Unusually ‘flat’ for the first half. Several sprint stages, which means there’s actually a half-decent set of sprinters for the first time in a loooong time. However, lots of long stages too, which might have an impact later on.
Will all kick off from stage 13 onwards and doesn’t really let up from there. Stage 14 is one of them short, nasty hardcore mountain stages that GT planners love so much at the moment. Stage 16 takes on the Gavia and the mortirolo. Lovely stuff. Then the penultimate stage pretty much starts uphill, has a loooot of climbing - 5000m+, hitting altitudes above 2000m.
Would normally be where the Giro is won or lost, but the final stage is a time trial, speaking of which…
Three time trials in this race. Gotta fancy this if you’re a TT specialist who can survive the mountains…
Primoz Roglic is the deserved favourite. Entered three WT races this year. Won all of them. Woah. Great on the TT, can attack on the steeps and can win on descents too. HOWEVER, he had an almost as impressive record last year, but couldn’t maintain his effort over three weeks of Le Tour. He’s got more experience now, seems even stronger, but can he claim his first GT win?
One of only two former winners in the race. Also a brilliant TT rider. Can’t attack on the mountains like Roglic and Yates, but measures his effort brilliantly to grind back up to the attackers. hard to see anyone beating Roglic, but if anyone can, I reckon Tom can.
looked like he had it in the bag last year, but then cracked spectacularly and Froome did that infamously suspicious looking attack. Spent much of the race up to that point on the attack, looking to eke out seconds at every opportunity. Says he’s now learned from that and will race more conservatively (ie more boring). Oh yeah, he won the Vuelta as well didn’t he? Backed up by a very strong team (Chaves, Nieve), he’s gotta be a favourite to at least podium.
Movistar have a NEW trident (lamapaz) to deploy! Excellent news. Will it work? Will it bollocks.
Nibali must be past his prime now, mustn’t he?? Will still try to shake things up though. Fancy him for a big stage win, but think there’s too much TT action for him to podium. Hopefully will spark things off in the mountains.
Bob Jungels can TT. Can he survive the final week in the mountains? Doubt it.
Lopez could be a bit of a dark horse, but the loss of Ion Izagirre will hurt him I think.
Majka will finish 8th or something. Standard. Ditto Zakarin
With Bernal sadly doing his collarbone, Team Skyineos will see Gheoghegan and Sivakov start as co-leaders, after their impressive performances at the Tour of the Alps. Will be very interesting to see what they can do here. I’m hoping they’ll try some crazy moves to light things up.
Still haven’t quite come to terms with the fact that Viviani is the best sprinter in the world, but there you go. Will be plenty of opportunities for him to go head to head with former team mate Gaviria, who first really broke out at the Giro a couple of seasons back. Very much looking forward to this. Supporting cast headed up by Ewan and Demare. Can Nizzolo get his first Giro stage win after approx. 300 2nds? Well, maybe. Seeing as how most of the sprinters will drop out before the final week. Will probably end up with the points jersey by default as well.