Giro d’Italia 2022 team guide: Start list, star riders as Ineos Grenadiers and Mark Cavendish go for glory
Running the rule over all 22 teams in the 2022 Giro d’Italia, Felix Lowe examines each squad’s star riders, racing style, collective goals and memorable Giro moments from years gone by. And in a bid to win a Pulitzer while bringing some extra levity to the first Grand Tour of the season, he also weighs up what kind of Italian food each team would be.
Forget the route – a race is only as good as its riders and its teams. So with the 105th edition of the Giro d’Italia fast approaching, let’s take a closer look at those 22 teams and some of those stand-out 176 riders.
Pink jersey and a sprinters’ guide will follow this week ahead of the grande partenza in Budapest on Friday 6th May. But for now, the focus falls on the teams. Here is a brief overview of all the squads taking part – including their star assets, best Giro moments, and the vital question of which traditional Italian dish they most resemble…
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Star Rider: Mikel ‘Landismo’ Landa
Memorable Moment: Damiano Caruso soloing to glory in the penultimate stage last year, giving the team a well-deserved second place on GC after Landa crashed out in the opening week.
Racing Style: It usually involves going all-in for Landa before the Spaniard toils to eighth place on a key summit finish. Lately, the wins have come from across the board after some excellent individual performances.
Giro goals: A podium finish for Landa and a top five for Pello Bilbao; a sprint win for Phil Bauhaus.
If they were an Italian food... Pizza marinara. No time for cheese – just lashings of tomato on a firm base.
Star Rider: Sacha Modolo
Memorable Moment: A magical 2014 when three riders from the Italian wildcard team – Marco Canola, Enrico Battaglin and Stefano Pirazzi – picked up wins in the space of five days.
Racing Style: Make the break or suffer the consequences.
Giro goals: Besides making every breakaway and having someone in the picture for the fuga prize, a third career stage win for Modolo seven years after his previous two triumphs.
If they were an Italian food... Spaghetti carbonara. Ever present on the menu, can be cooked terribly, but occasionally really hits the spot.
Star Rider: Wilco Kelderman – but don’t bet on it.
Memorable Moment: Besides Peter Sagan’s two wins and maglia ciclamino, Cesare Benedetti’s only pro win in 2019 brought a tear to the eye in Pinerolo.
Racing Style: Protecting the top 10 positions of Kelderman, Jai Hindley and Emanuel Buchmann, all of whom will look to ghost their way to a high finish in Verona.
Giro goals: A stage win and the blue KOM jersey for Lennard Kamna, and a top five for one of their many outside GC options.
If they were an Italian food... Pizza quattro staggioni. There’s a bit of everything but you never know if it will come spread out across the three weeks or clumped together in disparate lumps.
Star Rider: Guillaume Martin, cycling’s Descartes.
Memorable Moment: Victor Lafay’s breakaway victory in Stage 8 last year. Not only was it Cofidis’ first on the Giro in 11 years, it was the 25-year-old Frenchman’s first as a pro.
Racing Style: Doing enough to get invited next year.
Giro goals: A stage win in the mountains and top 10 finish for Martin, plus a good showing in the sprints from Davide Cimolai and Simone Consonni.
If they were an Italian food... Insalata caprese. Just without the basil.
DRONE HOPPER-ANDRONI GIOCATTOLI
Star Rider: Eritrea’s Natnael Tesfatsion or Ukraine’s Andrii Ponomar – two youngsters with bags of potential.
Memorable Moment: Fausto Masnada’s victory in 2019 – Androni’s first in seven years on the Giro – had manager Gianni Savio jogging up the home straight in celebration.
Racing Style: A bit all over the place – as you’d expect from a team with riders from seven different nationalities and no clear hierarchy.
Giro goals: Making every break and giving silverfox owner Savio something to cheer. Argentina’s Eduardo Sepulveda being the most likely outlet in the hills…
If they were an Italian food... Nonna’s meatballs. That grandma being Gianni Savio’s, of course.
Diego Andres Camargo
Odd Christian Eiking
Star Rider: The moustachioed Magnus Cort
Memorable Moment: Besides their annual limited edition zany kit for the Giro, Alberto Bettiol’s solo win in Stradella last year was special.
Racing Style: Getting those limited-edition kits some screen time.
Giro goals: Stage wins and the ciclamino jersey for Cort, a tilt at the GC for Hugh Carthy.
If they were an Italian food... Ham and pineapple pizza. Not to everyone’s taste but big in the US.
Star Rider: Lorenzo Fortunato
Memorable Moment: Fortunato’s win in the mist on Monte Zoncolan last year was the stuff of legends – and forced owner Alberto Contador to ride all the way from Madrid to Milan.
Racing Style: Getting in the breaks.
Giro goals: A stage win for Francesco Gavazzi after coming so close last year, and Diego Rosa improving on his career high 23rd place on GC.
If they were an Italian food... Spaghetti alla Puttanesca. A dish loved by Italians, puttanesca translates as “in the style of the whore” – which may explain the team’s sponsorship deal with Burger King.
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Star Rider: Arnaud Demare
Memorable Moment: Frenchman Demare’s four wins and maglia ciclamino in 2020.
Racing Style: Going all-in for the sprints while hoping one of their climbers can pull something off in the mountains.
Giro goals: A return to form for the struggling Demare, and a stage win from Attila Valter in the year the race starts in his native Hungary.
If they were an Italian food... Linguine alle vongole. An Italian dish with a French twist from the Cote d’Azur.
Star Rider: The 2019 champion Richard Carapaz
Memorable Moment: Take your pick from Chris Froome’s solo ride on the Colle delle Finistre, Tao Geoghegan Hart’s last-gasp pink in 2020, or Egan Bernal’s victory in 2021; Sir Dave Brailsford’s team have won three of the last four editions.
Racing Style: Not as suffocating as their long reign in France – although it will be interesting to see how they fare without Filippo Ganna’s stage-winning influence for the first time in three years.
Giro goals: The maglia rosa for Carapaz and a high finish for Pavel Sivakov after his crash last year.
If they were an Italian food... Lasagne. The go-to dominant dish, with ragu, bechamel and parmigiano oozing between sheets of sfoglia pasta providing structure, depth and flavour.
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Aime De Gendt
Star Rider: Domenico Pozzovivo, the piano-playing economist
Memorable Moment: Taco van der Hoorn upsetting the sprinters and holding on for a breath-taking breakaway victory in last year’s third stage.
Racing Style: It used to be simply getting in the breaks but the team’s tactics have refined in line with their increased success at WorldTour level.
Giro goals: A high finish for the piano-playing Pozzovivo and a sprint win for African sprint sensation Biniam Girmay on his Grand Tour debut.
If they were an Italian food... Gnocchi ai quattro formaggi. It may seem a bit boring but the sauce has real depth and the potato pasta adds a whole new dimension.
Alessandro De Marchi
Star Rider: Giacomo Nizzolo
Memorable Moment: Alex Dowsett’s soloing to Stage 8 victory in Vieste alongside a stray dog in 2020.
Racing Style: It would usually involve getting in the breaks while protecting their GC hope but the addition of sprinter Nizzolo – and the absence of any genuine overall contender – will shake things up this May.
Giro goals: A third points classification title for Nizzolo and a breakaway win for a livewire like Alessandro De Marchi.
If they were an Italian food... Osso bucco alla Milanese. Beef shank slow-cooked until the meat becomes tender; a mainstay on the menu even if it rarely appeals to the average diner.
Jos van Emden
Star Rider: Tom Dumoulin, the 2017 champion
Memorable Moment: Unfortunately, it’s still Steven Kruijswijk slamming into a slow wall atop the Colle dell’Agnello while in pink back in 2016.
Racing Style: Less rigid than when supporting Primoz Roglic’s annual pursuit of yellow or red.
Giro goals: A high finish for Dutchman Dumoulin as he leads for the first time since joining from Team Sunweb in 2020.
If they were an Italian food... Tagliatelle al ragu. Or spag bol, if you’re that way inclined. Strong, dependable, known all over the world – but rarely seen in Italy.
Memorable Moment: Tim Wellens’ solo win at Roccaraso back in 2016 was the stuff of dreams and came in an edition where Lotto’s sprinter Andre Greipel also took a hat-trick of sprint scalps.
Racing Style: Going all-in for the Aussie pocket-rocket Ewan on the flat days while giving breakaway specialist Thomas De Gendt the freedom to try his luck on the hillier stages.
Giro goals: A first win on the Giro for a decade for De Gendt would be the cherry on a cake made up of at least two sprint triumphs for Ewan.
If they were an Italian food... Pizza margherita. Traditional and often eschewed by millennials, but a favourite of the purists and can really hit the spot when the ingredients are right.
Jose Joaquin Rojas
Ivan Ramiro Sosa
Star Rider: Alejandro Valverde
Memorable Moment: Richard Carapaz’s overall win in 2019, as captured through the lens of the documentary The Least Expected Day.
Racing Style: Well, it usually involved a failed trident. But this year there appears to be just the two prongs in the veteran Valverde and the young buck Ivan Sosa.
Giro goals: Stage wins and a top 10 finish for the aforementioned Valverde (in only his second Giro appearance) and Sosa, and plenty of opportunities for the others from breakaways.
If they were an Italian food... Gelato. Let’s be honest – they’re just here for the ice cream.
QUICK-STEP ALPHA VINYL
Bert Van Lerberghe
Star Rider: Mark Cavendish
Memorable Moment: Joao Almeida’s unexpectedly long run in pink in 2020 was the stuff of dreams, but didn’t half complicate things when it came to the internal leadership structure when Remco Evenepoel made his hotly anticipated Grand Tour debut last year…
Racing Style: The presence of Cavendish and lead-out man Michael Mørkøv suggests Quick-Step are prioritising the sprints and a tilt at the maglia ciclamino won by the Manxman on his last appearance in the Giro, back in 2013.
Giro goals: James Knox, Mauri Vansevenant and Mauro Schmid (a stage winner last year) should benefit from free roles on days when Cav and/or Davide Ballerini are not the priority.
If they were an Italian food... Tartufo. Some people don’t like the smell and, when over-used, they can easily overpower a dish. But when truffles or truffle oil are used right, it’s food fit for a king.
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Star Rider: Simon Yates
Memorable Moment: Esteban Chaves’ win in the Dolomites in 2019 brought another smile to the face of a rider who came close to winning the maglia rosa in 2016.
Racing Style: Formerly Mitchelton-Scott, the team has come close to pulling off overall wins for both Chaves and Simon Yates in the past by riding as a solid unit.
Giro goals: A long-awaited overall win for Yates to draw a line under his 2018 heartbreak, when he imploded in pink with just two days remaining.
If they were an Italian food... Fiori di zucca fritti. The delicious taste of deep-fried courgette flowers stuffed with ricotta is not up for debate. But just like the team’s kit, the outside coating is clearly not good for anyone’s health.
Star Rider: Roman Bardet
Memorable Moment: The sight of Tom Dumoulin tearing off the maglia rosa and pulling down his bib shorts on the side of the Stelvio in 2017 will take some beating…
Racing Style: A bit like someone wearing red, orange and green garments to a traffic light party, DSM don’t seem to know what they want, so they’re going for it all.
Giro goals: A summit stage win for Bardet would have been a good target until the Frenchman’s recent overall win in the Tour of the Alps has increased expectations. Elsewhere, sprinters Cees Bol and Alberto Dainese will hope to get in on the act, not to forget Chris Hamilton in the hills.
If they were an Italian food... Risotto. Seems like a good idea but a bit samey after a while.
'What's happened here, bike change perhaps? Oh NO!' - When Dumoulin was caught short at the Giro
Juan Pedro Lopez
Mattias Skjelmose Jensen
Star Rider: Giulio Ciccone
Memorable Moment: Ciccone’s ride over the Mortirolo to snare victory in Ponti di Legno and consolidate his lead in the blue jersey mountains classification remains the pinnacle for a team that has failed to light up the Giro in recent years.
Racing Style: Like a packet of Revels, you hope to get the toffee one each time but often end up grimacing on a coffee or orange cream. They’re a bit all over the place but at least Ciccone, Trek’s toffee, gives them a focal point.
Giro goals: While another blue jersey would be a good return for Ciccone, the 27-year-old will be targeting a maiden Grand Tour top 10 after an unlucky run of three DNFs. Veteran Bauke Mollema will target the breakaways and Edward Theuns will hope to freelance his way to a strong finish in some of the sprints.
If they were an Italian food... Affogato. With Segafredo as co-sponsor in a race in the land of ice cream, you can’t really have it any other way.
Watch Ciccone outsprint Hirt to take deserved stage win
Star Rider: Joao Almeida
Memorable Moment: Diego Ulissi’s brace of wins in 2020 preceded the team’s structural shift towards Tadej Pogacar’s annual pursuit of yellow.
Racing Style: The arrival of Almeida from Quick-Step will give UAE a bona fide GC option and could coax the best from Davide Formolo, too.
Giro goals: A podium finish for Almeida, stage wins for Italians Ulissi and Alessandro Covi, and a return to form for sprinter Fernando Gaviria.
If they were an Italian food... Pizza fiorentina. All the ingredients are there to make a tasty dish even if there’s a distinct lack of meat. More generally, the question remains whether there’s ever a place for an egg on a pizza.
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