The second week of the 2023 Giro d'Italia ended on Sunday in Bergamo with French rider Bruno Armirail (Groupama-FDJ).pink sweater("Pink Jersey") as the leader in the overall standings of the competition.
Here's how he got there, how long we expect him to keep the jersey and everything you need to know about the third and final week of the Giro:
The second week of the Giro starts with Great Britain's Geraint Thomas (INEOS Grenadiers) leading the waypink sweaterThe 36-year-old inherited the jersey from former Belgian manager Remko Evennepoel (Soudal-Quick Step).forced to give upThe game after testing positive for COVID-19 ahead of the first day of rest.
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However, there was a major disruption on the road on stage 14, which at one point revealed an advantage of more than 20 minutes over the Ineos-led peloton. Amirail made his move and although he wasn't good enough to challenge for a stage win in Cassano Magnago, he was good enough against Thomas to make the pink jersey the new leader of the Giro.
Amirail, a professional who has never won a professional tournament, is unlikely to be anywhere near the top of the standings by the end of the tournament in Rome next Sunday. But the 29-year-old bravely defended the jersey on stage 15 and now enters his second rest day to become the first Frenchman to wear itpink sweaterSince Laurent Jalabert wore it for eight days in 1999.
After Amirail, the real GC competitors of the Giro are ready to jump: Thomas is second overall with 1:08, ahead of SloveniaPrimož RoglicThe third was (Jumbo-Visma) with 1:10, while the Portuguese João Almeida (UAE Emirates) was fourth with 1:30.
As for the rest of the Giro, the Italian Jonathan Milan (Bahrain-Victory) still leadsCyclamen shirt("cyclamen jersey") as the leader of the Giro d'Italia, while his compatriot Davide Bais (EOLO-Kometa) remained at the topblue shirt("Blue Jersey") as the leader in the Giro category "King of the Mountain". Almeida carrieswhite shirt("White shirt") as the best young rider of the Giro, but with almost 20 seconds advantage over the Norwegian Andreas Leknessund (DSM-Team).
Week two of the 106th Giro d'Italia started with a wet stage win for Danish rider Magnus Cort (EF Education-EasyPost), who overtook his successful partner at the end of stage 10 to become this year's Giro d'Italia. The Danish rider who finished second in the race has a hat trick of stage wins in all three Grand Tours (Mad Pedersen did it by winning the sixth stage). Nine riders failed to start the stage and four others failed to complete the 196km run from Scandiano to Viareggio, including Russian Alexander Vlasov (BORA-hansgrohe), who was a podium contender in seventh place overall.
The Giro's war of attrition continued on stage 11, with a further eight riders retiring before the start of the stage, including four more from former race leader Evenepoel's Soudal-QuickStep team. The real damage, however, came from a crash on a slippery downhill around 70km of the course that left several riders, including Thomas and Roglic, stranded. Both could be back in the game, but EnglandTau Jigenhart(INEOS Grenadiers) started the day third overall just two seconds behind his teammate but had to withdraw due to injury. German Pascal Ackerman (Team Emirates) won the stage (longest 219 km at the Giro) in the final stage. But his victory in Tortona was overshadowed by the GC contender's exit from the Giro on day two.
30 riders lined up for Stage 12, building a huge lead on a day when the Giro's GC competitors were happy to sit back and chill. Four riders slipped out of the lead group in the wet circuit, three survived and fought for the stage win in Rivoli as Germany's Niko Danz (BORA-hansgrohe) beat Latvia's Thomas Skukins (Trek-Segafredo) and Australia's Sebastian Berwick (Israel). ) passed. Premier Tech) won the stage.
Stage 13 took place on Friday, a long ride through the Swiss Alps that included three big climbs (including the summit finish in Crans Montana), and it was without a doubt the most exciting second week of the Giro d'Italia. The game people look forward to. However, the track was abandoned due to fears that bad weather would make the race too dangerous. The biggest victim was the Col du Grand Saint Bernard, the highest peak of this year's Giro d'Italia.
In the end, the drivers' fears turned out to be unfounded – the day was partly sunny – but by then the decision was made. The result was a shortened stage of just 74.6km, which now starts at the bottom of the second climb of the day, the Category 1 Croix de Couer.
The drivers warmed up on rollers for a difficult start and the fight for the break was fierce. But one group quickly broke away - thanks in large part to the efforts of Frenchman Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ) - from a group that was happy to keep up with them for several minutes.
In the end, Einer Rubio (Movistar) from Colombia took the stage - much to the disappointment of Pinot, who finished second. The French took itblue shirt(Second Giro this year), but the blue jersey is little consolation considering all the effort he put in to win the stage. Still in the GC group, some drivers tried to test the legs of Thomas and his team, but there were no changes at the top of the standings, Thomas was happy in pink, and Roglič looked stronger day by day.
It rained again on Stage 14 and another advance went the distance as a selfless peloton allowed the crowd to build a lead that at times grew to over 20 minutes. The group split up in the uneven finish, and several smaller groups fought for the stage victory. In the end, Denz secured his victory in the second stage, while Canadian Derek Gee (Israel-PremierTech) was second -the thirdThis year it's time for the Giro. Armirail finished Day 15 but Thomas' team finished with just over 20 minutes to go to secure the pink jersey.
The week ends with stage 15, a hilly ride from Seregno to Bergamo that strongly resembles Lombardia, one of the toughest one-day races on the calendar and the fifth and final monumental race of the season. Another advance opened up a gap as American Brandon McNulty (UAE Emirates) held off Ireland's Ben Healy (EF Education-EasyPost) and Italy's Marco Frigo (Israel)-PremierTech to take the first stage win of his career.
Almeida later attacked the GC group on a short climb around 4km from the finish line, displacing seven riders, including all of the Giro's GC contenders. Amirail failed on the short climb but only lost 33 seconds on Thomas, meaning the Frenchman will start the mountainous third week of the Giro in pink.
What does it mean / what have we learned
Two weeks later, the 2023 Giro d'Italia has turned into a war of attrition, with most of the casualties coming from crashes or the COVID-19 illness rather than the riders themselves.
While Amirail will enjoy another day off at the Giropink sweaterAs the overall leader of the Giro, the virtual order starts with Thomas 1:08 behind the Frenchman, but only 2 seconds ahead of Roglic and 22 seconds ahead of Almeida. While anything can happen - and if there's one lesson we've learned from this year's Giro, it's that we should expect the unexpected - the race should go to one of these three riders.
Thomas is the true leader of the GC, and the soon-to-be 37-year-old Welshman has delivered a flawless game so far - in a way that reminds us of his imperfectionsWinner of the Tour de France 2018Despite losing valuable team-mate Geoghegan Hart earlier this week, he still has two team-mates - Thymen Arensman of the Netherlands and Laurens de Plus of Belgium - who finished ninth and tenth and seemed more than capable of putting Thomas in place to support the jump.
But Roglić is a real threat. Just two seconds behind Thomas, who seemed to be getting stronger by the day, Almeida was right behind the wheel when the Portuguese driver went on the offensive at the end of the 16th stage. Furthermore, with all the drivers, Jumbo-Visma is one of the two remaining teams in the race, and since they have not (yet) defended the pink jersey, they are also one of the freshest. Roglić probably did not want to wait until the 20th stage of the mountain time trial to pass Thomas, and few could blame him: the Slovenian's historic defeat in the mountain time trial of the penultimate stage of the Tour de France. The Tour de France 2020 is an experience he does not want to repeat.
Hopefully the three-time Tour of Spain champion will be attacked by other riders on stages 16 and 18 and others will have to try to overtake Thomas as he maintains his best form for stage 19, which is one of the toughest of the year. the tour is . The most difficult stage in Italy. If everything goes according to plan, Roglič will be placed in the 20th stage of the ITTpink sweaterAnd with enough head start, he can use everyone else's timing along the way to gauge his effort.
Almeida is a real joker. The 24-year-old finished fourth at the 2020 Giro d'Italia, sixth in 2021 and fifth at last year's Tour of Spain, so he is clearly capable of finishing in the top three. But will they fight for the win or finish third? His burst late in the 15th period seemed to hint that he would at least try to fight for the pink jersey, but with an extremely tough third week, we wonder if he'll focus on getting his career going first. Beendet was on the podium at the first Grand Tour, allowing Thomas and Roglic to fight for the win.
Almeida is third. Leknessund wore the pink jersey for several days in his first week at the Giro and hasn't missed a step since last Sunday's defeat. The 24-year-old Norwegian is just 20 seconds behind Almeida in what is only his second Grand Tour, looking to overtake Almeida to reach the podium and win the white jersey as the Giro's best youngster.
As well as the remaining podium contenders, both Almeida and Leknessund will have to focus on Italian Damian Caruso (Victory Bahrain), the 35-year-old runner-up at the 2021 Giro d'Italia. Bahrain Victory joined Jumbo-Visma as the top only team to finish with all eight riders gone, and with proven climbers like Colombian Sanitag Buitrag and Australian Jack Haig supporting him on the mountain - essentially lost - Caruso could be in contention for a podium spot.
The final week of the Giro was the toughest race yet, with four hilly stages – all summit finishes – setting the stage forpink sweaterZhang Da.
The climb begins on a rest day, Stage 16, a 203km ride from Sabbio Chiese to Monte Bondone with more than 5000m of climbing spread over five classified climbs in the Italian Alps. The day begins on the shores of Lake Garda with a series of over 30 illuminated tunnels, but the ascent begins with the category 1 Passo di Santa Barbara (12.7 km at 8.3%), followed by the category 3 Passo di Bordala (4.5 km at 6.7% ). The race leads to the first intermediate sprint to Rovereto, followed by two category 2 climbs: Matassone (13 km at 5%) and Serrada (17.7 km at 5.5%).
Then it's down again, this time with another intermediate sprint in Alden before starting the final and hardest climb of the day: the climb to the top of the category 1 Monte Bondone (21.4 km at 6.7%). It is a long climb with a steep start, a gentler section in the middle and steeper climbs closer to the top. This is where the race should be decided, perhaps whoever manages to hold off the breakaway and then the GC contenders who will likely take turns on the wide and flat road to the finish.
Stage 17 should be an active rest day – at least for the overall Giro favourite, the 197km descent from Pergina Valsugana to Caorle. It is one of two remaining options for sprinters on the Giro circuit. Mark Cavendish from Great Britain (Astana)announce resignation(At the end of the season) On his rest day, he definitely hopes to finish his final Giro d'Italia race with a 17th career victory. This is one of his last chances.
Stage 18 takes the race into the Dolomites, culminating in the Val di Zoldo. From Oderz, the stage covers 161 km with five category climbs, including consecutive category 2 climbs, and ends in the Val di Zoldo ski area. Although nothing special, this was probably the easiest of the four packed hill stages in the final week of the Giro, with a crazy climb on stage 19 followed by a climb on stage 20. We expect a Giro with individual time trials on the course - breaking the GC competitors to ride safely - at least until the last two climbs when tied.
Riccardo Ricco crosses the finish line at Tre Cime di Lavaredo ahead of Leonardo Piepoli on stage 15 of the 2007 Giro d'Italia.
But there will be no let-up on Stage 19, the incredible 183km mountain stage from Langarone to Tre Cime di Lavaredo, one of the most famous climbs in the history of the Giro. The climb starts right at the beginning with a long resistance climb from the valley to the foot of the first of the five classified climbs of the day, the category 2 Passo Campolongo (3.9 km at 7.0%). From here, the climbs follow one after the other: then comes the Category 1 Passo Valparola (14.1 km at 5.6%) and then the Category 1 Passo Giau (9.9 km at 9.3%), an unrelentingly steep climb that will take riders across 2000 meters.
The finale started in Cortina d'Ampezzo with the class 2 Passo Tre Croci (7.9 km at 7.2%), followed by the climb to the finish of Tre Cime Lavaredo (7.2 km at 7.6%), on a controlled course Eddy Merckx's 1969 Giro d'Italia, the first of his 11 Grand Tour victories. The steepness of the final climb is somewhat deceiving: there is a short drop in the middle of the climb that reduces the average climb, but the last 3 km averages over 11 percent, making it the hardest climb to the top of the Gir. The 2,304m mountain is now the highest at the 2023 Giro d'Italia since the Grand St Bernard Pass was eliminated in stage 13 on Friday, meaning the first rider to reach the summit will win a special prize for winning the Giro d'Italia "Cima Coppi" "."
Stage 19 offers the last chance for riders looking to gain time ahead of Saturday's individual time trial. While Breakthrough could go far and take the stage and Cima Coppi awards, the GC battle should break out. The ascent of Tre Cime di Lavaredo, due to its steepness, suits Roglič more than Thomas and is perfect if the Slovenian wants to wear the pink shirt ahead of the final time trial of the Giro.
But the climb didn't end with stage 19: the 18.6km individual time trial in stage 20 ended with a steep climb to the shelter atop Monte Lussari. From Tarvisio, the first 11 km of the route is flat to hilly, but the end of the stage has a serious problem: 7.6 km of climb at an average of 12.2%, but several climbs are more than 20%. Regardless of which rider was still struggling at the end of an extremely difficult week, what mattered on the stage was how he could adjust his pace in the first half of the stage to maximize his progress on the climb. Some people are even changing their bikes, from heavier front-wheeled but more aerodynamic time trial bikes, to a lighter, more traditional hillclimb road bike.
Apart from the right pace and smooth car changes, there is not much strategy in this stage. The driver who starts in the pink jersey that day will start last, which means he benefits from knowing his opponent's time. But in the end, after an intense final week, it will all come down to the strongest - or perhaps the least exhausted.
Who finished stage 20 inpink sweaterWill he (barring something completely unforeseen) be crowned 2023 Giro d'Italia champion at the end of Sunday's Stage 21, a 126km stage through the center of Rome that will be completed in a 13.6km six-person city circuit, culminating . A stage win will likely go to one of the Giro's few remaining sprinters, but the biggest prize of the day goes to the rider of the 106th winner of the Giro d'Italia, who ends the day as the overall winner.
Longtime cycling associate Whit Yost has been racing on the Belgian cobblestones since becoming fascinated with professional cycling while watching Lance Armstrong beat the USA. Vet Championship, he helped build a European professional team and brought him to Mont Ventoux Sportif as an assistant from Malaysia. Today he lives in Pennsylvania with his wife and son and works as a high school assistant principal by day and plays Dungeons and Dragons by night.