The director of the Giro d’Italia Mauro Vegni has challenged Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates) to try to win the Giro-Tour double, suggesting that it does not make a difference how many times a rider wins the Tour de France as "there’s little else to prove" after the first title.
Pogačar won the Tour de France in 2020 and 2021 and has said he will one day target the Giro d’Italia, but he is expected to once again defend his yellow jersey in 2022, with the Vuelta a España rather than the Corsa Rosa a possible second Grand Tour option.
Chris Froome was the last rider to make a serious attempt at winning the Giro d’Italia and Tour de France in the same season. He won the 2018 Giro but was third in the Tour de France. A month between the two races makes the Giro-Tour double one of the hardest achievements in the sport. Marco Pantani was the last to win the two races in the same season back in 1998.
Vegni, when asked about the possible presence of Pogačar at the 2022 Giro d’Italia, called on the young Slovenian and other riders to rise to the Giro-Tour challenge.
“I don’t think winning the Tour de France three or four times makes much of a difference to a rider’s career. When you win it once, you’ve proved you’re a great rider and there’s little else to prove,” Vegni told La Gazzetta dello Sport’s Ciro Scognamiglio at a recent Giro d’Italia event in the Valpolicella wine area.
“These days the riders are much more ready to win great races at a young age than for a long time, even when they’re just 23.
“It’s a pity that nobody seems to have the desire to try to win the Giro-Tour double. If I’m not wrong, the last was Pantani. So perhaps it’s time for a rider to add their name to that roll of honour.”
The route of the 2022 Giro d’Italia was presented last week, with the three-week race including 51,000 metres of climbing but only 26.3km of individual time trials. The Corsa Rosa starts in Budapest, Hungary on Friday, May 6, and ends in Verona, with a 17.1km time trial, on Sunday, May 29. In contrast, the 2022 Tour de France has 53km of time trials and fewer climbs.
Egan Bernal (Ineos Grenadiers) won the maglia rosa in 2021 but is unlikely to return, apparently preferring a return to the Tour de France to take on Pogačar and Primož Roglič (Jumbo-Visma).
The pure climbers and poorer time trialists are likely to be attracted by the 2022 Giro d’Italia route. La Gazzetta dello Sport, which is also owned by RCS Sport, suggested that the 2019 Giro d’Italia winner Richard Carapaz could return to target the race next year. He was third in the 2021 Tour de France but is not a strong time trialist.
Ineos Grenadiers have won three of the last four editions of the Corsa Rosa with Froome, Tao Geoghegan Hart (2020) and Egan Bernal (2021), with Carapaz signed by the British super team after winning the 2019 Giro with Movistar.
João Almeida is expected to lead UAE Team Emirates at the Giro d’Italia despite the limited time trialing.
La Gazzetta dello Sport suggested Simon Yates (Team BikeExchange), David Gaudu (Groupama-FDJ), Giulio Ciccone (Trek-Segafredo), Damiano Caruso (Bahrain Victorious) and Vincenzo Nibali and Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana Qazaqstan) could all be at the start of the Giro in Budapest.
Vegni is convinced the 2022 Giro d’Italia route has something for everyone.
“It’s clear that this is the one of the hardest routes of the Giro d’Italia of the last few years and one with the most metres of climbing while I’ve been involved in the organising of the race,” Vegni admitted.
“However it’s also true that the layout of the stages also allows the riders to have their say on every stage, there’s something for everyone. I think there’ll be spectacular racing every day with numerous changes in the race leadership.”
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