5 things we would highlight from the first week of the Giro d'Italia 2023

Road 15/05/23 17:58 Migue A.

After the first 9 stages of the Giro d'Italia, the first rest day has arrived. A good time to reflect on what we have seen so far and try to guess what awaits us in the remaining two weeks in which practically all the hardness of the race is concentrated, being what we have seen so far a mere appetizer.

All to be decided in the Giro d'Italia

After the late news last night of Remco Evenepoel's withdrawal after testing positive for Covid, many may think that the race loses in spectacle and brilliance. There are also those who are disappointed after a first week in which the big names in the race have hardly been combative and who were expecting the promised big battles in one of the toughest Giros in recent times.

The arrival of the rest day is a good time to analyze what we have seen these days. Although there have hardly been any remarkable events in the race, reading between the lines we can guess where the next two weeks may go.

Covid-19 returns to the limelight

It is no longer Remco Evenepoel's withdrawal, which was totally unexpected, especially when the teams were already forewarned and had their leaders under the maximum precautions. In fact, even before the start of the race, Jumbo-Visma had already suffered a number of serious losses among the riders who should have been Primoz Roglic's stronghold in the big mountain stages.

During the week, the virus has continued to be present, taking away, among others, the presence of two big names such as Filippo Ganna and the spectacle of having seen what he was capable of in yesterday's time trial, perfect for his characteristics of pure raw power. The other, less relevant for the outcome of the race was the abandonment, also yesterday afternoon, of Rigoberto Uran. A combative and tremendously active cyclist who, although he had no real aspirations for the final victory, he would surely have left us some great moments in the high mountain days.

In the remainder of the race, the teams with real options to win the Giro will surely redouble their protection measures, but, as we learned during the pandemic, there are always loopholes through which the virus can reach us. Let's hope that we don't have to regret the abandonment of more favorites.

The powerful INEOS-Grenadiers is back

We could sense it considering the great line-up at the beginning of the race and, to tell the truth, INEOS-Grenadiers has been the protagonist of the little we have seen in the race.

It is true that they have been criticized for starting to pull at certain moments of the stages for no apparent reason and then disappearing. However, it all seems to be due to the famous marginal gains that they themselves made fashionable in the Team Sky era. Forcing the pace and wearing down at times when they sense something wrong with their rivals. A job of forking out that seems to have had no effect in the first week but, let's not forget that the riders have already spent a few days above 200 kilometers, something unusual in recent years in the grand tours.

In fact, although it was Primoz Rogliz who broke the hostilities on Friday, he took perfect advantage of the previous work of INEOS-Grenadiers who had already brought the race fast since there were 50 kilometers to go. A job that their two leaders, Tao Geoghegan and Geraint Thomas, finished off well, another good point in their favor, not only because they have two leaders to have more flexibility in their proposals, but also because they both seem to be working together to add up rather than to fight against each other.

Besides, we must not forget that both cyclists know what it is to be a leader and have the experience of winning a grand tour. In the case of Tao, the atypical Giro d'Italia in 2020; and as for Geraint, nothing less than a whole Tour de France. For the moment, Thomas is already maglia rosa after Remco Evenepoel's withdrawal.

Roglic from lowest to highest

It is impossible to know today the real chances of victory for the second favorite before the start of the Giro, Primoz Roglic. He did not have a notable role neither in the initial time trial nor in yesterday's day. However, he didn't lose too much time in both of them and was quite close to the rest of the favorites.

His trajectory up to the Giro has not been brilliant in terms of offering great performances but, nevertheless, based on hard work and taking advantage of his opportunities, he has managed to win, almost without making noise, everything he has raced this season.

His strong move on Friday, although it was a short and explosive pass, perfect for his killer characteristics, suggests that the Slovenian Jumbo-Visma rider should improve as the days go by, although it remains an unknown, on the one hand how he will respond in the high mountains, although a priori he has nothing to prove after what he has seen in recent years in the Tour de France or La Vuelta. On the other hand, what does seem more worrying is the scarce potential of his team to support him in the climbs after the losses suffered even before the start of the Giro d'Italia.

Fear of the final week

If anything has been criticized these days, it has been the lack of combativeness of the teams of the favorites that have allowed the breakaways to fructify or even, as did Soudal-QuickStep, did not hesitate to give up the maglia rosa to avoid wearing out their squad.

Everyone seems to have an extreme panic to the very hard last week and this has contributed to the fact that stages in which, a priori, we should have seen a fight between the favorites have passed without shame or glory as happened in the 7th stage with finish in Gran Sasso or in the 4th partial that ended with the ascent to Lake Laceno in which Andreas Leksnessund took the maglia rosa.

Another factor to take into account is the bad weather that the cyclists have had to endure during almost all this week. Something that depletes energy and mistreats much more the body of riders that in these races are presented to the limit of body fat. It is not only the aforementioned Covid, but a simple cold, stomach problems caused by the cold and rain or the greater possibility of crashes also mean more wear and tear.

In any case, throughout this week we should start to see things, although it is not excluded that, especially with the equality that reigns in the general, fear still reigns and everyone hesitates to make the first move when it comes to looking for the race.

The Giro has just begun

What we have seen this week is only a mere appetizer of what is to come. It is true that we all would have expected more from the Gran Sasso day, but in the end the stage of the race is only a necessary but not sufficient condition to be able to see a spectacle. If the riders do not decide to show their virtues, everything can remain just fireworks.

However, already in this second week, we continue with the tonic of wear and tear of the stages around 200 kilometers, some cheat day as Thursday's stage ending in Rivoli, which includes a port of 2nd category just over 20 km from the conclusion and the first of the inevitable battles as is the monstrous stage next Friday ending in Crans Montana and the passage of the Cima Coppi, the Grand Sant Bernard.

In any case, this second week is also a prelude to the brutality of the third week that lies ahead and where we will surely see all the spectacle that we have missed these days. Let's be patient, there is plenty of terrain and the Giro is still wide open, even more so after Evenepoel's withdrawal, which may lead to some other unexpected guest, such as Almeida, Vlasov or Kamna, who can play their chances and turn the race upside down when we least expect it.



Subscribe to our newsletter and receive all our news. Mountain bike, advice on training and maintenance of your bike, mechanics, interviews ...

You will be aware of everything!

¿Prefieres leer la versión en Español?

5 cosas que destacaríamos de la primera semana del Giro de Italia 2023