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Who are the favourites for the Giro d'Italia 2022?

Six contenders looking to win the GC of the most open Grand Tour for years.

Will Strickson
5 May 2022

Grand Tour season is upon us, the Giro d'Italia begins on Friday 6th May. Rejoice. Thank the heavens. Praise Jesús Herrada.

That means 21 whole(ish) days of the highest level of cycling including the finest mountains Italy has to offer. It also means speculating which riders have a shot of winning the general classification, before any of the racing kicks off.

There are 176 cyclists lining up at the Grande Partenza in Hungary this week, but clearly not all of them are going for the overall title and out of those that are, only a few genuinely have the ability to win.

Out of those that can win, there are a six riders that bookmakers see as a cut above the rest in what looks like the most open Grand Tour since the 2020 edition of the Giro.

Here are the riders tipped to be competing for the maglia rosa this year:

1. Richard Carapaz

Richard Carapaz won the last pre-Covid Giro d'Italia, ahead of Vincenzo Nibali and Primož Roglič. He's done it before, he'll do it again and this time he's got a competent and experienced squad behind him.

Despite being the favourite, El Jaguar is actually being underplayed in the build-up for some reason, despite podiuming a Grand Tour in each of the last three seasons, only placing behind Tadej Pogačar, Primož Roglič and Jonas Vingegaard (once each).

The Olympic champion's contract is up at the end of this year, too, so he's got a point to prove to secure the bag – and a leadership spot – for the next few seasons.

2. Simon Yates

Simon Yates has come close, several times, but the Giro has eluded him. While most of the contenders here benefit from a total of just 26km of time trials, Yates climbs as well as if not better than some pure climbers, but also has a solid TT, so he can find extra time on the climbers over those 26km.

BikeExchange-Jayco are also not taking Michael Matthews, so Yates has seven highly capable teammates at his disposal to control the race.

He's one of ten Brits riding the Giro and, barring something bad or special elsewhere, he'll be the highest placed of the lot.

3. João Almeida

Fun fact: João Almeida was the first cyclist I ever interviewed. He's also a joy to watch. Therefore I'm rooting for him.

He's spent more time in the maglia rosa than most riders on this list and he's only 23 years old. A super strong time-triallist and underrated climber, Almeida will win Grand Tours in his career, could this be the first?

He's the type of rider to never stop fighting, even on his worst days, and he worked his way back to 6th overall last time out after a terrible start. Now on a new team, and actually a team leader, the Portuguese sensation could be in business. Bota lume.

4. Mikel Landa

Is this a joke? No. The bookies are backing Mikel Landa as an actual contender again, despite not being given the team leader's race number.

He was incredibly unlucky last year, crashing out early despite looking strong, and seemingly is hitting form again, putting in an unbelievable shift for his team at Liège-Bastogne-Liège.

It's not actually clear what his role in Bahrain Victorious's gameplan is. Whether he'll have a free role and whether Pello Bilbao will be asked to work for him are things we'll have to find out as we go, but if Landismo could win any year, it's one with 26km of time trialling.

5. Miguel Ángel López

Superman. The only man simultaneously being a hero and a villain – the latter due to stealing a stage victory from Thibaut Pinot at the recent Tour of the Alps. He had a rollercoaster of a year with Movistar in 2021 and now he's back with Astana, and there's no doubting his legs.

López consistently wins the hardest stages in races and, although there aren't crazy altitudes at the Giro, he certainly likes the look of a Grand Tour for pure climbers.

It looks as if Astana Qazaqstan are set up for Vincenzo Nibali but Lo Squalo is clearly past it, and the team may be presenting that way to honour the great man as the race passes through his home in Messina on Stage 5.

Either MAL is a true option to win the Giro or he'll win several stages. Or both.

6. Romain Bardet

We love Romain Bardet, that's no secret, we even took him to the pub. The Frenchman is also going through a renaissance at DSM and is the closest he's come to prime Grand Tour contender Bardet in years.

He took a stage at the Vuelta last year and recently won the general classification at the Tour of the Alps, earning himself a leadership role here, with talent to back him up including soon-to-be revelation Thymen Arensman.

Bardet's already a hero to French cycling with two Tour de France podiums, but winning a Grand Tour would cement himself in history. We believe.

Photos: Chris Auld

Dark horses

Given the parcours of this year's Giro, there are an enormous number of riders who could surprise us all and challenge for the title. Now that might not mean winning it all, but top ten and podiums are certainly up for grabs.

For a full list of those riders, check out our full breakdown: The dark horses of the Giro d'Italia 2022.

For all our Giro d'Italia content, visit our Giro hub page.

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