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GIRO’22 BREAKDOWN: Who’s hot for the high mountains?

Breakdown of races: As the 2022 Giro d’Italia heads into the decisive third week and the high mountains, Spencer Martin dissects “what we know about the GC image of the Giro d’Italia”. How GC riders have lost and gained time in the Grand Tour of Italy so far.

Giro Mountains – Here we come!

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What we know about the GC image of the Giro d’Italia heading for the high mountains
As the Giro d’Italia begins to conclude its long initial block of mainly sprint and transition stages and enters its much more serious second phase, apart from the elimination of Simon Yates from GC competition after his collapse from stage 9, we don’t have a good idea who will win the general classification. In fact, the biggest takeaway so far is how tight the top of the GC is still and how little we know about which rider will ultimately emerge victorious when the clock stops in Verona during the last step.

López always in pink

Current GC Top 10:
1) Juan Pedro López +0
2) Richard Carapaz +12
3) João Almeida +12
4) Romain Bardet +14
5) Jai Hindley +20
6) William Martin +28
7) Mikel Landa +29
8) Domenico Pozzovivo +54
9) Emmanuel Buchmann +1’09
10) Pello Bilbao +1’22

Carapaz waits backstage

Filtered GC classification:
Joao Almeida +0
Richard Carapaz +0
Romain Bardet +2
Jai Hindley +8
William Martin +16
Michel Landa +17
Domenico Pozzovivo +42
Emmanuel Buchmann +57
Pello Bilbao +1’10
Alexandre Valverde +1’11
Thymen Arensman +1’15
Vincenzo Nibali +2’52

Almeida heads for pink

Looking at the GC standings, one thing that jumps out at me that I missed after the first real top finish on Stage 9 is how lucky the UAE and Almeida are the pace up front stalled enough in the last kilometer to allow Juan Pedro López to keep the Maglia Rosa for at least another week. Had he lost the race lead, Carapaz would not have opted for the time bonus offered in stage 11 and Almeida would have been in charge of controlling the race during what will be a monotonous and exhausting second week of racing. But now the UAE has Trek acting as a puppet regime to hold the race until López tumbles the GC once the race hits the high mountains in week three.

Hindley has a stage win, but lost 20 seconds

Where time has been won/lost so far
One exercise that I find extremely useful in unraveling the media narratives surrounding a major ongoing tour is to examine where each major competitor has taken or lost time from each other.

Step 1
Carapaz +0
Almeida +4
Bartlet +4
Hindley +4
Martin +4

2nd step
Almeida +0
Bartlet +6
Carapaz +10
Landa +15
Hindley +16

Step 5
Almeida +0
Carapaz +2
Bartlet +2
Landa +2
Hindley +2

Step 9
Hindley +0
Bartlet +4
Carapaz +5
Almeida +10
Earth +10

Step 11
Carapaz +0
Almeida +2
Bartlet +2
Landa +2
Hindley +2

After going through the five stages where the main contenders won or lost time, we see that aside from Carapaz’s savvy drive to make time end in the first stage, the main contenders were stuck outside the TT and time premiums. Almeida, due to his prowess in the TT and participating in an intermediate sprint on Stage 5, entered the second half of the race tied or ahead of the rest of the serious GC contenders.

Almeida watches Carapaz

Where time was gained/lost compared to Almeida

Arrival uphill:
Bart +0
Hindley +0
Landa +0

Against the watch
Bartlet +6
Carapaz +10
Landa +15
Hindley +16

time bonus
Bardet -4
Landa +2

While we still know surprisingly little about how the GC will shake after nine days of racing (compare that to the Tour de France, where we often know everything), the two main data points we have, the counter- the clock on stage 2 and the top finish on stage 9, tells us that there are no significant differences between the fitness level of Carapaz, Bardet, Landa, Almeida and Hindley.

This means that while there are still major mountain stages and a time trial, gaining time when you can (i.e. time bonuses) will be extremely important. That’s why I was surprised to see the Ineos servants cross an intermediate sprint point and take the time bonuses for their team leader’s top two places in stage 9, and judging by their strategy change in step 11, a similar conclusion was reached inside the team.

In fact, while the Giro has a reputation for being an open race where lost seconds are not to be feared as significant time jumps are possible in the high mountains, the difference between 1st and 2nd positions overall was incredibly close. over the last six editions, no rider having won the general classification with a gap of more than 90 seconds.

The third week of the Giro is always decisive

GC final time differences between 1st and 2nd 2021-2016
2021: 89 seconds
2020: 39 seconds
2019: 65 seconds
2018: 46 seconds
2017: 31 seconds
2016: 52 seconds

This fact, combined with the extremely tight race so far, should tell us that the winning margins will be impossibly thin and that if anyone wants to beat Almeida overall, they will have to work extremely hard to carve out enough of a cushion of time to hold him off in the last time trial of stage 21 of 17 kilometers.

Carapaz in pursuit of bonus seconds

The road to victory will not be easy for Carapaz and Ineos
While Carapaz and his team Ineos have looked solid so far and the 2019 champion is rightly the heavy favorite in the betting markets, his failure to deliver the blow he and his team clearly wanted in Stage 9 should cast doubt on his ability to leverage. open the gap he needs on Almeida.

In the mountains

The last 10 steps:
Stage 12: Parma – Genoa 202km hilly
Stage 13: San Remo – Cuneo 150km flat
Stage 14: Santena – Turin 147km hilly
Stage 15: Rivarolo Canavese – Cogne 178km mountain
Day off
Stage 16: Salò – Aprica 202 km of mountain
Stage 17: Ponte di Legno – Lavarone 168km of mountain
Stage 18: Borgo Valsugana – Treviso 151km flat
Stage 19: Marano Lagunare – Castelmonte 177km hilly
Stage 20: Belluno – Passo Fedaia/Marmolada 167 km of mountain
Stage 21: Verona – Verona 17.4 km ITT.

There are still five big mountain stages to come in week three, but with the top riders all looking about the same on the climbs, no big favorite should be counting on massive gains on those stages. Sure, the more open racing style allowed downed or simply overlooked riders like Chris Froome, Vincenzo Nibali and 2019 Carapaz to hit the road and take minutes in the past, but that’s because they were coming from so far that they have received a long leash that the top five riders will not give each other for the rest of the 2022 edition. If Almeida, Bardet, Carapaz, Landa or Hindley want to take time off others in the mountains, they will have to do it with superior performance in watts per kilo over multiple climbs, which is no easy task in the face of such fierce competition. .

Given this type of low-margin racing, if Almeida can just follow the moves on the climbs like he did on Stage 9, he will be extremely difficult to shake off. Additionally, his natural punch at the end of stages could allow him to rack up significant time bonuses on the remaining multiple uphill finishes, making it even more difficult for Carapaz to build up his pre-TT buffer.

And that’s not even taking into account a repeat of his performance from last year’s Giro week three where he was by far the best rider in the GC over the last five stages (and that was before Almeida does not start working with Tadej Pogačar’s personal trainer, Iñigo San Millán at the start of this season).

Bardet and Landa will complicate things

Moreover, the presence of Bardet, Landa and Hindley will complicate things and help Almeida even more. As we saw on Stage 9, when Bardet, Landa and Carapaz took a gap, they got stuck in a dead end that allowed Almeida, at his pace behind, to catch up.

It would also be foolish to dismiss Bardet and Landa as potential winners at this point simply because neither has ever won a grand tour. Landa and Bardet, both extremely talented riders, look better than they have in years, and the lack of significant TT miles will give them a rare opportunity to win an overall grand tour title. And with Alejandro Valverde and Vincenzo Nibali performing surprisingly well on the Stage 9 finish at Blockhaus while still being far enough away not to be knocked out of each breakaway, the risk of a mountain raid in week three is raised. In fact, we have already seen this strategy “make the breakaway early to make up for lost time and challenge them in pursuit” successfully employed by Guillaume Martin when the Cofidis runner was able to win a two-minute net over the weekend. and rolling finished 6th overall due to his jump in the Stage 8 breakaway.

It all combines to tell us that while Ineos have looked in control so far, they should be far from resting easily after what we’ve seen in the first nine stages.

# Stay PEZ for all Giro d’Italia news: Stage Reports, EUROTRASH, Rest Day Rants and BREAKDOWN. #

Watch the most comprehensive, commercial-free, live coverage of the Tour of Italy 2022 on GCN+. Go deeper and get interactive with live polls and quizzes, plus rider profiles, race updates, results and more – plus original and exclusive cycling documentaries. Watch it all with GCN+ on any device.

# Spencer Martin is the author of the cycling-analysis newsletter Beyond the peloton which breaks down the nuances of each race and answers general questions about team and driver performance. Sign up now to get full access to all available content and race breakdowns. #

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