A perfect week, or almost
They had arrived on this Tour of Italy with few certainties but both will have had an almost perfect first week, punctuated by success. Arrived in Budapest as the sole leader of Groupama-FDJ, built around him with the presence of his entire train, Arnaud Demare has already succeeded in its Giro. Winner on the 5th stage in Messina, as in 2020, he did it again the next day in Scalea, ahead of Ewan and Cavendish. Enough to take control of the cyclamen jersey. He could not have dreamed of a better week. Jai Hindley no more.
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The Australian from BORA – Hansgrohe had not won since the Giro 2020 and raised his arms again, at the Blockhaus, on the hardest climb of the event. At the same time, he places himself as a very credible candidate for the podium, especially after his interesting time in Budapest, and made a hole around his team, with the failure of Keldermann.
Jai Hindley celebrates his success at the top of the Blockaus
They negotiated it well
It was complicated to draw up an assessment of the week of the favorites before the climb to the Blockhaus, but it must be recognized that four of the five favorites at the start managed this first highlight perfectly. arrived together, Richard Carapaz, Mikel Landa, Romain Bardet and Joao Almeida all validated their podium ambitions (or better) in Verona. The Frenchman, always well placed, for example surprised during the stopwatch, where he nevertheless felt that he had not been 100% at the start. And he will have been solid this Sunday for the first big meeting, like the other three.
Romain Bardet (DSM) ahead of Mikel Landa (Bahrain-Victorious) and Richard Carpaz (INEOS Grenadiers), during the 9th stage of the Tour of Italy 2022
Credit: Getty Images
Even if the Portuguese from UAE Team Emirates had disappointed on the clock and he spent his time chasing behind the three others on the Blockhaus, which is – it is true – his style in the mountains. All would have signed to be in this position, especially the Spaniard from Bahrain-Victorious who passed very close to the correctional this Sunday with a fall in the descent of the Lanciano.
He is so special that it is impossible to judge him in the same waters as the other runners. Mathieu Van der Poel had started the Giro as he is used to on a Grand Tour, that is to say with a stage victory and three days in pink. A first week that the Dutchman from Alpecin-Fenix could have sublimated towards Potenza or Naples. But he strayed both times, running a bit erratically and missing tactical accuracy. As for Démare, his Tour of Italy is despite everything already successful, even if we always expect more.
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Wearer of the pink jersey since Etna, Juan Pedro Lopez was destined to lose it this Sunday. But the young Spaniard from Trek-Segafredo signed the best performance of his career in the mountains on the Blockhaus, despite having been abandoned by his teammates, to keep his leader’s tunic for a few more days. A real feat. Highly anticipated for its first Grand Tour, Biniam Girmay is still waiting for his first success but the Eritrean keeps circling around from Budapest. Always placed, able to mingle with massive sprints like spinning in a breakaway on hilly terrain, the runner from Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux never ceases to surprise us and will be Démare’s No. 1 opponent for the cyclamen jersey. .
Juan Pedro Lopez (Trek-Segafredo)
Credit: Getty Images
Finally, it’s hard not to be amazed by the performance on the Blockhouse – and therefore in general – of the old generation. Vincenzo Nibali (37 years old, Astana Quasaqstan), Domenico Pozzovivo (39 years old, Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux) and Alejandro Valverde (Movistar, 42) more than withstood the clash on Sunday, finishing in the top 10 of the stage. In a cycling where youth has taken power, the “grandpas” have not said their last word. And we might have to count on them for the final top 5.
Highly anticipated at the start of the Giro after an excellent start to the season, Pello-Bilbao kinda missed out on its first week. Already inside the clock (18th, behind Bardet), the Basque from Bahrain-Victorious had a difficult 9th stage with a fall and lost time in the Blockhaus. Nothing is lost for him, however, unlike the general hopes of the Jumbo-Visma. While it initially lined up Tom Dumoulin, Som Oomen and especially Tobias Foss, all quickly lost any chance of playing for a place in the general standings, from Etna. The highest ranked, Oomen, is already more than seven minutes away! A real disappointment that Bouwman’s stage victory (after a magnificent collective effort) only partly mitigates.
A breath for a double: How Démare did Ewan’s hair
On the sprinters’ side, to varying degrees, Caleb Ewan and Fernando Gaviria are far from the expected level. Hit by a fall, the Australian from Lotto-Soudal is struggling to recover but his second place at Scalea gives hope for the best for the future. On condition of adapting to the loss of Selig (abandonment), an important member of his train. On the other hand, the Colombian from UAE Team Emirates missed his sprints, not so much in the result (two podiums) as in the form, with dangerous waves (especially in front of Bol in Scalea) and a frustration that was a little too expressive. Some were kicked out for less.
The big losers
Great favorite of the Giro with Carapaz, Simon Yates has already said goodbye to any hope of a general. Disturbed by the consequences of a fall but above all by a heat that he definitely cannot manage, the Briton from BikeExchange-Jayco lost more than 11 minutes at the Blockhaus. A big surprise and a monumental failure similar to that experienced by Wilco Keldermann. The Dutchman from Bora-Hansgrohe, who dreamed of a podium after his fifth place on the Tour last year, had achieved an ideal start to the Giro before this Sunday but everything exploded towards the Blockhaus. He certainly had some bad luck by puncturing in the descent of the Lanciano but he also seriously stuck in the final climb (+ 10”53).
Yates was dropped from the foot of the Blockhouse
Even if he was not expected either by his teammates, unlike a Giulio Ciccone catastrophic in more ways than one. The Italian from the Trek-Segafredo had rolled his men down the Lanciano but he, the climber from Abruzzo, at home, lay down at the start of the ascent. And the worst will have been to make his teammates wait, while Juan Pedro Lopez defended the pink jersey. Trek-Segafredo didn’t lose everything, but it’s not thanks to him.
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