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Giro d'Italia

Ineos Grenadiers bent on disrupting the Giro d’Italia: ‘Our lineup shows real intent in how we want to race’

Will the UK super team have someone to match Evenepoel and Roglič? Tao Geoghegan Hart and Geraint Thomas are hoping so.

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Ineos Grenadiers might not be the grand tour dominator it once was, but the team is very much intent on bending the 2023 Giro d’Italia its way.

The UK super team brings its deepest and most varied squad to the season’s first grand tour, with a former winner in Tao Geoghegan Hart, a Tour de France champion with Geraint Thomas, and a world time trial champion with Filippo Ganna.

Remco Evenepoel (Soudal Quick-Step) and Primož Roglič (Jumbo-Visma) might be starting as the five-star favorites, but Ineos Grenadiers will be pressing the action in a quest for an opening to exploit across three weeks.

“As a team, we’ll draw on the experience of Geraint and Tao in the tightly contested general classification,” said deputy team principal Rod Ellingworth. “Our first grand tour lineup of 2023 is an exciting rider group and shows real intent in how we want to take on the Giro.”

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Mixing the best of the old and new

Ineos Grenadiers dominated the Tour of the Alps last month. (Photo: Tim de Waele/Getty Images)

The days of picking off yellow jerseys might be in the rearview mirror, but cycling’s wealthiest team remains very much a force in grand tours.

If Jumbo-Visma and UAE Team Emirates have supplanted cycling’s wealthiest team at the top of the pecking order, at least at the Tour de France, the Giro will see the best of the old and the new at Ineos Grenadiers.

Lining up behind Geoghegan Hart, Ganna, and Thomas are Thymen Arensman, Pavel Sivakov, Laurens De Plus, Ben Swift, and Salvatore Puccio, giving the team a very strong block across the brutality of the Giro.

Coming into the Giro, former winner Geoghegan Hart is on his best form since winning the pink jersey in 2020.

Will he have the legs to match Evenepoel and Roglič?

The Brit won his first races this year since his breakout Giro win, and swept to a morale-boosting podium with third at Tirreno-Adriatico and victory at the Tour of the Alps last month to set him up for the Giro.

“Each grand tour is its own journey and for the 2023 Giro we are lining up with a great team,” Geoghegan Hart said. “I’ve been in good form and have just really been enjoying racing with my teammates. Riding well at Tirreno-Adriatico and the Tour of the Alps has been great, but also satisfying to reward the hard work and dedication of my teammates and our amazing staff.”

The quest to out-smart Roglič and Evenepoel

Can Thomas and Geoghegan Hart match the favorites? (Photo: Tim de Waele/Getty Images)

On paper, the team is unquestionably strong, but does it have a rider to match Evenepoel and Roglič in both the time trials and mountains?

That will be the question across the next three weeks.

Thomas proved to be the best of the rest last summer at the Tour behind Jonas Vingegaard and Tadej Pogačar, and though neither of them is racing the Giro, Thomas has had a rough start to the 2023 season with some illness.

He’s come off a strong training block and vows to at least make it to Rome and finish off his first Giro after his previous two bids went off the rails early.

“Obviously, this year has been a bit stop-start, but I’m on the right track and coming into some shape just in time,” Thomas said. “We had a really good camp at Sierra Nevada and then the Tour of the Alps obviously went really well, so morale is high.”

The unfulfilled promise of Sivakov and the unknown grand tour qualities of Arensman give the team extra GC cards behind Geoghegan Hart and Thomas. The team promises to come out punching, and Ganna will be the five-star favorite to earn the pick jersey in Saturday’s opening time trial.

That could set the tone for the team looking to remind everyone that it’s still a force to be reckoned with.

The team hasn’t won a grand tour since Egan Bernal won the pink jersey in 2021, not long compared to nearly every team in the peloton, but it might seem like eons ago for Ineos Grenadiers. Make no mistake, Ineos Grenadiers remains a formidable presence in grand tours.

Last year, the team hit podiums with second at the Giro with Richard Carapaz, third at the Tour with Thomas, and seventh at the Vuelta a España with rising star Carlos Rodríguez.

Of the last five editions of the Tour, Ineos Grenadiers has won three, with Chris Froome in 2018, Tao Geoghegan Hart in 2020, and Bernal in 2021.

Of course, Froome is no longer on the team, and Bernal is still searching for his winning best in the wake of his devastating crash in early 2022. A promising eighth overall at the Tour de Romandie is a good sign for Colombian, who is still holding out hope of returning to the Tour this summer.

This Giro could mark the closing chapter on the glory days of the team’s Team Sky pedigree, with Thomas and Swift perhaps racing their closing days with the team.

A new generation is firmly taking hold, and this Giro will bridge the gap between the team’s past and future.

Ineos Grenadiers won’t be taking anything sitting down.

Ineos Grenadiers for the Giro d’Italia

Thymen Arensman
Laurens De Plus
Filippo Ganna
Tao Geoghegan Hart
Salvatore Puccio
Pavel Sivakov
Ben Swift
Geraint Thomas

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