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Bora-Hansgrohe also gave the Giro call to German sensation Lennard Kämna. The 25-year-old will make his first grand tour start in nearly two years after illness derailed his 2021 season.
Experienced domestique Cesare Benedetti returns for his seventh Giro. The Italian-born Pole will bring wisdom to young Bora domestiques Giovanni Aleotti, Patrick Gamper, and former MTB pro Ben Zwiehoff.
Bora’s confirmation of its Giro team Friday leaves the door open for Aleksandr Vlasov and Sam Bennett to race the Tour de France in summer. Colombian ace Sergio Higuita is penciled in for the Vuelta a España.
The Sunweb reunion
Perennial GC-chaser Kelderman is likely to take the best seat on the Bora team bus next month. The Dutchman finished third in the autumnal edition of the Giro in 2020 and backed it up with fifth at last year’s Tour de France.
How Kelderman dovetails with former Sunweb teammate Hindley and German climber Buchmann is unknown.
However, if they get it right, the trio could have the horsepower to take it to Ineos Grenadiers and its Richard Carapaz-Richie Porte-Pavel Sivakov triumvirate in the race for the pink jersey.
“The team with three captains I think is perfect,” Kelderman said when the team was sketched out this winter.
“I rode already with Jai like that, and I have a good relationship with Emanuel. We’re going to do it in the best way with a strong climber team and a big goal. I’m really excited to be part of this project.”
Kelderman and Hindley last teamed up at a grand tour wearing Team Sunweb colors at the post-COVID 2020 Giro.
The pair sat in pole position in the closing week before unraveling in an intra-team malfunction in the wake of Tao Geoghegan Hart’s huge mountain raid over the Stelvio.
The Aussie-Dutch tag team ended up two-three on the podium behind Geoghegan Hart in what became a race of what-ifs for team Sunweb and its leaders.
“If you look to the past, me and Jai were already on the podium. I think we showed that we could be up there in the Giro. We showed that the podium is one of the goals and for sure we’ll try to go for the victory,” Kelderman said in January. “It will be hard, but I think the main focus is to be on the podium in the Giro.”
Behind Kelderman, both Hindley and Buchmann will make for very dark horses in Italy next month.
Buchmann hit a career-high of fourth overall in the 2019 Tour de France but faltered in his grand tour appearances since.
Hindley struggled through two-thirds of last year’s Giro with saddle sores before abandoning. The problem went on to torpedo his planned start at last summer’s Vuelta a España in what would have been his last three-weeker for Team DSM.
Kämna comes back
Kämna’s return to grand tour racing will add an extra crackle to Bora’s classification-focused Giro crew.
The swashbuckling stage-hunter hit a high in 2020 with stage wins at the Tour and Critérium du Dauphine before his progress was derailed last spring by persistent illnesses and related mental health struggles.
A long, flexible, break through the fall of 2021 set Kämna on course to blast back this winter, scoring stage wins on tough breakaway stages at Vuelta a Andalucia and Tour of the Alps.
Bora-Hansgrohe has ridden high so far this season with GC victories from Vlasov and Higuita. Now it’s time for Kelderman, Hindley, and Buchmann to take it one step further.
The Giro rolls out of Budapest on Friday, May 6.
Bora-Hansgrohe Giro d’Italia team: