INEOS DS: "Everyone is talking about Remco and Roglic but we think that we’ll be in the thick of the action at the Giro"

INEOS Grenadiers have lost the dominance they've had throughout the 2010's, however showed a glimpse of that at the Tour of the Alps. Lacking the big competition they'll find at the Giro d'Italia they were in full control of the race, and have shown great signs of confidence and form towards the Corsa Rosa.

“I’m happy to have these kinds of problems. Nothing changes for the team. It’s good we’ve got Tao on form," team DS Matteo Tosatto said in an interview with Cyclingnews. "We knew he was going well after his good winter and good spring results. In contrast Geraint had some illness during his build-up but he’s getting better day after day. Everyone is talking about Remco and Roglic but we think that we’ll be in the thick of the action at the Giro. With the team we’ve got, we know that we can get a great result.”

The five-day stage-race saw Tao Geoghegan Hart conquer the two opening stages, with the team controlling and pacing throughout the climbs since day 1. It was a trip down memory lane for the team's staff who once again saw the British team dominating a race with their train up the mountains, as Hart defended his lead successfully through the closing days of the race, supported by Pavel Sivakov who finished seventh in the GC himself, Laurens de Plus, Geraint Thomas and Thymen Arensman. The latter two are also expected to be candidates for a top result at the Giro.

“I have a big decision to make, but in my head the team is super clear," Tosatto said of a possible leadership choice ahead of May. "Now we just all need to improve even more so that we’re all ready for the Giro. The strength of our team will be our extra advantage. Our guys are mature, ready and hungry. They’re also honest with me and each other, right to the end of the race, that’s the most important thing I ask them. We’ll be starting the Giro with guys who have won the Tour and won the Giro. That’s an advantage on other teams for sure. We know how to win Grand Tours. The last week will be decisive in every way. I hope to have as many riders as possible up there in the GC to then challenge whoever is the race leader.”

With the likes of Remco Evenepoel, Primoz Roglic and João Almeida taking less traditional run-up to the race the Tour of the Alps wasn't a perfect map of what the competition will look like, but several of their rivals were present. Hart won the GC ahead of Jack Haig and Hugh Carthy who are expected to be up there in the mountains over the coming month. Geraint Thomas has worked for the team and after a podium finish at last year's Tour de France, has hopes from the team that he will perform.

“The goal is that Geraint gets to the last week of the Giro in better condition than he had at the Tour de France last year," the team DS continues. "I think that can happen. He’s fresh and in good shape. He’s not yet in top shape but he still has time to make up what form he is missing. I have a lot of confidence in G. Geraint improved a lot at the Tour of the Alps and offered Tao great support in the race but also on the team bus and via the team radio. Geraint is a leader.”

As for Thymen Arensman, he has struggled through the opening months in the team and also at the race, but looked to be coming into his own towards the end of it. With the Giro's crucial days packed in the final week, there is no sign of significant stress within those that haven't yet shown their best form. Tao Geoghegan Hart may be the leader INEOS is looking for, having shown great consistency and form throughout this spring, he could fight for the win as he has in 2020 when he took the pink jersey home.

“I think that the most important thing for Tao after his tough two years, is his continuity. He’s changed his coach and is super happy. Last year he was unlucky to crash at the Vuelta while in a good GC position, then a mechanical in the final 10km of Il Lombardia robbed him of a top five result. But this year he hasn’t had any serious crashes or sicknesses, he’s happy in life and happy with his teammates. For him it’s important to be in a good place mentally, when his head is good, his legs are good too," Tosatto concluded.

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