Giro d’Italia 2022 : Stage 1 – Van der Poel in pink; Girmay in white

Grand Tour season is BACK, baby!

We woke from our slumbers on this glorious Friday morning with a feeling of excitement akin only to waking up as a child on Christmas morning. Giddy with the thoughts of uninterrupted coverage of three solid weeks of racing, all of the possibilities of what could unravel racing around heads, and so much anticipation for the gifts cycling Gods might present to us. And so Stage 1 – the Grande Partenza. Giro d’Italia 2022 departed from Budapest on its long voyage toward Verona, starting with a drama-free flat stage which ended with a 5.5km kicker to the finish. Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix) unsurprisingly ending the day as stage winner to wear the first maglia rosa, but MVDP fans, avert your eyes now – because this wrap-up is dedicated to our moral victor and hero, Biniam Girmay (Intermarche Wanty Gobert).

‘Twas the Morning Before the Giro…

The enthusiasm, excitement, and some might even say delirium amongst fans was palpable as the day broke. VeloVoices favourite #CouchPeloton representative, Belinda, amazed the cycling world again with her Hot Mess Map.

Everyone is just a little bit in love with the Giro…

And soon everyone’s predictions for the day’s win started rolling in. A flat stage, one for the pure sprinters, right? Wrong! A short and punchy climb at the end of the stage would ultimately change the nature of the race to the first Pink Jersey of the season.

Forza Bini!

Being cycling fans, most of us are naturally also old romantics at heart, always longing for those sentimental moments that mean just that little bit more. As such, many of our eyes were set firmly on the young Eritrean rider, Biniam Girmay, for the stage win.

Bini has been making waves and history already this season by becoming the first ever black African to win a World Tour race at Gent-Wevelgem in March. Having just signed a new four-year contract with his team, Intermarche Wanty Gobert, the 22 year old set his sights on continuing his dream breakthrough by lining up for his Grand Tour debut in Budapest.

Being a sprinter/puncheur meant that Stage 1 was the ideal profile for our fave Bini…

Wherever an Eritrean rider goes, it is a certainty that there will be the most amazing of band of fans not far away!


The part where not much happened

The flag was dropped at KM0 and off the peloton went as they embarked on their journey to Italy.

Two Italian riders, Mattia Bais and Filippo Tagliani, both of Drone Hopper – Androni Giocattoli, hit the front from the word go. In their time away from the peloton they managed to build a gap of 10′, which was closed down and they were finally caught with just under 14km to go.

And, well, other than that, nothing else really happened until the finish…

… but cycling being cycling, we did of course have many out of context moments.

Lots of horses (and horse puns) in Hungary!

Is it really a bike race if there isn’t a TACATACATACATACA tweet?

The Closing Kilometres

Eventually the Drone Hopper duo were caught by the peloton and the race to the finish was on.

Strong attacks on the final climb from Lawrence Naesen (AG2R Citroen) and Lennard Kamna (Bora-Hansgrohe) kept the peloton on their toes.

Despite Kamna’s best efforts, the bunch ultimately proved too strong and swept him up as they stormed towards the line. A small but powerful and chaotic sprint to the line ensued.

… with Lotto-Soudal’s Caleb Ewan missing out on the chance to win as he crashed from a touch of wheels in the very final kilometres. Mathieu van der Poel crossed the line in first place but with his head bowed from the sheer effort he’d had to expend holding off… BINIAM GIRMAY. Bini took second on the day, but took first in all of our hearts!

While MVDP wears the Maglia Rosa for the first, and surely not the last, time tomorrow …

… Bini will be wearing the Young Riders Maglia Blanca and it couldn’t be more deserved. We’re proud of you, Bini!

Roughly translates as: Alessandro Fabretti: “Girmay, Eritrean from Asmara, an Italian colony for many years”. Smugly. Process to the stage. Year domini 2022. Madness.



The Last Word

The “International Fair Play Committee” presented a trophy to Romain Bardet before the start of the Giro this morning, for his gesture towards Julian Alaphilippe on Liège-Bastogne-Liège

All the results

Stage results 

1 Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix) 4:35:28

2 Biniam Girmay (Intemarche Wanty Gobert) ST

3 Pello Bilbao (Bahrain Victorious) ST

4 Magnus Cort (EF Education – EasyPost) ST

5 Wilco Kelderman (Bora Hansgrohe) ST

GC Top 10 

1 Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix) 4:35:28

2 Biniam Girmay (Intemarche Wanty Gobert) ST

3 Pello Bilbao (Bahrain Victorious) ST

4 Magnus Cort (EF Education – EasyPost) ST

5 Wilco Kelderman (Bora Hansgrohe) ST

6 Richard Carapaz (INEOS Grenadiers) ST

7 Bauke Mollema (Trek-Segafredo) ST

8 Diego Ulissi (UAE Team Emirates) ST

9 Andrea Vendrame (AG2r Citroen) +0:04

10 Mattias Skjelmose Jensen (Trek-Segafredo) ST

All the jerseys

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Leader’s jersey : Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix)

Points jersey : Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix)

King of the Mountains: Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix)

Best young rider : Biniam Girmay (Intermarche Wanty Gobert)

Team : Bahrain Victorious

For full race results, go to CyclingNews

Official Giro d’Italia website is here

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