Giro d’Italia 2022, stage one – latest updates from Hungary with first pink jersey up for grabs

“There are many things that keep bringing me back,” Yates said. “It’s just a race I enjoy racing. We have a lot of Italian staff on the team, our service course is [in Varese], and I really enjoy the atmosphere in the team when we all come together and try to win the Giro. I think it’s a race that suits me well, it’s a very difficult race with lots of climbing.

“I think I’ve learned patience. You need to be quite calm. The race is three weeks. You can always go back to 2018 where we really went after it in the first and second weeks and then fell apart in the third.

“But even last year I had some problems with my hamstrings in the first week but still came good towards the end, managed a stage and arrived on the podium. You’ve got to have an eye on the big picture, be patient and wait for the race to come to you.”

Yates, however, refused to be drawn on whether he will take home the pink jersey, saying: “I’ll let you guys make that decision. I think the riders are just anxious to start. There are others who will be competitive. Take it back to last year. I’d won the Tour of the Alps [ahead of the Giro] and I kept reading I was a massive favourite. Romain Bardet won the Tour of the Alps this year and I’ve heard nothing about him so I think there’s a few guys flying under the radar.

“I feel good,” he insisted. “I won two good stages and the sensations are good. The second day was my first exposure to some really hot conditions and in the past I’ve had some difficulties with my first exposure of the year. But I’m not worried. We ‘ll see once the race starts.”

Aside from Carapaz and Yates, there is a handful of other general classification riders who will be eyeing the Trofeo Senza Fine (the swirly trophy awarded to the overall winner) and, of course, the fabled pink jersey. Joao Almeida (UAE Team Emirtaes), Miguel Angel López (Astana Qazaqstan) and Mikel Landa (Bahrain Victorious) are probably the next group of favourites, while Romain Bardet (DSM), Emanuel Buchmann (Bora-Hansgrohe), Guillaume Martin (Cofidis) will also have designs on a podium finish in Verona a little over three weeks from now. I would not be surprised if Tobias Foss ended up leading the Jumbo-Visma team as I am not too sure about Dumoulin’s form, while Hugh Carthy, one of three Britons in the EF Education-EasyPost team, could leave his stamp on the race. Enough of the idle speculation, what does today’s stage look like?

Featuring two intermediate sprints, the long and flattish looking stage appears, at first, relatively benign. But there is a sting in its tail. After what is expected to be a fast approach, the finale includes a short 5km climb with an average gradient of five per cent, though it nudges up to eight per cent in places. Likened by some as Poggio-esque climb, but without the descent over the other side, we could see a varied field of riders challenge for the stage win and, of course, the first pink jersey of the race.

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