Thomas, Geoghegan Hart and Ganna lead Ineos Grenadiers at Giro d’Italia
Ineos Grenadiers have confirmed Geraint Thomas and Tao Geoghegan Hart as protected leaders for the Giro d’Italia, while Filippa Ganna will target the opening time trial on Saturday and with it the first maglia rosa of the 2023 Corsa Rosa.
Ineos Grenadiers dominated the recent Tour of the Alps and the six riders who helped Geoghegan Hart to victory will all now take part in the Giro d’Italia.
Thymen Arensman, Laurens De Plus and Pavel Sivakov are set to provide key backing for their leaders in the mountains, with Sivakov perhaps acting as an alternative leader. Salvatore Puccio and Ben Swift will be present as road captains and general support riders.
Ganna has not raced since completing a strong Classics campaign with sixth at Paris-Roubaix but completes the powerful Ineos Grenadiers line-up.
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Thomas won the Tour de France in 2018 and is hoping to finally end his run of misfortune and crashes in Italy that took him out of the Giro in 2017 and 2020. He was repeatedly ill in the early part of the season but appears to have found some form in recent weeks.
“I’m really looking forward to getting stuck into the Giro. The last two times I’ve been there I haven’t even finished, so hopefully I can get to Rome at the very least!” he said when Ineos Grenadiers confirmed their line-up.
“We had a really good camp at Sierra Nevada and then the Tour of the Alps obviously went really well, so morale is high. Everyone’s confident and we’re just looking forward to racing now."
Geoghegan Hart took over team leadership and won the 2020 Giro d’Italia after Thomas crashed out and has rediscovered the same form after working with a new coach this winter.
“Each Grand Tour is its own journey and for the 2023 Giro we are lining up with a great team, definitely hoping to add another special chapter to this race,” he said.
“I’ve been in good form and have just really been enjoying racing with my teammates. Riding well at Tirreno-Adriatico and the Tour of the Alps has been great, but also satisfying to reward the hard work and dedication of my teammates and our amazing staff."
"This group has spent a lot of time together so we’ll go into the race with great morale and confidence to make the most of the three big weeks ahead of us!”
If Ganna can beat Remco Evenepoel (Soudal-QuickStep), Primož Roglič (Jumbo-Visma) and the rest of the field in the opening 19.6km time trial along the Adriatic coast, he could wear the race leader’s maglia rosa for several days just as he did in 2020.
“I’m so happy to be back and starting at the Giro," Ganna said. "I’m very proud of what I’ve achieved at this race in the past, and I’m feeling really positive. Our team is strong and I can’t wait to get out and show our very best. The opening time trial again offers me the opportunity to start in a very positive way for us all.”
Ineos Grenadiers went close to overall victory in 2022 with Richard Carapaz and could again emerge as contenders with Thomas and Geoghegan Hart as Evenepoel and Roglič fight their expected intense battle.
“Our first Grand Tour line-up of 2023 is an exciting rider group and shows real intent in how we want to take on the Giro,” team manager Rod Ellingworth said.
"As a team, we’ll draw on the experience of Geraint and Tao in the tightly contested general classification. Filippo’s pedigree and local popularity speaks for itself, so we expect all eyes to be on him at the opening time trial, with the prize of the maglia rosa up for grabs.
“The Italian fans are in for a real treat, and we’re looking forward to putting our stamp on what promises to be a really entertaining but challenging race.”