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Vegni sees 'no logic' in absence of Caruso and Colbrelli from 2022 Giro d'Italia

Giro d'Italia race director Mauro Vegni
Giro d'Italia race director Mauro Vegni (Image credit: Getty Images)

Giro d'Italia director Mauro Vegni has expressed frustration at Bahrain Victorious’ decision to withhold Damiano Caruso and Sonny Colbrelli from the 2022 edition of the race. 

Caruso placed second overall at the 2021 Giro, but the Sicilian is set to focus on the Tour de France this year at the behest of his team.

2021 Giro winner Egan Bernal (Ineos Grenadiers) has already said he will miss this year’s race in order to focus on the Tour de France, where he will vie with Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates) and Primož Roglič (Jumbo-Visma) for overall victory.

Simon Yates (BikeExchange-Jayco) and Vincenzo Nibali (Astana Qazaqstan) have already confirmed their presence at the Corsa Rosa in May, while recent winners Richard Carapaz, Tao Geoghegan Hart (Ineos Grenadiers) and Tom Dumoulin (Jumbo-Visma) also appear in line to participate.

Vegni and Giro d'Italia organiser RCS Sport always face a battle to attract the best Grand Tour riders to their race and the loss of Caruso has clearly irritated the Italian race director.

"I see no logic in the absence of Caruso," Vegni told Il Corriere della Sera. "Above all, it seems disrespectful to a rider who found his scope as a leader at the Giro and who this year could be in contention from the start."

Caruso stepped into the role of team leader at the 2021 Giro following Mikel Landa’s crash and abandon in the opening week, and he capped a career-best display with stage victory atop Alpe Motta on the penultimate day. The Italian went on to claim stage victory at Alto de Velefique on the Vuelta a España, where he helped Jack Haig onto the podium.

Landa will lead Bahrain Victorious at the 2022 Giro, while Caruso, Haig and Colbrelli are all set to ride the Tour.

The uphill finale to the opening stage of the Giro in Visegrád appears well suited to Colbrelli’s qualities as a finisher, but the Paris-Roubaix winner will again miss the Corsa Rosa in 2022. His last participation came in 2016, when he rode for Bardiani-CSF.

Vegni contrasted Colbrelli’s absence with that of Filippo Ganna (Ineos Grenadiers), who wore the first pink jersey of each of the past two editions of the Giro. Ganna is expected to make his Tour de France debut in 2022, where he will be favourite to take the yellow jersey in the opening time trial in Copenhagen.

"I understand Ineos’ choice, because Ganna has honoured our race and it’s right that he tries other roads," Vegni said.

"I understand Bahrain’s choice for Colbrelli less. Particularly if you’re not going for the general classification, you can ride both the Giro and Tour."

Vegni, for his part, again reiterated his call for Pogačar to come and test himself at the Giro. 

"I remain of the idea that a fuoriclasse like Pogačar could better show his talent by winning the Giro and Tour in the same year than by collecting successes in France."

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