As you sat back and enjoyed what could be conservatively described as a promising opening Hungarian weekend to the Giro for its Team GB contingent, here’s a quick roundup of the weekend’s stories that you may have missed…
Mark Cavendish proved his spectacular return to the top of the sport at last year’s Tour de France was no late-career fluke, unleashing a monster 300 meter-long sprint (after yet another textbook lead out by the one and only Michael Mørkøv) to take his first Giro stage since 2013 and the sixteenth of his storied career.
“It was really nice. We wanted to get good in this first sprint, we did and I’m very happy, ”the resurgent Manx Missile said after the finish in Balatonfüred.
“We’ve got half a team for the climbs and half a team for the sprints, but everybody committed. Ballerini, Van Lerberghe and Mørkøv, I’ve got an incredible final group there, and they delivered today.
“In the end I had to go long. I went at 300m to go. I had to hold a side and I’m just happy I could hold on for that long. ”
While Fernando Gaviria and Arnaud Démare took second and third behind Cav, a boxed-in Biniam Girmay – second to Mathieu van der Poel on the opening stage’s uphill finish – was the only rival who looked like he had the speed to challenge the Quick Step- Alpha Vinyl rider if given the chance. The next few stages will be interesting…
On Saturday, Simon Yates was as equally impressive in the 9.2 kilometer time trial around Budapest, beating pink jersey Van der Poel by three seconds and 2017 Giro winner Tom Dumoulin to win his first ever grand tour time trial and send an ominous warning to his GC rivals.
Can the man from Bury banish the memories of 2018 and ride into Verona in pink in three weeks’ time?
Simon Yates took a BIG surprise victory ahead of Mathieu Van der Poel in the Stage 2 ITT of the Giro d’Italia
– Velon CC (@VelonCC) May 7, 2022
Perhaps Yates’ biggest GC challenge will come from the course-invading cat who ‘dropped’ Jumbo-Visma’s Edoardo Affini during stage two TT – prompting a few playful digs from his teammates about Affini’s climbing ability
As is tradition every time Mathieu van der Poel wins a stage, we also took a nosy at his insane power numbers – which peaked during his sprint against Girmay at 1,116 watts. Easy.
Away from the Giro, we reported that a bike thief was sentenced to 160 hours of unpaid work after bizarrely claiming that he took the bike simply so he could “get to his house”, while an angry motorist – distraught that cyclists were taking up the road ”- was fined £ 1,000 for careless driving after sounding his horn and shouting abuse at the riders.
At the local elections, anti-LTN candidate Lutfur Rahman was elected mayor of Tower Hamlets, despite being removed from the same post in 2015 after being found guilty of vote-rigging, buying votes and religious intimidation.
Finally, a study from injury compensation site Claims.co.uk found that Chelmsford was the safest city for cycling in the UK, while Birmingham came out top in the ‘most dangerous category’ – though as Dan explained in the article, the study’s methodology was shaky to say the least…