Canyon at the Giro d’Italia 2022
The first Grand Tour is already behind us but and it was a race of firsts. We take a look at the Giro d’Italia 2022.
The Giro d’Italia 2022 has been nothing short of a whirlwind of celebration for Canyon. We’ve made no secret of our pride when it comes to all our professional teams. We revel in the finish line celebrations and we grit our teeth when mere millimetres separate victory and loss.
Grand Tours hold a special place on the cycling calendar. There are few events that come close to watching a three-week bike race unfold on the roads throughout Europe, whether they’re in Italy (Giro d’Italia), France (Tour de France) or Spain (Vuelta a Espana).
Grand Tour success begins long before the flag drops. Teams set out their season goals months in advance. They set riders on the desired training plan to achieve a squad that can achieve those goals.
Canyon teams at the Giro d’Italia 2022
Two Canyon teams lined up in Budapest, Hungary
José Joaquin Rojas
Mathieu van der Poel
Dries de Bondt
How Canyon’s most successful Giro d’Italia unfolded
Off the back of two major wins during the Classics season, all eyes were on Mathieu van der Poel as he lined up for his Giro d’Italia debut.
Though his early season was blighted with injury, the former Dutch champion has a reputation for lighting up the hardest races on the calendar. As a result, he’s one of the most marked men in the professional peloton.
With the support of his strong teammates, Mathieu van der Poel rolled out of Budapest on to a sprinter’s parcourse. That was until the final 6 kilometres. At the foot of the climb, the Alpecin-Fenix sprint train hit the front of the peloton. There was no question that it was all in for Mathieu.
Just a wheel length separated Biniam Girmay (Intermarché–Wanty–Gobert Matériaux) and Mathieu van der Poel at the finish line. But with a win for the Dutchman, Mathieu claimed the coveted maglia rosa for the first time in his career. And alongside, he also claimed the lead in the ciclamino (points) and azzurra (mountains) jersey competitions.
Maglia Rosa rides a Bicicletta Rosa
The second stage of the Giro d’Italia 2022 was a 9.2 km time trial. As the wearer of the pink jersey from the first stage, Mathieu donned a pink skinsuit onboard his Canyon Speedmax. A special-edition pink Speedmax was created ahead of the stage in Budapest.
Mathieu’s second place during this stage secured him another day in the pink jersey and another day on the pink Canyon Aeroad.
Three days in the pink jersey is a significant achievement for not only Mathieu van der Poel, but the wider Alpecin-Fenix team too. Cycling is a team sport and when one rider wins, the whole team wins.
Mathieu takes the maglia rosa to Italy
As the race headed to Italy after the first rest day, Mathieu gracefully succumbed to four hard days in the saddle. It was clear from the beginning of the Giro that Alpecin-Fenix would not contest the general classification. They were there for stage wins and the games were just beginning.
Both Movistar and Alpecin-Fenix sailed through the first full week without too many hiccups.
Alejandro Valverde’s final Giro d’Italia
Having announced his retirement last year, Alejandro Valverde’s final lap of the racing calendar is worth celebrating. The 42 year told Spaniard has accumulated over 220,000 kilometres throughout his career which has resulted in 64 World Tour wins. He has been with Movistar for 11 seasons, so as a parting gift, Canyon issued him with a special-edition Canyon Aeroad which celebrates these victories.
Alpecin-Fenix puts the pressure on
Stages 11 and 12 of the Giro d’Italia saw Alpecin-Fenix take centre stage. Despite their efforts not always resulting in the desired outcome, a team that takes risks and forces other teams to think about their tactics is one we can get behind.
Stefano Oldani made it into the breakaway during stage 12 and it was up to the peloton to reel them back in. In today’s pro peloton it’s rare that a breakaway takes a stage, but that’s exactlywhat happened, leaving a four-man sprint eventually decided by just half a wheel length. Stefano Oldani took his first professional victory at the age of 24. His post-race interview showed just how long he’d targeted this victory.
I started dreaming of winning a stage here and made a goal out of it. Now I've pulled it off, it's amazing!Dries de Bondt - Alpecin-Fenix
Mathieu van der Poel lights up the race
Stage 17 involved two major climbs in the final 50 km of a 168 km day. In a display of pure grit and determination, Mathieu van der Poel attacked with just over 60 km to go. He was joined by three other riders and with 26 km remaining, he launched a final solo attack.
Mathieu van der Poel is known for his punchy attacking style. He has unmatched power when his rivals least expect it. While there’s no doubt he can climb mountains, he doesn’t have a reputation as a pure climber. To see him attack in the mountains is almost as much of an expectation as it is a surprise. Is there anything MVDP can’t do?
His attack was eventually neutralised but it’s these surprise efforts from the team that make every kilometre of a three-week Grand Tour worth watching.
On the subject of surprises, Dries de Bondt made sure the peloton knew he meant business during stage 11. Around 400m before the finish line of stage 18 in Treviso, the four breakaway riders began their sprint with the peloton 45 seconds behind them. De Bondt and Affini (Jumbo-Visma) took it to the line with yet another half-wheel securing a third victory for Alpecin-Fenix.
“It was actually just a dream. Since I started cycling, I had dreams, those dreams became goals, the goals were goals that I achieved,” he said at the end of the stage. “I had bigger dreams, made goals out of my dreams, achieved another goal.”
How he put this plan into action at the Giro d’Italia became apparent as he continued, “I became Belgian champion [in 2020]. I did a Grand Tour in the national jersey (last year), then I started dreaming of winning a stage here and made a goal out of it for this year. Now I've pulled it off, it's amazing.”
From first to last
The penultimate stage of the race all but secured Jai Hindley’s (BORA-Hansgrohe) overall victory, however a time trial on the final day acted as a procession through the Italian city of Verona.
As Mathieu rolled off the start ramp, could he bookend this tour with stage wins? A herculean effort from the Dutchman put him in third place. We’ll take a podium finish!
Mathieu the greatest showman
Throughout the Giro d’Italia, Mathieu van der Poel not only took on the role of stage winner, leader of the race and also master entertainer. He won stages, conceded victory on an historic day for African cycling (stage 10) and gave 110% for three weeks.
If you followed the race on Twitter, you will have seen multiple videos of him pulling wheelies up the mountains, being chased by spectators wielding pineapples (after he divided opinion announcing pineapple belongs on pizza) and pausing mid-stage to sign a little kid’s bike.
He’s a successful, hard-working showman whose values are ever present when he’s on a bike. We’re so proud to support him and the wider Alpecin-Fenix team.
All eyes on the Tour de France
As one Grand Tour finishes, training begins for the next. Rolling out from Copenhagen, Denmark, we’re looking forward to this year’s Tour de France. Can Mathieu continue his performance during the race that stops the world?
Show your support
If you enjoyed the Giro d’Italia, you can show your support by wearing the team kit available right here in our webshop.