Ineos Grenadiers announced its Giro d’Italia lineup Friday with 2019 winner Richard Carapaz hoping to deliver the team to glory.
The Ecuadorian rider is a top favorite in what is set to be a wide-open contest for the maglia rosa, and he will have the backing of the likes of Jonathan Castroviejo and Richie Porte, who is riding his final grand tour. Ben Tulett is the only debutant in a squad that is built on experience.
Also read: Giro d’Italia: Richard Carapaz leads formidable Ineos Grenadiers squad
Who are the eight riders that Ineos Grenadiers are taking to the Giro d’Italia and what do they bring to the team?
Giro d’Italia results: Won the race with his last performance back in 2019. Finished fourth overall the year before.
Role: Team leader
VeloNews analysis: With Egan Bernal set to miss the Tour de France due to injury there had been mounting speculation early spring that Carapaz might have been switched from the Giro to the Tour but those rumors soon dissipated with the Olympic road champion never wavering from his initial plan to win a second Giro. On paper, the course looks almost perfect for the 28-year-old with a dearth of time trial kilometers and plenty of mountain stages throughout each of the three weeks.
There are also several stages in which Carapaz could also launch surprise attacks and the Giro lends itself to his punchy, cavalier yet incredibly intelligent style of racing. With arguably the best team around him for the race, Carapaz is likely to start as the pre-race favorite. The form was shaky at best during the start of the season due to COVID-19 but Carapaz has bounced back taking second overall at Catalunya. The Giro is always an unpredictable race but there’s a faint question as to whether the early season health issues could have weakened the rider’s foundations when it comes to the durability needed for three-week racing. It’s a small crack in his current state and only time will tell but just over a week out from the race, Carapaz is sitting pretty.
Giro d’Italia results: Wore the maglia rosa on debut in 2010, and finished the race in the white jersey.
Role: Super domestique/mountains support
VeloNews analysis: Porte heads to his final grand tour, in his final season, with little in the way of personal pressure on his shoulders. He’s climbed well this year and finished just off the podium in Tirreno-Adriatico before another solid showing at the Tour of the Alps. His role for the Giro will be to trace and support Carapaz through the mountains for as long as possible, while also ensuring that he remains out of trouble and avoids any mishaps. A few years ago, that might have been an issue but since 2020 Porte seems a far more relaxed rider, and that’s transcended into his racing.
He finished third in the Tour de France just two years ago and won the Dauphiné last summer in convincing fashion. He might be 37, but he’s far from finished. In an exclusive blog for VeloNews, the Australian also wrote about preparing for the Giro as if he were trying to win it. That doesn’t mean he heads to the race as co-leader but it does imply that Ineos believes that he can last the distance and be with Carapaz in a similar situation to last year when Dani Martinez aided Egan Bernal. If Porte gets through the first week unscathed he could be the key to helping Ineos to a third successive Giro crown. A top 10, or even higher, shouldn’t be ruled out either.
Key Giro d’Italia race features
Giro d’Italia results: 9th in the Giro back in 2019 but failed to finish last season.
Role: Super domestique/mountains support
VeloNews analysis: When he’s good, he’s very, very good but the problem for the Frenchman since his breakthrough ride at the Giro in 2019 has been around consistency. Had he developed on the same trajectory he was on a few years ago he’d probably be in line for a Tour spot rather than a place in the Giro roster but his selection for the corsa rosa still provides a key opportunity for the 24-year-old to improve on his grand tour back catalog. Porte and Castroviejo can’t be relied on at every turn and there’s always the chance of a dangerous break going clear in the Giro.
Sivakov could be pivotal in that respect, while he also has a huge engine for the medium mountains and flat roads too. His season has been decent so far, aside from a DNF at Catalunya, but this is an important moment in the rider’s career too. He’s had some terrible luck in recent times, and his talent is still visible for all to see but he needs to string three weeks of racing together if he’s to make the next step in his career.
Giro d’Italia results: Raced three editions of the Giro, including the last two.
Role: Super domestique/mountains support
VeloNews analysis: Castroviejo has been part of Ineos last two Giro campaigns – both of which they’ve won – and the Spaniard will be hoping to make it a hat-trick this time around. His versatility and experience will be key but so too will his consistency. The 35-year-old simply doesn’t do bad days, and if he does, he hides them remarkably well. His only DNF in 14 grand tours came in 2020, when Ineos pulled him from the Tour in order to rest for the Giro. That says it all. Castroviejo will come into his own whenever the road points upwards but he’s also a diesel on the flat. It wouldn’t be a massive surprise to see him go back-to-back with the Giro and Tour this year, just like he did in 2021.
Giro d’Italia results: Won a stage in 2020
VeloNews analysis: Somewhat of a surprise inclusion, Narváez will help through a variety of roles at the Giro d’Italia, with his job to ensure that Caparaz is kept safe on some of the sketchy stages. The 25-year-old might also have the chance to go for stage wins if the chance should present itself but he’s very much at the race to help provide cover. His record in the Giro, apart from his stage win, is average with one DNF and two finishes. He’ll also be expected to keep towards the front on some of the smaller climbs so that the stronger climbers can save their firepower for the high mountains. Having another Ecuadorian in the race will surely sit nicely with Carapaz too.
Giro d’Italia results: Eight starts, eight finishes.
Role: Road captain
VeloNews analysis: Puccio has been with Ineos for over a decade, and in that time he’s cemented himself as a Giro d’Italia regular. He wore the maglia rosa for a day back in 2013 but his primary function is that of a road captain. He brings calmness and experience to the team and ties together the mountain climbers with the domestiques for the flat stages. His climbing is better than many give him credit for, especially given his ability to read a race and tap out a decent tempo on the front, but he’s on the team to help marshal the rest of the squad and be another link between the road and the team car.
Giro d’Italia results: Three appearances and a top-20 back in 2020.
VeloNews analysis: Another slightly surprising inclusion given the climbing talent that the team has left at home but Swift is nonetheless a strong all-rounder who can provide cover across a number of terrains and situations. He didn’t race a grand tour in 2021, but when called upon he’s been a reliable outlet for the team. The days of him competing for wins are probably over, but there’s still an engine under the hood and Ineos will be hoping that there’s enough juice in the tank for when it matters most. Swift will help in areas such as positioning and keeping Carapaz alert to any pitfalls and dangers, especially in the first week. Swift in many ways will mirror Puccio in terms of his on-road capabilities.
Giro d’Italia results: Debutant
VeloNews analysis: Ineos is not the sort of team to send riders to grand tours simply to gain experience. Tulett will be expected to learn but there will also be a demand on the young rider to deliver on the road too. He’s a huge talent, of that there’s no doubt, and he could have a breakthrough race. It is a shock to see him on the team sheet rather than Dunbar but that won’t matter to the 20-year-old as he packs his suitcase for his maiden grand tour. His climbing will be valuable to the team’s overall ambitions and he showed in Coppi et Bartali that he can handle himself in Italian stage races. He’s never raced for more than eight days consecutively so Ineos will no doubt monitor his progression after the second rest day.