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David L. Stanley
2022 Giro d'Italia Final Summary:
Eight Things and a Bonus Memory

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David Stanley is an experienced cycling writer. His work has appeared in Velo, Velo-news.com, Road, Peloton, and the late, lamented Bicycle Guide (my favorite all-time cycling magazine). Here's his Facebook page. He is also a highly regarded voice artist with many audiobooks to his credit, including McGann Publishing's The Story of the Tour de France and Cycling Heroes.

David L Stanley

David L Stanley


David L. Stanley's masterful telling of his bout with skin cancer Melanoma: It Started with a Freckle is available in print, Kindle eBook and audiobook versions, just click on the Amazon link on the right.

David L. Stanley writes:

Every Grand Tour has a rhythm. Some are Golden Earring’s Radar Love, an accelerating beat that has you feeling the race in your chest by the last few days. Some GTs are slow blues jams. This GT, Giro 2022, was composed by Dave Brubeck in 9/8 time. From the outset, there were three races nearly every day. The breakaway race for the stage, the race to bridge across to the breakaway, and the GC race for the maglia rosa. All was going according to form for the Ineos-Grenadiers love train until Jai Hindley (Bora-Hansgrohe), three seconds in arrears, saw Richard Carapaz (Ineos-Grenadiers) bob his head a few times off the beat on the Passo Fedaia. Jai broke from the sheet music with a boom worthy of Tchaikovsky’s cannon fire in the 1812 Overture (go to 10 minutes into the video).

Before we dive into the Giro, let us praise Ellen van Dijk (Trek-Segafreddo). On May 23, she sat on a bike for one hour at the velodrome in Grenchen, Switzerland and rode 49.254 km in that time period. That’s 30.6 MPH for non-metric types.
That is phenomenally fast. Go for a drive. Run your vehicle up to 30 mph. Stick your head out the window. Feel the wind? Ellen van Dijk felt that wind for 60 minutes under her own power. She beat Joss Lowden’s record by over 800 meters. Word on the street is that she rode a 57x14 gear at 95 rpm. That’s very close in size to a more familiar 53x13. A 53x13 is around 107 gear inches. In short, each pedal rev carried the World TT Champ about 8.6 meters. Robust, indeed.

Ellen van Dijk doing what should be impossible.

Eight things I’ll remember about the Giro d’Italia 2022.

8) Mark Cavendish (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl) wins his stage. The race is not always to the swiftest, but if you want to win races from a field sprint, you better be plenty smart, wily, and damned swift. Cav is no longer the fastest man on two wheels, but the just-turned-37 year old reads a race better than most. He might lack the supreme top end of his younger days, but wasn’t it a joy to see him compensate, start the sprint a little bit early, and hold off the bunch for his 16th Giro stage win?

Mark Cavendish winning stage three. Sirotti photo

7) Course design. It might be time for the UCI to grow a spine and institute mandatory pre-race course inspections to ensure the safety of the riders. Why would any course designer put a 120 degree turn into a race course 50 meters before the finish? Are the finest bike racers in the world that expendable?

6) Filippo Tagliani (Drone Hopper-Androni Giocattoli). The winner of the intermediate sprints competition. Androni is a small team. Somehow, Gianni Savio has managed, since 1996, to field a team that gets stuff done. Wearer of the busiest sporting jersey this side of NASCAR, Savio’s men were present in every breakaway, in every move, and rode a tactically smart race. Designed to maximize sponsor exposure and a chance for a small win as often as possible, Tagliani highlighted the intermediate sprints. He beat his teammate, Mattia Bais, by 33 points to claim the win. DH-AG, a David vs. Goliath story any sports fan should appreciate.

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5) Biniam Girmay (Intermarche-Wanty-Gobert) A revelation, and not unexpected, the Eritrean is next-level fast. Far more importantly, Girmay is a Black man from Africa. His importance to the growth of the sport cannot be underestimated. There are large areas of the Continent where bike racing is popular (looking at you, Rwanda) and Girmay’s excellence will grow the sport across African nations. If the world’s talent scouts are not booking flights to the Continent, their teams will be left behind. And if racism against Black African racers is as prevalent as it was when Black American men were finally able to play baseball in the Major Leagues, then those teams deserve to flounder and fail.

Biniam Girmay wins stage 10. Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert photo

4) Simon Yates (Bike Exchange-Jayco) stage win. Leave it to the Bury Brit to take the Giro’s most thrilling stage. Deep in the boonies outside Turin, Carapaz, Hindley, and Vincenzo Nibali (Astana Qazaqstan) were battling it out for the top places. Somehow, Yates managed to get across the gap near the top of the Maddalena. Attacking on the unclassified ascent of Parco del Nobile, Simon hung on to win by 15 seconds. He’d retire from the race several days later, his knee too sore to continue.

Simon Yates wins stage 14. Sirotti photo

3) Koen Bouwman (Jumbo-Visma). The 28-year-old confirmed his promise as a Grand Tour rider with his consistent attacking, his tactical savvy, his win in stage 7 plus his win on one of the race’s most exciting stages, stage 19 into Napoli, plus that maglia azzura which confirmed his status as the 2022 Giro’s most consistent climber.

Koen Bouwman wins stage 19. Sirotti photo

2) Time trials. Or lack thereof. They matter. With fewer than 30 km worth of cronometro on offer, this changed the race dynamic, and not for the better. A fine time trialist who can climb (Almeida, Dumoulin) is a true threat to the GC. But with so few TT kms available, the ‘pure climbers’ were able to sit back a bit. They didn’t need to worry about losing 2 or 3 minutes in a time trial. We don’t need to go back to the 62 km time trials that LeMond and Hinault rode in the 1986 Tour de France. But we need honest TT competition to determine the best overall rider. Fewer TT miles makes for a less exciting GC battle. (H/T to John Galloway of the Cycling Legends podcast for the insight.)


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1) Bora-Hansgrohe.
a. This team is strong. There is no doubt that if all the best teams, with their best riders, were in a three week race: UAE Team Emirates, Jumbo-Visma, Quick-Step, et al, Bora-Hansgrohe and Jai Hindley would absolutely be in the mix for the top step of the podium. Peter Sagan (Team TotalEnergies) gave Bora great results from 2017-2021 but when he left, team management went to work on a complete rebuild. Kudos to Rolf Aldag, Bernhard Eisel, Enrico Gasparotto, and Torsten Schmidt for their foresight and courage as they moved from a Sagan-oriented, Classics team, to a team that now frightens everyone in any stage race.

b. Lennard Kämna. Not only did he hold the maglia azzuro for 3 days plus a win in stage 4, his work throughout the Giro showed that the German 24 year old will be a serious contender in every stage race he enters. His work to crack Carapaz on the last climb of the last stage won the Giro for Jai. He’s the real deal.

Lennard Kämna wins stage four. Sirotti photo

c. Wilco Kelderman. He confirmed his place amongst the most solid of stage racers with his ride and teamwork throughout the 3 weeks. He is an outstanding climber, a cagey vet, and as his 17th place on GC shows, a man who knows how to get to the end of a 3 week stage race.

d. Jai Hindley. “I wasn’t going to have 2020 all over again.” Jai and his directors’ put together a gameplan and they stuck to it. Always be ready, be at the front, never let the leaders go away, and when the opportunity comes, hit ’em with Jai like a Kung-fu master; so hard and fast that you’re gone before anyone realizes they’ve been hit. Patience, Patience, and then down comes the hammer. With Kamna and Kelderman setting the tone and the pace, the 26-year-old from Perth became the first Aussie to wear the maglia rosa on the last day’s podium.

The moment in stage 20 just after Hindley saw Carapaz crack. He did not sqaunder the opportunity. RCS Sport photo

Aussie! Aussie! Aussie! Oi! Oi! Oi! Good on ya, Jai, and all your Bora mates.


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David Stanley, like nearly all of us, has spent his life working and playing outdoors. He got a case of Melanoma as a result. Here's his telling of his beating that disease. And when you go out, please put on sunscreen.

 

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