Time is running out: Teams who need to save their Giro d’Italia

With only three stages remaining, which riders will be looking to make their mark on this race at the last minute?

It’s impossible for every team and rider to leave a three-week stage race satisfied. After 21 gruelling stages around Italy, France or Spain, the emotions at the end of a Grand Tour vary with dramatic effect. Some teams drive away with buses stacked full of jerseys and trophies, while others head home empty-handed, chewed up and spat out by the brutality of the event. No one wants to be in the second camp, victim to stern conversations with sports directors and awkward post-race debriefs. This is why we see riders trying so valiantly – day in, day out  – to secure stage wins, or UCI points, or even intermediate sprint prizes.

During the 2024 edition of the Giro d’Italia, there have been some teams who have swept up so many stage victories that it begins to barely even register when they get another. The first of these is UAE Team Emirates, who have so far won on five occasions in this Giro thanks to a flying Tadej Pogačar – the rider who is almost certain to take home the maglia rosa at the end of the race, too. The team of Lidl-Trek have also had a successful few weeks in Italy so far, with their sprinter, Jonathan Milan, leading the points classification and winning three stages

Continuing with the happy riders, Tim Merlier of Soudal–Quick-Step has secured his Belgian squad two victories, and the glorious resurgence of Julian Alaphilippe got them a third. Ineos Grenadiers are also on two stage wins from both Jhonatan Narváez and Filippo Ganna (and Geraint Thomas is on track for a podium finish overall). Cofidis, Movistar, Visma-Lease a Bike, Decathlon AG2R La Mondiale Team and EF Education-EasyPost can also be satisfied with at least one stage win, while Bora-Hansgrohe and Bahrain-Victorious also get a free pass for solid protection of their general classification riders. 

On the other side of the coin, however, there are teams who have failed to reach expectations during the Giro d’Italia so far, barely making their mark on this race. Groupama-FDJ have been somewhat saved by the performances of their young, scrappy sprinter Laurence Pithie, but the team has otherwise been mainly absent from the front of the bike race. It should be noted that 21-year-old Enzo Paleni has been active in two breakaways for the French squad, finishing in an impressive fourth place on the way to Lucca. This is still not enough, however, to make Groupama leave the Giro satisfied. In the final few days, it’s going to be time for Pithie to sprint exceptionally well on the last flat stage, or the team needs to try their luck in breakaways before then.

Another squad who have the pressure on their shoulders for the final three days of racing is Alpecin-Deceuninck. They came to the Giro with Kaden Groves as sprinter, but the Australian rider has failed to beat the likes of Merlier or Milan in bunch kicks so far. Quinten Hermans and Nicola Conci have been active in some breakaways and showed promise for the punchier stages earlier in this race, though have never really looked to be in with a chance of pulling off a win. The remaining stages in this Giro suit riders like Hermans and Conci, and there’s still time for Groves to win in Rome, so all hope isn’t lost for Alpecin to get things back on track.

Team DSM-firmenich PostNL will also be disappointed with how the last three weeks in Italy have treated them, too. Their sprinter, Fabio Jakobsen, left the race after a crash, while Romain Bardet toppled down on the general classification after some inconsistent days in the mountains. The Dutch team did show promise in stage 17 by taking on the race early and trying to launch moves, though their efforts were eventually without reward. DSM-Firmenich should aim to continue with this determined attitude for the final three stages if they want to save their Giro.

Other squads like Jayco-Alula, Astana Qazaqstan, Arkéa-B&B Hotels and Israel Premier-Tech will have wanted more from this Corsa Rosa too, though crashes and injuries have led to depleted teams.

The expectations of WorldTour teams are naturally always higher than the wildcard ProTeams in the race, so riders from Polti-Kometa and VF Group-Bardiani CSF-Faizanè can be satisfied with TV time for their jerseys in breakaways.

In the end, with just four jerseys up for grabs and 21 opportunities for stage wins, there’s never enough success to go round the 176 riders that start in a Grand Tour. There will always be teams that need to go back to the drawing board after the race comes to a close, but this won’t be until they cross the line for the final time in Rome at this year’s Giro. Until then, there’s three stages to play for, and plenty of riders will want to make them count.

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