The fight for the Maglia Ciclamino is always a hard one. We have sprinters here who plan to leave during the second week, we have some who’ll try to say until the end but won’t make it through the mountains, and we have those warriors who’ll manage to haul their arses all the way to Verona. Here’s the points breakdown:
a & b stages – 50, 35, 25, 18, 14, 12, 10, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1.
c stages – 25, 18, 12, 8, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1.
d & e stages – 15, 12, 9, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1.
There is also one intermediate sprint per stage, with the following points: 12, 8, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1.
When you look at each stage profile, they have two sprint points, the first is where the points for the Maglia Ciclamino are handed out. The second sprint point does not offer any points for this jersey, but we’ll probably still see a few idiots sprinting for imaginary points in stage 1, it always happens!
The Giro has a secondary sprint jersey, it’s the Intermediate Sprints classification. Points are awarded to the first five riders at both intermediate sprints in each stage. This has nothing to do with the Maglia Ciclamino, it’s to offer a little reward for those riders who go in break after break.
The five different classifications for the stages mean the following:
a – no difficulty. Translation – a piece of pish, all sprinters will be there.
b – low difficulty. Translation – a couple of wee “bumps”, some/all sprinters will be dropped.
c – medium difficulty. Translation – sprinters have no chance.
d – high difficulty. Translation – sprinters will be on their knees; some will jump on the bus.
e – ITT. Translation – sprinters will be smoking a cigar.
The organisers have put the following stages into these categories:
a – 1, 3, 11, 18.
b – 5, 6, 8, 13.
c – 10, 12.
d – 4, 7, 9, 14, 15, 16, 17, 19, 20.
e – 2, 21.
Stage 1 is an “a” stage? That’s a bloody joke! With stages 1 and 8 offering 50 points for the winner, it does offer something to those not normally classified as a sprinter. Last year, the winner of the jersey was Peter Sagan on 136 points, it was a low winning score due to the brutality of the race. Riders stepping off to prepare for other races isn’t new for the Giro, but the final week of the race puts a lot of quick men in danger of missing the time cut. This must be considered when trying to predict the winner of the jersey.
The big-name sprinters here are Caleb Ewan and Mark Cavendish, in all honesty, they are a cut above everyone else. With Caleb riding the Tour, there’s no way he’s going to finish this race, he’ll be heading back to Monaco after stage 13. Cav isn’t doing the Tour, so he might start the race with the intention of going all the way to Verona, but he doesn’t look to be climbing as well as he did at the Tour in 2021. I doubt either will be there at the end of the race.
The next rung of the ladder sees Gaviria, Démare, Nizzolo and Bauhaus. The German will suffer like a dog in the mountains, he’s a bit on the “big” side to make the cut. The other three will be hopeful of making it all the way to the end, they’ve all won the jersey in the past. If they are the last men standing, who will be the most consistent over the three weeks? That’s what winning the jersey is all about, consistency in the sprints worth 50 points, it’s not always about winning stages.
Then we have the non-sprinters who could challenge for the win. With the opening stage and the one in Naples being worth 50 points, it opens the door for van der Poel and Cort to have a go at the jersey. Neither will start the race with the intention of going for it, but they’ll take stock midway through the race.
I’m also interested to see how Biniam Girmay gets on. He’ll be challenging for the top 5 in the flat sprints, and he climbs well enough to have an option in stages 1 and 8. The issue for him is his inexperience at this level, I’m not sure he’ll last all the way to Verona.
Both FDJ and Israel Premier-Tech have a full team to support their sprinters, Démare and Nizzolo are their only priority. On the other hand, Gaviria doesn’t have that luxury. They do have two men to help in the sprints, but Gaviria is unlikely to get a riders dedicated to help him through the mountains.
I think we’ll see Arnaud Démare win his second Maglia Ciclamino.