile, on Kolovrat, today’s only first-category GPM, the lead group crumbled. Four remained in front: Bouwman, Schmid, Tonelli and Valter with the Dutchman passing first at the summit. The bests, trailed by Bora Hansgrohe, passed at 7’45”. Vendrame rejoined the outriders on the descent, thus forming a quintet that arrived blissfully on the final climb to play for the stage. No one, however, took the initiative on the climb to the Sanctuary, leaving the final judgment to the sprint. Bouwman set off at the 200m mark, anticipating Schmid and, more importantly, arriving in first position at the sharp bend 50 meters from the finish banner. The Dutchman set the corner as best he could while the Swiss went long, followed by Valter and Vendrame. Bouwman thus put the seal on a triumphant day in which, in addition to the stage win, he won the climbers’ title.

Tomorrow sees the 20th and penultimate act of this edition of the pink race. It will pedal 168 kilometers from Belluno to Passo Fedaia with three first-category GPMs. They will be tackled, in order, the San Pellegrino Pass and the Pordoi Pass, Cima Coppi of this edition with its 2,239 meters of altitude above the sea, before the final finish line. Full results here

Breaking news: Richie Porte abandoned the race having fallen ill. The Australian, a key player in supporting leader Richard Carapaz, was dropped from the peloton on the first climb of the day, the 3rd Cat Villanova Grotte, after 70km of racing. 

A mid-mountain stage with tough climbs, long descent, an uphill finish and the hardest part concentrated in the last 100km. Departure from Marano Lagunare with the first 66km of the stage to be the easiest of the day. Today, it is east to expect a long struggle for the first breakaway of the day. After 55km there will also be a passage through Buja, Alessandro De Marchi’s hometown, where the first intermediate bonus sprint will be placed. After crossing Buja we reach Tarcento where the first climb of the day will begin: Villanova Grotte (3.7Km at 8%, max 13%. This climb will be followed by a fast descent, at the end of which the peloton will climb the second GPM of this stage: Passo di Tanamea (9.7 km at 5.3%, max 9%). The GPM is set a few kilometers from the Slovenian border where the race will enter through the Uccea pass that leads directly to Kobarid, where the toughest climb of the day will begin. The climb to the only first-category GPM of the day, Kolovrat (10.3 km at 9.2%, max 15%). The riders will immediately face a 4.5 km section at 10%, followed by an easier kilometre and the final part of the climb again tough at 9% with 2km at more than 10%.

At this point the race will return to Italy via a long descent, followed by a short flat section that will lead the riders to the second intermediate bonus sprint of the day, in Cividale del Friuli, where the final climb will start. The Sanctuary of Castelmonte is a 2nd Cat. GPM long 7.1km ascent with an average gradient of 7.8% and a max of 14%. After 2.5 kilometers at 7%, the road will descend for 500 meters before at 14% section. From there it will be 4 kilometers to the finish, where the road will climb in steps, with gradients again exceeding 10%.

Weather forecast: Some cloud with temperatures up to 26°. Only light winds are expected. Bookmakers favourites: H Carthy 10, L Kamna 12, T Arensman 12, J Hindley 14, R Carapaz 14, L Hamilton 14, G Ciccone 16, S Buitrago 16, B Mollema 18, W Poels 18, D Formolo 18, A Valverde 25, Gijs Leemreize 30, J Hirt 30, L Fortunato 35, M Landa 35, M Van Der Poel 35.


Sat 28 May – Stage 20: Belluno-Marmolada (168 Km) Altitude gain 4490m

Covi wins on the Marmolata and Carapaz cracks. The Giro in Hindley hands.

@ RCS Sport

Alessandro Covi (UAE Team Emirates) won the 20th stage of the 105th Giro d’Italia, the traditional Dolomite ride that took the riders from Belluno to the Fedaia Pass through 168 tough kilometers. The rider from Borgomanero accomplished a splendid feat with a 55-kilometer solo attack that began on the ramps from the Pordoi Pass. Second was Slovenian Domen Novak (Bahrain Victorious) at 32″ with the Italian Giulio Ciccone (Trek Segafredo) third at 37″. Coming to the fight for the final victory, with a peremptory action with four kilometers to go, in the very hard straight leading from Malga Ciapela to Capanna Bill, Australian Jai Hindley (Bora Hansgrohe) took the pink jersey, overturning, probably decisively, the general classification. The 26-year-old from Perth now leads the classification by 1’25” over Olympic champion, Ecuador’s Richard Carapaz (Ineos Grenadiers) and 1’51” over Basque Mikel Landa (Bahrain Victorious). Barring unthinkable events, tomorrow the Arena of Verona will witness the coronation of the first Australian to win the Giro d’Italia.

At the start, after 20 kilometers, not without tribulation, the decisive breakaway, with 15 riders, departed: Treviso’s Andrea Vendrame (AG2R Citroen), Dutchman Mathieu Van der Poel (Alpecin Fenix), German Lennard Kamna (Bora Hansgrohe), Slovenian Domen Novak (Bahrain Victorious), Tulipans Gjis Leemreize and Sam Oomen (Jumbo Visma), Spaniard Antonio Pedrero (Team Movistar), Belgian Sylvain Moniquet (Lotto Soudal), Canton’s Davide Ballerini and Mauri Vansevenant (Quick Step Alpha Vinyl), Veneto’s Edoardo Zardini (Drone Hopper Androni Giocattoli), Teatino Giulio Ciccone (Trek Segafredo), Piedmont’s Alessandro Covi and Verona’s Davide Formolo (UAE Team Emirates), and Dutchman Thyman Arensman (Team DSM). The attackers climbed the Passo San Pellegrino, the first asperity of the day, with a lead of 5’30” over the peloton. The climb was tackled quietly by both the outriders and the peloton with the lead remaining unchanged. At this point Landa deployed the team in front. The Bahrain train, however, could not affect the breakaway riders’ lead. Halfway up the Pordoi climb, Covi set off while Vendrame, Van der Poel, Zardini and Moniquet gave way. The Borgomanero rider went on to conquer the Cima Coppi with a lead of one and a half minutes over the immediate pursuers and five over the peloton. Covi then threw himself at dizzying speed into the long descent to Caprile, the starting point of the final climb with 14 kilometers to go, where he passed with two and a half minutes on his former breakaway companions and a good six on the top group. The distance of the top GC riders from the outriders induced Bahrain to give freedom to Novak, who set off late in pursuit of Covi. Behind, meanwhile, the fate of the race was being decided. Ineos forcing led to Landa’s collapse but not Hindley’s, who, on the contrary, attacked to the minus-four mark, immediately stampeded by Carapaz. On the road the two met Kamna, from the day’s breakaway. The Etna winner produced a final effort that sapped the Ecuadorian’s resistance. With a powerful effort, the Perth rider leapt toward the finish line as the “Locomotora”, also risking losing second place in the rankings from the returning Landa.
An anthem never before heard in the history of the pink race will sound tomorrow at the Arena of Verona. Full results here

Classic Dolomite stage: the last uphill finish of the Giro d’Italia 2022. The start will therefore be from Belluno, with the route that in the first 17 kilometers will propose a very slight descent before facing a couple of ups and downs between San Gregorio nelle Alpi and Sospirolo, short spurts along which the formation of the breakaway of the day could be witnessed. At that point it will then enter the Val Cordevole with the road already starting to climb slightly for about thirty kilometers, until the flying finish in Cencenighe Agordino, past which the peloton will approach the first ramps of the Passo San Pellegrino, the first GPM on the program. At 18.4 kilometers long, this climb will present an average gradient of 6.2 percent, with the most challenging section, however, to be tackled in the second part, where peaks of 15 percent will also be reached.

It cannot be ruled out that a few bigs may already want to blow up the race along this climb, however, for those who should attempt an attack, it will be important to have a teammate with them or to stop one sent in an earlier breakaway; after the top of the climb, in fact, a simple descent and a falsopiano of about 18 kilometers between Moena and Canazei will be encountered, where a well-organized formation would have an easy time catching up with a possible lone attacker. In any case, once this section is over, things will get even more interesting since they will immediately start climbing the second GPM of the day, the legendary Passo Pordoi, a very regular 11.8-kilometer climb with an average gradient of 6.8 percent and peaks of 10 percent, which with its 2239 meters of altitude will be the Cima Coppi of this edition of the Giro.

Having reached the top, therefore, there will be 45 kilometers to go, some 30 of which will be almost exclusively downhill, with the first part up to Arabba also being quite tortuous, though not particularly technical. After a short flat section and a small tear towards Cernadoi, the descent will resume for a few more kilometers to Caprile, where the final climb to Passo Fedaia will begin, a 14-kilometer ascent at an average gradient of 7.6 percent that will be quite uneven in the first 8,000 meters, alternating between harder stretches above 8 percent and slight falsiplans around 2 percent. After the intermediate sprint to Malga Ciapela, however, the last 6,000 meters will climb smoothly with an average gradient that will be close to 12 percent, reaching peaks of 18 percent.

Weather forecast: Cloud with temperatures up to 25°. Some chance of rain and wet tarmac. Only light winds are expected. Bookmakers favourites: R Carapaz 3, J Hindley 4. M Landa 7, H Carthy 8, G Martin 16, W Poels 19.

Sun 29 May – Stage 21: Verona-Verona (17,4 Km) – Time Trial Altitude gain 280m

The race’s lowest amount of time trialling in sixty years, with just 26.6km on the route. This time trial on the Circuito delle Torricelle, the one of the Verona World Championships in 1999 and 2004, with match the parcours with an anti-clockwise route. First part along straight and very wide lanes. Then a climb of around 5% with some “steps” and a slightly narrower roadway. After the GPM and the intermediate time trial at the top of the climb there is a fast 4 km descent. The last 3 km along the city streets with some challenging corners. Arrival in Piazza Bra and the Arena of Verona.

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