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Caruso in good company: plenty of contenders for the Giro di Sicilia 2023

10/04/2023

One thing for sure: the route of the Giro di Sicilia 2023 has plenty of room for entertainment. The organisers have done their job but, at this point, it all comes down to the riders. And there is no shortage of big names either, with Damiano Caruso (Bahrain Victorious) having to give his best to reconfirm his title. The Ragusa native certainly knows the roads better than anyone, but in the end the trump card is always in the legs.

In this first part of the season, Caruso has mainly worked for his teammates, but in his home race he will finally have the chance to try and chase personal glory, not least to begin to get used to the co-leading role he will play at the Giro d’Italia.

Scrolling down the startlist, however, the names aiming for victory are more than a few. First and foremost is Alexey Lutsenko (Astana Qazaqstan), looking for encouraging signs after a rather dull start to the season, like that of the entire Kazakh team to be honest. The 30-year-old born in Petroplav will also benefit from the precious advice of Antonio Nibali, who raced and trained on Sicilian roads throughout his entire youth. Then, watch out for Rafal Majka who, along with George Bennett and Diego Ulissi, will lead UAE Team Emirates, after giving up all personal ambitions in this first part of the season in favour of his talented teammates Tadej Pogačar and João Almeida.

Last year he finished third after a remarkable battle on Mount Etna, this year Louis Meintjes (Intermarché-Circus-Wanty), who seems to have found himself again after a couple of dark seasons, will try to do even better, backed by one of the best equipped teams at the start. For the general classification, an eye should also be kept on Q36.5, which can count on Walter Calzoni, one of the brightest notes of this early season, Matteo Badilatti and Mark Donovan.

Also worth mentioning are Sébastien Reichenbach (Tudor), Paul Double (Human Powered Health), Kevin Colleoni (Team Jayco AlUla), Lennert Teugels (Bingoal WB), Valerio Conti (Team Corratec), Alessandro Monaco (Team Technipes #inEmiliaRomagna), Riccardo Ciuccarelli (Biesse-Carrera) and Miguel Flórez (GW Shimano-Sidermec).

A good tussle can also be expected among the sprinters. After a year and a half’s absence and a host of operations, Alvaro José Hodeg (UAE Team Emirates) will rejoin the peloton. Although he has been a member of the Emirates squad since 2022, the Giro di Sicilia will be his debut in the new jersey.

Before raising his arms to the sky though, he will have to deal with Belgian Gerben Thijssen (Intermarché-Circus-Wanty), backed up by Niccolò Bonifazio, Elia Viviani, who will be wearing the jersey of the Italian national team on this occasion along with some pistard riders, and his brother Attilio Viviani (Team Corratec), Matteo Malucelli (Bingoal WB), Davide Persico (Colpack Ballan), host Filippo Fiorelli, Luca Colnaghi (Green Project-Bardiani CSF-Faizanè), Giovanni Lonardi (Eolo-Kometa) and Andrea Peron (Novo Nordisk).

Obviously, there will be no shortage of stage hunters, such as Vincenzo Albanese (Eolo-Kometa), Marco Tizza, Alexis Guerin (Bingoal WB), Samuele Zoccarato (Green Project-Bardiani CSF-Faizanè), Felix Engelhardt (Team Jayco AlUla), Simon Pellaud (Tudor), Stefano Gandin (Team Corratec), last year’s winner of the best climber’s jersey, and Thomas Pesenti (Beltrami TSA-Tre Colli).

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