Primoz Roglic wins the 2023 Giro d'Italia, the fourth grand tour of his career. Cavendish takes the Volata
The first grand tour of the season ends with the typical tribute stage to the winner, this time in a unique place like the streets of Rome, won by Mark Cavendish a few days after announcing that this 2023 would be the year of his retirement.
Primoz Roglic wins the Giro d'Italia 2023
Stage 21 of the Giro d'Italia 2023 and the end of a race that, when we knew its route a few months ago, promised to be spectacular and, in the general balance, leaves a feeling of dissatisfaction to the fans that should lead the organization to look for some changes in the design of the race.
It should be noted that the unforeseen events have also been a key factor in the development of this Giro d'Italia with the Covid returning to the forefront causing many withdrawals, including that of the top favorite for the final victory Remco Evenepoel who, despite his early withdrawal at the end of the first week, left us two great samples of quality in the two time trials in which he won without contemplation.
The second in the ranking, Primoz Roglic, arrived at the Giro d'Italia with many doubts and with his team reduced before the start of the race, which led him to use a tremendously conservative tactic, measuring every effort. Even so, he was the first to strike, attacking in a small trap that included the 8th stage and where he managed to release the Belgian, although we would later learn that by then he was already suffering the first symptoms of Covid.
It was also surprising throughout the days as INEOS Grenadiers, apparently the most solid block of all, was growing and postulating itself as the main contender for the race not only with one but with two leaders like a reborn Geraint Thomas and with a solid Tao Geoghegan who, unfortunately also had to abandon the race because of an untimely crash that caused him a hip fracture, a serious injury for a cyclist who is already in his thirties.
The last contender was Joao Almeida, who is looking more and more solid every season and does not hesitate in his tactic of resistance at all costs, with the added bonus that we even saw some offensive winks from him.
We say winks because the tone of the race has been one of attrition, accumulating efforts and letting the days pass without taking any risks. It is as if the favorites had decided, in view of the tremendous hardness posed by the route laid out by the Giro d'Italia, increased by the infamous weather that has accompanied until these last days, to save everything possible and play everything on a single card, that of the time trial on Mount Lussari.
Totally legitimate when it came to achieving the victory, but absolutely disappointing for the fans who saw how one stage after another passed without anything happening in the overall with the added embarrassment of the amputation of what was one of the queen stages, the one that ended in Crans Montana and that was cut thanks to the pressure of the Professional Cyclists Association.
Therefore, in this Giro d'Italia we have had to be content with enjoying what the peloton's combatants have offered us, those tireless fighters who day after day have fought for minor objectives such as the maglia azzurra of the mountains, finally in the hands of Thibaut Pinot who, in the year of his retirement, has shown a level close to that of his best years, winning a meritorious 5th place in the overall classification, or the coveted stage victories.
In this daily struggle we have enjoyed cyclists like an incredible Ben Healy, his teammate Magnus Cort Nielsen, another of the geniuses and figures of the peloton; or the revelation of this Giro d'Italia, the Canadian Derek Gee who, unfortunately, leaves this race without having achieved a victory that he richly deserved. Another rider who tried hard, Alessandro de Marchi, who also came close but failed to get the desired victory, also left empty-handed. Special mention among the adventurers for Nico Denz, who scored not one but two successful breakaways.
Finally, it's time to talk about the sprinters who, despite the tremendous hardness of this Giro d'Italia, have also enjoyed numerous opportunities that they have been able to take advantage of. Unusual Giro without a clear dominator in the volatas, with the curious result that none of the fast men has managed to repeat victory, although if we had to choose the most outstanding, that would undoubtedly be Jonathan Milan who, thanks to his regularity and the abandonment of men like Mads Pedersen, managed to sentence with relative ease the classification of the maglia ciclamino.
Tribute to the winner
In any case, before the final celebration it was time to face the last 135 kilometers in the streets of Rome, a route with an initial part that sought the coast of Ostia and returned to the Eternal City to enter a circuit of 13.6 kilometers to which the cyclists had to make 6 laps while passing by some of the most famous monuments of the city such as the Baths of Caracalla, Castel Sant'Angelo, the Forum and, of course, the Colosseum.
First part with the typical celebrations, greetings, etc. until reaching the circuit where the competitive part of this type of stages usually begins. First lap in which, following the tradition Jumbo-Visma leads and, from there, start the attacks with those who seek to maintain the trend of this Giro with the hope that today can also reach a breakaway. Finally, the breakaway of the day is made up of 3 riders: Benedetti, Bouet and another of the usual breakaways of this edition as Toms Skujins.
This time they would not make it to the finish and just as they passed under the finish banner, with the bell ringing to announce the start of the last lap, they were caught. It was time for the teams with sprinters, looking to take their fast men as protected as possible to that distance that is usually around 200 or 300 m to the finish line, just the right point to unleash all their brute force in an effort that exceeds 1000 watts for 20 or 30 seconds and that comes preceded by a few kilometers before at hair-raising speeds and the power meter marking some nice peaks despite the protection of teammates.
The large avenues along which the circuit was laid out avoided many problems in a very clean last few kilometers and where we could see a curious image. Geraint Thomas went down to the middle of the peloton, crossed several words with Primoz Roglic and a little later we saw the INEOS Grenadiers rider pulling at the head of the peloton with Luis León Sánchez on his wheel.
The explanation was easy, he was working to get his former teammate and friend Mark Cavendish in place for the sprint and managed to leave him in the last kilometer in an ideal position, right on the wheel of the maglia ciclamino of Jonathan Milan. In the final straight Movistar came in pulling and Fernando Gaviria was the first to start. Milan opened up to make his volley on the left side and Cavendish decided that the good wheel was Movistar's wheel, who he was able to ride strongly and win the sprint.
Emotional victory for the British rider, days after announcing his retirement at the end of the season, who received the affection of the whole peloton at the finish line. A few meters behind, Pascal Ackerman had a sharp and spectacular crash but, fortunately, without consequences.
Thus ends the Giro d'Italia, which has been rather bland, perhaps because of the expectations that we had created in view of the route, but which has a winner of distinction in the figure of Primoz Roglic, whom many were already beginning to discard for the grand tours because of his age and the physical problems suffered last year.
Stage 21 Classification
- Mark Cavendish (Astana Qazaqstan) 02h48’26’’
- Alex Kirsch (Trek-Segafredo) +00’’
- Filippo Fiorelli (Green Project-Bardiani CSF-Faizane) +00’’
- Alberto Dainese (Team DSM) +00’’
- Davide Ballerini (Soudal-QuickStep) +00’’
- Jake Stewart (Groupama-FDJ) +00’’
- Fernando Gaviria (Movistar Team) +00’’
- Michael Matthews (Jayco-AlUla) +00’’
- Arne Marit (Intermarché-Circus-Wanty) +00’’
- Campbell Stewart (Jayco-AlUla) +00’’
- Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) 85h29’02’’
- Geraint Thomas (INEOS Grenadiers) +14’’
- Joao Almeida (UAE Team Emirates) +01’15’’
- Damiano Caruso (Bahrain-Victorious) +04’40’’
- Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ) +05’43’’
- Thymen Arensman (INEOS Grenadiers) +06’05’’
- Eddie Dunbar (Jayco-AlUla) +07’30’’
- Andreas Leknessund (Team DSM) +07’31’’
- Lennard Kamna (Bora-Hansgrohe) +07’46’’
- Laurens de Plus (INEOS Grenadiers) +09’08’’
Ranking by Points
- Jonathan Milan (Bahrain-Victorious) 217 points
- Derek Gee (Israel-PremierTech) 164 points
- Michael Matthews (Jayco-AlUla) 101 points
- Mark Cavendish (Astana Qazaqstan) 101 points
- Pascal Ackermann (UAE Team Emirates) 95 points
- Toms Skujins (Trek-Segafredo) 91 points
- Nico Denz (Bora-Hansgrohe) 77 points
- Magnus Cort Nielsen (EF Education-EasyPost) 68 points
- Alberto Dainese (Team DSM) 63 points
- Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) 56 points
- Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ) 237 points
- Derek Gee (Israel-PremierTech) 200 points
- Ben Healy (EF Education-EasyPost) 164 points
- Davide Bais (Eolo-Kometa) 144 points
- Einer Rubio (Movistar Team) 118 points
- Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) 86 points
- Santiago Buitrago (Bahrain-Victorious) 82 points
- Davide Gabburo (Green Project-Bardiani CSF-Faizane) 69 points
- Joao Almeida (UAE Team Emirates) 67 points
- Aurelien Paret-Peintre (AG2R Citroën) 56 points