Grand Tour racing is a cruel old business. Despite there being 21 stages, 21 opportunities to win, plus a whole host of other prizes on offer, there are teams that departed Verona last night with nothing to show for it, other than a roster of very weary riders.
Out of the 176 riders that started the Giro d'Italia, 149 finished, but the majority got nowhere near the top ten on a single day, let alone the top of the general classification. Obviously, there's more to a Grand Tour than winning, but there have been some squads that have been seemingly anonymous for the past three weeks.
A day on from the final stage of the Giro, and the 22 teams that took part will be going through a big debrief: what went right, what went wrong, and where their seasons go from now.
For some, the race was a bit of a disaster that left them staring down the barrel of relegation from the WorldTour. For others, it was a jubilant period, that cemented their position as one of the best teams in the world. Here is the Cycling Weekly subjective ratings for the teams of the Giro, and a look at where they go next.
They are all rated out of five, and are judged on wins, performance vs expectation, and visibility. And just vibes, sure.
1. Bora-Hansgrohe 5/5
The German team won their first Grand Tour through Jai Hindley, and will be basking in their success on Monday. They rode the perfect race across the three weeks, only claiming the pink jersey when they absolutely needed to, and thus forcing Ineos Grenadiers to control the race for the most part. Their strategy on the final day of sending Lennard Kämna up the road and then using him to pace Hindley might have been what blew the Giro apart in the end.
They joined the WorldTour in 2017, and started off as a Peter Sagan vehicle, but now they are so much more. They have a wave of GC riders coming through, and look good for most races. It will be interesting to see how they go at the Tour de France now, but their season already seems complete.
2. Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert 5/5
Two stage wins, two riders in the top ten, 16 top ten stage results. Not bad for the team with the smallest budget in the WorldTour. Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert were visible throughout the race too, partly thanks to their day-glo helmets, but mainly due to their aggression.
Biniam Girmay made history by being the first ever black African to win a Grand Tour stage, and Jan Hirt continued the squad's good form, winning in the Alps. Hirt and Domenico Pozzovio ended up in the top ten on GC in Verona, showing how you don't need a budget of tens of millions to succeed.
Intermarché are now basically safe from the relegation question, and will look to push on across the rest of the season. They have other winning riders in people like Alexander Kristoff, and we can't wait to see Girmay back in action.
3. Alpecin-Fenix 5/5
Another team punching above their weight, Alpecin-Fenix were arguably the team of the Giro. Three stage wins through three different riders, and Mathieu van der Poel won the combativity prize for his attacking flair throughout the race; he almost won the final day time trial!
For a team technically in the second division, Alpecin are a ProTeam who belong on the top table. They proved this last year, but through wins for Van der Poel, Dries De Bondt and Stefano Oldani, they showed how good they really are.
Scarily for his rivals, Van der Poel will now go on to ride the Tour in July, with the form he gained at the Giro in his legs. They will keep winning races, and will surely be in the WorldTour next year.
4. Groupama-FDJ 5/5
Groupama-FDJ came to the Giro to compete in the sprints and challenge for the points jersey, and this is exactly what they achieved. Arnaud Démare won in Messina, won in Scalea, and then won in Cuneo, and was comfortably the best sprinter in the race. There was no one to challenge him in the points classification, with the Frenchman winning the competition by over a hundred points.
They might not have had a say in the general classification, and Attila Valter might have missed out on backing up on his success from last year, but it was a good expedition for the team. Three of their five wins this year came from Italy over the past month.
For the Tour, Thibaut Pinot, David Gaudu and Stefan Küng will surely return, and they will hope to back up their form at their home race. Things are looking good for them.
5. Bahrain-Victorious 4/5
They might have won the teams classification, but Bahrain-Victorious did not have the perfect Giro. Mikel Landa achieved his second Grand Tour podium, but failed to make a decisive attack, for all his promise. Pello Bilbao also finished in the top five on GC, however, and the team achieved 25 top-ten results on stages.
In Santiago Buitrago, they have a star for the future, the Colombian showing his form with a win in the Alps. A successful if unspectacular race for the team, apart from winning the Giro's 'fair play competition', along with DSM and Cofidis.
The team have a whole host of great talents to come in for the rest of the season, with Jack Haig potentially the next Australian GC success. Matej Mohorič, having already won Milan-San Remo this year, will be looking to win more, with Damiano Caruso and Dylan Teuns also great options.
6. Jumbo-Visma 4/5
The general classification challenge from Jumbo-Visma never really materialised, with Tom Dumoulin and Tobias Foss losing time early on. However, the Dutch team were quickly able to refocus and change their aims for the Giro.
In Koen Bouwman, they had a man in perfect form, with the 28-year-old having the race of his life. He won two stages, first in Potenza, and then in the Alps. He won the mountains classification by miles, and Jumbo can be very happy with how their race went in the end.
Their Giro team was light on the big names, so expect more from riders like Primož Roglič, Wout van Aert and Jonas Vingegaard in the months to come. They will have higher hopes for their GC battle at the Tour and then the Vuelta a España.
7. Trek-Segafredo 4/5
For a team with no proper general classification hope at the beginning of the race, Trek-Segafredo certainly impressed over the three weeks. Juan Pedro López won the young rider competition after he spent ten days in the pink jersey, and Giulio Ciccone won stage 15.
For all his attempts, Bauke Mollema failed to win another Grand Tour stage, but he did celebrate with a contract extension on Monday. The team worked very well in defending López's lead, and overall they will be happy with their race.
Mads Pedersen and Jasper Stuyven will return in the coming races, and Trek will hope to keep winning.
8. Team BikeExchange-Jayco 4/5
Two time trials, two wins for Team BikeExchange-Jayco. The Australian squad are clearly benefiting from their new partnership with Giant, with Simon Yates winning in Budapest, and Matteo Sobrero winning in Verona. There was a further victory for Yates in Torino, although the Briton was disappointed to exit the race early.
In the end, it didn't really matter that the GC challenge failed to develop, but that was more down to bad luck than bad racing. Yates injured his knee early on in the race, but BikeExchange were able to change their focus across the rest of the Giro.
At the Tour, Yates will hope to return to winning ways, although it's unlikely he will concentrate on GC. Michael Matthews and Dylan Groenewegen will hope to challenge on punchy and flat stages, respectively, and the team will certainly be looking to get some wins on the board to move away from the possibility of relegation.
9. Ineos Grenadiers 3/5
This one might seem harsh. Richard Carapaz finished second at the Giro, his fourth Grand Tour podium of his career, and was just two days away from victory.
However, Ineos will surely be disappointed with how it turned out. They have won the last two editions of the Giro, and this might have been their best opportunity to win a Grand Tour this year, away from Tadej Pogačar and Primož Roglič. They failed to win a stage, and Richie Porte and Pavel Sivakov had their GC ambitions sacrificed early on at the altar of Carapaz's ambition.
The Tour de France will be different. All nine riders might be different, with Adam Yates and Dani Martínez expected to lead the team there. Ineos will hope to recapture the joie de vivre style of their Classics campaign in the coming months.
10. UAE Team Emirates 3/5
It was going so well for UAE Team Emirates. Up until the final week, João Almeida was flying high on general classification, and was in with a shout of a podium after the final day time trial.
However, the Portuguese rider was unfortunately struck down with Covid, and so dropped out of the race altogether. He will hope to come back better next year, but this was a disappointment. As for their sprinter, Fernando Gaviria, he came close to recapturing his Grand Tour stage winning ways, but left Italy empty-handed. They did win a stage, however, through Alessandro Covi.
There is a shadow hanging over the UAE team, however, that of Tadej Pogačar. The world's best cyclist will return in the coming weeks, along with George Bennet, Marco Soler, and Brandon McNulty. Success will come.
11. Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl 3/5
It started so well. Mark Cavendish won stage three, and it looked like he might be the dominant sprinter in the race. However, he failed to challenge again in the race, and was well off the points total of Arnaud Démare come the end of the race.
As for their climbing options, James Knox and Mauri Vansevenant did not come particularly close to success, while Mauro Schmid was denied by Koen Bouwman in the Alps. It was not the constantly-winning Quick-Step that we normally know.
However, the team has still been winning races, with Remco Evenepoel taking victory overall at the Tour of Norway. Things are still going well, very well. Not to worry.
12. Team DSM 3/5
Another team whose race was scuppered by bad luck. This really looked like it might be Romain Bardet's year, but the Frenchman was undone by illness. Thymen Arensman looked like he could be a suitable understudy, but failed to step into the big shoes of a team leader.
They still got a stage win, through Alberto Dainese, and were very far from the worst team in the race. They had 16 top ten results across the Giro too, not bad. They also jointly-topped the fair play standings, good work.
This year has been a bit of a struggle for the Dutch team, with just three wins across the whole season. They will be hoping that Bardet, John Degenkolb, and Søren Kragh Andersen can help the team put some more numbers on the board.
13. Lotto Soudal 3/5
A difficult race to judge for the men in red from Belgium. They were nowhere near as good as their domestic rivals Alpecin-Fenix and Intermarchê-Wanty-Gobert, but they did still win a stage through Thomas De Gendt.
However, Caleb Ewan left the race empty-handed. He will hope to return to his best form at the Tour, but that will be far more difficult with a deep field there.
Lotto Soudal are preoccupied with the possibility of relegation from the WorldTour, and so results elsewhere are possibly more important. Philippe Gilbert won the 4 Jours de Dunkerque, while Florian Vermeersch and Arnaud De Lie won Belgian one-day races recently. With 17 wins, they are far better than last season, but it still might not be enough.
14. EOLO-Kometa 3/5
A solid outing for the Italian ProTeam. They spent six days in the blue mountains jersey with Diego Rosa, and were visible in breaks. However, they didn't back up their success with Lorenzo Fortunato from last year.
As for the rest of the season, they will be looking to get a first 1.1 or above win of the year.
15. Astana-Qazaqstan 3/5
Vincenzo Nibali received the biggest cheer out of any rider in the Verona Arena, and fourth at his final Giro was a great performance. However, Astana failed to win a stage, and Miguel Ángel López was forced to withdraw early on due to a hip injury.
The Colombian will hope to return in the next few months, and the Kazakh team will surely be looking to add to their two wins this season.
16. EF Education-EasyPost 2/5
An interesting one. The team were visible, and Hugh Carthy looked like he was getting increasingly better in the final week, but ended up in ninth come the final. The Briton was aiming for higher, and so was his team.
Magnus Cort impressed, but came home empty-handed, and the team might be fretting about the prospect of relegation now. Perhaps, their season might be rescued by Rigoberto Urán at the Tour.
17. Movistar 2/5
Alejandro Valverde rode his last Giro, and there were a couple of podium places on stages.
The veteran Spanish team will be looking for some stronger results to turn their season around in the coming months. Another team near the bottom of the UCI's standings, they'll want to bolster results in the latter half of the year.
18. Cofidis 2/5
Guillaume Martin was fascinating to watch, but ended up 14th. That was about the story of their race, really. With Bryan Coquard back to winning ways, the French squad will be hoping to return to victory across the season.
At least they were one of the three winners of the fair play competition, eh!
19. Bardiani-CSF-Faizanè 2/5
A few top-tens, a couple of podium finishes on stages - a decent performance from a smaller team among WorldTour outfits.
20. AG2R Citroën 2/5
A disappointing time in Italy for the French team, as they failed to make any real impact. They were at least very visible in the breakaways, which can't be said for the smaller budget team below them.
Their A-team of Benoît Cosnefroy, Ben O'Connor and Greg van Avermaet will return for the Tour, so better things will surely come for AG2R.
21. Drone Hopper-Androni Giocattoli 1/5
They won the break competition and the intermediate sprint competition! Hooray!
22. Israel-Premier Tech 1/5
Israel-Premier Tech were pretty anonymous at the Giro, and disappointingly failed to get in some crucial breakaways. They are currently in the WorldTour relegation zone, and are in desperate need of some better results.
Giacomo Nizzolo failed to build on his sprinting success at last year's race, and they had no real GC hopes, that's about it really. Things can only get better.
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