Starting in a matter of days, the Giro d’Italia represents the first major challenge of the season for Astana Qazaqstan Team.
Given the outstanding rides by David de la Cruz and the formidable Miguel Angel Lopez at the Tour of the Alps, which ran at the end of April through Tirol, Südtirol and Trentino, there’s good reason for optimism ahead of the first stage in Budapest in the race for pink.
“We’ve worked really hard to make sure we turn up at the start of the Giro d’Italia in top form,” explains Lopez. “We took on the Tirreno – Adriatico and the Teide stage on Tenerife as preparation, before using the Tour of the Alps as the real test. Racing through Tirol was a way to properly assess our form and my win on the Grossglockner was the best outcome we could have hoped for ahead of the Giro’s first stage in Budapest.”
Miguel Angel Lopez sounds optimistic — and with good reason.
“The Giro is my goal for this season and I’m going into in a good shape, so I’m feeling positive about the outcome of the whole race, as well as the opportunity for a stage win. I’ve won stages at both the Tour and the Vuelta, but not at the Giro so far. Not everyone would aspire to win a stage at all three Grand Tours, and obviously the main goal has to be the general classification.”
Bruno Cenghialta, Astana Qazaqstan’s sport director, is looking ahead:
“The start of the season brought a whole lot of bad luck with it. Crashes, injuries and Covid all affected the sort of results we were expecting, and we had to frequently adapt our schedules as riders didn’t immediately bounce back with their recovery, either. Fortunately, after the results achieved at the Tour of the Alps, we’re optimistic about tackling the Giro d’Italia in the best shape possible. We were able to give a massive sigh of relief due to Miguel Angel Lopez’s ride on stage four and David de la Cruz the following day. We’re also seeing Vincenzo Nibali back on an upward tangent after Covid; having the presence of someone like Nibali guarantees experience in such an important and tough stage race.”
While there’s no doubt that anticipation is high, Astana Qazaqstan is going into the Giro with conviction, knowing that they can come away with results in Italy. Right now, their eyes are on stage 9, which finishes atop the Blockhaus, stage 16 with its climbs and finish in Aprica, as well as the Queen’s stage, featuring the Marmolada and Passo Fedaia.
The team will race across Italy (and a section of Hungary) on Filante SLR, Wilier 0 SLR and the Wilier Turbine – bikes par excellence that are ever-dependable and ready to perform over the entire 3,444 km of the Giro d’Italia 2022.
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