GIRO’22: The diatribe of the first day of rest


Giro Rant rest day: Three days later, the Giro d’Italia 2022 returns to Italy and the ascent of the Etna volcano. But first, Ed Hood looks back at stages one through three in Hungary and the stories behind the story so far…

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Welcome to Hungary

Well, I got that one right – MVDP. It wasn’t too difficult to predict, remember Mur-de-Bretagne, Tour de France 2021? As football commentators might tell, this stage was; ‘a game of two halves.’ But rather, to put it in metric terms; ‘a step of 97.5% and 2.5%’. The early 190Ks were what my friend Dave would classify as; ‘a paint dryer.’ But great respect for Senator Savio and his two Drone Hopper Androni Giocatolli ragazzi who were on the road all day. As Savio always told us; ‘you must honor the pink race!’

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Savio’s Boys

However, there was no paint drying in the last 2.5% of that day, which our friends in Newcastle would describe as a, ‘radj oot!’ The fight in the right hand where the climb began rivaled that of the Poggio in the Primavera. MVDP ‘gray ghosts’ – they reminded me of the East Germans of the 70s – seemed to have lost control as the last mile sped along, but the man with the best genes in the peloton unleashed tremendous power to take the stage and the most beautiful jersey in professional cycling.

Superb Van der Poel, Impressive Girmay – Crashing Ewan

But what about Biniam Girmay? It’s the man’s first WorldTour season and he’s already won a Classic and moved closer to the Grand Tour leadership today. Very impressive, continuing the good season of Intermarché Wanty Gobert Matériaux. Caleb Ewan crashed, touching Girmay’s wheel, he had to go deep into the Mariana Trench to be where he was in those last few meters and probably see double. No heroism from the pragmatic Manxman, ‘Cav’ sitting comfortably at the back of the pack and not getting involved in any positional combat or anti-gravity shenanigans – like ‘Dirty’ Harry Callahan used to say; ‘a man must know his limits.’ And finally, a call to readers, ‘What was that jacket that Brad Wiggins was wearing – is he auditioning to be a Bond villain?’ Answers on a postcard please.

Second step ? : Affini is my boy. Oh yes, and look at the Ecuadorian who was in sixth place that day. . .

Stage 1 Highlights

As regular readers of my ramblings know, I’m not a big fan of the Grand Tours starting with their home patch. But I have to say the Budapest percorso was beautiful and the natives ‘honored the pink race.’ Molto bene!

Hungary honors the Giro

But I have to step aside for a moment; Eurosport commentator Rob Hatch “Hungary doesn’t have a lot of cycling history.” Granted, he’s taken French nationality now, but what about iTT world medalist, GP Eddy Merckx and Chrono des Nations winner, big ‘chronoman,’ Laszlo Bodrogi? Yates’ ride was also breathtaking, I didn’t see it coming – but wise old Sean Kelly did, but that’s why he is Sean Kelly. However, when I saw Yates in the starting house, I realized he was ‘above,’ his habit, ‘the builder’s monday morning stubble’ was gone, he was clean shaven, looked clean and focused – and I thought to myself; ‘he looks serious.’

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Simon Yates: “He looks serious.

My choice ? The former European iTT U23 champion from Italy, Eduardo Affini? As one horse racing fan I know said when I asked him how his “hot spot” did in the 12:30 p.m. at Kempton Park Racecourse, he used to say; they are still looking for him, with lanterns. Not quite, but the best Eduardo could do was an unlucky 13th place. But it feels good to see Big Dumoulin back at the forefront and what about Ben Tullet? Britain’s INEOS, 20, took fifth in elated company; he is a former double world junior cyclo-cross champion and won his first professional victory this year with a stage in the Coppi e Bartali where he also finished second in the GC. INEOS have signed him until 2024 but if he continues to roll like this a contract extension is very likely, they have Tom Pidcock on the books until 2027.

Pou Pou will be proud

MVDP? Pou Pou will look down and smile as Dad, Adrie takes him in stride, he’s seen it all. I was there when Mathieu won the Junior Worlds in Florence in 2013; Adrie’s attitude seemed to be, ‘that’s what we came here to do, not really a big deal. . .’ With 11 seconds in hand over Yates, that handsome jersey should be safe until Tuesday – when the Giro proper begins on the wild ascent of Mount Etna. But as a former Giro fourth and now INEOS DS, Dario Cioni would always tell me; ‘a Grand Tour was won last week.’ Verona is a bunch of asphalt and elevation gain.

Because it works for me – Fight for your hair – Too late Ed!

And finally, I somehow stumbled across this Alpecin TV commercial. where the team guys told me; ‘I use Alpecin because I want to keep my hair!’ If only I had known that around 1975 my life could have been so different. . .

Stage 2 Highlights

Quick-Step alpha vinyl; they are finished, right? Definitively. Trouble is, nobody told Remco, Michael the Maestro, or Cav. Win number 20 and those poor cobblestone races are forgotten. HAT !

A long but perfect sprint from Cavendish

Girmay impresses again but while Intermarché are good, they aren’t the seasoned veterans of Quick-Step. A grand finale, BUT. If you know the characteristics of water-based paints, you will know that if the weather is ‘wet’ – soft and damp, the paint takes much longer than usual to dry due to the fact that the evaporation process is inhibited. Until the last few miles today, it was one of Dave’s activities ‘paint dryers’ – and certainly water-based paint in very humid weather.

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Savio would be happy again

These Drone Hoppers got the commentators talking again, this time accompanied by an EOLO Kometa. Selle Italia must be delighted hour after hour at these pictures of motorcycles with two saddle company logos on the Drone Hopper boys’ shorts filling the screen. I couldn’t help thinking back to 2004 when ‘Ale Jet’ Petacchi won nine stages – commentators must be glad the full stages weren’t televised at the time. . .

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Return to Italy and Etna

These are the aperitifs served and snapped up, the first course proper is on Tuesdays in Sicily and on the slopes of the mighty Etna. Breakaway or early GC muscle flex? I’m just glad I’m not driving a team vehicle along Italy on my ‘Rest’ daytime. And remember, the world will be even rosier next Tuesday.

The final K (the only action of the day)

# Stay PEZ for reports and results from Giro stages, EUROTRASH, Race BREAKDOWN and Rest Day Rants. #

Watch the most comprehensive, commercial-free, live coverage of the Tour of Italy 2022 on GCN+. Go deeper and get interactive with live polls and quizzes, plus rider profiles, race updates, results and more – plus original and exclusive cycling documentaries. Watch it all with GCN+ on any device.

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