Damiano Caruso seeks balance between team duty and personal ambition in 2022

Damiano Caruso (Bahrain Victorious) won stage 20 of the 2021 Giro d'Italia
Damiano Caruso (Bahrain Victorious) celebrates winning stage 20 of the 2021 Giro d'Italia (Image credit: Getty Images)

Damiano Caruso has said that he must find a compromise between his own ambitions and his Bahrain Victorious team's plans before settling on his race programme for 2022. 

The Italian finished second overall at this year’s Giro d’Italia after stepping in the role of team leader following Mikel Landa’s early crash.

In an interview with Il Messaggero last week, Caruso suggested that he would forgo the Giro in 2022 as Bahrain Victorious planned to bring their strongest climbing team to the Tour de France, but directeur sportif Franco Pellizotti subsequently told BiciSport (opens in new tab) that no decision had yet been taken.

Speaking to reporters from the Bahrain Victorious training camp on Sunday, Caruso explained that he would sketch out his Grand Tour plans for 2022 in the coming days.

"As of today, there’s nothing official," Caruso said. "We’re looking for a compromise between my desires, so to speak, and the requirements of the team. In the coming days, we’ll consider that a bit and see where the compromise is."

With the Giro set to return to his native Sicily in 2022, Caruso appears keen to line out once again the corsa rosa, even though he insisted that his successes last year – he won stages at both the Giro and the Vuelta a España – had not unduly changed his role at the team. 

After the Grande Partenza in Hungary, the Giro will feature a summit finish atop Mount Etna on stage 4 ahead of a flat run to Messina.

"The fact that there are two stages in Sicily motivates me a lot," Caruso said. "I know the roads well so I’d like to be there, both for myself and for the tifosi. But like I said before, we must see what the team’s requirements are and then decide on the best programme for me."

Caruso’s teammate Landa outlined that he hopes to race both the Giro and the Tour next season after crashing out of the former and then missing the latter in 2021. In Landa’s absence at the Giro, Caruso had the freedom to pursue his own ambitions.

He claimed victory on Alpe Motta on the penultimate day, when he also placed eventual Giro winner Egan Bernal in difficulty with his long-range attack. In late summer, Caruso soloed to victory on the Alto de Velefique at the Vuelta, before helping Jack Haig place third overall.

"The emotion of winning at the Giro, it was a childhood dream that became reality. The podium was the cherry on the cake," said Caruso. "I also enjoyed the stage I won on the Vuelta, because in some ways it was a confirmation of what I did earlier."

Thank you for reading 5 articles in the past 30 days*

Join now for unlimited access

Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

*Read any 5 articles for free in each 30-day period, this automatically resets

After your trial you will be billed £4.99 $7.99 €5.99 per month, cancel anytime. Or sign up for one year for just £49 $79 €59

Join now for unlimited access

Try your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

Cyclingnews is the world's leader in English-language coverage of professional cycling. Started in 1995 by University of Newcastle professor Bill Mitchell, the site was one of the first to provide breaking news and results over the internet in English. The site was purchased by Knapp Communications in 1999, and owner Gerard Knapp built it into the definitive voice of pro cycling. Since then, major publishing house Future PLC has owned the site and expanded it to include top features, news, results, photos and tech reporting. The site continues to be the most comprehensive and authoritative English voice in professional cycling.