after the departure of Remco Evenepoel, Primoz Roglic will have to deal with the formidable Ineos team

Geraint Thomas and Tao Geoghegan Hart, the two leaders of the Ineos-Grenadiers, will try to get rid of the Slovenian, the new favorite after the withdrawal of the Belgian world champion.

The cards are reshuffled. While he had just recovered the pink jersey after his victory in the time trial between Savignano sul Rubicone and Cesena, Remco Evenepoel was forced to withdraw from the Giro on Sunday 14 May, having tested positive for Covid-19. The day before it was Filippo Ganna who had to give up just before the eighth stage, followed by the Colombian Rigoberto Uran. A total of six riders have already left the 2023 Giro d’Italia following a positive test for Covid-19.

Orphaned by the Belgian world champion, the Giro is therefore looking for a new leader. The abandonment of Remco Evenepoel leaves the field open to his great rival Primoz Roglic, now second in the general standings. But new leader Geraint Thomas has one major advantage over the Slovenian: the backing of a winning team.

Unlike the Jumbo Visma (Koen Bouwman, 30th is the highest placed in the team behind Roglic), the Ineos-Grenadiers team has five riders in the top thirteen: Thomas (1st), Geoghegan Hart (3rd), Pavel Sivakov (9th), Thymen Arensman (12th) and Laurens De Plus (13th). The loss of one of the Giro d’Italia headliners finally opens up a vast field of possibilities that the British team could benefit from over the next two weeks.

Primoz Roglic, alone against everyone

The long-awaited duel between Remco Evenepoel and Primoz Roglic lasted only a week. In the absence of his great rival, the Slovenian has now assumed the role of favourite. Aggressive on the demanding Cappuccini slopes that lead to Fossombrone, SATURDAY On May 13, the 33-year-old rider proved his superiority when the going got tough, followed only by the duo Ineos-Grenadiers, Tao Geoghegan Hart and Geraint Thomas. Knocked out during the first stage by Remco Evenepoel, the 33-year-old rider he had been able to snatch a few seconds from him, remembering the Belgian world champion that he wouldn’t give her the slightest gift.

“Like good wine, the older I get, the better off I am”

Primoz Roglic, two days before the start of the 2023 Giro

AFP extension

Freed from the weight of his great rival and just two seconds behind Geraint Thomas, the new overall leader, the Slovenian has what it takes to win his first Giro d’Italia. However, he can only count on his play to startle the opponents still present around his table. With the soldiers back, Koen Bouwman (30th), Sepp Kuss (36th) and Michel Hessman (41st) among others while Rohann Dennis seems far from his maximum level (82nd), Primoz Roglic carries all hopes on his shoulders of Jumbo-Visma.

Ineos-Grenadiers, the strength of numbers

The misfortune of some is the happiness of others. The abandonment of Remco Evenepoel projected Geraint Thomas to first place in the general classification. Crowned during the 2018 Tour de France, the Welshman can count on a formidable Ineos-Grenadiers squad. With a tight guard, certainly cut off from Filippo Ganna’s car, which seems capable of pulling up its leaders, the British team now has all it takes to lead the race.“Our team is in a strong position”assured Geraint Thomas by videoconference, Monday 15 May.

This numerical superiority is a great advantage to counter the plans of Primoz Roglic. But it can also be a double-edged sword: with two leaders, Ineos will have to choose which one to bet on, and not disperse its forces. A hypothesis that does not seem to worry the Welsh. “I’m currently leading, but if someone is in a better position to win, I’d be happy to help tao [Geoghegan Hart]assured the 36-year-old racer. I’m sure he would do the same for me.”

Joao Almeida and Aleksandr Vlasov bide their time

Behind Primoz Roglic and the Ineos-Grenadiers, Joao Almeida (UAE Team Emirates, 5th) and Aleksandr Vlasov (Bora-Hansgrohe, 7th) waiting for the right moment to sprint. Both assured it with the same words in a press conference on Monday, May 15: “The absence of Remco Evenepoel will change many things.” Joao Almeida is only 22” behind Geraint Thomas. Revealed at the Giro 2020, during which he wore the pink jersey for fifteen days before finishing 4th, the Portuguese can count on the support of the surprising Jay Vine, theimpressive in the mountains, to hopefully climb the rankings.

Aleksandr Vlasov, more discreet, also lurked. Aiming for 7th place, 1’03” from the leader, the Russian takes the final podium again, as does his teammate, Lennard Kämna (8th). If they decide to ride in the same direction, the two riders in the Bora-Hansgrohe could give Ineos-Grenadiers headaches, especially if they are too busy watching Primoz Roglic.

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