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The winds of change are coming to the Giro d’Italia with hot, dry weather set to turn into rainy conditions for the final week.
The 2022 race has been marked by soaring temperatures thanks to the so-called ‘Hannibal’ anticyclone that has come up from Tunisia and Algeria and has been impacting large swaths of southern Europe.
Unusually for the Giro d’Italia, there hasn’t been any rainy days, with the temperatures nudging up as the race has progressed. Many riders and team staff have compared the 2022 Giro d’Italia to like riding the Tour de France or Vuelta a España, where temperatures are regularly sweltering.
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Saturday’s stage around Turin was a blistering affair, on and off the bike, with the mercury hitting around 91 F (33 C) in the city. Sunday’s mountain stage started with temperatures of about 84 F (29 C), though it cooled down to about 70 F (21 C) by the finish, thanks to the higher altitude and later time.
According to meteorologists, the weekend was the height of the ‘Hannibal’ heatwave and things are about to change for southern Europe. When the race resumes Tuesday, the riders can expect to face some fierce rainy conditions.
“It has been really humid, and I was speaking with Richie Porte and saying that it was like the Vuelta at the Giro,” Joe Dombrowski told VeloNews. “I haven’t looked at the weather because I don’t like to, but I saw something on Twitter about rain next week, so I suppose I prefer this to a rainy mountain stage.”
Once the rain starts, it is sticking around with some precipitation predicted for all but one of the final-week stages. With the rain, there is also likely to be some thunderstorms that could impact the racing.
Thankfully, the time trial on the final day is due to be held under warm sunny skies. The temperatures will also be a much more palatable 73 F (23 C).
Surviving the heat
While Dombrowski would prefer the heat to the rain, there will be some that will be thankful for the respite from the blistering temperatures. The conditions have been taking their toll on many riders over the weeks and Simon Yates (BikeExchange) blamed it for his struggles on the Blockhaus in the opening week.
He’s not the only one that has had difficulties with the heat and the teams have been busy trying to keep their riders cool.
“It been too hot for me. It is a little strange to have it this hot. All the riders have brought extra clothing for the cold, but we have to put it to the side because it is so hot. We are saving the clothes maybe for the final week,” Diego Rosa told VeloNews over the weekend.
“We use a lot of ice down the back, and drink lots of cold water. It is also good to have a cold shower after the stage to cool down.”
The Giro d’Italia is not known for its high temperatures with rain and snow more likely visitors to the roadsides. Rather than wrapping up, teams have had to employ procedures that they usually use for far later in the season.
“I think everyone is in the same boat but it’s a bit like a summer in July, even the Vuelta,” Pavel Sivakov said. “Personally, it doesn’t affect me or the team, we have some heat protocols that we follow, a bit more hydration and a bit more drinks with electrolytes, ice socks, that kind of stuff. We use these kinds of protocols that are used more for the latter part of the season in the Tour or the Vuelta.”