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Sunday, May 8, 2022

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2021 Tour de France | 2021 Giro d'Italia

How many legs does a dog have if you call his tail a leg? Four. Saying that a tail is a leg doesn't make it a leg. - Abraham Lincoln

Story of the Giro d'Italia, volume 1

Bill and Carol McGann's book The Story of the Giro d'Italia, A Year-by-Year History of the Tour of Italy, Vol 1: 1909 - 1970 is available in print, Kindle eBook & audiobook versions. To get your copy, just click on the Amazon link on the right.

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2022 Giro d'Italia stage two reports

We posted the report from stage winner Simon Yates' Team BikeExchange-Jayco with the results.

Here’s the report from third-place Tom Dumoulin’s Team Jumbo-Visma:

Tom Dumoulin has finished third in the second stage of the Giro d’Italia. The Dutchman of Team Jumbo-Visma also moved up to third place in the general classification.

Tom Dumoulin

Tom Dumoulin racing to third place. Sirotti photo

Dumoulin started his race against the clock in a promising way. At the first intermediate point the former Giro winner clocked the fastest time. Although Dumoulin struggled in the final part, he was the first rider to finish in under twelve minutes (11:55).

Dumoulin couldn’t enjoy the hot seat for long, however, as Simon Yates was five seconds faster. The pink jersey also proved faster than Dumoulin, who ultimately had to settle for third place. "I gave everything today, but unfortunately I didn’t have good legs", Dumoulin said.

"It was a good time trial, but it was not one I had hoped for. On a course like this, you have to develop as much speed as possible and hope you have enough left for the climb. Unfortunately that didn’t work out because on the climb I felt I was blowing myself up."

Dumoulin had mixed feelings about his third place. "I came here for the win, so it’s disappointing that I didn’t manage. On the other hand, I felt good and strong. That’s something I can build on."

Tobias Foss finished his time trial in sixth place. The young Norwegian conceded seventeen seconds to stage winner Yates and moved up to seventh place in the standings. "I’m thrilled with my performance. It was a technical course which usually suits me. I felt very comfortable on the bike and that's the most important feeling to have."

Overall, Team Jumbo-Visma did well. The formation of sports directors Marc Reef, Addy Engels and Jan Boven won the day’s team classification.

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Here's the report from fifth-place Ben Tulett's Team INEOS Grenadiers:

Ben Tulett put in a tremendous performance as he finished fifth in his first Grand Tour time trial in Budapest.

Tulett impressed on the technical 9.2km course which featured a tough uphill finish as he was one of four INEOS Grenadiers in the top 20 of the stage, which was won by Simon Yates (Team BikeExchange - Jayco).

Ben Tulett

Ben Tulett racing to fifth place. Sirotti photo

Pavel Sivakov finished 15th (+22"), Richie Porte 16th (+22") while Richard Carapaz was 19th, 28 seconds behind stage winner Yates.

The result propels Tulett to sixth overall, 24 second behind race leader Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix) who finished second the time trial to retain the maglia rosa, with Carapaz 35 seconds back in 15th place on GC.

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Seventh-place Wilco Kelderman's Bora-hansgrohe team sent me this report:

The second day of the Giro took the riders on a 9km long time trial through Budapest. The course was a mix of longer straights and technical corners, followed by a 1.3km uphill section to the finish line. After an early best time was set by E. Affini, it was Lennard Kämna who took over the hot seat in 12:07. In the end this time was good enough for 8th place while also Wilco Kelderman did a strong TT finishing just a few tenth faster than Kämna in 7th place. Simon Yates was fastest today in 11:50 with Mathieu Van der Poel retaining his Pink Jersey.

Unfortunately, Emanuel Buchmann crashed in one of the technical corners. He is ok but lost almost 1 minute in the end.

Wilco Kelderman

Wilco Kelderman on his time trial ride. Sirotti photo

“I did feel quite good and can be happy with the result. After the crash in Liege I wasn’t on the bike a couple of days last week so the preparation for this wasn’t good. You also never know with the knee, but if you can push like that in the race all seems to be fine. All signs are quite promising, but my approach is still to take it day by day. I still need to get some confidence back.” – Wilco Kelderman

“I didn’t expect a time like this to be honest. I wanted to push today but didn’t take too much risk in the corners. The course was hard and basically it was all out from the start. Even I suffered on the last climb, the crowds have been great and really pushed me towards the line. It’s good to see I have the power to push big gears, today was another boost in confidence for me.” – Lennard Kämna

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Here's the report from Mauro Schmid's Team Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl:

Mauro Schmid carried the flag for Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl in Saturday’s urban individual time trials held on the streets of Budapest. For 7.9 kilometers the roads were flat as a pancake, before tilting uphill for the final 1300 meters, but even before that stinging climb, there were plenty of hurdles for the riders to overcome, in the form of tricky, technical corners and a cobbled section on the run-in to the climb.

Davide Ballerini

Here's Mauro Schmid's teammate Davide Ballerini on his ride. Sirotti photo

Despite not being a specialist of the discipline and having to head down the ramp long before the stage favourites, Mauro Schmid produced a strong and impressive ride, averaging close to 46km/h and stopping the clock in 12:08, just a couple of seconds behind winner Simon Yates (Bike-Exchange-Jayco). His effort was enough for ninth on the day, a result that moved him into tenth on the general classification after two of the three days the peloton will get to spend in Hungary before travelling to Italy.

“My experience in time trials isn’t that big, as I didn’t do many ITTs in my career. I learned quite a long from the Romandie prologue, where I did quite well. My plan for today was to split the race a bit and not go too hard on the first part and I think it worked, as I rode quite smoothly through the corners, without taking too many risks. This may have cost me a couple of seconds, but I don’t have any regrets, because the last thing you want is to crash at the beginning of a Grand Tour. Overall, I am happy with my ride”, said Mauro, who sits just five seconds from the top of the youth classification.

And here's the report from Team Groupama-FDJ:

After Friday’s great success, the Giro d’Italia had another great day in Budapest on Saturday, during a short time trial which gathered a lot of crowds. Attila Valter could once again enjoy his popularity while Tobias Ludvigsson set the fastest time for the Groupama-FDJ cycling team, thirty-seven seconds behind winner Simon Yates. Sunday, the first real sprint of the race comes as the first major goal for Arnaud Démare and his teammates.

The scenery of the second stage was worth a look on Saturday, through some of the main monuments of Budapest and along the Danube. However, the riders did not really have time to appreciate it throughout their roughly 12-minute effort. The distance was short (9.2 kilometres) but the course was tricky.

“The time trial was quite special since it was flat, technical, with a series of turns in the first part”, introduced Anthony Bouillod, one of the team’s coaches. “Then the last kilometre was uphill with a steep part including 14% gradients and cobblestones. It was quite unusual.”

Clément Davy was the first member of the group to appear on the launch pad, shortly after 2 p.m. Jacopo Guarnieri, Ramon Sinkeldam then followed, as well as Miles Scotson and Arnaud Démare who set decent, quite similar times, in 12’32 and 12’36 respectively. After taking the start just before 4 p.m., Tobias Ludvigsson did better in 12’27, but the Swedish time trialist was still quite far from the best competitors. Last member of Groupama-FDJ to tackle the course, Attila Valter benefited from a lot of encouragement before crossing the line in 12’41.

“We are a bit disappointed with the result because we had hoped for better, especially with Tobias who was very motivated but who did not have such good legs today”, said Anthony. “If we take some perspective, we also realize that the first technical part did not necessarily disadvantage the climbers compared to the time trialists. When we look at the final classification, there are a lot of climbers/punchers in the front. This is not insignificant, and it proves that it was not really a time trial for pure specialists”.

After a frustrating final on Friday, Arnaud Démare was able to test his legs in this second day of racing, and he was rather happy with it. “It was a good time trial”, said the Frenchman. “I like to do the time trials properly, which is what I did today. Physically, the legs felt good, including in the last climb. Tomorrow is the first big goal, and we are all very motivated”. “It was also important to produce a good effort, without going all-in either, in order to maintain a good momentum for Sunday,” added Anthony.

As for Attila Valter, he had another dream day. “It was really incredible”, he confessed. “I wanted to make the most of it and try to do a good time trial, of course. I have no regrets; I did my best. When I started the climb, there was so much cheering that I couldn’t help but sprint. I paid for it a little later (smiles) but I had plenty of time to enjoy it”.

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