No fear for Luke Lamperti as he races into the unknown on Giro d’Italia debut

‘It’s been a nice few days of Gran Fondo riding in the grupetto’ says American rider

Clock17:45, Wednesday 15th May 2024
Luke Lamperti has hit his stride this year and is continuing to impress on his Grand Tour debut

© Getty Images

Luke Lamperti has hit his stride this year and is continuing to impress on his Grand Tour debut

At the start of the year, few would have counted on Luke Lamperti (Soudal Quick-Step) making his Grand Tour debut at the Giro d’Italia. However, such has been the 21-year-old’s rapid rise through the WorldTour ranks that his current participation in the three-week race looks nothing short of a natural progression for the American. The Soudal Quick-Step rider has dovetailed tasks between supporting Tim Merlier in the sprints and chasing down breaks, and after 10 days of racing, he looks every bit like a Grand Tour rider should, even if this is the longest race of his career.

“Today is my first step into unknown territory. I’ve done ten [days] in the Baby Giro and l’Avenir but today we step into unknown territory, so we’ll see how the legs feel, but we should feel okay,” he told GCN and other members of the press ahead of stage 11 in Foiano di Val Fortore.

“We do the same things every day and try and stay as fresh as possible. For sure you feel a bit tired now but I’m not the only one. We’ll keep going day by day and we’re almost halfway.”

Merlier has already won a stage in this year’s race - although he was later relegated from second at the conclusion of stage 11 for deviating from his line - but the biggest obstacles facing Lamperti and his teammates have been illness and crashes in this year’s race. So far several riders have been forced out of the race due to sickness, while others are soldiering on through courses of antibiotics. Soudal Quick-Step’s roster has remained intact since the race departed almost a fortnight ago, and Lampteri’s robust health has withstood everything the Giro has thrown at him so far.

“A lot of people are sick, but who knows what from. There’s something going around but within our team, we still have eight guys. We’ve had maybe little sniffles here and there but we’ve mainly been okay. Hopefully, we can continue that way. It’s hard to avoid when you’re at the top of mountains and you’re descending to the bus. We’re doing our best to stay healthy but it’s hard when you’re racing full gas for ten days,” he added. 

Read more: Giro d'Italia 2024 abandons: The riders who have left the race

Ten weeks ago Lamperti would have seen a possible Giro d’Italia start as a bridge too far in his blossoming career but after an impressive start to WorldTour career and a stint in the Belgian cobbled Classics, he has risen up the ranks at Soudal Quick-Step. He has relished the opportunity he would have once felt trepidation towards.

“I wasn’t meant to do the Giro until about a month before but I’ve tried to enjoy the experience and do the best that I can with Tim, Julian [Alaphilippe] and the leaders that we have here. I contended on stage 9, and got up there in the sprint, but I just didn’t have the legs. It was nice to take that opportunity and now we’re in unknown territory with how many days I’ve raced so we’ll see. If I have another chance I’ll go for it but we want to try with Tim over the next few sprint stages,” he said.

“To be honest I hadn’t thought about [the Giro] at all. When the team brought up the initial idea my initial thought was ‘I don’t know’ but it’s a nice race to start with a Grand Tour and the leaders that we have here. It’s been a nice experience, and for sure I’m happy that I’m here now,” he added.

That’s not to say that the Giro has been plain sailing for Lamperti. He has raced through several tough mountain stages and had to survive breakaway stages that have taken hours to settle. 

“The first 10K after the rest day was the hardest part of the race, and we raced 60km before the break went. That was the hardest day for me so far but we’ve had quite a nice grupetto and it’s been a nice few days of Gran Fondo riding. That’s been nice and we’ve enjoyed it. I wouldn’t say we’ve had any really tough days yet or really struggled with it but now we have a few days where we can be involved in the race,” he said.

For everything you need to know about the 2024 Giro d'Italia, from the history of the race to this year's route and start list, be sure to check out our dedicated race hub.

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