Ag2r Citroen 6/10
With no obvious leader in their roster, Ag2r Citroën focussed on breakaways, and to great success — not only did Andrea Vendrame land them the hoped-for stage win at Bagno di Romagna but Geoffrey Bouchard also won the mountains classification after taking the blue jersey at the end of the first week and resiliently defended it all the way to Milan.
The wildcard team’s first ever Grand Tour appearance got off to the best possible start when Tim Merlier won the race’s first bunch sprint on stage two. When he abandoned at the end of the first week, they animated the breaks instead, with Oscar Riesebeek almost winning in Gorizia and Dries De Bondt winning both the combativity award and intermediate sprint classification as a result of his constant attacking.
Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec 4/10
As ever at the Giro d'Italia, barely a break went up the road that didn’t feature an Androni rider, with the indefatigable Simon Pellaud as aggressive as ever and winning the breakaway classification. But they will have had high hopes for young Ecuadorian Jefferson Cepeda, who didn’t have anything like the legs he had to finish fourth at the Tour of the Alps last month.
Astana-Premier Tech 5/10
After a very strong opening week from Alexander Vlasov, Astana started riding like a team that believed they had a real shot at the pink jersey, leading the peloton ahead of the crucial Monte Zoncolan on stage 14. But the Russian was dropped on that climb and continued to struggle in the following stages; although he hung on for fourth overall, the team may regret not chasing for stage wins to get more out of this race.
What looked set to be a disastrous race somehow ended up a significant success, as Damiano Caruso deputised as team leader following Mikel Landa’s early crash to take a surprise runner-up finish, plus a stage win atop Alpe Motta. Credit also to Gino Mader, who ignited the team’s comeback by winning on San Giacomo the very next day after Landa’s devastating crash.
In a race where there was so much success for smaller teams in the breakaways, Bardiani will lament not ending their five-year duck without a Giro stage win. The likes of Giovanni Visconti, Giovanni Carboni and especially Umberto Marengo tried admirably, but no rider fared better than Filippo Fiorelli’s third-place on Sestola early in the first week.
After keeping himself in contention despite a quieter than usual opening to the Giro, there were times in the third week when it looked as though Simon Yates might win the pink jersey. Maybe he could have got closer to doing so if he'd had stronger domestiques at his disposal to put Ineos Grenadiers under more pressure in the final mountain stages, but a third-place finish and stage win on Alpe di Mera still makes for a successful race.
Undeterred by their failure to win a stage after riding all day to drop the pure sprinters on stage three, Bora-Hansgrohe tried exactly the same tactic a week later on stage ten; this time succeeding in setting up Peter Sagan for the win, who also gained a lead in the maglia ciclamino that he held all the way to Milan. Emmanuel Buchmann’s promising GC bid ended in disappointment however when he crashed out while sixth on GC.
For all their focus on delivering Elia Viviani in the sprints (who looked better than he has recently, with three top-four finishes, but still not back to his best), Cofidis stage win instead came from an unlikely source — Victor Lafay, who was the best rider from a large break that went clear on the stage to Guardia to take his first-ever professional win.
Deceuninck - Quick-Step 3/10
Whatever happened between João Almeida and Remco Evenepoel on the Strade Bianche stage, when Almeida rode on seemingly unaware that his leader had been dropped, it was not a good look for the team. Their race never really recovered from that stage, as Evenepoel’s GC bid fell apart, and Almeida and Rémi Cavagna’s desperate attempts to win a stage during the final week didn’t quite work — although a resurgent Almeida did end up sixth overall.
There was to be no repeat of last year’s heroics, as Jai Hindley fell out of GC contention early on, and despite some promising signs Romain Bardet was only able to finish seventh overall. Nikias Arndt, Chris Hamilton and Nicholas Roche all claimed top three-finishes from breakaways, but none could deliver that elusive stage win.
EF Education-Nippo 6/10
When Hugh Carthy awoke to see dark rain clouds in the sky on the morning of the queen stage at the end of the second week, apparently he spied an opportunity to win the Giro d'Italia. From that point of view, his eventual finish of eighth was disappointing, but Alberto Bettiol at least made the most of his exceptional form to land the team a stage win at the hilly circuit at Stradella.
Little was expected of this small wildcard team, so Lorenzo Fortunato’s stage win atop Monte Zoncolan no less was a stunning success. Considering that the modest achievement of Vincenzo Albanese’s two-day stint as King of the Mountains during the first week was at the time viewed as a successful outing of the team, they hugely exceeded expectations.
Without the injured Thibaut Pinot, Groupama-FDJ began the Giro looking rudderless, so huge credit to Attila Valter for getting himself into the pink jersey and putting the spotlight on the team for three days. Those three days go some way to making up for the fact that the team were practically invisible once Valter tumbled back down the GC.
Ineos Grenadiers 10/10
Long gone are the days when Ineos Grenadiers were unable to replicate their Tour de France success at the Giro d’Italia. Egan Bernal’s overall victory makes it three pink jerseys in just four years for the British team, and, even after Pavel Sivakov’s early withdrawal, it was a performance of great strength in depth as Bernal’s invaluable mountain domestique Dani Martinez finished fifth overall, and Filippo Ganna won both time trials.
Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Materiaux 6/10
The WorldTour’s newest team at last started to look home at this level, as Taco van der Hoorn defied the sprinters to take a shock breakaway win on stage three, Intermarche’s first of the season since being promoted to the top tier. Rein Taaramae also came close to taking the pink jersey the very next day, but after that little was seen from the team beyond Quinten Hermans’ frequent attacks.
Israel Start-Up Nation 6/10
Dan Martin might not have been able to sustain a GC bid, but this was nevertheless a good Giro from the team; Alessandro De Marchi had a couple of days in pink during the first week, Davide Cimolai was up there in the sprints and finished second in the points classification, and best of all Martin won the stage atop Sega di Ala.
You’ve got to question the strategy of a team that places three riders in the top twelve, but none higher than ninth (courtesy of Tobias Foss), and managing no stage wins between them. Surely they’d have been better off going all in for stage wins? With Dylan Groenewegen not yet up to speed in the sprints upon his return to the peloton, and Edoardo Affini twice missing out to Filippo Ganna in the time trials, Jumbo-Visma come home empty handed.
Battered and bruised, Lotto-Soudal reached Milan with just two riders left after everyone else had abandoned. But they still managed two stage wins in the sprints thanks to Caleb Ewan, who has become one of the most reliable riders in the world for always delivering at Grand Tours.
Try as they might, Movistar could not land a stage win. The likes of Dario Cataldo and Antonio Pedrero continuously attacked and got into innumerable breaks, but no-one came particularly close to winning. With Marc Soler crashing out during the second week while eleventh overall, Movistar will struggle to take any positives from the race.
Qhubeka Assos 8/10
A glorious second week saw Mauro Schmid claim the prestigious Montalcino stage, Giacomo Nizzolo win a sprint in Verona, and Victor Campaerts triumph from a large breakaway, all in the space of just five days. Nizzolo’s in particular was a joyous moment, as it brought to an end a career-long hunt for a Giro stage win that had frustratingly continued into this race with a couple more runner-up finishes.
At first, Vincenzo Nibali’s fading legs did not seem to matter, as Giulio Ciccone stepped up to become the surprise candidate of the early stages, ending the second week in sixth overall. But a crash on stage seventeen ended his race while he was still on the brink of the podium, and despite some decent sprints from Matteo Moschetti and breakaway attempts from Bauke Mollema, the team didn’t have the insurance of a stage win to fall back on.
UAE Team Emirates 5/10
The failure of lead-out riders like Juan Sebastian Molano to get things right for Fernando Gaviria in the sprints was made up for by Joe Dombrowski, who won at Sestola from a breakaway. Alessandro Covi came close a couple of times to adding a second win from a break, but Davide Formolo disappointed in his bid for a high GC finish.
Thank you for reading 20 articles this month* Join now for unlimited access
Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1
*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription
Join now for unlimited access
Try first month for just £1 / $1 / €1