≡ Menu

The Giro d’Italia Contenders

Simon Yates, 2018 Giro d'Italia

Tom Dumoulin, Primož Roglič or Simon Yates? Start making the case for each rider and it can get convincing but there are questions to be answered in the coming weeks too. Dumoulin’s been quiet this season, Roglič is red hot but hasn’t shown he can cope with the pressure and Simon Yates, well he could lose time to them in the three TT stages? Then there’s Miguel Angel Lopez looking to continue Astana’s run this season, Vincenzo Nibali can spring a surprise, Mikel Landa and Richard Carapaz make a lively tandem and Team Ineos bring several strong riders suddenly given new opportunities. Best of all it’s all uncertain, your guess is as good as the next which makes for mouthwatering anticipation.

Route summary

Before reviewing the candidates, a quick look at the course again. It’s possible to lead the race from start to finish as a rider capable of winning in Bologna could consolidate their lead in Sanmarino and then defend until Verona, but that would be a rare feat. The point is that the two opening time trials are where those good against the clock need to build a margin but the “fight for pink”, to borrow the Giro’s awkward phrase, could be secondary contest for much of the first two weeks given the flatter stages. Once the Alpine stages come it’s time for the climbers to try and take back time day after day and the final time trial in Verona is short at 17km.

The Contenders

Tom Dumoulin took a look at the course and decided to go back. Three time trials, fewer summit finishes, the route almost looks like it was designed for him who returns after finishing second last year and winning overall in 2017 but look closer and it’s not so easy, the time trials all contain climbs and he’ll probably take fewer seconds per kilometre on rivals over these courses. The form is unknown with some lacklustre performances so far this season but that was the case last year too and he showed up in Jerusalem to win the opening stage but still, the form is a question and he’s been public about feeling off the pace recently. Still one bad day on the road to Liège in grim conditions shouldn’t inform us too much especially as he looks very lean. By now he’s got plenty of experience and knows how to pace his climbing and on a good day the very best climbers can’t drop him. Sunweb have a team and arguably a season built around the Giro and Sam Oomen, still 23, will be big help in the mountains.

Primož Roglič is the hot pick. He’s just won the Tour de Romandie, taking three stages with a sprint win, a summit finish and the final TT. Excellent in the time trials, tenacious on the climbs and he can sprint for time bonuses too, all this explains why he’s won every stage race he’s ridden this year and why he’ll like the Giro with its time trials and time bonuses too. So far so good but if he’s ripe today what chance he’ll be rotten come the end of May? He says no, declaring he wasn’t even in his best shape in Romandie. Still the Giro is a step up, he’s only ridden three grand tours and placed fourth in the Tour de France last summer so a podium in Verona would mark progress. Piecing it together for three weeks is the challenge and the untested area is defence, to win the Giro his obvious route is to start with the opening time trial and consolidate his lead over the pure climbers in the big San Marino TT but this can make for a tiring start if he’s in the maglia rosa from Saturday, can he hold onto it and cope with the pressures? Even without the jersey he’ll be expected keep high on GC and not lose time. His Jumbo-Visma team will miss Robert Gesink but includes Antwan Tolhoek, Laurens de Plus and Sepp Kuss for mountain support and they’ll be invaluable but seem unlikely to dominate the tactics.

The story goes that Simon Yates returns with lessons learned. The started with the Giro with flamboyant display where he took stage wins and time bonuses galore in a frantic bid to build up a margin over superior time triallists like Chris Froome and Tom Dumoulin, only to crack on the final mountain stages. Then he returned and won the Vuelta in a more economical style proving he learned the lessons and can apply them to win the Giro he lost. Only that’s a story in two sentences and the reality is more complex. For starters the Vuelta is a collection of shorter climbs evenly spread across three weeks while the Giro barely climbs a mountain for two weeks, before over-compensating in the final, draining Alpine week. For Yates this means needing to take time on others and with little recovery periods in between and this should spice up the final week. He won the time trial stage of Paris-Nice, perhaps the win was an anomaly thanks to changing weather conditions and but all the same he’s closed the gap to his rivals. Mitchelton-Scott are all in for Yates, Esteban Chaves returns as a luxury helper but is still one to watch, after all he has been on the podium in the Giro and Vuelta before.

Home hopes rest on Vincenzo Nibali and he’s probably the only Italian cyclist at the moment who is a “household name” in Italy, sometimes to read La Gazzetta Dello Sport’s cycling coverage is to read Nibali’s diary. Is anyone expecting him to win? Maybe not and that’s his opening, it’s hard to imagine him out-climbing the field, let alone winning the time trials but he can be tenacious and regular and suddenly on a wet descent he can take back time and force others into mistakes. He’s often a catalyst for action, his attacks may not always work but they enliven the race and a surge in the final week and a shot at the podium would keep his popularity up. He’s said to be leaving Bahrain-Merida but they bring a team in his full service where Domenico Pozzovivo can ride shotgun and aim for a top-10 place overall too – he was fifth last year but some eight minutes down – but he’s been out of action since a hard crash in the Flèche Wallonne.

Miguel Angel Lopez is Astana’s leader. Third in the Vuelta and third in the Giro last year, he can finish on the podium here too but the problem is climbing onto the top step, or rather time trialling to it, because among the GC contenders he’s consistently poor against the clock. Apart from an anomalous second place in the 2016 Tour de Suisse’s Davos time trial, he’s usually losing significant amounts of time to his GC rivals in these stages and with three in this Giro, he’s got his work cut out. This ought to make the final week spicy and he was dominant in the Volta a Catalunya, leaving the likes of Adam Yates, Nairo Quintana and Egan Bernal gasping for air. Astana bring an aggressive team who’ll ride to make life as hard as possible for rivals, while Ion Izagirre who may have his own ambitions for a high finish too.

No more talk of tridents but Movistar bring two climbers as co-leaders. Mikel Landa had an early season injury but is now back to good form and climbing well. As ever though he’s irresistible on the climbs, but hampered in the time trials and there might not be enough summit finishes here, several times the hard climb is chased by a descent and then a valley drag to the finish, an anti-Landa scenario. Richard Carapaz was fourth last year in his first go and the 25 year old has had few results since until winning the Vuelta Asturias last weekend. A punchy rider he’ll still lose time in the time trials and it’ll be interesting to see how the tandem combines.

Team Ineos show up without Egan Bernal and rather than wondering what would have been, let’s ask what they do now? Normally this is a team with a clear hierarchy and a simple tactic of asphyxiating rivals in the mountains, now we’ve got eight riders in search of stage wins; four of them are still Under-23 and five are eligible for the white jersey. Ivan Sosa can probably climb as fast as Bernal, he’s just coming up short in the time trials for now so isn’t as famous. Both Pavel Sivakov and Tao Geoghegan Hart are possible GC contenders in future years and enjoyed a razzia at the recent Tour of the Alps but putting together for three weeks is something new but it’ll be good to watch.

Ilnur Zakarin isn’t the talk of the town but he’s still one of a select few who has finished on the podium of a grand tour who starts the Giro. Back in 2016 he was riding high at fifth overall and then race leader Steven Kruijswijk crashed into a bank of snow and lost the race but on the same day Zakarin also fell and quit the race, an illustration that he can hang with the best again. He returned in 2017 and finished fifth, and last year just cracked the top-10 in the Tour de France. By now you’ve got the picture, the Stork of Tartarstan is consistent but low profile. Katusha-Alpecin would love a stage win but a high overall place would hand them some much needed UCI ranking points.

Bauke Mollema gets points for being tenacious and on his good days he can climb with the very best but as ever it’s piecing it together for three weeks that’s the challenge, he’s prone to an off day but the likeable rider is probably coming into the Giro under the rad; Trek-Segafredo team mate Giulio Ciccone has won a stage before and is a lively rider who might have his eye on the mountains competition.

Rafał Majka who leads Bora-Hansgrohe, a good climber capable of stage wins but unlikely to trouble the podium. Similarly Davide Formolo has been showing great form too but still looks a long way off stitching together a podium bid so both could aim for stage wins and the mountains competition and work off each other.

Bob Jungels has won the white jersey twice in the Giro already but he’s a big rider, capable of soloing away on a windy day to win Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne and this means he’s likely to lose time on the mountain stages rather than grab time bonuses. A top-10 place is possible thanks to consistency.

Tom Dumoulin
Primož Roglič, Simon Yates
Miguel Angel Lopez, Mikel Landa, Vincenzo Nibali
Richard Carapaz, Ilnur Zakarin
Pozzovivo, Sosa, Mollema, Sivakov, Chaves, Geoghegan Hart, Formolo, Majka

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • RonDe Thursday, 9 May 2019, 12:22 pm

    Ah, the days before a grand tour when 10 or even 15 people are that most duplicitous of words, “contenders”. Except, of course, most of them really aren’t. One needs to ask what they have actually done on real roads rather than in the Procycling Manager in your head. And so we come to one of the said contenders for this year’s Giro, Vincenzo Nibali. He is one of the best cyclists of this century and has already won four grand tours – against weak fields in my view – but won them he has nevertheless. But does anyone imagine he will win this Giro? Not me. Not without major problems for several others in the field. The same goes for Superman Lopez. He has quietly been getting better. He’s beaten Bernal in two stage races this year, in Colombia and Catalunya, and if he can become a properly dominating climber this will offset his relatively poor ITT abilities. Then there is Simon Yates. What has he been doing this year? He has been in several stage races but apparently, only still in his mid 20s, he has not felt the need to try and win any of them. He blew himself up in last year’s Giro but was compensated with a Vuelta win against relatively weak rivals. He still has to prove he can beat other grand tour winners more in the prime of their careers. One such should be Tom Dumoulin but even this impressive rider can be beaten by the hail Mary – as we all saw on stage 19 of last year’s race. Tom is one who rides to power but doesn’t get slaughtered for it as Froome would. He is rather a diesel of a rider, a steady Eddy, and he relies on the fact that, on average, he is going to be the best. His issue, of course, is his ability to respond to attacks. Somehow I don’t see Tom winning.

    All of which leaves us with the current hot property who apparently used to be a ski jumper, or so Carlton Kirby keeps saying. Yes, Primoz Roglic is the form horse. But do you remember back to last year’s Tour? He went into the stage 20 ITT, a strength of his, on the podium. He finished off it and of the top 4 at the time he was the one who cracked. The suggestion at the time was that his stage 19 raid which netted him a stage win had pushed him beyond his resources. Because, as we all know, a grand tour is not merely about being swashbuckling and daring and exciting, its about the boring job of being the best on average. They say Froome is boring, too, and perhaps that’s why he’s won six of the things.

    In short, these are my top five contenders for the Giro. In my view, they are the only real contenders. I must add here, by the way, that I would have added Bernal to the list but, you know, that’s history now. I can make a case for each of Roglic, Dumoulin, Yates, Lopez and Nibali but I can also gives reasons against. So, in fact, I’m looking forward to a great and unpredictable race in which the winner might not be known until the final rider crosses the line at the end of stage 21. That will be something to behold.

    VV Il Giro!!

    • Esteban Thursday, 9 May 2019, 3:24 pm

      Welcome back Ron De.
      Froome and Mr Plastic needs you in this blog

    • gabriele Thursday, 9 May 2019, 3:46 pm

      Hi there! Amazing how you can be great reading when Froomey isn’t around. One more reason to hope he retires soon!

      • RonDe Thursday, 9 May 2019, 3:59 pm

        I think there’s one more thing on the “to do” list before he does.

    • gabriele Thursday, 9 May 2019, 6:35 pm

      Your contenders’ profile is very fine, but the general theory is a bit lacking (euphemism alert).
      What you call “genuine contenders” is what people call “favourites”, the sort of guys which receive more rings on this page and who pay less money if you bet on them.
      And, yes, the most probable thing is that one of them wins. But, no, they are by no means the only *contenders*, given that sometimes – less often, as you could expect for a less probable event – one guy from the longest 10-15 names list ends up winning.
      The Giro, I must admit, has got less examples of this sort in recent years. Probably only Hesjedal. But Clerici is still one of the most perfect ever (and you had several in-between, be them Bertoglio or Hampsten and so on).
      The Tour sports several ones, at least three in 13 editions since Lance’s era was over: Sastre, Landis/Pereiro and quite recently Thomas (number *11* in inrng’s list, although our host, unlike me, always believed in Geraint’s GT qualities – I only believed he could be made a winner).
      The Vuelta’s got at least Horner and Cobo out of ten editions, perhaps Aru as well (even if at the time he didn’t look as bad as these days).
      So, why shouldn’t we label as “contenders” the category which includes the various cyclists one of whom does, in fact, win – in about 25% of the cases for a GT like the Vuelta or the Tour?
      Or is your theory restricted to the Giro, where, indeed, it looks like that – in recent years – only the very cream rises to the top? And, despite of that, even there we still have an occurrence of a not-genuine-contenders getting the trophy!

      • RonDe Thursday, 9 May 2019, 9:12 pm

        “Horner and Cobo” *rolls eyes*

        My point Gabriele is that most of the “contenders” just really aren’t save for exceptional circumstances. I would think it as close to certain as one can be before a pedal turn that one of the five I named wins the race. Its really a simple plea not to pretend that guys with next to no chance – guys like Pozzovivo, Sosa, Mollema, Sivakov, Chaves, Geoghegan Hart, Formolo and Majka – really have one.

        None of this is to say it would’t be thoroughly enjoyable if they punched above their weight though. Realism about who might win can go hand in hand with optimism that something unexpected happens.

        • gabriele Thursday, 9 May 2019, 9:58 pm

          Sure, and how is that different from the usual 5 stars favourites vs. 1 star ones? They’re all contenders if they can stay close enough to take advantage of some peculiar circumstances (Arroyo also comes to mind as a crazy close shot).

        • Velovibes Friday, 10 May 2019, 9:15 am

          There are big differences in the list of guys you give next no no chance. Pozzivivo, Sosa, Hart, Formolo and Majka have indeed next no no chance. But Chaves and Mollema have both shown that there is a path to victory for them. I remember Mollema came second a few days before the 2013 Tour ended. and Chaves has finished on a GT podium twice.

        • Tobi Saturday, 11 May 2019, 12:10 pm

          At least I enjoyed reading about more than 5 riders in this article, I guess you can always atop reading after half if you prefer?

        • KevinR Saturday, 11 May 2019, 11:24 pm

          I have to agree that the winner will come from one of those five. A strong case can be made for each of them but not a compelling one. I think it’s going to come down to who can go deepest in the final week. So that’s Dumoulin. Maybe! Unless of course one of the Ineos ‘kids’ stuns us all.

    • Chris Friday, 10 May 2019, 7:05 am

      Ah the bravery of the cycling naysayer! Almost 200 riders start, and only one can win.
      The cool thing about telling us all who will not win is that you’re usually correct. Bravo.

      • Davesta Friday, 10 May 2019, 10:16 am

        Aha, very well put…
        Predict 5 guys who won’t win and you’ll be correct at least 80% of the time !

      • AndyW Friday, 10 May 2019, 3:09 pm

        Ha! Spot on!

    • RayM Saturday, 11 May 2019, 1:33 pm

      »What has he been doing this year? «

      Can’t wait for the TdF to come, to see if we’ll hear this argument from you regarding Froome then. At least all the riders INRNG named have done more than Mr.Shopping Cart so far in 2019. He has shown absolutely nothing.

  • Ronan Thursday, 9 May 2019, 12:44 pm

    Your entry for Nibali could be a copy and paste for the late-career style and notoriety of Contador.

    • The Inner Ring Thursday, 9 May 2019, 2:23 pm

      Similar but Contador was more incisive with his attacks, even in his final Vuelta he was riding away from the others but it’s been a while since Nibali’s been able to jump away solo on a mountain finish.

      • gabriele Thursday, 9 May 2019, 3:45 pm

        Indeed, he might have had the best time on Alpe d’Huez at the TdF long ago, 2018 I think, but, mind!, he wasn’t jumping away, more about jumping up and coming back with a broken vertebra.
        Of course, I get what you mean, yet I’m always amazed by the way Nibali (who’s obviously growing old) gets underrated time after time, notwithstanding having spent the last six seasons or so winning at least a GT or a Monument each year. And that could easily have been eight seasons, with a bit of added luck (yeah, luck worked both ways for Vincenzo, too, as is for nearly everybody in a decade of time).
        If the 2017 Giro course had been the original one, he’d probably win it, which doesn’t mean much in career terms (you need to face the given course), but gives sort of a hint about his level that year.

      • gabriele Thursday, 9 May 2019, 6:41 pm

        Oh, and we all forgot the 2017 Lombardia when Nibali ripped the field apart uphill. But maybe that doesn’t count because:
        1) it’s been a while (one and half a year! That is, eons in internet time… even if it is six months less than the last time Dumoulin appeared *dominant* in a GT – which doesn’t mean I wasn’t impressed by Tom’s attitude last year);
        2) it wasn’t “a mountain finish”. Of course. He also had to ride to the finish line.

        • Nick Friday, 10 May 2019, 3:53 pm

          fair points, although it’s also fair to note that 18 months for a 28 year old usually has a different impact from 18 months for a 34 year old.

  • Richard S Thursday, 9 May 2019, 1:06 pm

    I’d make Dumoulin favourite but he seems to be a rider who is open to the late stage mountain ambush. Harsh possibly but it’s happened to him twice now. All of his rivals are capable of such an ambush in my opinion. Roglic is a similar rider but seems more explosive and Jumbo-Visma have shown they are open to trying things. Nibali, Yates and especially Lopez and Landa probably have no other option than to try and blow the race apart in the Alps. It would be nice to see a new Italian contender emerge from somewhere.

    • The Inner Ring Thursday, 9 May 2019, 2:26 pm

      Maybe Formolo as the Italian contender but Ciccone, Masnada and some others would feature. Aru says he’s on the mend from surgery and hoping to do the Vuelta.

    • Ecky Thump Thursday, 9 May 2019, 8:38 pm

      You forget, however, that Dumoulin the GC rider, has developed hugely over the past 2-3 years.
      He almost pulled off the Giro – Tour double last year.
      Barring illness or a crash, I don’t see him being beaten here.
      Yates’ TT is the big unknown factor but 60 km of time trialling looks too much.
      Even if Yates’ TT is strong he could lose between 1’ to 2’ and there just doesn’t seem to be the climbs to shake Dumoulin off and take that back without risking another implosion?

      Your initial point applies more to Roglic, in my view.
      The temptation to jump with Yates will surely be tremendous but how eagerly does he spin the risk / reward roulette wheel? He needs to, to distance Dumoulin, but too much and his chips are spent.
      A very difficult situation for a still relatively inexperienced GC contender.

      I’m picking the Pink Tulip 🌷

      • RonDe Friday, 10 May 2019, 10:46 am

        The trouble with saying Dumoulin came 2nd twice in two grand tours last year is that saying he won no grand tours in 2018, even though he entered two, conveys the same information. Only the winners are remembered. What’s more, the details of those 2nd places are a bit more harrowing in their detail. Froome beat Dumoulin from an age behind and Tom’s decisions on the vital stage contributed to his loss as well as his naturally defensive posture on mountain stages. When he should be grinding opponents under his heel he simply tries to match them. In the Tour the fact is he never really challenged Thomas at all – and neither did anyone else. Thomas won two of the three mountain finishes and he was the first of the GC guys to the finish on the third. This, we might say, is actually indicative of a problem for Dumoulin rather than a strength. In this respect Roglic is exactly the sort of challenger he will fear the most, a guy close to him on the ITT, as Froome can be, but who will be more active in the mountains. Roglic also has the habit of wanting stage wins and not just GC wins which means we can expect him to get more bonus seconds. Don’t get me wrong, I expect Dumoulin to be 1st or 2nd but his achilles heel is exactly the time trialling climber who is slightly more punchy than he tends to be. This is why he beat Quintana and Nibali in 17, they aren’t good enough in the ITT, but Froome and Thomas in 18 were beyond him.

        • jc Friday, 10 May 2019, 1:38 pm

          Not sure I entirely agree here, though do think that Primoz Roglic is possibly a stronger if less experienced challenger than Simon Yates. Chris Froome won the Giro last year when the stars aligned on a one off ride, Tom Dumoulin and Sunweb pretty much rode the perfect GT but sometimes there is nothing you can do. Geraint Thomas was simply fresher and more focused than either Tom Dumoulin or Chris Froome and grabbed his chance with both hands. Nine times out of ten (maybe more) TD would have won the Giro and been second in the Tour, a result that would have been rightly celebrated.

          He is not a “punchy” rider but has huge mental strength, both dogged and determined at his best he is very difficult to beat. Think of how he out climbed everyone else on the stage into Oropa or managed to avoid disaster on the Stelvio.

          Picking a winner of a GT is always subject to so many unknowns but Tom Dumoulin must be at or near the top of any list for the next few years in any of them he enters.

          • Richard S Friday, 10 May 2019, 1:56 pm

            Saying ‘look at the stage to Oropa’ underlines Dumoulin’s weakness I think, or at best proves nothing. Oropa is a relatively short not all that steep climb at the end of a flat day usually. So Dumoulin can do a good 20 minute effort in a big gear. We know that. He can’t respond all that well to attacks on big mountain days when a team has gone to work on the early climbs to set a high pace. That’s how Aru beat him to the Vuelta and Froome to the Giro. I’d still put him favourite but he has a weakness in my opinion.

          • Cd Friday, 10 May 2019, 3:30 pm

            I really think referencing the Vuelta as some indication of how Dumoulin handles grand tours is obtuse. I doubt he warranted any mention in the previews and had the weakest team (who was his climbing supprort Haga or Craddock or someone like that). He’s quite a different rider now and arguably the 2nd best GT rider in the world the past few years.

        • Anonymous Saturday, 11 May 2019, 6:34 am

          “Only the winners are remembered. ”
          Nope, that happens only in your own filterbubble. Serious cycling fans know very well who made podium, top10 or top20 in differnet races.

  • DJW Thursday, 9 May 2019, 1:33 pm

    Nine stages over 200kms, and many well over. A tour for a rider and team who can manage ressources, stay out of trouble, and, above all, avoid losing time in the early and mid TTs, without placing themselves in a position where they need to defend for days on end. The rider who will win needs to arrive at the final week with reserves but without having lost much time. The final week could be too hard for Roglic and Dumoulin. Maybe Landa, Lopez, Yates, or Nibali for the nous and endurance.

  • Digahole Thursday, 9 May 2019, 1:36 pm

    Fausto masnada for a stage win and a top 20. Actually, don’t know so much about him… how’s his TT?

    • The Inner Ring Thursday, 9 May 2019, 2:27 pm

      An attacking rider for hilly days but perhaps not the highest mountains? CCC interested in signing him apparently.

      • Tom L Thursday, 9 May 2019, 3:16 pm

        I remember having heard somewhere, that Cattaneo is going for the GC for Androni, but Masnada may be going for the mountains jersey and mainly for stage wins…

  • noel Thursday, 9 May 2019, 2:10 pm

    Thomas de Gendt to get in 4-5 breakaways and win two of them….

  • Lanterne_Verte Thursday, 9 May 2019, 2:11 pm

    I’m expecting Formolo at age 26 to be entering his best years and to make the top 5, he was going very well in Giro ’18 but lost 5 minutes due to a crash and mechanical on stage 6 to Etna but still clawed his way back to 10th overrall. He proven he has the ability to stay strong in the third week, and 2nd in LBL suggests he’s on great form no?

    Re Pozzovivo I read somewhere he will not be targeting GC this year, just domestique to Nibali and hopefully a stage.

    • The Inner Ring Thursday, 9 May 2019, 2:31 pm

      We’ll see for Formolo, he’s part of the generation of riders like Villella, Bettiol who’ve taken time to adapt to the pro ranks. He should feature but can’t see him challenging the big names, eg hard to see him climbing faster than a Landa or Yates, or better in the TT than Dumoulin or Roglič but he should be a factor in the mountains. An interesting character, one to watch.

  • Lanterne_Verte Thursday, 9 May 2019, 2:42 pm

    Interesting insight, thanks. I’ll be cheering him on because i like to see Italian riders do well especially in the Giro but take your point, he’s not a five star contender, at least not yet. I guess his TT will hold him back, even when they are hilly he has not proven his ability yet ( best ever TT was 13th in tour de suisse, 20th-30th seems likely in TT stages). On the other hand Bora are on a good level this year so perhaps he will surprise.

    (PS you do say he’s on great form in OP, I missed that on first reading)

    • Ronytominger Thursday, 9 May 2019, 7:46 pm

      Im a great fan of FORMOLO, i dont see him up in the gc, but would love to see him embark on some alpine raids in w2&3

  • noel Thursday, 9 May 2019, 3:02 pm

    with 5 WT teams with sprinter leaders it will be interesting to see how easy a time the GC guys get over the first 11 days – remembering how Astana worked Contador over in the first half a few years ago – I’m hoping they all don’t get to just sit back while QS or UAE haul in the break everyday…
    I’m thinking that the climbers might want Roglic and Dumoulin arriving at the hills at least a bit knackered?

    • Tom L Thursday, 9 May 2019, 3:19 pm

      Except those same teams with sprinters dont care if the GC riders get tired or not! Also Gaviria and Ewan might quit ahlf way through, so they might as well spent the team energy in the first half…

      • JeroenK Thursday, 9 May 2019, 3:46 pm

        Noel, it’s the other way around. Climbers don’t want to get knackered on flat roads. Some flat, windy stages on which the sprinters’ teams pull echelons, helped or even instigated by GC teams, would be a gift for Roglic and Dumoulin. Remember Paris Nice and what Sky did there.

        • J Evnas Friday, 10 May 2019, 10:11 am

          Agreed, and with Yates’ propensity to hang around the back of the peloton he could easily be caught out.

  • Larry T Thursday, 9 May 2019, 3:15 pm

    W Il Giro! Tonight’s the team presentation special on RAI TV here in Italy. I’ll be running out for a couple of genuine neopolitan pizze before settling in to watch the 2 hour show. W La Corsa Rosa! Vai Nibali!

  • oldDAVE Thursday, 9 May 2019, 3:18 pm

    Am I the only one who thinks this line up is a complete disaster for the Tour?

    I half agree with RoneDe above that only a few of the contenders will likely come good – but this is the best list of proper GT contenders (most importantly with teams to back them) we’ve seen going into a GT for a long time? It’s such a shame (even though I’m excited for the Giro) that we won’t see a full force Dumoulin+Sunweb, Roglic+JV, Yates+Mitch going against Sky/Ineos at the Tour.

    These are the first riders to come about in the Sky-era who really seem to have a genuine chance of going head to head with a full-form Froome.

    I know this is a big statement but looking back on the last seven years now – I feel I’ve been sold a pup slightly believing in riders who never really had the capability to firstly beat Froome and secondly his team – Froome was either a better TT’er, or at least as good a climber or had a team that was too strong – Quintana, Bardet, Porte (mostly for his poor descending/luck), even post2010 Contador never really stood a chance without serious luck, as the results show.

    Whereas Dumoulin is definitively a better TT’er than Froome as well a superb climber, who pushed F to the absolute extreme to beat him, and Roglic is at this moment looking to be closing in on that league, himself following a very Sky template of winning all the stage races in the lead up to his goal. If you add in some jokers to spice things up like Nibali, Porte, Quintana (who seems more aggressive this year?) and a few who seem to be very close to the top level, Yates, Sanchez, Bardet…. you’d have the makings of a TDF for the ages. Not forgetting the politics that could emerge between Thomas/Froome.

    I’m gutted we’re missing this.
    Is no one else?

    I understand Roglic’s decision given he’s never even podium’d at a GT so should step up gradually as he’s less likely to win the TDF, and Dumoulin looking at the TT’s. I’m also fine with knowing as a cycling fan that the Giro and Vuelta are often the best races… but we haven’t really had a good TDF since 2011!

    (And I say that as a Brit who likes Sky and Froome, and have enjoyed their victories)

    In that time we’ve had some of the best Grand Tour’s ever between the Giro and Vuelta. I get that it’s just the way things are with the size of the TDF and the season’s schedule but I just want one classic TDF in the near future and it should have been this season with the current talent in the peloton.

    • RonDe Thursday, 9 May 2019, 4:18 pm

      I would say its been a feature of the myth Sky/Ineos have created over 10 years that other riders are afraid to take them on head to head on equal terms in the Tour. Simon Yates, for example, seems to be avoiding Froome. Dumoulin and Roglic are arguably the same. To pick a favourite of our Italians here, Nibali has several times conspicuously avoided Froome. The only one who didn’t was Contador and fair play to him for that although he was always more of a “win or nothing” rider plus he had the palmares to be able to fail trying. But, I agree with you Dave, it does leave Froome/Ineos smiling a bit more in two months time. Best, however, that we enjoy the races we get rather than the ones we can imagine.

      • gabriele Thursday, 9 May 2019, 5:42 pm

        *Or* it’s a middle-to-long-term process which saw Giro’s startlist gradually and consistently improving season after season since before Sky even existed, as confirmed by the brutal monetary investment they put in place after pushing the dangerous trade-off global spectators vs. instant income (systematic exclusive ES deals, ingent appearence fees).

        The “myth” is pro riders avoiding each other. Froome could well ride the 2013 Giro instead of Wiggo (it could even look logical), as Nibali could just avoid to race and lose the 2017 Vuelta against a rider who won’t ever test positive.
        Nibali must simply face each season the conundrum of racing the Giro for home crowds or giving a shot at the Tour. Given that Italian public is a substantial part of the total public of cycling, it’s not as simple as for riders from other countries (the French face a similar problem, indeed).
        If you have a look at his career, you’ll easily notice that he skipped the Tour 6 times. Half of them Froome was riding, but during the other half Froome wasn’t even a cyclist and Nibali skipped the French race anyway. OTOH, Nibali rode the TdF 7 times. 5 of them Froome was riding – the other couple of times, again, he wasn’t even a cyclist.
        You don’t need a PhS in Statistics to make some conclusions about your theory (or myth).

      • gabriele Thursday, 9 May 2019, 5:43 pm

        Oh, sorry, correct the above. In 2008 Froome was riding, too. +1 TdF with Froome in and Nibali riding all the same. But we shouldn’t really count it, should we?

        • RonDe Thursday, 9 May 2019, 5:49 pm

          Count how you like Gabriele. The grand tour head to head record between Nibali and Froome speaks for itself. And not in the Shark’s favour.

          • gabriele Thursday, 9 May 2019, 6:13 pm

            Is “lack of correlation” such a difficult concept? Under no factual POV Nibali has been avoiding Froomey through their careers. Whatismore, knowing a little about pro cycling, I just suspect that nobody is avoiding Froome at all.
            I can’t see how their respective GT record, as opposed to GT participation, has anything to do with your phantasies above.
            Froome’s got a better record in GTs than most current riders, and if this meant that people are avoiding him, he’d be alone on the start line all the time. Perhaps just with his much needed teammates.
            We’d probably enjoy that much more – besides making more sense than watching ’em racing against less privileged competitors – but, sadly enough, it’s not what is actually happening.

          • RonDe Thursday, 9 May 2019, 9:25 pm

            In the end its only speculation on my part Gabriele. Its nothing to get excited about. For myself I was always happy to see the two together in the same grand tour. Since 2011, when Froome the domestique beat Nibali the defending Vuelta champion in Spain, the wins went heavily in Froome’s favour. Indeed, he had to crash to give Nibali his only – and technical – victory over Froome. These days the same, and now rebranded, team beat Nibali with 24 year olds and 21 year olds. Even sharks get old, it seems. He may win a stage here but I question if he will even make the podium. Yates, Roglic and Dumoulin would be my podium. Not necessarily in that order.

          • gabriele Thursday, 9 May 2019, 10:07 pm

            Of course, Nibali is already the best all-around cyclist of this generation (and a couple of previous ones, too, back to Fignon or so), one of the very few among those currently racing who’s got an historically meaningful palmarés. He doesn’t have anything more on his “to do” list (perhaps the Worlds, but that’s a very long call).

            And I’m grateful for the occasion you offer to debunk some myths (“people avoid to race against Froome”) which actually prosper here and there (mainly elsewhere, I must say). I guess you’re all echoing some TV pundit or CN forum authority. Or maybe they’re all copying you. However, I’m afraid that this time I’ll even less time than ever to follow up the fancy narratives of fandom.

          • The Inner Ring Thursday, 9 May 2019, 10:11 pm

            Nibali wants Liège-Bastogne-Liège too, but he could retire today with plenty of accolades, probably the most complete rider in the peloton. Next year’s Aigle-Martigny Worlds course suits him too (as it does others).

          • OldDAVE Friday, 10 May 2019, 12:44 am

            Sorry I wasn’t really trying to start a Froome/Nibali debate. I think we all know now that Froome is the better climber/Timetrialist and therefore GT rider, Nibali is a better all round rider with an incredible palmares. Nor really saying that people are avoid Sky/Ineos – as I think they’re perfectly entitled to do so, and it’s even advisable at times..

            I just mean for us the fans, in particular this season, it’s a real shame.

            *(even if I agree it’s great the Giro/Vuelta for are often better than the TDF. Just it’s now getting a bit annoying how long it is since a great Tour)

          • Larry T Friday, 10 May 2019, 9:41 am

            Geez, looks like my scrolling down past certain comments will start even before the f–king race begins. All this arguing about a guy who can’t even be bothered to show up and defend his 2018 win? 🙁
            And if that guy does win another Tour, none of his fans will acknowledge the fact that the other contenders all raced La Corsa Rosa while he hid out at altitude, same as last year with that other guy on the same squad.

    • Tovarishch Friday, 10 May 2019, 7:58 pm

      There is another Yates who will be challenging Froome and Ineos. Why do people forget him?

    • Watts Friday, 10 May 2019, 10:23 pm

      It’s not a disaster. This Giro is hopefully going to be a great fight, so let’s enjoy it. The tour is lost until another team with the same budget comes along to challenge Ineos.

  • Tom L Thursday, 9 May 2019, 3:33 pm

    Well, you have the better of the two Yates going for the Tour as well as Bardet, Pinot, Quintana, Porte and then Thomas and Bernal within his own team.

    Also, you have a route where the win is mostly going to be decided in the mountains! This makes it more likely for one of them to actually have a chance of beating him! Also the last couple of years, he has actually had an offday in most of the Gt´s his been riding! The others just failed to capitalize on it! At the same time he IS getting older, and most of the contenders are entering their prime!

    On the other hand, he is going 100% for the TDf this year, for the first time since 2015! And if he gets Thomas, Bernal, Moscon, Kwiat, Poels on the team, that is just insane!!

    I think he is gonna take the 5th win, and i DO get your point! add Roglic and Dumo to the list above, and we have a race!

    But I still think its gonna be a splendid fight, decided in the mountains!

    • JeroenK Thursday, 9 May 2019, 3:41 pm

      You forgot the exclamation mark in your first sentence.

      • Tom L Friday, 10 May 2019, 8:36 am

        Haha, point taken!

  • SLO_cyclist Thursday, 9 May 2019, 3:59 pm

    Roglic can win this Giro with his left leg only…easily…mark my words!

    • Francisco Friday, 10 May 2019, 2:23 am

      Any para-cyclist can tell you that winning in such fashion never comes easily.

  • jc Thursday, 9 May 2019, 5:21 pm

    I did have a feeling that there was a changing of the guard in progress but then there was an accident in training and now the list of contenders seems rather more pedestrian.

    The obvious pick is Primoz Roglic and Jumbo Visma have looked to be a good outfit in recent times. However how likely is it that he can carry the form he has been showing from April in Tirreno Adriatico to late May on the Gavia, Mortirolo etc? I can see him taking the pink jersey fairly early, maybe on the first stage. That brings a whole lot of distractions, press conferences, sponsors pictures etc. The stresses all add up and can have an effect out on the road. He would be better riding back in the bunch and taking the lead near the end but not sure that will be his plan.

    Simon Yates did very well to recover from what must have been a very difficult experience last May to win the Vuelta, perhaps the competition was not the strongest but he still had to navigate the pitfalls of a three week tour and come out on top against a decent field. I suspect also that his team have learnt a lot since last year when at times their tactics seemed naive. Despite Paris Nice his weakness remains the TTs. Can he stay in genuine contention without expending too much energy until the road heads up in the later stages? If he can he must be in a with a good chance.

    Tom Dumoulin is a bit of an enigma. He has shown no form at all coming into the race, though that seems similar to previous years. The TTs will be key if he is going to win, we should get a real idea of how serious a contender he will be after the prologue TT, a repeat of last year would suggest he is in with a good chance. He is undoubtedly very tough not just physically, managing second in both the Giro and Tour last year was no mean feat. I tend to agree with Inrng that he is just about favourite but not by much.

    All things being equal I think one of the above will win but in case fate intervenes and the inevitable accidents and incidents derail the favourites Vincenzo Nibali is likely to be best placed to take advantage though I think his best days are gone. If not Vincenzo then I suspect one of the Ineos riders wont be far away, one of them is likely to be best young rider and its not impossible if the dice happen to fall their way they could take advantage.

  • Sam G Thursday, 9 May 2019, 5:43 pm

    Interested to see how Giulio Ciccone gets on now he is in a WT team.

    I think he can do a stealthy top 10 and maybe a stage win.

    • Anonymous Monday, 13 May 2019, 12:45 am

      He’s just another Italian with a ‘small team’ mentality where the only thing that counts is some sort of visibility at the Giro, no matter how minor. If all he wants to do is game the mountains jersey in the first week then he may as well change his name to Pirazzi and should have stayed at Bardiani.

  • Gregario Thursday, 9 May 2019, 5:45 pm

    I am quite surprised that for many people Roglic is the top favourite. I know he has been in tremendous form this year but it somehow reminds me of Porte in 2017 where we was great in all races leading to the Tour and we know what happened then. The Giro is the most unpredictable of all Grand Tours and that makes it so fascinating. For me the top favourites are Dumoulin and Nibali who are proven at this level and have done it time and time again in the past. Roglic still has to podium in a Grand Tour. He is a contender but I have the feeling that he comes unstuck at some point in the race.

    • BenW Friday, 10 May 2019, 2:34 pm

      Porte crashed in 2017. Not a form thing – I can’t see how that applies to Roglic as it’s either bad luck or poor judgement at speed. As ever, “that’s bike racing”.

      • Gregario Friday, 10 May 2019, 7:08 pm

        I know he crashed, but Porte was the favourite for many despite having no pedigree before (and afterwards as well) when it comes to being on the podium of Grand Tours. There is more than just being in form to be able to win the Giro and I feel that Roglic will experience that. Whether it’s a crash, a mechanical or an off-day which proves to be his downfall, I predict that he will not win it.

        • shadowyoshi Saturday, 11 May 2019, 12:13 am

          Roglic’s 4th in the Tour last year is a better result than Porte has ever had in any Grand Tour so the comparison is alrady starting to fall apart. Also, Roglic has really done this for two years and losing only to Thomas, Dumoulin and Froome at the Tour while still improving tactics and race craft shows me he might be ready.

          I do wonder if not having Kruijswijk will hinder him here.

    • KevinR Sunday, 12 May 2019, 10:11 am

      I’d agree. It’s a long way from one week to three on a bike. Experience counts for a lot too. As does knowing how deep you’ll have to go to win. On yesterday’s showing Nibali looks like he really means business. But there’s such a long way to go…

  • Motormouth Thursday, 9 May 2019, 6:57 pm

    Yates is somewhat let down by the parcours but I still think he has an excellent chance with a great team and huge motivation. His team have prepared well and that makes a big difference.

    Nibali will also have a good team to support him finally and is looking great. The long stages, tactically complicated first half due to the flat profile, and non hilltop drag finishes play into his strengths. He is also looking for a new team and wants to maximize his value which is a common precursor to peak performance of a rider.

    Roglic has been on boil is too inexperienced imo. But I enjoy his riding and the first week provides some time to rest to maximize ITT efforts.

    Lopez confuses me and also doesn’t show the experience to win this race but his team sure does, and seems to be getting it right this year. Dumoulin annoys me with his whinging and is boring but a good TT performance could set him up to win.

    I’m Intrigued for Ineos’ lineup but I expect they will end up in a fight for young rider and not GC just due to inexperience and not ability. Should be great to watch though and potential to really mix things up if they get the tactics right (and the riders have the legs of course).

    Let’s see if Movistar can work out their politics for once, no Valverde which is probably a great thing for their GC ambitions. I would go with Carapaz over Landa for a GC win even though Landa is the senior, but I think either is a big long shot.

    The Giro is a devil and seems to reward experience and grit. The contender list at the outset of this race as always is loaded with the opposite and without fail there will be a twist once the mountains bite.

    My top picks: Nibali, Yates, Roglic

  • JCG Thursday, 9 May 2019, 8:13 pm

    I like Dumoulin, but he looks susceptible in the final to attacks in the mountains. He’ll need to gain time in the TT’s because he’ll give it back when attack’s start in the finals K’s. Roglic will be fun to watch, and Yates will have something to prove. I can’t wait for the race to start, as it starting is my dear Bolonga where I lived for 16 years. The climb to San Lucca in practically under my old apartment.

    • JeroenK Thursday, 9 May 2019, 9:44 pm

      Dumoulin vulnerable in the final in the mountains? Wow, it only takes one or two anekdotes to get a name for yourself on the internet. Yes, he fell victim to Froome’s long range attack, yes he looked unable to put in a big attack in the last mountain days in last years’ Tour. The guy did the Giro and Tour double and got second twice! No wonder some top end was missing. Look up the Vuelta 2015 stage 9 finish – if he’s in top shape, he can beat the best.

      • gabriele Thursday, 9 May 2019, 9:54 pm

        But in that same Vuelta you’ve got an “anecdote” more, which cost him the race, and he struggled quite much in the third week of the Giro he won (he might even lose that wasn’t Jungels a good friend), albeit it was sort of a light third week, for the Giro. It looks like more of a pattern, although that doesn’t mean he can’t have got better.

        • JeroenK Thursday, 9 May 2019, 10:22 pm

          If I remember correctly, that was the Vuelta in which he invented himself as a stage racer. Everyone knew then his competitors would get rid om him on the last mountain stages. I agree with Inrng it’s form that is the question. He has not looked as formidable as Roglic, so I have my doubts too. His past grand tour results speak volumes about his consistency though, which is why I do not get why he would be more susceptible than others. You can find late tour weaknesses in everybody – Yates’ demise comes to mind and Roglic’s sub par TdF final timetrial.

        • Larry T Friday, 10 May 2019, 9:45 am

          +1 I can see the pattern already – I’ll just +1 your arguments…same as I ended up doing last year….or perhaps just skip the comments entirely.
          Sometimes I think there are two races going on at the same time but I’m watching only one of ’em.

      • The Inner Ring Thursday, 9 May 2019, 10:08 pm

        He is very good at climbing and can match the best but he can be distanced sometimes, it’s still a relative weak point others will test. The big question is his form and we’ll know plenty on Saturday.

  • Lanterne_Verte Thursday, 9 May 2019, 10:07 pm

    Riders who have won Romandie and Giro in the same season in the modern era:

    Merckx 1968
    Giuseppe Saronni 1979
    Stephen Roche 1987
    Tony Rominger 1995

    Primož Roglič 2019?

  • Cascarinho Thursday, 9 May 2019, 10:35 pm

    I think the Giro is, in a way, very lucky with the injury of Bernal. There was a good chance of seeing the steamroller Sky/Ineos, even if it was the youngsters ; now they will try and enliven the race, and the Tour will surely be more closed, with a team crashing all the opponents. Alas for the Tour, good for the Giro who really profits not to be the biggest race of the year… A little bit disappointed by the road ; I’m afraid it’ll be boring during two weeks. Let’s hope I’m wrong.

    • J Evnas Friday, 10 May 2019, 9:34 am

      Yes, I’m unimpressed with the route too. I’m not sure the Ineos ‘B team’ would have the strength to dominate a race, but I see your point, although Bernal is a rider I’d be very interested to watch riding for himself.

    • Larry T Friday, 10 May 2019, 1:09 pm

      Maybe I missed something but so far I don’t remember this team ever “steamrolling” the Giro d’Italia in the way they’ve been accused of doing at LeTour. They’ve seemed to be (as the Brits would say) “on their back foot” almost every year with 2018 taking an incredible exploit by their leader (along with a rather spectacular collapse of the wearer of the Maglia Rosa) to manage their first Giro victory. Even if they showed up with the same squad as 2018 with Bernal swapped out for 2018 winner I would find any sort of “steamrolling” unlikely, let alone with their 2019 Giro team roster.
      I wish all the top GC boys from every team would line up tomorrow though the list of those who are not here does seem rather small in 2019? I would love it if all of ’em would try to win (or perhaps ride for the training as Greg LeMond did a time or two?) both the Giro and Tour in the same year!!!

      • Nick Friday, 10 May 2019, 3:49 pm

        Agree that Sky have never steamrollered the Giro in the same way they have the Tour. As Froome himself has said, the Giro is the GT his riding style is least suited to, and that probably applies to Sky’s style too.

        Not so sure that the list of top GT riders avoiding the Giro this year is that small, though? Of the recent GT podiummers – Froome, Thomas, Quintana, Bardet, Pinot, Uran and Mas are sitting it out (along with A Yates and Kruiwijk, who have a 4th each). It seems close to the normal split, frankly.

      • KevinR Sunday, 12 May 2019, 10:25 am

        Larry, I’m a Brit (but identify as English) and while I wouldn’t say I’m a diehard Sky/Ineos fan (I like too many other riders too, including Nibali), I do follow their fortunes. And one of the reasons I love the Giro probably more than either of the other two grand tours is that they – or any other team – just can’t steamroller it. And that’s not because they often send a B team or because the Tour is the number one priority. Even on the one stage they did boss it last year it was only for half the stage and then all the stars aligned to put Froome in pink

  • brent sword Friday, 10 May 2019, 1:41 am

    My pick is simon yates. His time trialling seems good enough especially as they are not flat and I expect him to get some time bonuses as breaking away in the last km seems a speciality. As Eurosport has an exclusive I won’t get a chance to watch it this year which is to bad as I finally have the time these days. In Australia the races finish at about 2 am so if your working or riding early every morning its impossible to catch many stages.
    On a different matter I know people often say the giro is the most exciting and it certainly can be but I also think people underestimate the fact that most teams send the A squad to the tdf and its this fact that changes the racing as much as the profile. Teams can’t strangle the race with 5 guys good enough for top 10 or 20. Just looking at teams ineos shows the difference. All good riders I am sure but it pails compared to teams where porte, froome, uran and others are domestiques.

    • J Evnas Friday, 10 May 2019, 11:12 am

      Google Tiz cycling racing. They seem to have videos after the races have finished (I use them when Eurosport online deletes its videos for reasons that are beyond me).

      • Motormouth Friday, 10 May 2019, 5:43 pm

        Tiz feeds seems to be getting zapped this year sadly. Hopefully not for the long term

        • J Evnas Friday, 10 May 2019, 6:06 pm

          Oh, I watched Tro Bro Leon about a week after the race and it was fine. They had Fleche on there too, days after the race, but Eurosport still had it without commentary and as the commentator was Carlton Kirby silence was the better choice.

        • shadowyoshi Saturday, 11 May 2019, 12:22 am

          Live feeds on tiz seem to be getting zapped. After the fact replays seem to still be fine over there at least.

  • DJS Friday, 10 May 2019, 7:39 am

    Time bonuses on climbing stages have always seemed a bit unfair to me. In sprint stages, early in a Grand tour, they are a good tool to enliven the fight for GC. But whereas GC riders that are strong climbers can gain extra seconds on top of what they win in the climb anyway, those who ride a strong TT cannot. The only reason for a bonus after a climb could be to stop the race leaders ‘gifting’ a stage win to their competitors, but sometimes those finishes lead to the best (or most polemic – Armstrong/Pantani come to mind) stories for us armchair experts.

    • Cd Friday, 10 May 2019, 10:10 pm

      Agreed on the time bonus criticism. At best make it 3-2-1 on a climbing stage. Major bonuses for climbing stages in a 3 week GT make no sense to me.

  • Simmers Friday, 10 May 2019, 9:41 am

    Can’t wait for it all to start tomorrow, and on paper the fight for the GC looks pretty balanced. For me Yates is the man to beat: he thoroughly dominated the Giro and Vuelta last year, and his preparation seems to have been very measured. Can’t see him collapsing the way he did last year.

    I strongly doubt Roglic can sustain his form, he’s been winning GCs since February. No matter what he claims publicly, I feel he’s peaked too early – and I think he knows it too. He might wear pink for quite some time from day 1, but I’d be highly surprised to see him take it home to Verona.

    As for Dumoulin, he’s an enigma at this point. Historically you can count on him peaking at just the right time, but for some reason this year feels different. He stated to go for the win in the UAE Tour, the Tirreno, LBL – and got nowhere near. Add to that a team that, on paper at least, is probably the weakest of all the main GC teams and has seen a fair bit of unrest over the past year.

    As for the other GC riders, hoping to see a really strong Nibali this year. And I can see one of Astana’s shadow leaders (Izagirre or Bilbao) sneak into the top 5 if they go for it in the ITTs.

    All in all, should be a terrific Giro, with minor gaps going into the final week. Can’t wait!

  • Anonymous Friday, 10 May 2019, 12:23 pm

    Unless people learn to simply ignore RonDe’s comments, as with previous years nearly every grand tour post will be filled with hundreds (if not thousands) of words on the same subject, the ‘fact’ that Froome is good and everyone else isn’t (even when he isn’t in the race).

    • George Vest Friday, 10 May 2019, 12:43 pm

      That is not true. I don’t always agree with him, but I always find RonDe’s comments interesting. Sure, he’s a Froome fan, but then some other people like Italian riders. Comments from an ‘Anonymous’ whining about contributors, on the other hand, I could definitely do without.

      • Larry T Friday, 10 May 2019, 1:15 pm

        +1 for your last sentence. If I were the king, Anonymous and his/her entire family would be unable to post. If you lack the guts to put some sort of name on your comment I won’t waste any time reading it.

  • Larry T Friday, 10 May 2019, 4:42 pm

    Notes to Gabriele: I know what you mean about the Appia Antica but this person claimed they raced not only on Rome’s sanpietrini paving, but over the old stone blocks back-in-the-day!
    As to RAI TV, the May issue of Bicisport covers all the changes and polemics but I just got the copy yesterday so I don’t yet know anything, but it’s all out there in-print now.

  • Gregario Friday, 10 May 2019, 7:19 pm

    All the predictions here have not taken into account one thing. I think the weather will be a big factor this year. We have some terrible spring weather in Europe at the moment and the long term forecast is not too good either. It hasn’t been as bad in Italy as in central Europe but the forecast predicts heavy rain for Sunday’s stage already. The moutains are far far away but if the weather doesn’t change, we might see some really bad conditions (2013 springs to mind) and even those first two weeks might throw one or two surprises if the roads become wet. It will certainly not be such a straight forward Giro as 2 years ago, when there was not a single day with rain! There are many contenders for the win but my prediction is that for many of them the race is over before they even get to the mountains in 2 weeks time.

    • Ecky Thump Friday, 10 May 2019, 7:56 pm

      Good point.
      And it would be highly ironic too, given that the race’s start was put back to allow for better weather.

    • J Evnas Friday, 10 May 2019, 8:21 pm

      Cycling is almost always more entertaining in bad weather – from the comfort of my sofa.
      Yates’ decision to go off very late tomorrow – unlike every other favourite – seems very odd. The ‘fast section through the streets of Bologna’ could be decidedly slippery.

      • jc Friday, 10 May 2019, 9:50 pm

        Simon Yates going last when every other team leader is going first is “interesting”. It might be brilliant tactics or it might be a disaster though most likely it will make little difference.

        It does make me wonder if the team really have learnt the lessons from last year. The old cliche that “you cant win the race today but you most certainly can lose it” comes to mind. Boring it might be but playing the percentages is almost always the correct strategy, better to make sure you come home not far from the front rather than taking a risk to gain a few seconds. There probably will come a moment to roll the dice but on the first stage of a grand tour? There are over 3500km of roads to race after they leave Bologna, there will be opportunities to gain time on your rivals, better to wait for the right moment rather than rush at things.

      • David Saturday, 11 May 2019, 10:41 am

        “Cycling is almost always more entertaining in bad weather”

        Except when they decide it’s ‘extreme’and cancel/neuter the racing.

  • Othersteve Saturday, 11 May 2019, 1:05 am

    Thank INRG,
    I will be curious as to the stamina of Sepp Kuss.
    Will he be there in support in the later kilos of the later mountain stages.

    • Anonymous Monday, 13 May 2019, 12:54 am

      So many people would be pleased to see that. But he’s only ridden one good race as a pro and that was as a winner in an easy-paced, poor race and not as support in a nervous Grand Tour with its best field for years.

  • JH Saturday, 11 May 2019, 1:41 pm

    I think Jumbo have really developed the team this year. They impressed in UAE and T-A with Du Plus being a great Lieutenant to Roglic. They looked much more like an Ineos or Astana. They seemed to fall back to the old ways once Krswck was the theoretical leader in Romandie though, which was interesting. The squad here is similar, but not quite the same (no Tony Martin, which is possibly an mistake)) as the early stage races. Of course, these a lot of difference between them and a three week race, and Du Plus is still young and inexperienced over 3 weeks. Still interesting to how he does against the Ineos Babes, if any of those go for the white jersey. He’s looked a step up from last year since his transfer from QS.

    Anyway, I’m rooting for them, and will be interesting to see if they continue to up their game as a squad.

Next post:

Previous post: