2022 Giro dell’Emilia Preview

Carpi > San Luca 198.0km

It’s the 105th edition of Giro dell’Emilia, a beautiful race in Bologna. This year the race follows a familiar route, with the hard climb of Medelana before hitting the lap circuit and five ascents of the San Luca climb. As usual, the race will be very selective and the strongest on the day will claim the title, and this year there’s a big chance a new name is added to the trophy. 

Weather

Pleasant temperatures and not much wind, it’s a nice day for a bike race.

Key Points

The Medelana climb is used to get some fatigue in the legs. 7.7km at 6.8%, with lots of steep slopes is a tough effort, but with the lap circuit still to come it’s not a decisive point in the race.

The San Luca climb is a thing of beauty, a piece of cycling art. The riders approach it at pace, but quickly must go into the little ring as the early slopes are very hard. Things settle down a little, before a couple of quick corners which leads onto my favourite section. We have a long straight, with gradients over 15%, and the beautiful arches on the right-hand side. This is where the damage can be done, as once through the arch things get a little easier.

Tactics

Ineos arrive with the strongest team, they will control the type of race we get. With Geoghegan Hart, Narváez, De Plus, Leo Hayter and Rodríguez riding as domestiques, it will be hard for anyone to stop Ineos dictating until the final couple of laps, that is when they’ll release Yates and Martínez. 

Movistar and UAE also look strong to me, they’ll be more than happy to help Ineos in making sure this is a hard race. Once we hit the lap circuit, the winning move can go at any point, it’s unusual to see the race being held together until the final climb. Last year both QuickStep and Jumbo-Visma had two men in the front group, numbers are very important in this type of race, that’s why Ineos will be very content heading into this race. We’ll have to wait and see if anyone can stop them.

Contenders

Tadej Pogačar – he’s one of the few big stars at this race who competed in Australia last weekend. He was good in Canada, but I’m sure I’m not the only one who was left disappointed after his relatively poor performance in the road race on Sunday. After flying back early in the week he’s had a few easy days, which isn’t ideal ahead of this race. His main goal, like many, is Lombardia, but this race is one he’d like to do well in. Last year he was a DNF here, which was a surprise as he started as one of the favourites, but he was still able to win Lombardia. After a long flight and not much riding in the last week there’s no guarantee about his performance level, even Tadej won’t know until we hit the lap circuits. If not him, then UAE will look towards Davide “Big Gear” Formolo and Marc “Remember 2020” Hirschi. 

Adam Yates – was brilliant here last year but finished 4th. After a solid Tour de France where he finished in 9th place, he won the Deutschland Tour and was very impressive in the Canadian one-day races. Instead of competing in Australia, he’s been able to focus fully on this final block of racing, so I’m expecting him to be at his best. The San Luca climb is one that suits him down to the ground, this is a race I expect him to win at some point in his career.

Dani Martínez – despite winning the Basque Country, it’s not been a great season for the Colombian climber. His Tour de France was hampered by injury, but he did hit some form in the final week. Then in Canada he seemed a little off the pace but returned to his best in Giro della Toscana and Coppa Sabatini, where he finished 3rd and 1st. He’ll be hoping to hold onto that form as we head into the next week, starting with this race. If he and Yates both make the front group, they’ll be hard to beat.

Enric Mas – in two of the last three editions we’ve seen Roglič come flying out of the Vuelta and take the title, Mas will be hoping he can continue this pattern. He was brilliant in Spain, finishing 2nd to an excellent Evenepoel, but this is unknown territory for Mas. Last year he ended his season at the Vuelta, this year it’s time to see if he can continue for a couple of weeks and take a win in this race or Lombardia. We’ll have to wait and see how his legs respond but he did look good in Coppa Agostoni.

David Gaudu – he was very frustrated to puncture out of the lead group in last year’s race, it was a great chance for him to challenge for the win. 4th in the Tour de France was a huge result for the Frenchman, a result he’s been searching for in the last couple of years. His last race was in Montréal, where he made the front group and looked impressive on the climbs. This is a race that suits him, like many he goes very well on the San Luca climb, I expect him to be challenging for the win.

Aleksandr Vlasov – just one outing since the Tour de France, which was 5th place in Coppa Sabatini two weeks ago. It seems a strange route into Lombardia, but I must assume the team know what they’re doing. Vlasov has enjoyed a brilliant season; he was exceptional in the opening months of the year. He won the COVID edition of this race back in 2020, when he was in a very strong run of form. Given his lack of recent racing, I think it’s going to be hard for him to win this year, but he should still be up there given his quality.

Miguel Ángel López – threatened at the Vuelta, but couldn’t manage to get a stage win, but he’ll still be happy with his 4th place on GC. Astana have had an awful season, just two wins is a disgrace for a team of their quality. Will López be able to end the year with a bang? His bosses will certainly hope so.

Simon Yates – I’m a big fan of Simon Yates, he’s capable of producing brilliant results in the hardest of races, but I do find him a hard rider to work out. Unlike nearly all the top climbers in the world, his record at the end of the season is very poor. Lombardia is the one monument these guys can win, but Yates normally checks out way before then. Since 2016 he’s competed in Lombardia just once, that was last year when he finished 86th. The rest of the time his final grand tour of the year is when he normally stops, it’s a rather peculiar record he has compared to everyone else, especially as Lombardia is a race he can win. This year things are different, he already raced in Agostoni and is due to compete in several of the upcoming Italian races before taking on Lombardia next weekend. Technically speaking, this is a race that suits him, but I have no idea what to expect from him, I’m not sure even he does.

Julian Alaphilippe – he’s back in his team jersey, that’s going to take some time for us to get used to. It was no surprise that Alaphilippe didn’t win in Australia, his preparation was far from ideal. I think this race will also come to soon for him, it’s all about getting racing in the legs before Lombardia.

Jay Vine – I’m fascinated to see what he can achieve in the coming week. Make no mistake, his ride in the Vuelta is one of the most stunning performances I’ve seen by a “smaller” rider in a grand tour for a very long time. Crashing out must have been hard to take, the KOM jersey was his, but I get the feeling he’s made of strong stuff, I’m expecting him to bounce back from that disappointment in the next few races. 

Prediction Time

It’s a little hard to judge with Pogačar and Alaphilippe coming from the worlds and the rest approaching this race by a variety of different routes. Looking at current form, I’ll take a win for Adam Yates.

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