Cycling News

With Hart’s Departure, Giro Shaken — Not Broken

106th Giro d’Italia 2023 - Stage 8

[Traveling for a second week but hey, let’s babble…]

I don’t actually have a lot to add to today’s news about Tao Geoghegan Hart fracturing his hip and leaving behind his legitimate hopes of a second Giro d’Italia victory. What don’t you already know about it? The race has been drenched for days and every remaining stage of the Giro has a non-zero chance of seeing rain. The good news is that the odds each day are mostly moderate, based on Milan’s weather forecast, and the odd scattered shower won’t be a huge problem unless it coincides with a dicey descent. Fingers crossed for good luck there. If nothing else, the temperatures should warm up after Saturday. The crashes are an even worse story. But let’s reset ourselves, talk a bit about the rest of the race, and try to have a little fun.

Photo by Tim de Waele/Getty Images

The Competition Is Still Good

The Covid departure of Remco Evenepoel robbed us of what looked like a really fascinating general classification battle. Evenepoel’s inability to pad his lead in the second time trial left us with seven riders atop the GC separated by less than two minutes, and all (except maybe Andreas Leknessund?) with a plausible path to both winning and losing. Three of those seven riders are now out, with Vlasov having left yesterday and TGH’s crash today.

But we still have Leknessund at 35 seconds and defying expectations. And for the big stories, pick your preference. Do you believe in the Geraintaissance? Can a former Tour de France one-off guy pull another one out of his hat, as Thomas spurns his rumored retirement and tries to add another grand tour to his palmares? Does your taste run more toward a Roglification of the mountaintop finishes, where Primož Roglič (“Primo” this month) keeps tacking on five seconds here, ten more there, until everyone says “uncle”? And if he wins, along with his three Vuelta titles, are we sure he’s not about to add a Tour and complete his trilogy someday? Then finally there is “why not me” João Almeida of a still-strong UAE team, three years after his surprise fourth at the Giro and still only 24?

I get that having all hands on deck is better than what we are left with now, but there is nothing unusual about top contenders dropping out. The Tour is the Tour so don’t hear what I’m not saying, but we were fine with a two-man…

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