It seems as if it was both just yesterday and an eternity since the 2022 Giro d’Italia kickstarted in Budapest with fans cheering Attila Valter‘s name, ending in Verona with fans chanting Vincenzo Nibali‘s name. No, Nibali did not magically win the Giro today, it was simply his last one.
Today was the day Jai Hindley swooshed through today’s concluding time trial, clad in pink and putting 18 months of heartbreak to bed, to win Australia’s first-ever Giro d’Italia maglia rosa. Richard Carapaz and Mikel Landa did enough to secure their second and third podium places, respectively.
Italian national time trial champion Matteo Sobrero scorched the rest of the field to take the final stage, finishing 23sec ahead of DSM’s Thymen Arensman and 40sec faster than Mathieu Van der Poel, to give Bike Exchange their second time trial win of the race (and their third stage race overall).
The Stage Winner
Okay, I know I’m not the most knowledgeable cycling fan around these days, but I’ve never heard of Matteo Sobrero. So, I feel the need to give some background on the man. Born in Alba, Italy in May 1997, he (probably) grew up envisioning himself as Marco Pantani, elegantly dancing himself up his local climb. Fast forward to May 2022, he is the national TT champion of Italy, races for Bike Exchange after a string of short stints at Dimension Data, NTT Procycling, and Astana, and has just won his second-ever professional bike race.
💗 Giro d'Italia 2022 | Stage 2⃣1⃣
📊 Provisional Classification | Classifica provvisoria
— Giro d'Italia (@giroditalia) May 29, 2022
I really don’t have the interest or patience to do a deep dive on why Matteo’s helmet has a wolf head painted on it, but two things that I will note regarding it: 1) While still being gawd awful, it’s a tremendous improvement on the absurd “Wolfpack” thing that Quickstep has going on. 2) Given his team’s fierce allegiance to wolves, I wonder what Patrick Lefevere has to say about this helmet? Does it infringe on Quickstep’s trademark? Will Lefevere rant to the media and threaten litigation? Probably!
Matteo Sobrero in the TT hotseat is from a family of winemakers in Montelupo Albese in the Langhe-Roero-Barolo hills, hopefully he's not back to pruning the vines tomorrow (📷: https://t.co/8hTxeGy8Bn) pic.twitter.com/CPstEUe1Tg
— the Inner Ring (@inrng) May 29, 2022
Here I go getting into Midge territory already, but did you know that Sobrero comes from a family of winemakers? I didn’t! Maybe we can expect winemaking content from him in a way similar that Jasper Stuyven does with his chocolate.
The Final Jerseys
The clamouring for a grand tour jersey is always one of deep grit, a lot of sweat, hopefully not much blood, and just a wee bit of luck. While some look easier to attain than others (ahem, Arnaud Demare), others are rooted in efforts that are not often seen (good on ya, Koen Bouwman!), some we never really figure out how they’re secured (the white jersey?? … um, by being the best rider under 25 years old in the GC? – ed), and one is what everyone really keeps their eye on. Regardless of the path to the frame, we recognize the hard work that has gone into their success!
The Maglia Rosa and Jai Hindley
It’s not a dream anymore, @JaiHindley 💗
— BORA – hansgrohe (@BORAhansgrohe) May 29, 2022
Goodness, what is there to say about Jai Hindley and the maglia rosa? He’s Australia’s first Giro d’Italia winner and the country’s first grand tour winner since Cadel Evans in the 2011 Tour de France. I’m no Aussie, so it’s hard to imagine what it means to the country, but luckily #CouchPeloton is here to provide us some love.
All that pink and blue confetti, this is one hell of a gender reveal party. #couchpeloton
— Mark (@Lycra_Loony) May 29, 2022
In the pre-race press conference I listened to the Dutch press ask 5-6 questions about or around the topic of bad blood between Kelderman/Hindley after the 2020 Giro…
— Australian Cycling Insider (@AusCycInsider) May 29, 2022
— christophe mallet -🎖️onm -🚴🎾 (@cmallet) May 29, 2022
Perhaps the biggest takeaway from the end of this Giro is that the 2020 edition was not a fluke, at least not for Hindley. The young man has come a long way since nearly crashing whilst attempting to put on a rain jacket that year. It would’ve been easy to write that performance off, given Covid and the field of the 2020 edition. But he’s proven us all wrong. While he may not be the elite of the elite when it comes to grand tour contenders, Jai is a worthy adversary and a well-deserved winner.
The Maglia Ciclamino and Arnaud Demare
I have a soft spot for Demare. He doesn’t do much and yet he does so much. Whereas the sport focuses so heavily on the likes of Romain Bardet and Thibaut Pinot as the great French hopes, Arnaud lurks beneath the scene, ever so elegantly paving his way as the most accomplished French cyclist of the modern era.
SQUADRA 🔥 pic.twitter.com/cz8FB0y2L2
— Équipe Cycliste Groupama-FDJ (@GroupamaFDJ) May 29, 2022
Demare walks away from the Giro with a trio of stage wins and his second points classification victory of the Giro. While the sprint competition was mild at best (hello, Caleb Ewan), the dashing Frenchman claimed our hearts again this year. We love you, Arnaud!
The Maglia Bianca and Juan Pedro Lopez
The Giro d’Italia often brings the unknown riders to the forefront. Years ago, it was Bob Jungels with a stint in the maglia rosa and a GC top ten finish. In 2022, it is Juan Pedro Lopez. The 24-year-old Spaniard valiantly wore the pink jersey from stages 4 through 13, succumbing only to his youth and inexperience just before the start of the final week.
The #Giro's Best Young Rider has finished!
— Trek-Segafredo (@TrekSegafredo) May 29, 2022
Lopez walks away from his first Giro with the youth classification jersey and an amount of leadership experience and success that many could only dream of. It’ll be fascinating to see where the little bird flutters to next in his career, but today we celebrate the greatness that has been his Giro d’Italia.
The Maglia Azzurra and Koen Bouwman
My word, what a race Koen Bouwman had, and what luck Jumbo-Visma had in taking him to the race. Whereas the rest of the team largely faltered, Bouwman succeeded. As if we could ever forget his victory on Stage 7, the Dutchman did it again on Stage 19! In between, he silently fought his way through the mountains in breakaway after breakaway to clinch the King of the Mountains classification.
Ladies and Gentleman, let us introduce to you: 𝐊𝐨𝐞𝐧 𝐁𝐨𝐮𝐰𝐦𝐚𝐧, the 𝐟𝐢𝐫𝐬𝐭 Dutch winner of the mountain jersey in the Giro d’Italia. 🤩💙 pic.twitter.com/J9Lw7Lkeew
— Team Jumbo-Visma cycling (@JumboVismaRoad) May 29, 2022
Did we know that the Dutch have never won the mountain jersey at the Giro? I didn’t, naturally, but what an even greater way to celebrate!
The Questions that Remain
Okay, it’s been three weeks of racing and while today’s stage was largely ceremonial in nature, I asked the Twitterers what questions remain at the end of the race.
Was this Bardet's year?
— Joe WS (@jwsvelo) May 29, 2022
It absolutely was. I still maintain the fact that the race lost a lot of its charisma when Bardet abandoned. As we witnessed on Stage 20, Carapaz and Ineos were several steps behind their best. Could Bardet have matched Hindley? Could he have won his elusive grand tour? We can’t say what didn’t happen, but this was Bardet’s year. He won’t seriously contend for the yellow jersey again and the Vuelta is not his go-to. The stars had seemingly aligned for him at this year’s Giro and it’s heartbreaking that his body couldn’t hang on.
Question I'm asking myself is will Hindley win a GT in his career that isn't the Giro?
— Richard (@algatrensig) May 29, 2022
Ready for some controversy? I don’t foresee Hindley winning another grand tour in his career.[I beg to differ – ed] But to answer your questions specifically, Richard, no. I don’t believe he’s of the calibre to win the Tour de France and my sense is that the Vuelta is too steep for him.
How have BEX managed to snatch both TTs
— mitja (@mitjamandic) May 29, 2022
Now there’s a question, Mitja. I’m still not sure how Simon PHILLIP Yates won the first one! My hunch is that there were no big hitter time trialists in this year’s race. Rohan Dennis and Filippo Ganna both stayed home, for example. The GCN commentators speculated that BEX’s improvements have something to do with their switch to Giant, but that seems like quite an improvement to tie to a supplier.
Can Landa ever top this result? I don't think so
— Joe WS (@jwsvelo) May 29, 2022
From #FreeLanda to sole leadership at Bahrain Victorious, Landismo has had quite a GC career in recent years. However, given what we witnessed at this Giro, I don’t think we should hold our breath for Landa to improve on third overall. Look, the man had a lead out of however many kilometres yesterday and couldn’t do anything with it. Between his lack of willingness to actually do anything and his questionable time trial skills, I think today’s result is peak Landismo.
The Final Word
— Tao Geoghegan Hart (@taogeoghegan) May 29, 2022
All the results
1 Matteo Sobrero (Bike Exchange) 22:24
2. Thymen Arensman (Jumbo-Visma) +0:23
3. Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix) +0:40
4 Bauke Mollema (Trek-Segafredo) +1:08
5 Ben Tullet (Ineos Grenadiers) +1:12
GC Top 10
1 Jai Hindley (Bora-hansgrohe) 86:31:14
2 Richard Carapaz (Ineos Granadiers) +1:18
3 Mikel Landa (Bahrain Victorious) +3:24
4 Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) +9:02
5 Pello Bilbao (Bahrain Victorious) +9:14
6 Jan Hirt (Intermarche-Wanty-Gobert) +9:28
7 Emanual Buchmann (BORA-hansgrohe) +13:19
8 Domenico Pozzovivo (Intermarche-Wanty-Gobert) +17:29
9 Hugh Carthy (EF Education EasyPost) +17:54
10 Juan Pedro Lopez (Trek-Segafredo) +18:40
All the Jerseys
— pro cycling trumps (@procycletrumps) May 29, 2022
Leader’s jersey : Jai Hindley (Bora-hansgrohe)
Points jersey : Arnaud Demare (Groupama-FDJ)
King of the Mountains: Koen Bouwman (Jumbo-Visma)
Best young rider: Juan Pedro Lopez (Trek-Segafredo)
Team : Bahrain Victorious
For full race results, go to CyclingNews
Official Giro d’Italia website is here