Geraint Thomas is happy to play a waiting game at the 2023 Giro d’Italia, convinced that the fight for the maglia rosa will finally explode in the final week, on the three mountain finishes to come and in the final time trial next Saturday.
The Welshman and his Ineos Grenadiers team are playing a waiting game; saving their team strength for when it really matters and can really make a difference.
The Bergamo Classic stage was a day to stay vigilant but proved not to be the day of GC attacks and time gaps. Thomas made sure he was protected on the long final climb to Roncola Alta and then rode near the front on the late climb to Bergamo Alto, happy to ride defensively.
He and Ineos Grenadiers are running down the clock in a game of bluff and patience, hoping to score a late touchdown and so land a late knockout blow.
Thomas is convinced he can use his experience and endurance in the high mountains in the final week and then be in pink when it really matters: at the summit of Monte Lussari, after the final mountain time trial next Saturday.
“This race is going to explode at one point, I hope I’m at the right end of it,” Thomas said in Bergamo as he warmed down on the rollers in the shadow of the Ineos Grenadiers bus after stage 15.
“It’s a waiting game at the moment but with three mountain finishes in the final week, including the final TT, a hell of a lot can happen.”
Thomas came into the Giro d’Italia after an injury-hit early season and so with delayed, still improving form. So far he has avoided COVID-19, crash injuries and the almost daily chaos of the Corsa Rosa.
Primož Roglič (Jumbo-Visma) also came back after shoulder surgery in the winter but showed his form in March by winning Tirreno-Adriatico and the Volta a Catalunya.
He appears on form but also preferred not to attack on the final climb of the Bergamo stage and so Thomas was also happy to keep his powder dry for another day.
Both will enjoy a quiet resort day on Monday. Bruno Armirail (Groupama-FDJ) has the pink jersey and leads Thomas by 1:08, who in turn leads Primož Roglič by two seconds and João Almeida (UAE Team Emirates), by 22 seconds.
The overall classification is tight but Thomas is happy to keep his cards hidden in a psychological and physical waiting game.
“I’m content to wait for now. Hopefully we can do something,” he claimed, explaining why.
“To be honest, I came into the Giro hoping to limit my losses in the first two weeks, hoping to have good, good legs at the end. To be in front of…
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