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Tuesday, June 25, 2024

GIRO’23 PEZ Rider Preview: Evenepoel, Roglič… Or Does Anybody Else Have a Likelihood?

Giro Rider Preview: Remco Evenepoel or Primoz Roglič for the Giro d’Italia win. The Belgian and the Slovenian are in a category of their very own, as we noticed of their battle within the latest Tour of Catalonia. However there are different riders to think about for the primary Grand Tour of the season. That is our ‘Decide of the Giro Peloton’.

*** You may see the ‘PEZ 2023 Giro d’Italia Route Preview’ HERE. ***

The 2023 Giro route

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The battle continues

Sure, now we have Remco Evenepoel and Primoz Roglič as the large favourites for the 2023 Giro d’Italia, however as many crushed riders will let you know: “Something can occur in a three-week stage race.” And there are various different riders who will make life arduous for the ‘Huge Two’. Almeida and Tao Geoghegan Hart aren’t going to Italy for ‘a little bit of a vacation’. Geoghegan Hart has already gained the Giro and his teammate, Geraint Thomas, is a Tour de France winner. Then other than the opposite GC hopefuls, there are the blokes who’re going for stage victories from breaks and the climbers, who could cause an upset. Anyway, a battle between Evenepoel and Roglič will probably be nice viewing for the ‘Tifosi’, but when there are different protagonists within the struggle, then there’ll extra spectacle and pleasure. Carry it on!

The World champion would go well with pink

Remco Evenepoel (Soudal Fast-Step): Remco Evenepoel and Primoz Roglič fought it out within the Tour of Catalonia for less than seven days, and on the finish of the race the distinction between them was small: 6 seconds. Roglič was the general winner in Barcelona, the younger World champion, Evenepoel, couldn’t shake the Slovenian. However within the Giro there are 73.2 time trial kilometres, which is to the Belgian’s benefit. In terms of climbing they’re effectively matched.

Roglič is after all the Olympic time trial champion and a hilly race in opposition to the clock is his forte. The flat, 35 kilometre chrono to Cesena is far more in favour of Evenepoel. He may make his transfer right here, as he did in final 12 months’s Vuelta within the time trial to Alicante. On that day he put 48 seconds into Roglič. Though the Slovenian was most likely not on his high kind.

Remco Evenepoel has proven his current kind in Liège-Bastogne-Liège. The 23 year-old World champion got here down from altitude on El Teide, Tenerife to effortlessly win the Belgian Monument. Earlier than the race he had introduced the place and when he would win, and mainly, that’s what he did. It regarded as if Evenepoel didn’t should breathe arduous throughout his victory Liège. His Soudal Fast-Step teammates labored completely, bringing him to La Redoute for his launching. The entire workforce are prepared for the Giro.

Tirreno and Catalunya have each fallen to Roglić

Primoz Roglič (Jumbo-Visma): Whereas Evenepoel gained his second Liège, Roglič stayed on El Teide for some extra thin-air coaching. His kind has been excellent this spring, the Slovenian gained the 2 races he began in 2023: Tirreno-Adriatico and the Volta a Catalunya. Roglič had surgical procedure on his shoulder in October and was unable to coach for eight weeks and didn’t begin coaching till December. That stated, he took the general victory and several other phases in each Tirreno-Adriatico and Catalunya, with out an excessive amount of bother, however didn’t have luck on his facet. Within the Queen stage of Tirreno-Adriatico, the attackers had been held again by a powerful wind and within the Tour of Catalunya he ‘solely’ had to focus on Evenepoel.

On the fifth stage in Catalonia, he cracked Evenepoel on the final, steep metres of Lo Port. This will need to have given him confidence that he may higher his Giro rival, so quickly after his return to the peloton. What may be a bonus for Roglič is that the Giro has climbs above 2,000 metres and the Slovenian, maybe, has the higher hand over Evenepoel. The Belgian made his strikes on the decrease slopes, however within the Vuelta a San Juan on the Alto de Colorado, which is 2,623 metres excessive, Evenepoel was not at his greatest. It was early within the season and Evenepoel was nonetheless in his preparation section, however it may very well be his Achilles heel, if he has one.

Geoghegan Hart has been right here earlier than

Tao Geoghegan Hart (INEOS Grenadiers): There is just one former winner at the beginning of the Tour of Italy. Tao Geoghegan Hart gained the Giro in 2020, forward of the Sunweb riders: Jai Hindley and Wilco Kelderman. Within the final two seasons, the British rider has had flashes of his Giro kind. This 12 months the INEOS Grenadiers has proven himself once more. He took a stage wins within the Tour of Valencia and within the Tour of the Alps, plus the general victory.

Hart can be not afraid of Evenepoel and Roglič: “INEOS Grenadiers go into each race to win. You count on that from any nice workforce. There aren’t solely two groups that go for that,” he not too long ago instructed WielerFlits, after all referring to Jumbo-Visma and Soudal Fast-Step. With Pavel Sivakov, Geraint Thomas and Thymen Arensman, Hart has a workforce that may management and place their rider the place he must be.

Hart additionally has a powerful remaining acceleration, which implies he can accumulate bonus seconds, time that he may lose within the time trials. Though Hart will not be so dangerous within the time trials, he completed within the high 10 in each the Critérium du Dauphiné and the Vuelta a España within the longer particular person time trials.

João Almeida is aware of the sensation of pink

João Almeida (UAE Crew Emirates): João Almeida completed fourth within the Giro d’Italia that was gained by Hart. The Portuguese rider was then 21 years-old and it regarded like he could be on a Grand Tour podium sooner, fairly than later. To this point the 2022 Giro has been his hight level. Within the 2021 Giro, Almeida misplaced a number of early time, regardless of a powerful remaining week he completed in sixth place. Final 12 months he was 4th total, however he needed to abandon after stage 17 because of a covid an infection. In that 12 months’s Vuelta he was fifth. All nice performances, however he must attempt tougher.

His spring was first rate: Sixth within the Volta ao Algarve, 2nd in Tirreno-Adriatico, third in Catalunya. This makes him one of many podium candidates. Beating the ‘Huge Two’, is one other story. In Catalunya the distinction between Almeida and Evenepoel/Roglič duo was huge. Almeida is extremely powerful. Climbing he could also be in bother, however he nearly by no means cracks utterly. He loses the wheels in-front of him, however will struggle his approach again to the entrance. If he can honest effectively within the first a part of the Giro, he may grow to be a hazard for Evenepoel and Roglič within the second, very powerful half and have a really robust final week.

Geraint Thomas will probably be maintaining a tally of the rainbow jersey

Geraint Thomas (INEOS Grenadiers): To this point in 2023 Thomas has not been very noticeable. 88th within the Santos Tour Down Underneath, forty fifth in Catalunya and fifteenth within the Tour of the Alps. However no less than his outcomes are getting into the proper path and you’ll by no means low cost a Tour de France winner. The 36 year-old Thomas is of the old-fashioned and is possibly a ‘gradual burner’. Final 12 months the INEOS Grenadiers rider was invisible within the spring, however then gained the Tour de Switzerland and completed third within the Tour de France. Within the Tour he restricted any harm, as attacking Vingegaard and Pogačar was probably not potential and the identical may very well be stated of Roglič and Evenepoel. However with a strong efficiency, he may have a superb Giro d’Italia.

There may be a number of racing in opposition to the clock on this 12 months’s Giro and Thomas could be the most effective time trialists within the World, when on kind. Thomas rode the Giro twice, however deserted in 2017 and 2021. Successful could also be troublesome, however he can definitely compete for the rostrum, or is he there solely to assist Tao Geoghegan Hart?

Vlasov – Not the extent of Evenepoel and Roglič

Alexandr Vlasov (BORA-hansgrohe): Vlasov had a fifth place within the Tour of Valencia and a ninth place in Tirreno-Adriatico, however his spring has not been pretty much as good as final 12 months, the place the Russian took the general victory within the Tour of Valencia, beating Remco Evenepoel. Within the Tour of the Alps, Vlasov’s disappointing begin to the season continued, however on the third day he took 2nd place behind teammate, Lennard Kämna, on the Brentonico San Valentino (15.4km at 7.5%). Vlasov has a punch, however he isn’t pretty much as good on the lengthy climbs, of which there are various within the Giro.

Vlasov’s time trialing is cheap, however not on the degree of Evenepoel and Roglič. Though the one chrono stage he has ever gained, other than the 2021 Russian TT championship, was the hilly time trial in final 12 months’s Tour de Romandie. So possibly he can pull off a shock on Monte Lussari, on the penultimate stage of the Giro?

Carthy has all the time carried out effectively within the Giro

Hugh Carthy (EF Schooling-EasyPost): Eighth in 2021, ninth in 2022, Hugh Carthy has been usually within the high 10 of the Giro lately, however he has the power to maneuver larger, even onto the rostrum. His early season went effectively. Sixth within the Trofeo Serra de Tramuntana, Mallorca and fifteenth within the Tour des Alpes Maritimes et du Var. Then in Tirreno-Adriatico he completed eighth total. Subsequent a 2nd place within the Tour of the Alps, ending 22 seconds behind Tao Geoghegan Hart.

Caruso on the head of a really robust Bahrain Victorious workforce

Damiano Caruso (Bahrain Victorious): Bahrain Victorious has a really robust line-up for Italy: Santiago Buitrago, Gino Mäder, Jack Haig and Damiano Caruso. The 35 year-old Italian has already completed within the high ten of the Giro twice. He was eighth in 2015 after which 2nd in 2021. Can he do it once more? Uncertain. After his success within the Giro’21, the Sicilian has by no means been at that degree. Final 12 months he aimed toward a superb efficiency on the Tour de France, solely to be disillusioned. Caruso did little or no and deserted after 17 phases with covid. Earlier than the Tour he had some good outcomes, together with a win within the Tour of Sicily and a 4th place within the Critérium du Dauphiné. Caruso has had a podium place this 12 months, within the Tour de Romandie he completed third behind Matteo Jorgenson and total winner Adam Yates. That was solely every week in the past, so possibly he’s prepared for the Giro.

Jack Haig
Is Haig again?

Jack Haig (Bahrain Victorious): The 29 year-old Australian, Jack Haig, was third within the Tour of the Alps behind Tao Geoghegan Hart and Hugh Carthy. Haig was side-lined by a nasty crash in final 12 months’s Tour, however has been working his approach again to his previous kind. With eleventh place within the Ruta del Sol, tenth in Paris-Good after which on the rostrum of the Tour of the Alps. This was Haig’s first podium end since September 2021, when he completed third within the Vuelta a España, behind Roglič and Enric Mas. On the seventh stage, Haig had gained 3 minutes when he joined the early break, however he had already misplaced time within the early a part of the race. Haig doesn’t have a speciality that he could make a niche on the opposite GC males, however is a tricky rider.

Groupama-FDJ Pinot
Pinot in his remaining 12 months may be out to indicate one thing

Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ): Thibaut Pinot is in his final season as an expert bicycle owner, however does wish to present myself within the race. He ending 2nd within the Tour de Jura just a few weeks in the past, just a few days later he was 2nd within the Tour du Doubs. The Giro d’Italia is his final huge intention and he would be the chief of Groupama-FDJ. The Frenchman is aware of he gained’t win the Giro, however he does wish to present effectively and have a superb final GC. Pinot was fifth within the Tour de Romandie and was solely crushed by Adam Yates on the street to Thyon 2000.

Pinot has ridden the Giro twice earlier than. In 2017, he completed fourth. A 12 months later, Pinot was poised for a podium place with two phases to go. However issues went fallacious on the penultimate stage and he misplaced nearly 45 minutes on the powerful mountain stage and was taken to hospital with exhaustion and couldn’t begin the ultimate stage. Let’s hope his Giro goes effectively in his farewell season.

If Santiago Buitrago is allowed, he may very well be a hazard

The Exterior Bets
There are others who would possibly shock us: Bahrain Victorious additionally has Gino Mäder and Santiago Buitrago, who will help Damiano Caruso and Jack Haig, but additionally can shake up the motion themselves. Mäder was good in Paris-Good and Buitrago has been climbing effectively all season. INEOS Grenadiers may play a distinct card with Pavel Sivakov or Thymen Arensman. Sivakov has been strong in 2023, within the 4 stage races he has ridden this 12 months, he completed within the high ten. Final 12 months the Arensman confirmed effectively in each the Giro and the Vuelta, though he has been quiet since becoming a member of INEOS through the winter. Lennard Kämna is an attacker and will go for a GC place within the Giro and shares the management of BORA-hansgrohe with Vlasov.

It could be good to see Jay Vine do one thing in Italy, however his kind is unknown

Others to control are: Rigoberto Urán (EF Schooling-EasyPost), Einer Augusto Rubio (Movistar), Felix Gall (AG2R Citroën), Domenico Pozzovivo (Israel-Premier Tech), Brandon McNulty and Jay Vine (UAE Crew Emirates), who was spectacular in final 12 months’s Vuelta a España and early in 2023, however then didn’t race once more because of a knee damage. So there’s a query mark on his race kind.

liege 23
A Giro to go along with his Vuelta? Remco Evenepoel

So who’s our favorite? Remco Evenepoel.
With Primoz Roglič and Tao Geoghegan Hart on the second line.
Subsequent possibles are João Almeida, Geraint Thomas and Aleksandr Vlasov, with Hugh Carthy, Damiano Caruso, Jack Haig, Thibaut Pinot as ready within the shadows. Then Jay Vine because the shock package deal.

All of Italy is pink

# Keep PEZ for all of the Giro d’Italia motion… #

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