Doppio – Edizione Uno

Welcome to the Doppio, Rapha’s double-shot of road racing reportage. Join us these three weeks as we don our rosé-tinted glasses to celebrate style and panache at Italy’s Grand Tour. Each Friday we’ll be serving up a new edition of unfiltered commentary and sharp opinion, so settle down, pour yourself a highly caffeinated beverage, and enjoy.

coppi_1956_5_OFS

"Age and treachery will overcome youth and skill"

- Fausto Coppi


The wise words of Il Campionissimo, who Rapha is celebrating this May with a special edition Coppi collection.

100 YEARS OF AMORE

Love is unpredictable. For every joyous high, there’s a sudden crash, a cheater’s stab in the back, or worse: Mario Cipollini might steal your girlfriend. The Giro d’Italia is an affare di cuore, and a passion for la Corsa Rosa courses red hot through our veins. For the next three weeks, the centenary edition of Italy’s Grand Tour will provide us with the glorious unpredictability of the most fiery of romances. Over a torturous route engineered by the cycling masochisti, almost 200 brave cyclists will compete to take home the 100th maglia rosa. Oh, what challenges await these gladiators! They’ll have to overcome countless obstacles to get to Milan, and many of them will even manage it with style and panache. Amore is love, but it’s also what we feel for the Giro - the greatest bike race in the world. Andiamo!

Doppio-Coppi

THE GC (GRANDE CLASSE) RANKINGS

Forget the pointless predictions of who’ll win this or that, who’ll have legs weaker than Carlos Betancur’s resolve at the buffet bar, and so on and so forth. With such a plethora of favourites for the GC this year, we’ve decided to rank them by the entirely subjective (and even more pointless) criterion of class and style. Nonetheless, pre-race, this is the only classificazione that matters:

Vincenzo-Nibali-Giro-2048×1365

1. Vincenzo Nibali
Bahrain-Merida




How a bike racer should look: razor-thin shoulders and a rich tan the colour of mamma’s bolognese sauce. The Shark of the Strait knows how to keep the tifosi in thrall too, with his solo attacks and perfectly-timed comebacks.

2. Thibaut Pinot
FDJ




All class and elegance, just as you’d expect from a French climber. Unfortunately, this 26-year-old Pinot vintage is a bit of a fluffy croissant - he looks great, but flakes easily.

1. Vincenzo Nibali
Bahrain-Merida




How a bike racer should look: razor-thin shoulders and a rich tan the colour of mamma’s bolognese sauce. The Shark of the Strait knows how to keep the tifosi in thrall too, with his solo attacks and perfectly-timed comebacks.

2. Thibaut Pinot
FDJ




All class and elegance, just as you’d expect from a French climber. Unfortunately, this 26-year-old Pinot vintage is a bit of a fluffy croissant - he looks great, but flakes easily.

3. Geraint Thomas
Team Sky




Slimmed down since his track and classics days, the British team’s ‘G’C leader possesses a beautiful pedal stroke, and a growing killer instinct in the mountains. Oh, but those glasses, G.

Dumoulin-Doppio

4. Tom Dumoulin
Sunweb




It’s curtains up for Tom Dumoulin-Rouge… Can-can he prove his ability as an overall contender? The classy Dutchman fights the good fight for smooth rouleurs who can hang tough in the mountains.

5. Adam Yates
Orica-Scott




A Brit who rides like a Euro. The Yates brother who won the white jersey at the Tour, Adam now takes his swashbuckling racing style to Italy’s steep climbs, while his twin Simon gets a crack at France in July.

3. Geraint Thomas
Team Sky




Slimmed down since his track and classics days, the British team’s ‘G’C leader possesses a beautiful pedal stroke, and a growing killer instinct in the mountains. Oh, but those glasses, G.

4. Tom Dumoulin
Sunweb




It’s curtains up for Tom Dumoulin-Rouge… Can-can he prove his ability as an overall contender? The classy Dutchman fights the good fight for smooth rouleurs who can hang tough in the mountains.

5. Adam Yates
Orica-Scott




A Brit who rides like a Euro. The Yates brother who won the white jersey at the Tour, Adam now takes his swashbuckling racing style to Italy’s steep climbs, while his twin Simon gets a crack at France in July.

Yates-Doppio

6. Mikel Landa
Team Sky




On his day, the Spaniard is one of the world’s silkiest and strongest climbers. The rest of the time, he looks like he’s just stumbled out of a restaurant after gorging on tapas and sangria.

7. Nairo Quintana
Movistar




Some say that ‘El Condor de los Andes’ was chiselled out of Colombia’s icy mountain ranges and placed straight onto a bike. It might explain why he looks old enough to be your dad, has a facial expression range from stony all the way through to impassive, and doesn’t seem to feel the cold.

8. Steven Kruiswijk
LottoNL-Jumbo




Despite having a coat-hanger wingspan that you could drape a three-piece suit off, the Dutchman has a rather elegant pedalling style - that is, unless he’s smashing face first through snowdrifts, as he did last year to lose the pink jersey.

6. Mikel Landa
Team Sky




On his day, the Spaniard is one of the world’s silkiest and strongest climbers. The rest of the time, he looks like he’s just stumbled out of a restaurant after gorging on tapas and sangria.

7. Nairo Quintana
Movistar




Some say that ‘El Condor de los Andes’ was chiselled out of Colombia’s icy mountain ranges and placed straight onto a bike. It might explain why he looks old enough to be your dad, has a facial expression range from stony all the way through to impassive, and doesn’t seem to feel the cold.

8. Steven Kruiswijk
LottoNL-Jumbo




Despite having a coat-hanger wingspan that you could drape a three-piece suit off, the Dutchman has a rather elegant pedalling style - that is, unless he’s smashing face first through snowdrifts, as he did last year to lose the pink jersey.

9. Tejay Van Garderen
BMC




If only TVG swapped his initials round to TGV, he might be fast enough to win something big. Still, he loves the Big Lebowski, and isn’t afraid to speak up against wrongdoers, so he gets our vote.

10. Ilnur Zakarin
Katusha-Alpecin




All lanky limbs and chin-fuzz goatee, this young Russian looks like Ron Weasley’s long-lost cousin. But boy can he ride - a prototype climber developed in the deepest East.

Mollema-Doppio

11. Bauke Mollema
Trek-Segafredo




Sure, Mollema might make the podium, but unless this anonymous Dutchman snogs a podium girl, insults Marco Pantani’s auntie, or punches Vincenzo Nibali on the nose, who’ll even notice?

9. Tejay Van Garderen
BMC




If only TVG swapped his initials round to TGV, he might be fast enough to win something big. Still, he loves the Big Lebowski, and isn’t afraid to speak up against wrongdoers, so he gets our vote.

10. Ilnur Zakarin
Katusha-Alpecin




All lanky limbs and chin-fuzz goatee, this young Russian looks like Ron Weasley’s long-lost cousin. But boy can he ride - a prototype climber developed in the deepest East.

11. Bauke Mollema
Trek-Segafredo




Sure, Mollema might make the podium, but unless this anonymous Dutchman snogs a podium girl, insults Marco Pantani’s auntie, or punches Vincenzo Nibali on the nose, who’ll even notice?

Doppio-Idea

Bellezza e Coraggio


Rapha has long celebrated the art of panache. While a win is always to be admired, it’s those unexpected attacks or moments of daring and bravery that live longer in the memory. The Giro never fails to bring out the best from the peloton’s attaccanti, and the 100th edition will raise the stakes even higher.

For the tifosi, baby-faced Davide Formolo is the man to cheer for, and a good bet to replicate his classy debut stage win back in 2015. After almost pulling off the surprise of the year at Liège-Bastogne-Liège last month, Davide’s clearly got the Formolo for success. The Italian’s Cannondale-Drapac team hasn’t brought a GC leader, so expect some fizzy riding from them - let’s just hope it’s prosecco and not lambrusco. Their young American Joe Dombrowski seems to possess an uncanny ability to improve as the three weeks of a Grand Tour go on, however, while Frenchman Pierre Rolland is the ultimate artiste de l’échappée - endlessly doomed to failure, but he’ll never stop trying to write his masterpiece.

Also worth keeping an eye on are former world champion Rui Costa, a man with a smile that beams brighter than the glint off the Giro trophy, and Mr Grand Tour, Adam Hansen, now competing in his 127th three-week race in a row. Both will look to clip away on medium mountain stages, as will Bobby Jungels, the Luxembourg champion and drum & bass fanatic. As the original don General Levy would say: Jungels is massive.

Each week, the Doppio will be awarding a Maglia Racer to the rider who’s shown the greatest panache. Is it a prestigious prize? Not at all (it’s nothing), but in the world of panache, the prestige comes from the act itself. Here’s to the chancers, the rabble-rousers, the have-a-go pedal dancers.

The Cycling Podcast


If you’re looking for more considered race reportage and analysis than the Doppio’s over-caffeinated nonsense, we heartily recommend listening to The Cycling Podcast. Every day throughout the race, the intrepid trio of Richard Moore, Lionel Birnie and Daniel Friebe will be publishing podcasts from the roadsides, as well as awarding brand new Pedaleur de Charme t-shirts made by Rapha.

Sign up to listen »

VectorSmartObject_35628c26-dd70-41e5-92c1-00bdcc507122