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NZ cyclist to race Grand Tour Giro d’Italia

Updated: May 3

A prestigious place on the Giro d'Italia for Dion Smith
Dion Smith back in Intermarché-Wanty on the World Tour and ready for the Giro d’Italia. PHOTO: INTERMARCHE-WANTY

Auckland professional rider Dion Smith will become just the eighth New Zealander to compete in all three cycling Grand Tours when the Giro d’Italia begins in Turin at the weekend.

The 31-year-old from Taupaki has enjoyed over a decade as a professional rider based in Europe, last year rejoining Intermarché-Wanty, who he competed for in 2017-2018.


Smith rode for WorldTour team Mitchelton-Scott/Team BikeExchange-Jayco for four years from 2019-2022.

Smith joins emerging star Laurence Pithie (Groupama-FDJ) as the only kiwis in this year’s Giro d’Italia, after completing the Tour de France in 2017, 2018 and 2023 and the Vuelta a España in 2019.

“I am looking forward to trying out the Giro. It is something different, a different schedule and it ticks off all three (Grand Tours),” said Smith.

“It is good to be back (with Intermarché-Wanty). I had a nice year last year and did the Tour and now the Giro. It has been great.

“A lot of the staff are still here from last time which goes to show they keep people that they know and value. I am enjoying it. They are a Belgian team so different to Mitchelton which as an Australian team was a bit more like the Kiwi vibe.”

His main job is to look after the team’s star rider, Biniam Girmay from Eritrea, a stage winner on the Giro two years ago.

“We don’t have a GC leader so it leaves us open on any stage and not hold us back like some of the GC teams who ride for one guy over the whole three weeks. We can chase a lot of opportunities.

“Biniam is capable of winning one or more stages and the rest of us have chances. It is 21 days where anything can happen and we can definitely show our faces on a number of stages.”

Starting in the northwest in Turin, this year's route makes its way down Italy's west and centre to Pompei, before heading up the east coast to the Dolomites, capping the main racing off at Bassano del Grappa climb before flying to Rome for the final day.

“Grand Tours are all different but they are also all the same – three weeks long, a lot of mountains and flat stages. I do not know what to really expect but this year may be not have as many mountains but more medium stages which will work well for our team.”

Smith believed he had some productive years still ahead of him on the WorldTour but also noted that teams were bringing through younger riders.

He is on the long list for selection for one of two spots in the New Zealand team for the Olympic Games road race, and while he is itching to compete in Paris, he is also super-impressed with some of the young kiwi talent on the WorldTour.

“Laurence (Pithie) has been incredible this year and Corbin (Strong) and Finn (Fisher-Black) are both riding well. It is great to see.

“A couple of those boys probably deserve to go to the Olympics. Let’s see what happens with my form in the next couple of months, but if I don’t make it, then I will definitely enjoy watching them ride.”

Until then, Smith and Pithie face 3346kms of riding, including 45kms climbing, over 21 days from Turin to Rome.



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