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Cyclist’s 2022 Giro d’Italia predictions: Maglia rosa, biggest surprise and more

Robyn Davidson
6 May 2022

The Cyclist team have their say on who will win the jerseys at the Giro, as well as the biggest surprises and most stage wins

The first Grand Tour of the year is finally here and what a Giro d’Italia this is already shaping up to be.

Cycling stars such as Mathieu van der Poel, Richard Carapaz and Vincenzo Nibali are lining up in Budapest, ready to tackle a three-week slog into Sicily and through the Dolomites in search of team stage wins, jersey victories and their own piece of cycling history. 

The Cyclist team have collated their predictions to smugly look back on/try to hide when they don’t come true/nit-pick one another’s thoughts, so without further ado, let's get into it... 

Pete Muir, Editor

Maglia rosa (general classification): Richard Carapaz, Ineos Grenadiers

Photo credit: Photogomezsport 

Knows how to win the Giro, has great support from the likes of Richie Porte and Pavel Sivakov, and Ineos will put all their effort into this Grand Tour, knowing the Tour de France is likely out of their reach.

Maglia azzurra (mountains classification): Romain Bardet, Team DSM

With little pressure to win the GC, he’ll be free to hunt down mountain points.

Maglia ciclamino (points classification): Mathieu van der Poel, Alpecin Fenix

Because he’s just a machine.

Maglia bianca (young rider): João Almeida, UAE Team Emirates

At 23 he can already do it all, and looks like a future winner of this race.

Rider with most stage wins: Mark Cavendish, QuickStep Alpha Vinyl

Just so he can stick two fingers up at Patrick Lefevere for not picking him for the Tour.

Team with most stage wins: Ineos Grenadiers

On their way to the overall.

First maglia rosa: Mathieu van der Poel, Alpecin Fenix

An uphill sprint finish on Stage 1 will suit his particular brand of punch.

Biggest surprise: Tom Dumoulin, Jumbo-Visma

The 2017 winner returns from the wilderness to make it onto the GC podium.

Stage you’re looking forward to the most: Stage 20

The penultimate stage will be epic, gripping and beautiful, taking in some of the finest peaks in the Dolomites, such as the Pordoi and Fedaia.

Joe Robinson, Digital Editor

Maglia rosa: Who knows?

Photo credit: Maximilliano Blanco via Getty Images

This is reminiscent of the 2020 Giro d'Italia in which there was no real favourite.

With 10 or so riders all on similar levels, it should be very open however I think the Grand Tour winning experience of Richard Carapaz and Simon Yates will come in handy during the third week.

Maglia azzurra: Miguel Angel Lopez, Astana Qazaqstan Team

Don’t ask me for a rationale.

Maglia ciclamino: Mathieu van der Poel, Alpecin-Fenix

That’s if he makes Verona. If not, Arnaud Demare by virtue of being the only sprinter to make the finish.

Maglia bianca: Thymen Arensman, Team DSM

He will be a relevation at this Giro.

Rider with most stage wins: Van der Poel and Caleb Ewan

They’ll split the honours on this one.

Team with most stage wins: Bahrain Victorious 

A team in form with riders for most occasions. I reckon they bank four wins.

First maglia rosa: If it’s not MVDP I’ll be surprised

But I would love to see Binaim Grimay do something special in Hungary.

Biggest surprise: Mikel Landa, Bahrain-Victorious

Being the best climber in the race but blowing any GC ambitions in week 1. Oh sorry, you said surprise.

Stage you’re looking forward to the most: Stage 8

153km around a 19km loop of Napoli. Get it in the diaries cats.

Robyn Davidson, Editorial Assistant

Maglia rosa: Richard Carapaz, Ineos Grenadiers

Photo credit: A.S.O./Pauline Ballet

Raise your hand if you’re winning the maglia rosa.

A typically obvious choice. The beauty of this Giro is the lack of standout favourite, such as when Tadej Pogačar shows up to a race and they already begin etching his name on the trophy. 

But as usual, the Ineos Grenadiers team is stacked with strongmen, from Richie Porte to Jonathan Castroviejo. It'll be a surprise if Carapaz isn’t in the maglia rosa at some point. 

Maglia azzurra: Romain Bardet, Team DSM

Team DSM feel a quieter team to their Sunweb predecessors, but perhaps this works well for Romain Bardet. 

He’s had a solid build-up to the Giro d’Italia with an overall win in the Tour of the Alps. After his 7th place GC finish last year, I expect him to be near the podium at the end of the race with the mountains jersey on his back. 

Maglia ciclamino: Magnus Cort, EF Education-EasyPost

To avoid sounding like a broken record, I’ll steer clear of Van der Poel. There aren’t many pure sprinters at this year’s Giro, mostly due to the six mountain stages.

I see Magnus Cort being allowed free reign on the flatter stages if Owain Doull is protecting Hugh Carthy – who being from Preston I would love to see get a top five finish. 

Maglia bianca: Attila Valter, Groupama-FDJ

These youngsters. I think Attila Valter, off the back of the Giro starting in his home country, will be a fierce contender. 

Rider with most stage wins: João Almeida, UAE Team Emirates

On his way to a podium position.

Team with most stage wins: Bahrain Victorious

Clue’s in the name. But you can’t line-up with Mikel Landa and Pello Bilbao and not expect some stage fireworks.

First maglia rosa: Biniam Girmay, Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux

A lot of expectation has already been placed on the 22-year-old’s shoulders. He is a history maker after all. 

But if he doesn’t win the first stage into Visegrád after the kick up with 5km to go, I still have his down as a stage winner at the 2022 Giro. 

Biggest surprise: Non-WT stage win

I love a story that tugs on the heartstrings, such as Thibaut Pinot at the Tour of the Alps recently. 

I see that happening with Tom Dumoulin this year, the 2017 champion claiming a stage win after his break from cycling to prioritise his mental health, but also through a Continental team winning after the breakaway manages to stay away until the finish.

Good luck Bardiani-CSF, Drone Hopper-Androni Giocattoli and EOLO-Kometa.

Stage you’re looking forward to the most: Stage 18

I’ll be at the finish in Treviso – my first time at the Giro d'Italia!

Will Strickson, Editorial Assistant

Maglia rosa: Simon Yates, Team BikeExchange-Jayco

Photo credit: A.S.O./Alex Broadway

It’s time for the Bury man to bury his demons and finally win the Giro. He’s been close and closer in the past and without a standout favourite he could sneak in.

There are enough time-trials to take time out of the climbing purists without losing too much to true TT specialists.

Maglia azzurra: Miguel Angel Lopez, Astana Qazaqstan Team

Superman became the villain when he stole a stage win from Thibaut Pinot recently but his team won’t let him do it again with Vincenzo Nibali leading their Astana Qazaqstan team.

Instead he’ll lose 15 minutes on a flat stage and take the most impressive stage wins of the season.

Maglia ciclamino: Biniam Girmay, Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux

The Eritrean is taking 2022 to the house with a points jersey title in his first Grand Tour. Having just signed a long term contract extension at Intermarché, Bini will have the confidence to challenge on pure flat stages as well as the days with a climb too many for the out and out sprinters.

Maglia bianca: João Almeida, UAE Team Emirates

He could win the whole thing, he almost has won the whole thing and he’s not working for Remco this year. Bota lume.

Rider with most stage wins: Pello Bilbao, Bahrain Victorious

One of the form riders from the early season stage races, Bilbao is a decent climber, so he’ll stick around late in races (if he hasn’t buried himself for Mikel Landa), and he’s one of the best descenders in the peloton.

Descent finish after a mountain? Bilbao will be Victorious. At least three wins.

Team with most stage wins: Bahrain Victorious.

Couple Bilbao’s heroics with Landa riding free to go for stage wins and Phil Bauhaus winning at least one sprint stage.

First maglia rosa: Mathieu van der Poel, Alpecin-Fenix

MVDP is there to win stages and the first is a match made in heaven for the peloton’s Most Valuable de Players. There are a raft of puncheurs and sprinters Hungary for victory but this man eats specialists for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Biggest surprise: Guillaume Martin podium.

The thinking man’s cyclist will continue his strategy of losing time in GC only to get in a big breakaway that catapults him onto the podium. Only this time he’ll hold on.

Stage you’re looking forward to the most: Stage 1

The uphill finish, the contenders, the first maglia rosa. The first Grand Tour stage of the season is guaranteed drama and with a stacked lineup of MVDP, Girmay, Magnus Cort and Caleb Ewan all vying for opening day victory, it will be grande.

Martin James, Production Editor

Maglia rosa: João Almeida, UAE Team Emirates

Almeida has had a solidly impressive 2022 season so far and spent 15 days in the maglia rosa in 2020. With a strong team around him and team leader Tadej Pogacar focussing on the Tour, the 23-year-old could be the latest of the new generation to taste Grand Tour success

Maglia azzurra: Simon Yates, Team BikeExchange-Jayco

Coming off a pair of stage wins at the Vuelta Asturias, Yates is in decent form and usually rides well at the Giro. Could easily repeat his podium finish of last year, but is equally capable of targeting stage wins and a tilt at the blue jersey should his ambitions of pink slip away.

Maglia ciclamino: Mathieu van der Poel, Alpecin-Fenix

Van der Poel’s all-round ability to keep racking up points over the full three weeks are impossible to ignore – if he completes the full three weeks, that is.

Maglia bianca: João Almeida, UAE Team Emirates

Almeida wins this by default should he win the Giro outright, and is the clear favourite for the young rider’s prize even if he doesn’t.

Rider with most stage wins: Mark Cavendish, QuickStep Alpha Vinyl

With only a handful of true fast men lining up to start the Giro this year, Cav has a great chance to add to his 15 Giro stage wins in his first visit to the Italian Grand Tour in nine years.

Team with most stage wins: Ineos Grenadiers

Ineos’ newfound focus on bringing the entertainment will bring with it a clutch of stage wins, building on their decent one-day form throughout the spring.  

First maglia rosa: Magnus Cort, EF Education-EasyPost

Look, it’s going to be Van der Poel, isn’t it? But rather than go with the obvious choice, I reckon Magnus could sneak away in the last 5km and hold on to the end. 

Biggest surprise: Vincenzo Nibali shines on Etna

At 37, the Shark of Messina’s bite is somewhat diminished these days, but Stage 4’s summit finish on Mount Etna is set up for Nibali to remind us just what a classy bike rider he still is. 

Stage you’re looking forward to the most: Stage 4

Sometimes these early summit finishes see the GC favourites step forward; sometimes an outsider steps up to shape the race narrative for days to come; sometimes nothing happens at all. And that’s what makes it so interesting.

Main image credit: Stuart Franklin via Getty Images