Filippo Ganna will bring no illusions of grand tour grandeur to first Tour de France

Italian TT star harbors no yellow jersey dreams that extend beyond opening stage of what he hopes will be Tour debut in Copenhagen next month.

Photo: MARCO BERTORELLO/AFP via Getty Images

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LA BATIE D’URFÉ, France (VN) — Filippo Ganna isn’t cycling’s next Miguel Indurain, and he is the first to admit it.

Despite hype from the Italian media that the strapping Italian time trial specialist might some day morph into a grand tour-winning machine — he’s called “Top Ganna” — Ganna said he harbors no such illusions.

After roaring to victory in Wednesday’s time trial at the Critérium du Dauphiné, Ganna said he is very realistic about what his Tour de France future holds as he prepares for what is expected to be his Tour debut next month.

“This year I tried to lose weight, but I have this wall that is 84 to 85 kilos,” Ganna said Wednesday. “It is impossible to pass. That is a problem for me in grand tours.”

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Ganna is the first to admit that his racing weight — about 185lbs — means he is too heavy to ever seriously challenge for the yellow jersey.

Other tall riders with strong time trial skills have been able to lose weight and win the yellow jersey.

Indurain won five straight Tours, but his racing weight was around 170 pounds. Bradley Wiggins, another tall rider with a time trial background, weighed even less at around 155 pounds.

Ganna, 6-foot-4, is also taller than both of the above riders. Indurain is 6-foot-1, and Wiggins is about 6-foot-3.

Growing TT rivalry with Wout van Aert

Ganna and Van Aert will be the top favorites in Copenhagen to open the 2022 Tour. (Photo: DAVID STOCKMAN/BELGA MAG/AFP via Getty Images)

What Ganna is very sure about is his time trialing future.

On Wednesday, he beat back nemesis Wout van Aert by just two seconds to win on the 31.9km mostly flat course in the upper Loire Valley.

“When I see Wout at the start, I know it’s going to be a hard race,” Ganna said. “With the win for two seconds, it shows that I am in good shape.

“For sure Wout is a super rider, but he’s not just a TT man. He can win in the sprints and he can win in the mountains. Maybe if we go swimming together, he can beat me there, too.

“He has a lot of respect in the bunch. I think he is one of the future riders that I will be racing against in all the time trials.”

Ganna beat back Van Aert last year to win the rainbow stripes against the clock, and the pair will square off again at the Tour de France.

The 2022 Tour opens with a 13km individual time trial on the streets of downtown Copenhagen.

Both Ganna and Van Aert will be five-star favorites for victory.

Ganna is just hoping he’ll be there.

“We had a long camp at Teide and then another one. I will be arriving at the Tour in even better shape than I was at the Giro,” he said. “I could see that these camps have given me good condition.

“For sure I want to go to the Tour, but maybe I get COVID two days before the Tour, and I do not go,” he said. “Right now I can only stay focused on the races and on staying healthy. The good condition gives me morale for the next races.”

His next big showdown with be on the mean streets of Copenhagen. Van Aert is already plotting his revenge.

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