Verona, here we come
Once and for good, the mountains are over on the 2022 Giro. After a final stage in the Dolomites, with no less than 4500 meters of elevation gain, the peloton is now about to reach Verona for the final time trial on Sunday. On Saturday however, Alessandro Covi won the stage from the morning breakaway while Jai Hindley conquered the maglia rosa. Arnaud Démare, like all his teammates, safely finished within the time limit on the eve of the Giro’s end.
The last big mountain stage was on the program this Saturday between Belluno and Marmolada, in the sumptuous scenery of the Dolomites. Over the 178 kilometres of the route, the riders had to climb the Passo San Pellegrino, the Passo Pordoi and the Passo Fedaia. Well before these three passes, however, it’s a small hill that enabled the breakaway to go after about 20 kilometres. Fifteen men went in the lead, whereas the whole Groupama-FDJ cycling team remained in the peloton. “We were not sure the break could make it today,” said Benoît. “We didn’t know what Bora-hansgrohe and Bahrain-Victorious would do. As for Attila and Clément, they were quite tired after yesterday’s stage”. Behind the leading group, Mikel Landa’s teammates indeed set the pace for most of the day, without creating real moves from afar. While Alessandro Covi went solo in the front on the Passo Pordoi, the pink jersey group was still made of around 40 riders descending towards the bottom of Passo Fedaia. “Attila’s legs were a bit sore, but he wasn’t going too bad either”, said Benoît. “He is able to finish stage races quite well. He got a bit distanced in the penultimate climb, but his goal was not to stay there at all costs”.
“This time, we can enjoy it”, Arnaud Démare
After a long solo, Alessandro Covi eventually raised his arms in the air in Marmolada. In the back, Jai Hindley dropped Richard Carapaz for the overall competition, and the whole Groupama-FDJ cycling team reached the summit without any issue. “The rest of the team didn’t have any problems finishing the stage on time, it was perfect,” commented Benoît. “The guys were a bit afraid of this stage, as it was long, hard and going over 2000 metres of altitude. It’s the kind of stage where you can’t have a bad day, but just like in the rest of their Giro, everything went well. This last week was tough because they were not on their terrain. So, they were obviously happy to be done with it tonight”. “It was the last big mountain stage to go through,” added Arnaud. “It wasn’t over until the finish of today. We all finished together, very happy, and this time we can enjoy it: we are going to see Verona. My wife was on the penultimate climb with my parents, and it was beautiful in the Dolomites. Every time we come here, we are blown away”. They will now experience a 200-kilometre transfer to Verona for the final time trial on Sunday. “Miles, Tobias and Clément are very motivated for this time trial”, said Benoît. “We will give them the best support we can to get a good result”.