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40 Days to the Giro

All eyes are rightly on Flanders in anticipation of this weekend’s Ronde van Vlaanderen, one of the best races in the world. All the more reason to take a quick look at a different subset of riders and evaluate where things stand for the Giro.

The chart shows the bookmakers’ odds for the Giro victory over the past seven weeks. Alberto Contador is and has been the obvious pick while Richie Porte has seen his odds tighten following wins in Paris-Nice and the Volta a Catalunya. Rigoberto Uran and Fabio Aru sit stable while the odds for everyone else are off the chart, the next names are Vincenzo Nibali and Rafał Majka only they’re not racing, then comes Domenico Pozzovivo on decimal odds of 18 and Dan Martin on 34.

Alberto Contador

All looks on track for Alberto Contador. Combine the other three from the chart above and their sum total of grand tour wins amounts to zero. Contador counts six wins and that’s before accounting for the 2011 Giro and 2010 Tour de France he lost over his clenbuterol saga. Still his odds of 1.7 (or less than “evens” in fractional terms) speak of a saturated market and a poor bet given he hasn’t even started the race yet. The course has been built for him but not to engineer his win, merely to ensure his participation. RCS need star riders to bring some glitz to the race and knowing Contador wanted to do the Giro-Tour double they helped with a more gentle course which ironically means he could be victim to surprise attacks any time; plus gone are the days when he’d win a 60km time trial.

Richie Porte

Richie Porte has looked good so far, in fact he’s the UCI number one right now. It invites the “has he peaked too soon” question. Only this became a meme in years past as Bradley Wiggins and Chris Froome notched up wins on their way to the Tour de France. With Porte it’s a more legitimate question, he’s never made the top-10 of a grand Tour in a straight contest. But he hasn’t been leader before either. He went into the 2014 Tour de France “flying” only to find himself exhausted by the Alps, apparently suffering from pneumonia. Speaking to cyclingtips the Tasmanian isn’t sure of the team and Sky will be keen to rest their classics contenders and spare their A-team for July. Talking of July, Porte is tasked with the podium but Sky will be delighted if he runs Contador ragged around Italy, the harder the fight the blunter Contador will in France.

The Astana team is nervous now but Fabio Aru probably doesn’t have to worry. The UCI is trying to remove the team’s licence but RCS boss Mauro Vegni says he’s has been given assurances the matter will be settled before the Giro. The UCI is not in charge of any appeals so the case could drag on regardless of backroom promises. If Astana vanished tomorrow Aru could try to switch to, say, BMC Racing, however the rules are woolly, a switch is possible but not certain. Back to sport matters and he seems in just the right place. He was with the select group in Paris-Nice on the Col de la Croix de Chaubouret and has just completed a good Volta a Catalunya where crucially he was with the best on the tricky stages when the attacks were flying. However it’s his performances last year in the Giro and Vuelta that bode well, he was solid across the three weeks. He coped fine with team leadership in Spain and Italy alike. The persistent worry is his time trialling and Stage 14’s 59.2km; losing two seconds per kilometre and he can lose whole Giro.

Uran Uran

Dutch website Het Is Koers has a nice series about “forgotten riders” and I fear Rigoberto Uran could end up on their list in some distant day. He’s a brilliant rider who can match the best only his problem is that he’s regularly bettered by them. “Uran” isn’t engraved on many trophies nor populating the pages of Wikipedia. A perpetual podium pick he’s very solid across all terrains and far from the Colombian stereotype of angels, condors and beetles. He’s also an oddity on the Etixx-Quickstep team, a stage racer on a team that lives for the one day classics, a bottle of fine wine in a Flemish beer bar. He’s likely to share team duties with Mark Cavendish meaning reduced mountain support. So far so negative on him but it’s all nuance, he was second in the Giro last year and crucially he got mugged on the Stelvio by Nairo Quintana, he was leading on the day and had the stage been more ordinary perhaps he’d have kept his lead? Still, defending the lead to the end would have been even harder but it means he’s coming back for revenge.

Domenico Pozzovivo

The rest: with the Tour de France attracting so many and uncertainty over who will start the list of other contenders falls away quite steeply. Domenico Pozzovivo is certain to ride and a good pick for a stage at the top-10 as he’s even surprised in a time trial before. Damiano Caruso has been hired by BMC to improve on his Vuelta top-10 last year and without the likes of Froome and Valverde it’s possible. Estaban Chaves will be fun to watch, the Colombian climber has won big already and a stage win is in his grasp. Beñat Intxausti is a regular rider and should land Movistar some points but a podium finish seems far.

Summary: 40 days isn’t much time to turn around form but all seems to be going to plan for the main contenders. If Alberto Contador’s win almost feels like a formality nothing’s certain in cycling, just ask Bjarne Riis. The bookmakers have four picks and Richie Porte’s odds of a win have shortened substantially in recent weeks. But Fabio Aru’s maturity and home advantage give him plenty and Rigoberto Uran’s role in the Giro last year has been eclipsed by Quintana’s triumph but with fairer conditions he could be the surprise pick.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Tovarishch Tuesday, 31 March 2015, 2:40 pm

    Wasn’t Porte 7th in the 2010 Giro?

    • The Inner Ring Tuesday, 31 March 2015, 2:44 pm

      Yes, in part thanks to the 12 minute advantage on the road to L’Aquila, I’ll make it clearer.

  • Anonymous Tuesday, 31 March 2015, 2:54 pm

    Lovely paragraph on Uran Uran

    • Anonymous Tuesday, 31 March 2015, 4:19 pm

      Uran is a lovely rider. My fear is he is just a bit too much of a gentleman to even think of revenge.

  • Tovarishch Tuesday, 31 March 2015, 2:54 pm

    Yes, of course.

  • Chris Tuesday, 31 March 2015, 2:54 pm

    The thing with Urán’s Giro bid is that, even if he doesn’t have to share leadership with Cavendish (which they’ve done before, at the 2012 while both were with Team Sky), who does Etixx-Quickstep have to support him in the mountains? It’s pretty much just Brambilla and Verona (Bouet, maybe?). You could see both at Tirreno and Catalunya that he was often left without a teammate fairly early in the key GC stages. It’d be great if he could have Tony Martin in the Giro team, for both the TTT and for controlling stages when need be.

    I’ll be rooting for my fellow Colombian, but a lot of things will have to go right for him to win this one.

    • The Inner Ring Tuesday, 31 March 2015, 3:52 pm

      Yes to Bouet who has been hired, in his own words, as Uran’s bodyguard. As you say it’s a bit light for the high mountains.

  • Ronan Tuesday, 31 March 2015, 3:42 pm

    Would we be likely to see Igor Anton or Eroc Capecchi for Movistar? Both have reasonable shouts for a top 10 if given some leadership duties.

  • gastro george Tuesday, 31 March 2015, 3:48 pm

    At the risk of being obvious and pedantic, you do realise that bookies odds are only based on the money wagered – so based on nothing but sentiment. Ref: England’s football team and major championships.

    Of course, based on other, more rational, criteria, the analysis is correct. but it just annoys me …

    • The Inner Ring Tuesday, 31 March 2015, 3:55 pm

      For me it’s the price in the market people are paying and not just sentiment. Of course it’s not probability etc but a handy way to track what’s happening.

  • Alpen Tuesday, 31 March 2015, 3:53 pm

    While Uran seems the steady Eddy but never quite blowing up the field, Porte blows it up but himself in the process sometimes! Sky look to have learned the tricks to ‘long peak’ for the stage racers, but they all seem to struggle in the period after that peak, either mentally or physically (see Wiggo and Froome). Looks like it’s a TT too far (or too flat) for Aru though, he could’ve used a ‘Plan de Corones’ TT instead of the 59.2km monster.

    Fwiw- Contador is out to 2@2.2 now, not 1.7 odds on. Likely due to the recent support for Porte.

  • Augie March Tuesday, 31 March 2015, 3:53 pm

    I’d still consider Ryder Hesjedal an outside chance for a good result. He ran 9th in the Giro last year even with the Garmin disaster on the opening TTT and a dropped chain on the uphill TT, without those he could have been top 5 possibly.

    • Andrew E Tuesday, 31 March 2015, 4:22 pm

      I do hope not. Given the revelations about him which found their way out, and the way that they did, he has gone fro hero to zero in my estimation.

    • BarkingOwl Wednesday, 1 April 2015, 1:57 am

      Of course he won the bloody thing in 2012! Surely if he can hit that level again he can win or at least podium.

  • TourDeUtah Tuesday, 31 March 2015, 4:00 pm

    Many of the top teams are more focused on the TdF. It’s all about France in July.

    Which is unfortunate. I find the Giro a far better race in terms of competition, tactics, and creative parcourses. You have to be a complete cyclist to win the Giro. Just ask Sir Bradley.

    • Andrew E Tuesday, 31 March 2015, 4:08 pm


    • Sam Tuesday, 31 March 2015, 4:30 pm

      like…oh, i dont know…Hesjedal?

      • Andrew E Tuesday, 31 March 2015, 4:38 pm

        Its a crying shame Purito didn’t win that Giro. A crying shame.

        • gabriele Tuesday, 31 March 2015, 5:44 pm

          Right when RCS was experimenting with time bonuses… 🙁

  • Andrew E Tuesday, 31 March 2015, 4:07 pm

    I’m not convinced that Contador is all there for the Giro. His performances so far this year are somewhat sketchy and certainly not “all conquering”. Of course, he will likely ride away every time the road goes uphill in Italy and make me look stupid…. but what if he doesn’t?

    I think Porte can keep Alberto honest this time. The 60kms ITT is the big imponderable here. I’m fairly sure it takes Uran and Aru out of the reckoning. (Plus I have doubts about their consistency over the whole race. Uran, in particular, always seems to have one bad day that costs him minutes.) Contador and Porte are likely to be fairly well matched over that distance. Porte, of course, doesn’t have the explosivity on climbs that Alberto does but if there are any chinks in his armour (see Contador version 2013) I’m hoping that Porte can extend his superb form to date throughout May and make it a proper race. At the least this will make Contador dig deeper that he wants to with his Tour ambitions also in mind.

    The idea of doing the double could come back to haunt the Spaniard.

    • Anonymous Tuesday, 31 March 2015, 4:24 pm

      I think they thought long and hard about the double. He and Bjarne have something up their sleeve; it could be as simple as big appearance fees..

      • Andrew E Tuesday, 31 March 2015, 4:37 pm

        I’m pretty sure all that Bjarne has up his sleeve now is his million euro salary and a goodbye card from Tinkov.

        • Anonymous Tuesday, 31 March 2015, 5:09 pm


          Bjarne got All his money, which was the only way to keep him from exposing what a Boob Oleg is.

    • Vedrafjord Tuesday, 31 March 2015, 4:28 pm

      The 60km time trial will put Uran out of the reckoning? The same Uran who won the 42km time trial last year?

      • Andrew E Tuesday, 31 March 2015, 4:35 pm

        Yes, the very same one. I think there was a fair degree of head scratching about that result. Besides, the parcours for this TT is not like the parcours for that one. 60Kms is a long way. It will be easy to pace it all wrong.

        • Chris Tuesday, 31 March 2015, 4:44 pm

          Urán has worked a lot on his TT since he began racing with OPQS/EQS. Last year, OPQS placed 4 riders in the top 10 for that Giro TT. This shows that they did their homework regarding the course, as they have done for this year’s course as well. Also, Urán placed second on the Vuelta TT last year, with only his teammate Tony Martin ahead of him. These things don’t happen by accident. Urán has said that he is looking forward to this TT so we’ll see what happens come race day

        • Anonymous Tuesday, 31 March 2015, 5:25 pm

          I think you’re abit behind with your Uran TT sentiments. TT’ing is now considered one of Uran strengths.

          • Andrew E Tuesday, 31 March 2015, 6:39 pm

            I’m aware of that. I just have a hunch it won’t work out on the day. We will see. I expect him to finish behind Contador and Porte.

    • gabriele Tuesday, 31 March 2015, 4:37 pm

      Don’t know why but I see Porte way better than Contador in the large crono. Because of Sky engineering behind him, I guess. Very good job in controlled environment, whereas Alberto’s *intuitive* approach could end up in a disaster, since it’s not a kind of effort a cyclist’s “intuition” may be mastering easily (body and mind not used to it). Urán shouldn’t be paired with Aru for the TT, at least if he’s in his Barolo form. It’about wines once again, and all but flat. Porte should be worried more than everything by the three weeks (he, too, has tended to have bad days in GT, to date) and by the tricky stages, Sky in general and particularly he aren’t at ease there. Until recent times, I have to say again. Quite curious to see if they’ll reharse their new multi-attacks “fireworks” strategy instead of the “rocket” style approaching climbs (they did it again in La Molina with Kyri + Porte).

      • Andrew E Tuesday, 31 March 2015, 4:50 pm

        The Porte of Ax 3 Domaines 2013 will make even Bertie think twice! Contador was about 1 min 40 seconds down that day.

        • gabriele Tuesday, 31 March 2015, 5:58 pm

          I’d need sort of a box like in comics “And 24h later…” 🙂

          Stages like Ax3D are Sky’s specialty, indeed. First week-end, relatively linear development of the route. Few variables to deal with, hence great homework makes great racing. Not saying at all that’s the only thing they do well, but it’s the chef’s choice.

          Anyway the beauty of cycling is precisely the challenge between different approaches, characters, physical builds, so I’m grateful for watching a sport where a variety of styles match up in a more or less balanced way (and I’m grateful to Sky, too, for setting new standards, while bringing “the spirit of the time” in which cycling was living to his limit, forcing the search for different perspectives).

          PS I’m rooting for Alberto’s attempt for the double, but I wouldn’t put a penny on it 😛 Hardly on the Giro alone :-0

      • Sam Tuesday, 31 March 2015, 5:45 pm

        Sky are certainly racing differently this year, tactics-wise.

        Kiry will be with Porte at the Giro, as will Lopez (and Sebastian Henao, too)

        • gabriele Tuesday, 31 March 2015, 6:02 pm

          I guess they became aware that the others were starting not only to read their game but to find countermeasures, hence went and changed it. With notable success, up to date. Chapeau.

          • Andrew E Tuesday, 31 March 2015, 6:41 pm

            Its all good fun. The true winners not only find a way to win but they find a new way to win if the old one gets countered. Chapeau indeed.

      • Mike Tuesday, 31 March 2015, 8:32 pm

        Will perhaps be interesting to see how much of an effect the team signing Bobby Julich as coach has had on Contador’s time trialling.

      • Anonymous Wednesday, 1 April 2015, 12:55 am

        To state the obvious – most GC contenders ( I should qualify – in a post Armstrong era) will have at least one “bad day” in a GT – that is where the value in a strong team lies. Porte and Bertie have their lieutenants, but Uran? Aru can also have some confidence with Cataldo by his side this season – everyone will remember his heroics on the polemic snow stage last year.

  • noel Tuesday, 31 March 2015, 5:45 pm

    never underestimate the power of a decent mullet

    • diamondjim Wednesday, 1 April 2015, 6:42 am

      Agreed – I think this has been significantly overlooked, and with a name like Uran Uran, he’ll be hungry (like the wolf) for Il Giro.

      • Andrew E Wednesday, 1 April 2015, 2:27 pm

        Hopefully Uran Uran doesn’t find Il Giro about as easy as a nuclear war.

        • PT Thursday, 2 April 2015, 12:22 pm

          The Chauffeur should just trust his reflex. That’s the only way on planet earth way he’ll make the top step with the girls on film.

  • EightyEight Tuesday, 31 March 2015, 7:18 pm

    I like Contador but he doesn’t seem to have the same stinging attack this year. I’d love to see Uran go the distance but I think the team will let him down. Porte looks favourable but I wonder about his ‘3 week-ability’ however I think he’ll be the one to beat as he has shown so far this year.

    No mention of T.J.V.G, dark horse entry?

    • Ron Tuesday, 31 March 2015, 8:35 pm

      I’ll never get over TJVG training with Pharmstrong. I have no interest in seeing that guy do well anymore.

      Forty days?! I was just busy feeling trapped by a long winter, now the Giro is just around the parcours…

      • Anonymous Tuesday, 31 March 2015, 9:17 pm

        +1 on both Ron’s comments

        • Anonymous Wednesday, 1 April 2015, 1:04 pm

          +2 What do they say, you lie with dogs you catch fleas!

      • Andrew E Tuesday, 31 March 2015, 9:54 pm

        I wouldn’t worry. Tejay never seems to trouble the top step and rarely the podium.

    • Augie March Wednesday, 1 April 2015, 3:58 am

      TVG should do this Giro as the parcours are ideal for him and unlike the Tour he would be a reasonable chance of a podium, but as with Froome’s ambition to also turn up in May this year getting shot down by the team, it’s ultimately not the riders who call the shots. The absolute fixation on the TDF by the sponsors and the fans mean that most teams won’t risk their top talent coming into July with anything less than 100% focus and preparation, so the rest of the calendar has to suffer because too many people think that the Tour de France IS cycling.

  • STS Tuesday, 31 March 2015, 10:07 pm

    First of all, this article comes much too early, dear Inrng. This is the classics season, mind you ;-). The greatest race of all is up on Sunday, it’s almost a sacrilege not to pay full attention to this one ;-).

    If Contador really wants to win both, il Giro and Le Tour, he certainly does not want to be on top of his game at the end of March. It would be perfect if he reaches his peak only during the Giro. And he’s experienced enough to know what to do in order to make it happen. A strong Richie Porte though might make him suffer more through the Giro than what he might have thought would be necessary. He will probably still win Rosa but might find it even harder to go for Yellow in July. And the absence of Bjarne will unfortunately and certainly play a big role, too. Imagine having Oleg around you each day for the most crazy three weeks of the year when all you need is the utmost support from the most savvy and cool experts in the business. I hope Sean Yates can help him out.

    TJVG? Will he ever be able to win a grand tour? I doubt it. But he’s still very young so I’m looking forward to him making me look like a fool to predict that he does not have it. He doesn’t seem to be strong enough for the formulaic approach to winning a stage race by staying in contention which he has shown so far. And not “crazy”, inventive or bold enough – on the bike, during interviews he often comes across very bold – to go and try a move like, for instance, Contador did in the 2012 Vuelta.

    • The Inner Ring Wednesday, 1 April 2015, 12:59 am

      Too early? That’s exactly why I wanted to look at the subject, it’s the rich nature of the sport that it can fork in different directions at different times. It’ll be back to the classics very soon.

  • Chrisman Tuesday, 31 March 2015, 10:53 pm

    The fact is, if Contador rides someone will have to do something pretty special to stop him. I’m not a fan or anything, in fact he bores me a bit. But the idea of Richie Porte beating him seems laughable. He seems to have talent but does not seem a big carachter. Uran? Ok so he’s a contender now apparently. Yes he can get a podium. But I’ve seen him blow up early in big climbs way too often. Aru seems more likely but will prob finish 5 mins behind Contador. Our only hope for a close GC is a wildcard stage where Nibali can so something super-heroic.

  • Michal Wednesday, 1 April 2015, 2:07 am

    Is Leopold Konig going for Sky as well?

    • The Inner Ring Wednesday, 1 April 2015, 9:54 am

      Yes, that’s the plan. He and possibly Henao bring more options for the team but also they too are prone to the bad day, the jours sans.

      • Sam Wednesday, 1 April 2015, 10:15 am

        It’ll be Sebastian not Sergio, INRNG (as per interview just published with Porte).

        Porte, the wonderful Kiryienka, Lopez, Henao, Konig, Viviani, probably Puccio, maybe Swift, maybe Siutsou

  • Anonymous Wednesday, 1 April 2015, 2:45 am

    Izaguirre wont be riding the Giro?

    • The Inner Ring Wednesday, 1 April 2015, 9:54 am

      We don’t know, I think Movistar will want him/both for the Tour team to support Quintana and maybe double-up with the Vuelta.

  • MD Wednesday, 1 April 2015, 4:41 am

    Speaking of Columbians – anyone know what happened to Sergio Henao?

    • Tovarishch Wednesday, 1 April 2015, 7:00 am

      First race back since his ankle injury was Coppi e Bartali (17 th O/A). BenSwift was very appreciate of his efforts so he will certainly figure in one of the GT’s.

    • Sam Wednesday, 1 April 2015, 10:18 am

      Horrendous knee injury. Could have ended his career for good. Great to see him back and racing so well in his first race back.

  • Ferdi Wednesday, 1 April 2015, 8:15 am

    I think anyone who loves the Giro will want Contador to achieve the double. That’s the reason why I want him to win, in spite of his ludicrous chronic “liarship”. I don’t like the way extra pressure is being put onto him, by his own team troubles (and whatever connection it has with other aspects), or by Sky winning everywhere this year.

    • Sam Wednesday, 1 April 2015, 10:19 am

      er, no. Not anyone. I love the Giro but I have no wonderful desire to see him win the double.

      • Sam Wednesday, 1 April 2015, 10:20 am

        (for the record, I’m rooting for Nairo for the Tour)

    • Andrew E Wednesday, 1 April 2015, 2:34 pm

      I love the Giro and I don’t want to see Contador win the double. I want to see Porte win the Giro and then a desperate Contador have to salvage his season by beating three riders who have prepared specifically just for the Tour. That’s what I call a challenge.

      • gabriele Wednesday, 1 April 2015, 3:30 pm

        If you love the Giro, please, not Porte (even it’s very possible and I quite like him as a rider).
        Just for the Albo d’Oro’s sake 😛
        Unless he becomes the next Horner and goes on winning (or “podiuming”) big to his late thirties…

  • Gargatouf Wednesday, 1 April 2015, 10:45 am

    It’ll definitely be interesting, as it’s mentioned in a few posts, Contador doesn’t seem as good as we expected him this season. But as he’s going for the double, maybe he’s not yet in top shape or just wants to “take it easy” not to be knackered for the Giro-Tour double.

    Porte, however, looks in great form and with the Giro as his main objective, I would say he’s the favourite. It’s difficult to think what Contador will do. Will he compromise his chance to win the Tour if he has to work extra hard to win the Giro?
    One thing about Porte though, as someone mentioned in one of his comments about Uran, he too always seems to have one bad day. I know he was always a domestique for Froome or Wiggins, so it didn’t matter as much, but there always seems to be a day where he can’t follow the Sky train. It happened last year, after Froome’s crash, when he could have been expected to finish in the top 5, even top 3, and he had a really bad day on a stage in the Pyrenees (I believe) and lost something like 10-15mns, and he can’t afford to have one of these days if he wants to win the Giro.

  • Larry T. Wednesday, 1 April 2015, 12:37 pm

    As an unabashed Italo-phile I’ve been looking forward to La Corsa Rosa for awhile now. Just 40 days to go sounds great to me, especially as I’ll try to see a stage (or two) live. Great preview, it’s never too early to dream about the Giro d’Italia though trying to predict the winner is always dicey. SKY’s been going to win La Corsa Rosa for how many years now? Will there even be an Astana or Tinkoff/Saxo team in 40 days?

  • Music To Your Ears Wednesday, 1 April 2015, 2:56 pm

    Where did you get the info that Cav is going to ride the Giro? I know it was mentioned a couple of months back as a possible, but the latest is that he isn’t racing Scheldeprijs, he is riding Turkey and no mention of Giro.

  • Music To Your Ears Wednesday, 1 April 2015, 2:58 pm

    I also can’t believe you haven’t mentioned Carlos as a genuine contender too. He as had a sparkling start to the season, in fact in his last race he didn’t finish last in every stage.

    Glad I put a fiver on him back in January for the Giro.

  • Frank Heinen Wednesday, 1 April 2015, 8:03 pm

    Just a little promotional remark about the Forgotten Riders-series on Het is Koers: you can find most of these stories in ‘Uit Koers’ (http://nieuwamsterdam.nl/boekUitgave.aspx?ID=2559#.VRwy2DusVNU)

  • Chrisman Wednesday, 1 April 2015, 10:23 pm

    Something I’ve felt for many years – Contador has these people beaten before the race starts. I guarantee you, first big mountain stage, everyone sits looking at him in awe waiting for him to attack. No-one will have even the slightest thought of attacking him, bar some wackjob ya-hoo like…I dunno, whoever the new Pozzovivo is. He might have attacked a few years ago, but it’s all about the dull slog for the last 2 podium places for him now.

    I thought this about him years ago, then suddenly he was falliable, Cadel Evans destroyed him in the super-mountains. And now he’s getting back to where he was, beating people not necessarily because he’s so much better but because so few have the guts to challenge him. And that’s where he does deserve a chapeau, because he does have the guts to really smash races and riders on a personal and gratuitous level.

    You may say ‘well it’s easy when you’re doping/have doped’ and I’m sure that one has been done to death. But still, I remember many races 2009-2011 when many of his challengers were prob juicing too and he was still the only one to attack. Credit where credit is due. The man breaks most of his rivals very easily. he has a mental strength that the likes of Porte lack. So even though Porte may be equally or perhaps more talented that Contador in many aspects of GC riding, I’ll be amazed if he’s even close after 3 weeks.