The Tour of the Alps presents the form of the contenders for the Giro d’Italia
The start of the Giro d’Italia was less than two weeks ago and the Tour of the Alps mountain race gave a first real indication of who is fit, who can fight for the maglia rosa and how the fight for the general classification the classification could take place over the three weeks of racing in May.
Tour of the Alps winner Romain Bardet (Team DSM) is clearly fit and motivated, going from racing to stage wins to overall victory on the final stage around Lienz in Austria.
Bardet’s tactics and Team DSM’s execution suggest the Frenchman is back to his Grand Tour best and should therefore be a real threat on the mountainous but time trial course of this year’s Giro d’Italia. year. He could even be a threat in Liège-Bastogne-Liège on Sunday if he has recovered from his efforts.
The DSM team has included sprinters Cees Bol and Alberto Dainese in its eight-rider roster for the Giro d’Italia, but Bardet will have the support of Chris Hamilton and Thymen Arensman, who could emerge as one of the revelations of the Giro 2022 and even a white winner of the jersey as he was at the Tour of the Alps.
Bardet celebrated a French double at the Tour des Alpes but unfortunately Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ) will not be at the Corsa Rosa this year. He will be greatly missed in what should be a finely balanced overall battle.
Pinot and especially his Italian alter-ego Tibo Pino loves racing in Italy as much as he hates the pressures and expectations of racing the Tour de France but after two years of disappointment and injury, Groupama-FDJ insisted that Pinot ride the Big loop. However, after winning the last stage of the Tour des Alpes, he promised to return in 2023 and also participate in the Giro.
In the absence of Pinot, the Hungarians Attila Valter and Michael Storer will lead Groupama-FDJ in the Giro and both will surely mark the race.
Simon Yates won the 2021 Tour of the Alps but opted to stay at altitude longer this year and will only race with his BikeExchange-Jayco teammates in the Vuelta Asturias race next week in Spain.
Richard Carapaz (Ineos Grenadiers) opted for a similar build, spending high time at home in Ecuador. However, Ineos Grenadiers raced like they were in the Tour of the Alps, with Pavel Sivakov showing his form with several powerful attacks in the mountains. He will be a great alternative and support for Carapaz. Salvatore Puccio confirmed his ability as an experienced road captain, while Richie Porte was constantly up front and surely did enough to run the Giro, where his career began as an amateur and where he wore the maglia rosa in 2010.
Pello Bilbao and Bahrain Victorious were gutted losing the Tour of the Alps on the very last stage but can look back on their strong team performance over the five days of racing.
Bilbao may struggle to stay in top form for the entire Giro and thus be an all-around contender, but his finishing speed and sharp tactical ability could see him win stages and perhaps enjoy a first spell in the maglia rosa.
Mikel Landa will lead Bahrain’s victorious general’s hopes in Italy. He crashed out of last year’s Giro but often came close to overall victory, purely for team tactics or unfortunately squandered his chances.
2022 could finally be the year we see its unpredictable and unique Landismo racing style conquer the Corsa Rosa. He believes it and has kept a relaxed and discreet profile on the Tour des Alpes. The Bahrain Victorious squad is likely to include Wout Poels and therefore has the strength to support Landa’s ambitions.
Miguel Angel Lopez has a similar career to his Landa and an equally complicated past at Movistar, but is also a potential Corsa Rosa 2022 winner.
He fell out with the Spanish side in Vuelta a Espana last year, but Astana are much more tolerant of the Colombian after helping him develop during his first six-year spell in the colors team sky blue.
Lopez is the designated team manager for Astana at the Giro d’Italia. He will have key support in Vincenzo Nibali and American Joe Dombrowski, allowing him to fly under the radar and avoid complications early on in hopes he can emerge in the mountainous final week.
EF Education First has had a quiet season so far, but is often going well in Italy in May. Alberto Bettiol is once again hoping his home Grand Tour can help him turn around a spring disrupted by COVID-19.
Hugh Carthy and new signing Esteban Chaves lead the overall hopes for Team USA. The Colombian wore the maglia rosa in 2015, only to lose it to eventual winner Vincenzo Nibali and finish second overall. He is now 32 but may still be able to win stages and support Carthy with a smile on his face.
Carthy impressed in the 2019 and 2021 editions of the Giro but suddenly left last year’s Vuelta a Espana at the start of the race.
He used the Tour des Alpes to build his form. He and his team have the experience of knowing that the decisive big mountain stages are still a month away. Carthy can surely aim for the final podium in Verona on May 29.