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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 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."

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