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.
@TeamEmiratesUAE thought it would be better if they brought to #Giro2022 2 sprinters & riders that could scape and win stages leaving @JooAlmeida98 w/ none to help him. Top teams want to win the giro not stages. #UAETeamEmirates leave #almeida alone wo any help he humble & classy pic.twitter.com/bGISmFOhpP
— YuranPT (@FromFifa) May 24, 2022
Just a regular day for Joao Almeida. He's coming back! #Giro pic.twitter.com/FfmbGePZtT
— Mihai Simion (@faustocoppi60) May 24, 2022
I was coming back home and I felt like someone was following me so i started running, and I heard a voice shouting me to stop, so I turned around and I saw Joao Almeida trying to hold on#Giro
— Guillaume (@GuillaumeWatt) May 24, 2022
Starting the Giro Almeida quickly realises he stands alone. Even worse… His team rides against him, repeatedly sending his domestiques as far away as possible never to come back. But this, this trumps everything! A faked positive to get him out of the race? WHAT IS GOING ON?! pic.twitter.com/3ORgpvGBfE
— Cycling Fanfiction (@Cyclingfanfict) May 26, 2022
Almeida seeing all the memes about him on Twitter. #Giro pic.twitter.com/lVyb0XToSh
— Mihai Simion (@faustocoppi60) May 25, 2022
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.
Back at the bus hear what Team DSM coach @Mattw1nston had to say about the day featuring a mid-interview cameo hug from @romainbardet 🤗
📽 @VelonCC #KeepChallenging #Giro pic.twitter.com/jt1XGEGmdk
— Team DSM (@TeamDSM) May 18, 2022
Les images exclusives de l'abandon de Romain Bardet lors de l'étape du jour sur le #Giro ! #LesRP
📹 @SirWiggo pic.twitter.com/gDXw2uYiID
— Eurosport France (@Eurosport_FR) May 20, 2022
This GC race would've been exponentially cooler with Bardet still here #Giro
— Nairo Quintana Fanclub (@NairoInGreen) May 27, 2022
It's a super close Giro, but it seems empty without Bardet in the mix.
— nyvelocity (@nyvelocity) May 27, 2022
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 Hopper–Androni Giocattoli); 4 Stefano Oldani (Alpecin-Fenix); 5 Mattia Bais (Drone Hopper); 6 Diego Rosa (Eolo–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.
Formolo in full flow … being swamped by Ineos. I LOVE DAVIDE FORMOLO #Giro2022 pic.twitter.com/LEuIbGM1gl
— VeloVoices (@VeloVoices) May 22, 2022
This is vintage Wout Poels. Bahrain on fire today. #Giro pic.twitter.com/JRm1we4LS4
— Mihai Simion (@faustocoppi60) May 25, 2022
Catching up on todays stage…Dan and Robbie wondering what's wrong with Wout Poels…is he sick etc…I forward a bit…Wout Poels drilling it off the front. Gotta love cycling! 😆😆 #Giro
— Sara 👷♀️ 🚴♀️🇺🇦 (@SaMcDuff) May 28, 2022
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.
Richie Porte has been absolutely instrumental in putting Carapaz in the position he’s in currently. Huge blow for Ineos to see him in difficulty. #Giro
— Tom Thewlis (@thewlistt) May 27, 2022
Whether you are a @INEOSGrenadiers fan or not, not what any cycling fan wants to see, after everything that @richie_porte has done in GT often in the service others, this is not how his last GT should end.
Cycling is a cruel sport.#Giro pic.twitter.com/ThDaX4mZbv
— Sarah milton (@Sarahmi56698657) May 27, 2022
😔 We're so sad not to see you make it to Verona, @richie_porte. We know this is your last GT. We have a little something for you to make this day less bitter.
Thanks for everything. pic.twitter.com/hdeA5rsUpP
— Giro d'Italia (@giroditalia) May 28, 2022
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.
"Tinky-winky". 😂😂 Brad Wiggins on form this morning. #Giro
— Neil Metcalfe (@NPMetcalfe) May 25, 2022
Brad Wiggins has a lot of quite graphic euphemisms for taking a piss on the bike doesn’t he.
— Rich Thomas (@RichTea86) May 25, 2022
Is there much point in Wiggins hanging around the edge of the media scrum at the end of a stage when he never really tries to get close enough to actually ask a quest? #giro
— Feargal McKay (@fmk_RoI) May 25, 2022
"Get out the way, you dingo!" 😂
Bradley Wiggins praises the role of his former team-mate Richie Porte… along with an 𝑖𝑛𝑡𝑒𝑟𝑒𝑠𝑡𝑖𝑛𝑔 impression 🇦🇺🗣#Giro | @SirWiggo pic.twitter.com/bkLWCtjpf0
— Eurosport (@eurosport) May 25, 2022
BRAD PLEASE STOP DOING TERRIBLE AUSSIE ACCENTS WHENEVER RICHIE PORTE GOES PAST 🙈#Giro #Giro105
— Katy M (@writebikerepeat) May 25, 2022
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.
Mathieu van der Poel after the Italians find him eating pasta with ketchup on it. pic.twitter.com/nzzqa9zFQ9
— Sadhbh O'Shea (@SadhbhOS) May 6, 2022
Next: Pineapple on a pizza. In Italy. IN. ITALY
When you have to arrest Mathieu Van der Poel for eating pineapple pizza but all you have is a bicycle. pic.twitter.com/5lPRotm4Lx
— AJ (@AJ48775486) May 29, 2022
Mathieu van der Poel confirms that he has eaten a pineapple pizza during this year's Giro d'Italia.
"Maybe you can forgive me," he says.#Giro
— Sadhbh O'Shea (@SadhbhOS) May 29, 2022
Looks like the Giro has forgiven MvdP … who says official Twitter accounts can’t have a sense of humour?
🍍 @mathieuvdpoel, you attacked so hard that, eventhough you didn’t get a second stage win, you won anyways and everyone who loves cycling won with you. We owe it to you (and let's hope for the best). #Giro @AlpecinFenix pic.twitter.com/pAXOwqExFp
— Giro d'Italia (@giroditalia) May 29, 2022
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 …
I said to you this morning 😜 Congrats @GrmayeBiniam 🙌🏼 https://t.co/kXtdcUkRr7
— Juanpe López (@juanpelopez97) May 17, 2022
🚴🇮🇹 | Of de fans van Girmay thuis in Eritrea een beetje blij waren met de historische sprint van hun landgenoot? Kijk en oordeel zelf! 🙌🇪🇷 #Giro @eri_cycling_fan
📺 Koers kijk je op discovery+ pic.twitter.com/ZJJbV8I5U7
— Eurosport Nederland (@Eurosport_NL) May 18, 2022
I am proud to be Eritrean 🇪🇷❤️ pic.twitter.com/B7LBd4Mpmy
— Biniam Girmay (@GrmayeBiniam) May 19, 2022
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 Eolo–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.
😍 #Giro https://t.co/qkbdoMf3k4
— Giro d'Italia (@giroditalia) May 30, 2022
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!)
🫂 @vincenzonibali – @AstanaQazTeam pic.twitter.com/9RFVnxzMlG
— Giro d'Italia (@giroditalia) May 30, 2022
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