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BALANTONFÜRED, Hungary (VN) — Colombian climbers Iván Sosa (Movistar) and Miguel Ángel López (Astana-Qazaqstan) hope the smoldering heights of Mount Etna can revive their pink jersey campaigns at the Giro d’Italia.
Both struggled on the mean streets of Budapest in Saturday’s time trial, and lost considerable time. Sosa bled 1:23, and López gave up 42 seconds to arch-rival Simon Yates (Team BikeExchange-Jayco), who smashed his direct GC rivals en route to winning the first of two time trials in the 2022 Giro.
Both riders are looking to higher ground for salvation.
Sosa, who is taking up the mantle of leadership at Movistar after moving across from Ineos Grenadiers, tried to brush off what could be crippling losses on just the second day of racing.
“Yesterday we raced a very hard and explosive time trial, and we already have in our mind the stage to Mount Etna,” Sosa said Sunday. “It’s a very hard summit finish and I hope to be there to fight for everything.”
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Sosa won the Vuelta a Asturias last month in an encouraging lead up to the Giro, but struggled against the clock in the Giro’s first decisive stage.
There is a handful of GC rivals who gave up about 30 seconds to Yates, but among the pre-race favorites, it was Sosa who struggled the most on the pure power course.
“We got through it as best we could. We didn’t crash and now we have some mountains coming soon with Mount Etna,” Sosa at the start of Sunday’s stage.
“It’s obvious for me that the high mountain finishes are the ones that are best for me and I believe we have a lot of favorable terrain ahead of us,” he said. “First we have to get through the stages as easily as we can to save the legs for when it counts.”
López also gave up more time than he would have liked to, but tried to put a positive spin on the first decisive stage of the 2022 Giro.
“Yesterday things didn’t go so badly. It wasn’t a day to take too many risks and I wanted to avoid any dangers,” López said. “It could have been even worse. Maybe I lost a few more seconds than I would have liked, but I was there pretty close to the others.
“The only rival who really gained a lot on everyone else was Yates, but as far as the other rivals, they’re all pretty much where expected to be.”
— Astana Qazaqstan Team (@AstanaQazTeam) May 7, 2022
López starts as Astana’s main GC leader, but a strong ride by Vincenzo Nibali, who punched into the top-15, is ramping up the hype that the aging Shark might still have some bite in this Giro.
López said a strong Nibali will only be a bonus for the team’s ambitions during this Giro.
“Nibali will nearly be racing at home, so he’s extra motivated,” López said. “He’s in good condition and he comes here pretty strong. It’s important if we can be there together going into Mount Etna.”