The last three weeks saw a number of challenges prosper and plenty of them wither, with Simon Yates, Miguel Ángel López, and Romain Bardet among those that left the race with varying degrees of disappointment.
For those GC riders who remained the race provided the perfect litmus test for their ambitions going forward, and VeloNews digs into the final top-10 and considered both their overall performances and where they go from here.
Giro d’Italia report: The strongest and most savvy rider in the entire race, Hindley put in a consummate three-week performance and washed away any talk of 2020 being a fluke.
The Australian came into his own on Blockhaus with a stage win and never looked back. He more than handled the attacks from Richard Carapaz and Mikel Landa and whenever the trio distanced their remaining rivals it was always Hindley who looked the most fluid and relaxed in the saddle.
Those signs became even more apparent on the final mountain stage when Landa was distanced and then Carapaz completely crumbled. Patience was key in Hindley’s assault — a word not often associated with riders and teams in their first grand tour success — but Hindley was faultless at almost every turn and ended as the fully deserving winner.
It definitely wasn’t the most exciting grand tour in recent years but Hindley probably doesn’t give a single centipede’s sock about that.
Best non-Giro result in 2022: Fifth in Tirreno-Adriatico.
Giro in 2023? The ball is in the Australian’s court to a large degree. He’s now positioned himself as Bora-Hansgrohe’s number one for grand tours, and therefore should get the pick of next year’s outings. If he comes back and puts in another competitive display at the Vuelta later this year then a Tour de France tilt can be expected in 2023. He’s ready.
Team: Ineos Grenadiers
Giro d’Italia report: Carapaz came into the Giro as the pre-race favorite with a 2019 win under his belt and the full support of Ineos Grenadiers behind him. Three weeks later and it’s hard to describe their challenge as anything but underwhelming.
There were flashes of excellence from Carapaz, Richie Porte, Ben Tulett and Ben Swift but both Bahrain and Bora did more in terms of precision and execution. At no point at all did Carapaz look like he was going to completely crack Hindley and in the end it was the Olympic road champion who faltered when it mattered most.
Second in a grand tour is hardly a failure but this Giro promised so much more for Carapaz and when Simon Yates, Miguel Angel Lopez, and several other favorites fell by the wayside it looked as though the path was clear for victory. Take nothing away from Hindley, he was immense, but this might be the second place that hurts the most when Carapaz looks back at his time at Ineos.
Best non-Giro result in 2022: A stage win and second overall at the Volta a Catalunya.
Giro in 2023? Will he even be at Ineos Grenadiers in 2023? According to several reports Carapaz has already agreed terms on a return to Movistar and if that’s the case his potential for another Giro bid rests on where Enric Mas decides to focus his ambitions. Carapaz is a more natural fit for the Giro given the style of racing we’ve seen in the past, and at 29 the former winner certainly has a few more challenges left in his legs.
Giro d’Italia report: Landa finished with a deserving third place on GC after what was probably his most consistent three-week performance to date.
There were no crashes or avoidable time gaps in the first half of the race, and as the Giro wore on the Spaniard confirmed that he was one of the top-three climbers in the race. His team were committed and often took the responsibility for setting the pace but Hindley and Carapaz were simply better over the three weeks.
There can be no complaints from Landa. He finished where he deserved and he can head home with a genuine sense of success. Other than a stage win, he probably couldn’t have got much more out of the race.
Best non-Giro result in 2022: Third overall in Tirreno-Adriatico.
Giro in 2023? So much depends on how the Tour de France plays out for the rest of the Bahrain team. Landa has certainly done enough to at least justify a return to the Tour as a co-leader next season.
Giro d’Italia report: The Italian was overshadowed as a GC option by Miguel Angel Lopez at the start of the race and then completely forgotten after he lost time on Etna but Nibali was nothing but resilient in the second and third weeks of his final Giro.
He rolled back the years on the road to Torino and although he faded slightly at Aprica and again in the final mountain stage he fully deserved his fourth placed finish.
Best non-Giro result in 2022: Fourth in the Tour of Sicily.
Giro in 2023? Retirement is calling at the end of the season. It’s been a long and successful road, but it’s time to hang up those wheels.
Giro d’Italia report: Bilbao came into the race juggling his own ambitions with the team’s desire to work for Landa and in the end it was latter of those aims that shone through. On Blockhaus, Landa demonstrated that he was the strongest climber in the team and while Bilbao could point to a crash, it was clear that Landa was the only viable option for Bahrain leadership.
Bilbao still put in a very solid performance to nab fifth in the overall standings, but he was never able to match the podium contenders when it mattered most.
Best non-Giro result in 2022: Consistent all-year long, with a stage win at the Tour of the Basque Country the obvious standout performance.
Giro in 2023? Bahrain-Victorious started the Giro in a similar position to Bora-Hansgrohe, in that both teams had incredible depth but lacked an out-and-out grand tour leader. Landa, Bilbao, Wout Poels, and Jack Haig are all gifted riders but not having a bonafide contender for the top step always means that grand tour line-ups alter with a greater frequency than they do at Ineos or UAE. Bilbao’s consistency also means he can go to any of the grand tours and dig out results. That’s perfect for a team that seems intent on winning the team’s classification.
Team: Intermarché – Wanty – Gobert Matériaux
Giro d’Italia report: Perhaps the biggest GC surprise in the race given that Hirt is 31 and never once looked liked a top-10 rider during the first ten or so years of his career. Still, Hirt played the game that riders like Guillaume Martin could only dream of: losing time before bouncing back to take a stage win and then holding a top-10 all the way through to Verona.
A couple of riders cracked, Joao Almeida went home; all these factors helped, but Hirt earned his top-ten on merit and did enough through the backend of the race to justify his final position.
Best non-Giro result in 2022: He won the Tour of Oman.
Giro in 2023? It’s not impossible to envisage Hirt going to the Tour and winning a stage in the future but everything depends on Intermarché’s strategy and recruitment over the next few months. The team has come on leaps and bounds and has clearly demonstrated an ability to dovetail several goals over the course of a grand tour. Hirt personifies that adaptability.
Giro d’Italia report: The German would have probably taken seventh at the start of the race but his final place in the overall standings leaves us with more questions than answers. Firstly, seventh in a grand tour is nothing to be sniffed at, especially when you’ve been on such a poor run of results as Buchmann has, but he was never really a contender at the pointy end of proceedings, and nor was he a super domestique putting out fires or scuppering the opposition.
He was obviously strong on the stage to Verona but it was Lennard Kämna who put in the best domestique display to help Hindley on the penultimate stage, while Buchmann followed whenever Ineos or Bahrain put the hammer down. Seventh is still a highly credible result, and Hindley obviously benefited from having a teammate in such a good position but we didn’t see a lot of Buchmann when the race was really on.
Best non-Giro result in 2022: Had a couple of top-tens at the start of the year.
Giro in 2023? It’s likely that Hindley will head to the Tour de France next year leaving the Bora management with a decision over whether Buchmann is best-placed leading on his own in Italy or whether he’s a better foil for the Australian in July.
Team: Intermarché – Wanty – Gobert Matériaux
Giro d’italia report: Few expected the 39-year-old, who was only offered a contract in February, to deliver a top-10 result in a grand tour. However the pint-sized climber handed in one of his best three-week performances in years, and if it hadn’t been for a crash, could have possibly clung on for a top-five. Despite fading, Pozzovivo still deserves credit for battling through and giving his team a second top-ten rider in the overall standings.
Best non-Giro result in 2022: Probably getting a contract at 39 when most thought his career was done and dusted.
Giro in 2023? He’ll be 40 by the time the next edition rolls around but if Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux or another are willing to give the veteran another year then he should be at the start, and another top-10 isn’t impossible to envisage.
Team: EF Education-EasyPost
Giro d’Italia report: A Giro of two halves for Carthy who clung onto his GC hopes until shipping 17 minutes on the road to Torino but then bounced back effectively to rescue his race.
From 20th overall at one point, the 27-year-old battled back and was easily the most improved rider by the time the race reached Verona. Three top-10 finishes in the mountains, plus an incredibly dogged ride on the final summit finish, were a timely reminder of the athlete’s class, and highlighted the illness issues that undermined his spring build-up.
Dropping a place on GC from 2021, when he was eighth, is almost immaterial in the grand scheme of things, but there will be a massive ‘what if’ question given how well he finished the race compared to the opening two weeks. With his confidence back on track the hope within EF is that Carthy can recharge his batteries over the coming weeks before returning to the Vuelta later this year for another tilt at the podium.
Best non-Giro result in 2022: The British climber was ninth in the Tour of the Alps.
Giro in 2023? It all depends on the route. At 27 he’s probably ready for a proper crack at the Tour de France but given his time trial frailties he’s still the sort of rider who should be posted to the race route that suits him rather than automatically posted to France in July simply by default. That said, his final time trial is Verona was impressive, again highlighting how good his form was in the final week.
Giro d’Italia report: Wore the maglia rosa for 10 days — more than any other rider in 2022 — and provided some much needed race entertainment as he battled through the mountains before conceding the jersey on the road to Torino.
A 10th placed finish in Verona was probably a fair result on balance but coming away with the white jersey was a hugely positive sign for things to come. The 24-year-old climbed well in the mountains and gave Trek-Segafredo a welcome boost, and while his musette and bidon tossing antics might have entertained a segment of fans only capable of communicating through the medium of meme, those histrionics will have to be ironed out over the coming seasons.
Overall though, López raced with passion and heart – qualities that go a long way even modern sport.
Best non-Giro result in 2022: Honestly, not much to speak of, apart from 11th on GC in the Basque Country.
Giro in 2023? López was 13th in the 2021 Vuelta so there’s clearly a decent engine underneath that bonnet. The question going forward is whether he’s a genuine GC contender or someone who can pop up every now and then with a major result. We’ve simply not seen enough of him to be able to make that call. At 24 he certainly has time on his side but his biggest advantage is the fact that Trek have no one else to step up right now in terms of grand tour GC. Giulio Ciccone has used up all his lives in that sense, and the rest of the Trek collective are either too old – Bauke Mollema – or too young to provide results yet. López to the Giro in 2023 makes sense.