Having conquered the Tour de France in 2019, becoming the first-ever Colombian winner of the yellow jersey, Egan Bernal is taking on a new challenge this season, as he heads to the Giro d’Italia for the first time. Procycling magazine speaks exclusively to the Ineos-Grenadiers rider in the May 2021 issue, about why Italy is such a special place for him, as he prepares to target the pink jersey.
This year’s Giro might be Bernal’s first tilt at the Italian grand tour, but the 24-year-old’s history with Italy goes back to when he first moved from his home in South America to Europe. Bernal signed for ProConti team Androni in 2016 and spent his formative years racing and living in the country.
“I don’t want to fall into the trap of doing the Tour every year, and falling into the same pattern every season,” Bernal tells Procycling. “Okay, the Tour is the Tour, but the Giro also exists, the Vuelta also exists. There are the Italian classics, Strade Bianche. There’s not only Paris Nice; there’s Tirreno-Adriatico.
“I need that variety, and to race wherever motivates me, where it comes from the heart – like the Giro.”
Another rider going to the Giro with big ambitions is Giacamo Nizzolo, who is targeting a first stage win there, having come so close multiple times before - his record currently stands at 25 stage top fives at the race. The Qhubeka Assos rider is the current Italian and European champion, and has been enjoying his best period of racing, having finally put a debilitating knee injury behind him which hampered him between 2017 and 2019.
“Basically in those two and a half years I never had more than three weeks consecutively training. Every third week I had to stop, so you can imagine that it was not easy to make a programme, to get in shape and to perform,” Nizzolo tells Sophie Hurcom.
The Giro d’Italia markets itself as the ‘toughest race in the most beautiful place’, and the 2021 route is no exception. Procycling’s Adam Becket analyses what we can expect from this year’s course, and the key stages where the victory could be decided.
While the mountains might be where the race is won or lost, the race has a unique relationship with the cities and towns of Italy, which other grand tours don’t. From Turin to Perugia, Siena and Verona, Barry Ryan digs into the urban centres of this year’s race, and how the geography and history tie in.
It’s been 36 years since a French rider won the Tour de France, a statistic that weighs on the shoulders of French riders every July, despite being the country that discovered the modern sport and has won more major titles than anyone. In the latest in Procycling’s State of the Nation series, Francois Thomazeau examines the condition of cycling in France.
Among those who know exactly what it’s like to develop through the French system, is the nation’s current road champion Audrey Cordon-Ragot. The Trek-Segafredo rider is Breton through and through and talks to Procycling’s Edward Pickering about mastering race tactics and why it’s okay to get angry.
Elsewhere, we meet Movistar’s sibling duo Emma and Mathias Norsgaard Jørgensen, the only brother-sister pairing on a WorldTour team. The Danes talk about growing up together and their routes to the top, and how it highlights the inequality between men’s and womens’ racing for young riders.
Emma Norsgaard was a visible presence during the classics, finishing in the top 10 of six Belgian races this year. Procycling looks at the women’s spring campaign and analyses the themes that emerged between the races and winning riders.
Also in the magazine, James Witts looks at how riders train their minds to prepare for races and how visualising victory can turn a win to a reality, while William Fotheringham goes back to Laurent Fignon’s win in the 1989 Giro, a race where everything went right for him.
The May issue also features all our regulars, including diarists Kevin Reza, Brodie Chapman and Charlie Quarterman, as well as Dan Martin and our columnist Laurens ten Dam.
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