GIRO TIME!!! HAPPY 100TH BIRTHDAY!
Sardinia to start. Meant to be a glorious homecoming for Aru, but he's not racing. Oops. Expect lots of stunning hills and seascapes though.
Other than that, lots of climbing, including a trip up Mt Etna that Nibs will try something on and a double ascent of the Stelvio.
Nairo is the obvious pick. Going for the TDF double too. Illness/crash aside, can't see him losing tbh.
Nibali hasn't shown great form coming in: won in the Tour of Croatia, but barely, and against a weak field. Didn't look at all convincing on the climbs. But then, that's nothing new for him. Never write him off.
Pinot/Thomas - both shown some good form this season, Thomas in particular. But with both, I'd expect them to have an off day sometime in the third week. Maybe Thomas to cling on for a podium spot. Pinot 4th.
Shoulders - the snow crash stage last year was my favourite days racing of the year (once it had been established zakarin wasn't dead, anyway). Not really done anything of note this year, but I think he'll be up for this.
Speaking of Zakarin... he was right up there last year until that horrible crash. Quite fancy him quietly threatening the top 5.
Mollema - after the disappointment of last year's TDF, kind of feel it's now or never for Bauke. Possibly never.
Van Garderen - looked all right at Romandie, but can't see him breaking into the top 5. Rohan Dennis might usurp him as team leader.
Yates (A) - good bet for a stage win, but will do well for a top 10 I reckon.
Tom Dumoulin - can he build on the heroics of last season? Not sure...
Often not great for sprinting, with many of the big names normally giving the Giro a miss. Still, 5 or 6 decent sprint stages and some of the best young sprinters around (Ewan, Gaviria, Bennett), plus the likes of Griepel, Modolo and Nizzolo.
Astana to only ride with 8, to respect Scarponi
Cash prizes for the fastest rider on 10 descents including Stelvio. Hmmm.
Adam Hansen will be riding his 17th consecutive grand tour. Chapeau