10 highlights, broadly speaking, of the Giro d’Italia teams presentation

The Giro d'Italia will Fix You.

(Photo: Cor Vos)

Iain Treloar
by Iain Treloar 05.05.2023 Photography by
Cor Vos
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What is a Grand Tour, really, without its official presentation? A mere 21 days of cycling around an entire country, that’s what. But the official presentation – ahhh, the official presentation – that’s what gives a Grand Tour its gravitas. Without three talking heads in evening wear on a big stage, the Giro d’Italia would be a formless drift toward Rome.

I’m joking, of course. Any Grand Tour presentation lies somewhere on the spectrum between ‘kooky’ and ‘boring’, on rare occasions finding a way to combine the two in one handy package. Last year, the Grande Partenza was in Hungary, which taught us a thing or two along the way (mostly about the Roman Empire with a side order of Shamanistic Dancing). This year, for better or worse, the race very much starts in Italy. And so it is that we find ourselves, by the wonders of YouTube, in the city of Pescara watching cyclists riding up one ramp, and down another. 

In a Slack chat with my colleague Matt de Neef I pitched this as a ‘highlights of the Giro presentation’ article but, having sat through the thing, I don’t know if the term “highlights” applies. It was fine, I guess? Here are 10 bits that shook me from my slumber.

A photograph taken by a photographer who has taken the aforementioned photograph of Michael Matthews taking this subtly different photo of himself, Michael Matthews, kissing a photo of Jai Hindley kissing a trophy.(Photo: Cor Vos)

1. The reliance on Coldplay’s dreary megahit ‘Fix You’

Cast your mind back to 2005, when British Radiohead-imitators Coldplay released their third album, X&Y. It was shimmering and slick, propelled by the song ‘Fix You’ – which over its almost five minutes builds from a generically emotive dirge into a generically emotive toe-tapper.

Now, almost 20 years later, its legacy is sealed – as the kind of song that soundtracks a Giro d’Italia presentation. It was there in a remixed format in the first of three dance interludes, and it was there as Chris Martin and the boys intended, playing out the show as the cameras faded to black. It is focus-grouped, palatable, and emotive without ever being actually emotional.

The Giro d’Italia wants you to know that it will fix you. 

2. Mark Cavendish speaks Italian

Cav brushes up on Duolingo backstage. (Photo: Cor Vos)

Mark Cavendish has found a new home for 2023 in Astana-Qazaqstan, and while his adventures in Qazaq linguistics are as yet uncertain, thanks to this event we at least know that he speaks serviceable Italian. The crowd loved it and he seemed to do a great job, apart from when he forgot a word, dropped the mic, got pointers from a host – who suggested that the word he is looking for is ‘ciclismo’ – and then brought it home strong with a smile. 

3. New jerseys, because wine not?

Thumbs up for colour. (Photo: Cor Vos)

As has become common at the Giro, the historically pink-clad EF Education-EasyPost riders are forced into an alternative kit as a way of differentiating themselves (a team of eight) from the leader’s maglia rosa (a man of one). After a couple of very loud years – most notably the now-notorious EF Palace kit of 2020, complete with huge cartoon duck – EF has gone a bit more subdued with a kit made of offcuts. It looks great! Big fan! 

Also joining in on the fun is Intermarché-Circus-Wanty, which has a special Giro jersey “honoring Vini Zabu”, the team’s wine sponsor. The design does not look like wine, seeing as wine is not blue and yellow, so your guess is as good as mine. 

And then there’s Israel-Premier Tech’s one-off kit, which is also a celebration of a wine sponsor, Vini Fantini. In the sense of being an item of sports clothing it also does not look like wine, but does have some appropriate colouring. 

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A post shared by Israel – Premier Tech (@israelpremiertech)

4. João Almeida has a little moustache

Co-leading the charge at UAE Team Emirates, along with Jay Vine and Brandon McNulty, is the Portuguese talent João Almeida. At 24 years old he is figuring out his way in the world, but already has three top-10 finishes in Grand Tours and led the Giro d’Italia for 15 consecutive days way back in 2020. That was quite an achievement. Also an achievement, in its own way, was his debut today of a little moustache

On a similar note, Michael Matthews debuted (I think?) a new nose ring. Keep being you, Michael Matthews.

5. Primož Roglič has the giggles

The kind of joy you can only get from having your Twitter account back in your own hands. (Image: Cor Vos)

Before today, I would never have described Primož Roglič as a ‘larrikin’, but here we are. Broad of smile and silly of demeanour, Roglič looked relaxed and downright cheerful about being wheeled out onto a stage in front of thousands of Italians. Because evolution only happens so fast, he gave a typically Primož Roglič quote, saying of his ambitions for the race that “it is on me to do my best and later on, to do my best, also with all of my teammates during all of the stages.” But it was the way he said it, ya know?

As if to tie a bow on the entire little vignette, he rode off stage to the blaring soundtrack of ‘Pretty Fly for a White Guy’.

6. Filippo Ganna is the most Italian man to ever Italian


Filippo Ganna (Ineos Grenadiers) is the fastest-ever cyclist over 4 km, the fastest-ever cyclist over an hour, the owner of a very good dog, and generally seems to just be a nice person. For these reasons and probably some more, he was a real crowd favourite of the presentation, leading several thousand of his compatriots to properly lose their shit when he said ‘buona sera’ to them

7. Remco Evenepoel is at the ‘wear sunglasses indoors at night’ level of fame 

Remember when Peter Sagan was world champion and would trot out enormous 100%-branded goggles at any opportunity, simply for the branding potential? Well, Belgium’s foremost Pizza Hut ambassador Remco Evenepoel has reached that level. Despite the presentation taking place entirely after dark, the current world champion was rocking a very obvious pair of Oakley casual sunglasses atop his head.

Slightly less gaudy but still very much there was another sponsor product: the official sensible footwear of Soudal Quick-Step, Safety Joggers. The brand – which is known for its steel-capped workboots and Nike AirMax knockoffs – has just unveiled a “lifestyle brand” called SJ which is notably less hideous.

8. Everything sounds like Måneskin

The Måneskin in question. (Photo: European Broadcasting Union)

Italy is a nation that has not had a stellar run on the world’s musical stage this century, but there was something of a reversal of fortune in 2021 when the glam band Måneskin won Eurovision Song Contest. One big album and a world tour later, and their legacy was all over the musical styling of the 2023 Giro d’Italia presentation.

Over and over again, teams rode up and down ramps to songs that sound like Måneskin. Måneskin are one of the world’s more derivative musical creations, and many of the songs at the presentation pre-date them (eg. Seven Nation Army by the White Stripes), but does the Giro create this playlist in 2023 without Måneskin’s lecherous presence on the charts? I don’t think so. Their kind of croaky vocals and proggy stomp is apparently very on-brand for what the Giro thinks it is in 2023. 

9. Dance break

We were treated to not one, not two, but three dance breaks.

The first featured a young man whose heart beat pink for the Giro:

KAPOW! Cycling!

The second featured him and a quartet of aerialists representing the official jerseys of the race. The third was a more conceptual piece that I did not understand, but featured some Kool Teenz breakdancing to Fatman Scoop’s ‘Put Your Hands Up’, some flamenco dancers (although Italy is, famously, not Spain), some belly dancers, and some ballet dancers.

Maybe it was representing multiculturalism through the lens of cycling, or maybe it was paying tribute to where some of the teams and riders come from. Either way, I’m just glad that nobody greenlit anything too offensive.

10. Fix You (reprise)

Oh good, Coldplay’s back.

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