Giro d’Italia 2022 A-Z: Part 1 – From Almeida to Maglia Rosa

It’s a return of the Grand Tour A to Zs with Giro d’Italia 2022. We collect the good, the bad, the pinapple pizzas and the pain faces; stats, shout-outs and so much fun

A is for Almeida

Joao Almeida has had a special relationship with the Giro since his race debut in 2020. That year, he finished fourth overall and held the maglia rosa and young riders jersey from stages 3-17, and sixth overall in 2021. New team (UAE), new year, and up until stage 17, Almeida was in the GC mix again (4th at the time). But for a Covid positive before stage 18, who knows what he might have done, although team tactics had everyone wondering what UAE had against Almeida. One thing we’ve learned is: drop him and he’ll just keeping coming back.

B is for Bardet

Romain Bardet (DSM) was making the GC incredibly exciting, matching Richard Carapaz and Jai Hindley pedal stroke for pedal stroke – he was even the lead-out man for Alberto Dainese on Stage 11! Though his rivals couldn’t defeat him, the stomach flu did – Bedhead had to abandon the race on Stage 13. It felt like a lot of the air went out of the GC race when Bardet climbed into the team car. He was sorely missed.

C is for Combativity Award

While I don’t think putting the combativity award up as a Twitter poll was a good idea for the Giro this year, most of the time, the majority was right. And it proves that Israel-Premier Tech *was* in the race. 1 Lennard Kamna (Bora-hansgrohe); 2 Rick Zabel (Israel-Premier Tech); 3 Mattia Bais (Drone Hopperโ€“Androni Giocattoli); 4 Stefano Oldani (Alpecin-Fenix); 5 Mattia Bais (Drone Hopper); 6 Diego Rosa (Eoloโ€“Kometa); 7 Tom Dumoulin (Jumbo Visma); 8 Thomas De Gendt (Lotto Soudal); 9 Joao Almeida (UAE); 10 Alessandro Di Marchi (Israel-Premier Tech); 11 Dries De Bondt (Alpecin-Fenix); 12 Lorenzo Rota (Intermarche-Wanty-Gobert); 13 Pascal Eenkhoorn (Jumbo Visma); 14 Richard Carapaz (Ineos Grenadiers); 15 Giulio Ciccone (Trek-Segafredo); 16 Thymen Arensman(Team DSM); 17 Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix); 18 Edoardo Affini (Jumbo Visma); 19 Andrea Vendrama (Ag2r); 20 Alessandro Covi (UAE) 21 Mathieu van der Poel : Supercombativity Award

D is for Domestiques (Super!)

The domestiques that caught our eye this Giro were Davide Formolo for UAE, who tried his damndest to keep Joao Almeida up with the leaders for as long as possible (even if his other teammates didn’t) and Wout Poels for Bahrain, who did the same for Mikel Landa. Both riders would lead the peloton through the mountains at a blistering pace, only to go backwards, then, ta-dah, get back on the front again. Personally, I love Formolo’s heart SO MUCH.

Of course one of the superest of super domestiques was Richie Porte for Ineos, who unfortunately succumbed to that pesky stomach flu that was going around on stage 19, making that Ineos team just weak enough to not dominate. It was certainly not the way we wanted to see Richie’s final Giro pan out.


E is for EGAD!

Brad on the bike … really don’t know what this brings to the race, considering Wiggins doesn’t really have much insight to say on the back of the bike (shouting out names of riders and who is weeing doesn’t tell us anything we need to know) and at the finish line, he’s not accredited to enable him to interview the riders, so he stands at the side of the cluster of journos who are. GCN need to find a better role for him going forward.

F is for Food Crimes

No, we’re not going to dissect what Romain Bardet or Richie Porte had that upset their stomachs so much (we’ll leave that speculation to Brad on the bike). But we need to talk about Matheiu van der Poel. First up: Ketchup on pasta. KETCHUP. ON. PASTA.

Next: Pineapple on a pizza. In Italy. IN. ITALY

Looks like the Giro has forgiven MvdP … who says official Twitter accounts can’t have a sense of humour?

G is for Girmay

He thrilled us in the Spring Classics and he thrilled us in his first Grand Tour. Wanty’s Biniam Girmay was a joy to watch in the first part of this Giro – taking Mathieu van der Poel to the limit. Sometimes MvdP won the battle (Stage 1), but finally Bini took his first (of what will be many) Grand Tour stage wins on Stage 10. A huge moment for this incredibly talented rider, a huge moment for Eritrean fans and a huge moment in cycling history. And but for a damn Prosecco cork …

H is for History

This Giro had two huge firsts in cycling history. The first, Biniam Girmay becoming the first Black African to win a Giro stage (above). The second, Jai Hindley becoming the first Australian to win the Giro d’Italia, 11 years after Cadel Evans became the first Aussie to win the Tour de France. And just for good measure, Koen Bouwman was the first Dutch rider to ever win the Giro’s King of the Mountains jersey.

I is for Incoming

Riders who have taken their very first Grand Tour stage in this year’s Giro: Koen Bouwman (Stage 7); Biniam Girmay (stage 10); Alberto Dainese (Stage 11); Stefano Oldani (Stage 12); Jan Hirt (Stage 16); Santiago Buitrago (Stage 17);  Dries De Bondt (Stage 18); Alessandro Covi (Stage 20); Matteo Sobrero (Stage 21)

J is for Jai Lets Fly

It was neck and neck between Carapaz and Hindley going into the final mountain stage of this year’s Giro. Hopes were raised: Would Bahrain play their cards right for Mikel Landa to try something audacious? Would the Ineos Grenadiers crush all opponents’ souls while leading Richard Carapaz up the mountain to solidify his GC win? Or would Bora-hansgrohe ride another bold, all-chips-in stage to launch Jai Hindley into pink? Spoiler: Jai lets fly

K is for King of the Mountains

As mentioned, Koen Bouwman takes home the KOM jersey for this year’s Giro – the first Dutch rider to do so – saving Jumbo-Visma’s Giro. He was out in the breaks, scooping up points almost by stealth until he finally surpassed Diego Rosa to go into the jersey for Stage 15. AND he won two stages – a Tom Dumoulin-assisted Stage 7 and a slightly controversial (but not for the experts) stage 19.

Along the way, Mathieu van der Poel had the jersey for the first two stages; Rick Zabel of Israel Premier-Tech had it for Stage 3; Bora’s ‘man everywhere’ Lennard Kamna wore it from stage 4 to 6, while Diego Rosa did Eoloโ€“Kometa proud by wearing it from Stages 9 to 14. Bouwman wore it all the way to the final podium.

L is for Last Giro

Never thought we’d see the day, but this might actually be happening. Yes, Alejandro Valverde (Movsitar) is retiring at the end of this year. So this was his last Giro and while he flirted with the top ten for most of the race, he ended the three weeks in the 11th spot.

What must it feel like to have your name chanted by people in an amphitheatre! What an emotional goodbye for Vincenzo Nibali who finished FOURTH in the GC. (Okay, he was around 6min away from third place on the podium, but still … fourth!)

And, of course, Richie Porte (see D is for Domestiques).

M is for Maglia rosa

It might not be the most famous Grand Tour leaders jersey, but hot damn, it sure is the most gorgeous. Four riders wore the maglia rosa this year. Mathieu van der Poel kicked off his first Giro in the same style as he kicked off his first Tour de France last year, by taking the leaders jersey in his first participation, this time on Stage 1. Suits you, sir!

Trek-Segafredo’s Juan Pedro Lopez took it off MvdP’s shoulders on stage 4 and kept it the longest of the four.

It certainly wasn’t the first time in his career that Richard Carapaz zipped up the pink jersey on Stage 14. (And I suspect it won’t be the last …)

Nor was it Jai Hindley‘s when he rode his guts out for it on Stage 20 to take it home after stage 21.

Stay tuned for Part Two : N to Z

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