The "total collapse" of B&B Hotels - KTM in the middle of December has left its existing or prospective riders with practically no runway to find alternative landing spots. Many WorldTeams have already finalised their budget for 2023 and seven WorldTeams have even reached the 30 rider limit, making it impossible for them to bring in more riders. Below, we take a look at which teams do have room to take advantage of last-minute bargains.
The 2022 season has been awash with races for almost two months straight, with plenty of high level climbing performances meriting an early Top 10 ranking. In this list only four climbing performances are from World-Tour races and perhaps you might have missed some of the under the radar ones, which came at races like Tour of Oman and Gran Camiño.
Despite bad tactics and pacing for others, Joao Almeida won Volta a Catalunya stage 4 mountain top finish on the Boí Taüll climb (13.0 km, 6.0%).
Volta a Catalunya is perhaps the best chance of the year for climbers who cannot time-trial well and are not born in Slovenia to take a WorldTour GC victory. For riders like Michael Woods or Nairo Quintana, it is a golden opportunity to win GC by purely out-climbing everyone else and securing much needed UCI points for their teams.
Once again, Primož Roglič almost lost a World Tour stage race in France on the last decisive day. Luckily for him, his Jumbo-Visma teammate, Wout Van Aert, was there to save him after Simon Yates dropped everyone on the Col d'Eze climb and threatened Roglič's 40 second GC lead in Paris-Nice stage 8.
INEOS tried to put pressure on the race leader Primož Roglič with Adam Yates and Daniel Martinez' attacks on the Col de Turini climb, but the Slovenian was unbeatable, winning the queen stage of Paris-Nice with an impressive acceleration at the end of the hard climb. Roglič set a new Col de Turini record, beating Bernal and Quintana's time set in 2019 by 42 seconds.
Nairo Quintana has had a strong start to the season, as we saw at Tour de la Provence and Tour des Alpes-Maritimes et du Var, where the Colombian destroyed his competition on both climbs and descents.
Nairo Quintana is on fire in the early 2022 season, performing well once again in the French February…
Nairo Quintana was flying in Tour de la Provence Stage 3, attacking with 4km remaining on the summit finish of Montagne de Lure, distancing a valiant Julian Alaphilippe to secure not just the stage, but also the GC win.
Stage 1 of Tour de la Provence had a parcours fit for the sprinters but winds of up to 45 km/h provided an opportunity for the powerhouse that is INEOS to take control.