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Giro d'Italia

Will Barta on Giro d’Italia TT: ‘I will give it full gas and let it rip’

Will Barta will break out of helper's role at Movistar in Saturday's 9.2km time trial.

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VISEGRAD, Hungary (VN) — Will Barta is ready to “let it rip” in Saturday’s time trial in his Giro d’Italia debut with Movistar.

The 26-year-old is one day into the 2022 corsa rosa, and will line up in the 9.2km individual time trial with a chance to shine on his own.

“I will go full-gas, and see how it goes, and let it rip,” Barta told VeloNews. “I think the last TT is better for me, but I am looking forward to giving it a go as well on Saturday.”

In Friday’s opener, Barta crossed the line 94th at 1:36 back. He’s one of three U.S. riders racing in the 2022 Giro.

Barta is thrilled to be in the Giro, his first grand tour since the 2020 Vuelta a España, when he confirmed his class with 22nd overall.

During that year’s Vuelta, he came within a second of winning a WorldTour stage in the final time trial stage up the famed Ézaro climb when he lost to Primož Roglič by just one second.

“It was about a second, and you think where you could have gained or lost that, but time trialing is all about the seconds,” Barta said of the 2020 Vuelta close call. “That’s how you have to look at everything.

“If you had told me before that I would do that, I would be super happy. But when you lose by one second, you’re still a bit disappointed.”

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Barta rode with CCC through 2020, and found a lifeline with EF Education-EasyPost when the CCC team collapsed under the weight of the coronavirus pandemic.

He moved across to Movistar this season on a two-year deal, and rejoins childhood friend and teammate Matteo Jorgenson as the two Americans on the Spanish-centric Movistar.

“There was some interest for a while from Movistar and I just signed for one year after CCC with EF, and felt good to make this change,” he said. “I am really happy with this team right now.

“I really enjoy the team. The hardest part is the language but I am learning quickly, but the feeling of the team is great. It’s like one big family and it’s really nice to be a part of that.”

Barta will be looking to impress his new bosses, and knows what his job will be over the next three weeks. And that’s to help Alejandro Valverde and GC leader Iván Sosa.

“We have ‘Bala’ and Sosa, so our job is to help them. I really think they can achieve a lot of great things in this Giro,” he said. “And if there is an opportunity we can try for some breakaways, and the time trials obviously.

“Valverde is really a calm person, but when the moment is there, he is ready to strike. He’s a really motivated guy to ride for and he always appreciates what you do for him.”

Will Barta on Movistar: ‘It’s crazy to think I’m at Movistar with Jorgensen’

Will Barta will be helping Alejandro Valverde, pictured above, and Iván Sosa in this Giro. (Photo by Luca Bettini / AFP) 

Based in Nice, France, Barta is picking up Spanish as he integrates into the long-running team that dates back to the 1980s.

In fact, Barta joins his high school buddy Jorgenson as only the first Americans to be on the legendary franchise since Andy Hampsten, who raced briefly in 1995 in Banesto colors.

“Movistar is such an old team. It was a team you could see then when you’re growing up, and to be here now is amazing,” he said.

“Matteo and I, we grew up together, and we were in the same cycling club since we were 10 years old, same high school and everything. It’s pretty crazy when you stop and think about us both in the WorldTour and both on Movistar.”

Barta said he’s “feeling good” coming into his first Giro. He’s seen a busy racing program this spring, picking up 25 race days, including fifth during a stage at the Tour of the Alps.

“I’ve done the Vuelta twice and this is my first time doing the Giro. I’m feeling good and I am really excited to be here,” he said.

“I wasn’t on to race the Giro earlier in the year, but things got moved around, like with every team. I really wanted to race the Giro for a few years and I was really happy when the opportunity presented itself.”

Just like he’s done his entire career, he plans to make the most of the opportunity.

Will Barta made the cover of VeloNews in 2019.