Giro d’Italia scrapbook, stages 1 & 2: Evenepoel’s speedy skin, a KoM-troversy, huge helmets or tiny riders?
Here's your ultimate collection of stats, stories, and scraps from the opening weekend of this year's Giro d'Italia.
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There’s been a super fast time trial, a galloping bunch sprint, a chaotic crash, and some GC guys lost time.
That’s all there is to know about the Giro d’Italia after the first two stages, right?
Far from it.
Away from the headlines, there’s been a whole bunch of assorted sub-plots, asides, and oddities arising in the first 48 hours of the corsa rosa.
Here’s page one of your scrapbook of stats, storylines, and scraps from so far in the Giro d’Italia:
You want some stats? We got some stats:
- Remco Evenepoel was the first world champion to line out at the corsa rosa since Mark Cavendish in 2012.
- At 194cm, stage 2 winner Jonathan Milan towers over the peloton. But he’s far from the biggest in the bunch. Another notable “tall boy” on the Giro start list is Daan Hoole, who stands at a lofty 198cm.
- But even Hoole isn’t the highest active pro – that award goes to Mathias Norsgaard, who is almost in a different atmosphere at 202cm tall.
- The last rider to wear pink for 21 days was Gianni Bugno in 1990.
- The last time soccer team Napoli won the Italian title was in 1990, the same year Bugno ruled the maglia rosa. S.S.C. Napoli this season rolled back the clocks this season to win “Serie A” for the first time in 33 years. Is that a sign that Remco might “do a Bugno”?
- Matthew Riccitello is the youngest rider in the race. The U.S. climber only turned 21 in March and was just 21 years and 62 days old when he rolled down the stage 1 start ramp Saturday.
Remco’s speedy skin
Remco Evenepoel wasn’t wearing a short sleeve skinsuit Saturday solely to flash a bit of suntanned bicep.
Unlike Filippo Ganna, João Almeida, and almost all the rest of the Giro peloton, Evenepoel opted away from the long, sleek sleeves commonly seen on time trial skinsuits.
According to reports out of Het Nieuwsblad and information grabbed from the “wolfpack” Amazon documentary, Evenepoel’s skin tested faster than even the most aerodynamically optimized fabric when he’s tucked into his so-called “speed bullet” TT position.
“I think it has to do with how we built my position and cockpit. My arms are the first to catch the wind in an oblique position,” Evenepoel explained. “Maybe a suit is only slower in that position, and it would be just the other way around if I held my arms completely horizontally.”
Ah, the weird and wild world of time trialing (more of which later) …
A hint of KoM-troversy
There was a quick game of jersey swapsies Sunday morning.
Although Brandon McNulty was awarded the azzurra jersey of best climber after stage 1, it was Tao Geoghegan Hart that was strutting around the team paddock in the prized blue pullover Sunday morning.
Turns out race timekeepers came to some confusion over the exact uphill segment that was used to determine Saturday’s King of the Mountain points.
It was only after officials slept on it that a corrected set of timings was made available Sunday morning.
Rectification – Maglia Azzurra and Maglia Bianca ➡️ https://t.co/tP8L4E4itU
Rettifica Maglia Azzurra e Maglia Bianca ➡️ https://t.co/XIKcjMEW3N#Giro #GirodItalia pic.twitter.com/xjxKyf83rP
— Giro d’Italia (@giroditalia) May 7, 2023
So after McNulty awoke expecting to roll out in blue for stage 2, he was somewhat surprised to be handed the white jersey of best young rider.
And just for a little extra confusion, McNulty didn’t truly lead the maglia blanca classification, either.
At the time Sunday morning, McNulty was third in the youth rankings, behind pink jersey Remco Evenepoel and Portuguese national champion João Almeida.
Those youth classification standings remain as of stage 3 on Monday, meaning McNulty will again be wearing white … on behalf of national jersey-clad Almieda, who should have worn it as stand-in for Evenepoel
Get it? No, we’re not sure we do either.
Life is rosa for Remco: Pink jersey, pink shades, pink bar tape, pink trainers
It’s not unusual for a GC team to come to a grand tour prepared with some leader’s jersey-themed apparel and accessories.
A few rolls of pink bar tape at the Giro d’Italia, maybe a yellow-cased headunit for the Tour de France, why not?
If you’ve got a rider who might wear the distinctive maglia rosa, maillot jaune or maillot rojo, it would be rude for a team not to mark the special occasion with some nice colorful tweaks.
And Soudal Quick-Step came suitably well-equipped when it landed in Italy last week.
Remco Evenepoel had barely finished his time trial warm-down Saturday before a pair of pink-framed Oakleys were unboxed and his rainbow jersey-themed road bike was wrapped with a fresh roll of rosa bar tape.
Crep check: Remco Evenepoel @EvenepoelRemco | #girodItalia pic.twitter.com/y4wfTriW7r
— Eurosport (@eurosport) May 7, 2023
And just to take it one (literal) step further, the team’s Safety Jogger shoe sponsor also uncorked a very special pair of podium kicks for Remco this weekend.
It’s a look.
This year’s Giro, it’s snow joke
Just like every Giro d’Italia comes with a few small gusts of chaos and controversy, a snowstorm never seems far away either.
With snow still piled deep on the highest Alpine passes, reports are already emerging of climbs being canceled or stages being redesigned along the Giro d’Italia route.
The multi-meter snowbanks that line the roads of stage 7’s summit finish on the hulking Gran Sasso d’Italia currently pose no problem for the stage this week, but the uncleared drifts atop the highest climb of the race are causing a little more consternation.
❄️ Nice 4 m high snow walls on Campo Imperatore – Stage 7 MTF. Next Friday on May 12. Summit at 2,130 m. #Giro pic.twitter.com/KZzsOeglfn
— ammattipyöräily (@ammattipyoraily) May 7, 2023
The 2,500m lung-buster that is the Col du Grand Saint-Bernard is currently scheduled to top out stage 13 is still enshrouded in deep snow, and reports suggest local Swiss authorities won’t be clearing the roads of the Giro’s Cima Coppi any time soon.
But fear not – there is an alternative, and the peloton might still pedal the relentless 30+ km slopes of the Saint-Bernard next weekend.
Local outlet AostaNews reports the bunch will likely now dive into a tunnel some 500m below the Alpine summit before popping back onto RCS’s pre-designed route on the other side of the valley.
The upshot? The race’s Cima Coppi, or “highest point” of the race, would arrive one week later.
The gruesome 2,300-meter Tre Cime di Lavaredo that hosts the summit finish of stage 19’s Dolomite “Queen Stage” would become the Giro’s highest climb and so would award the most points in the lucrative King of the Mountains competition.
Huge helmets or tiny riders?
No, riders haven’t shrunk – although it might have looked that way on time trial day Saturday.
Instead, TT helmets are most definitely getting bigger. Riders topped with lids from Specialized, MET, Lazer, and Kask looked like little aliens beneath their oversized headgear Saturday.
From the Specialized S-Works TT5 to the Kask Mistral and back, comically-oversized helmets, space-man visors, and aero scarves are most definitely the fastest time trial fashion in 2023.
But isn’t frontal area kingmaker in the extra-aero TT environment?
Yes, to a point.
The trend toward huge splayed helmets is a ploy designed to smooth flow and prevent dead air around the shoulders, so making the entire “system” of rider and bike more aerodynamic.
Here are some of our favorite huge lids, as spotted Saturday: