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Could GC contenders regret ridi – Rouleur

Could GC contenders regret ridi – Rouleur

As the final week looms, will the pink jersey contenders rue their decisions not to take on the race earlier?

That’s the second week of the 2023 Giro d’Italia done and dusted then, and the situation in the race for the pink jersey is…well, pretty much the same as it was at the start of the week.

Sure, there’s a new leader in the shape of Bruno Armirail (Groupama-FDJ) but everyone knows the pink jersey is only on loan to the time-trial specialist, and that he’ll return it as soon as the serious climbing gets going in the final week. But behind him, the hierarchy of the GC candidates remains pretty much the same: Geraint Thomas (Ineos Grenadiers) is best of the rest at 1-08, followed by Primož Roglič (Jumbo-Visma) at 1-10, then João Almeida (UAE Team Emirates) at 1-30, then Andreas Leknessund (DSM) and 1-50.

That’s a consequence of what has been, from a spectator’s point of view, a disappointingly conservative race. There were no attacks on Gran Sasso, the big mountain top finish in the Apennines towards the end of the first week; and neither did anyone make a move on Crans-Montana, the second massive summit finish that was tackled a few day ago.

Today’s stage in Bergamo followed a similar pattern. Billed as a ‘Mini Tour of Lombardy’ with its punchy parcours and similar climbs to that classic, it seemed like an intriguing opportunity for bold, crafty moves from punchy climbers seeking to regain some time lost in the time trials, ahead of tomorrow’s rest day and the major mountain stages of the final week. But save for a late acceleration from João Almeida a few kilometres from the finish, which ended up causing the most minor of minor splits at the finish with two GC groups separated by two seconds at the line, there was once again no GC action to report home. 

As a result, we have a GC hierarchy that remains pretty much the same as it did the moment Remco Evenepoel (Soudal-QuickStep) abandoned the race at the end of the first week while in the pink jersey, with Covid.

The only significant changes occurred this week when riders have succumbed to crashes and illness, underlining how this Giro has been an attritional affair rather than one with attacking racing and riders looking to make gains. The aforementioned GC hierarchy may look pretty much the same as did at the start of the week, but…

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