Sunday, May 19, 2024

Giro d’Italia | Everything revolves around Tadej Pogacar, an incredible field of sprinters with Olav Kooij and Fabio Jakobsen – Preview


The ball starts on May 4 in Venaria Reale, in the Piedmont region. After a tough opening weekend, the sprinters will be featured, after which the classification riders will have to compete again in the second weekend. As always, the focus is on the final week, after which the winner will be honored in Rome.

Giro di Pogacar

For years, RCS, the organization of the Giro d’Italia, has been doing everything it can to bring Tadej Pogacar to La Corsa Rosa to lure. However, the Slovenian has his own goals, and he wants to tick more and more matches off his list of achievements. The time has come to add the stage race that revolves around the pink jersey.

The organization went one step further; After it was announced that the two-time Tour de France winner – and now victorious in six Monuments, after winning Liège-Bastogne-Liège for a second time – would head to Italy, there was a nasty climb in the final phase of the opening stage towards Torino included in the course just before the finish.

Vegni does not hide, whether he says this openly or shows through actions such as the above, that he would prefer to stay in Pogacar for 20 days (21 is not possible, as only after the first ride will the first Maglia Rosa is forgiven) riding in the pink leader’s jersey.

With the likely withdrawal of Jonas Vingegaard – we don’t know if he will be present and if so, whether he will be fit for the Tour de France – in La Grande Bouclethe job of winning the double Giro-Tour suddenly becomes a little easier Pogi. The question is: will he put all his energy on his Pogacars into riding around his neighboring country as frivolously (and at the same time humiliatingly) as possible, or will he win in economy mode to be fresh in the Tour?


Liège-Bastogne-Liège | Pogacar wins again after a nice solo – Van der Poel’s resistance breaks on Redoute


Everything always sounds easy on paper, but we think something special has to happen if Pogacar is not to be the best in the Italian stage race in three weeks’ time. If we are completely honest, there is not a single name on the provisional start list that we see making it scandalously difficult for the Slovenian.

On paper, the biggest opposition seems to come from 2018 Tour winner and last year’s number two, Geraint Thomas. How he does it every time is a mystery, but the Brit remains relevant in the round. Nairo Quintana will have to find his legs of ten years back – and it may not be enough, while the rest will have to come from Romain Bardet or Ben O’Connor.

It will be interesting to see whether talents like Thymen Arensman, Antonio Tiberi and Cian Uijtdebroeks can take the next step in the rankings. It must be said: you cannot expect them to actually threaten Pogacar in three weeks’ time.


UAE Tour | O’Connor sees a good attack rewarded and wins the mountain stage in Jebel Jais

Sprinter heaven

As monotonous as we suspect the classification work will be, we anticipate the violence of the sprinters as openly. With Fabio Jakobsen and Olav Kooij, there are plenty of opportunities for Dutch daytime success in Italy, but the opposition in the sprinters’ guild is not easy.

The most successful sprinter of the season so far is Tim Merlier. The Belgian from the troubled Soudal Quick-Step has already won seven times this year, including three stages in the UAE Tour and of course the self-proclaimed ‘World Sprint Championships’ in the Scheldeprijs.

That’s not all: with Caleb Ewan, Fernando Gaviria, Jonathan Milan and Sam Welsford – with Danny van Poppel as lead out – there are still four top sprinters on the provisional start list and as fast contenders we should certainly not overlook Alberto Dainese, Biniam Girmay, Kaden Groves, Juan Sebastián Molano, Laurence Pithie and Elia Viviani. We have no idea yet which of these names will actually start in Venaria Reale.


Paris-Nice | Olav Kooij wins stage 5

Visma | Lease A Bike changes plans

Not only Pogacar planned to come to the Giro; Wout van Aert had set his sights on high-level ride hijacking in Italy, but had to throw those plans in the trash due to a crash in Dwars Door Vlaanderen. Initially it was La Corsa Rosa for the all-rounder from Visma | Lease A Bike is the ideal preparation for the Olympic Games in Paris this summer.

However, there was even more bad news: Cian Uijtdebroeks would receive the support of Wilco Kelderman in his role as ‘classification escort’ – or would he opt for his own classification? In any case, the Dutchman broke his collarbone in the final stage of Paris-Nice. The fracture did not heal well enough to keep him fit Grande Partenza in Venaria Reale.

That loss provided a new opportunity for Koen Bouwman. Indeed, the 30-year-old two-time stage winner two years ago is at the start of the Giro for the seventh year in a row. Initially that was not the plan. “Of course I was disappointed when I heard it, everyone should know that,” he said at the time.

“I am the Giro man and I think I belong there, but the selection is so strong.” Even his future at Visma | Lease A Bike – Bouwman’s contract expires at the end of this year – is not certain for the rider himself. “But I’m not someone to start struggling right now. But the Grand Tours are so beautiful, that’s where I do my best,” the Dutchman said Bicycling.

Kooij can no longer count on the phenomenal lead-outs of Wout van Aert in the sprinters, but with Christophe Laporte the 22-year-old sprint bomb has an excellent replacement in the European champion. Edoardo Affini and Jan Tratnik will normally also be part of the sprint train. While Jumbo-Visma won all three Grand Tours last year, such ambitions – even after the fall of Vingegaard – appear to be for successor Visma | Lease A Bike was really too ambitious.


Giro d’Italia | Koen Bouwman wins Dutch stage in Potenza

Day trippers

While the Tour de France, as the highest battleground, increasingly ensures that almost all stages go to the real top performers, the Giro d’Italia and Vuelta a España are more of a playground for the adventurers. Last year an attacker was partying ten times in the Giro, will we see that again this year?

Of course, we first think of the small teams. VF Group-Bardiani CSF-Faizanè – where are the days when Ceramica Panaria-Navigare was still an easy name? – looks for attackers Davide Gabburo and Alessandro Tonelli (special attention for top talent Giulio Pellizzari). Team Polti Kometa has on board Davide Bais, the winner of last year’s Gran Sasso d’Italia, and another Italian talent with Davide Piganzoli.

Tudor Pro Cycling can try it in many areas with Alexander Kamp, Simon Pellaud, Michael Storer and Matteo Trentin. Israel-Premier Tech goes to Italy with the aim of Michael Woods the triple – stage victories in the Giro, Tour and Vuelta – but has a real attacker in Marco Frigo.

Furthermore, on the ‘home front’ we can look at the established names: Alessandro De Marchi and Filippo Zana at Team Jayco-AlUla, Andrea Bagioli for Lidl-Trek, Filippo Ganna (hello time trials) at INEOS Grenadiers, Andrea Piccolo (together with Simon Carr ) at EF Education First and the trio of Lorenzo Fortunato, Christian Scaroni and Italian champion Simone Velasco at Astana Qazaqstan Team.

Who will also try to complete a triptych of stage victories in the Grand Tours is Wout Poels. The 36-year-old Dutchman from Bahrain-Victorious won both the Tour and the Vuelta last year and is on the hunt for more. His form in the Tour of the Alps was good, what can the Limburger do in Italy? Perhaps he will ensure Dutch success!


Giro d’Italia | Early escapee Davide Bais records first professional victory, peloton has a day off

Where are you looking?

Siamo partiti! Enjoy Eurosport and discovery+ of three weeks in Italy. From Piedmont to Campania, to conclude in the capital Rome after a second part of Northern Italy. Will Tadej Pogacar also win the Giro d’Italia after winning the Tour twice? And what can Olav Kooij and Fabio Jakobsen do in the sprint? La Corsa Rosa follow you exclusively with us! Also follow our channel on WhatsApp!

Source link

Read more

Local News