Friday Group Ride #68

The Giro d’Italia starts Saturday, and this time out everything is BIG. The peloton, at 207 riders, is well beyond the normal size, as are the climbs (see Mt. Etna stage above), with seven mountain top finishes. This a race for the featherweights and survivors. Someone is probably taking odds on how many sprinters will even finish. My buddy DNF will definitely be there.

Here is my list of favorites: David Arroyo (Movistar), Denis Menchov and Carlos Sastre (GEOX-TMC), Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas), Roman Kreuziger (Astana), Alberto Contador (SaxoBank-Sungard), Tiago Machado (RadioShack), Stefano Garzelli (Acqua e Sapone), Danilo di Luca (Katusha), Michele Scarponi (Lampre-ISD), Giovanni Viscontini (Farnese Vini-Neri Sottoli).

Contador’s presence at the Italian race, for the first time since he won it in 2008, shakes up the general classification. 2010 champion Ivan Basso skips this Giro to focus on the Tour, so that leave his Liquigas teammate Nibali to battle with the Spaniard. 2009 winner Denis Menchov will hope that his Geox-TMC squad has the gas to keep him in contention. Will a rapidly aging Carlos Sastre be able to help?

Astana’s Roman Kreuziger, finally given a grand tour leader’s role, has a lot of questions to answer about his true top end capabilities, and the pack of skinny Italians who might normally crowd the podium (di Luca, Grazelli, Viscontini and Scarponi) will likely struggle to keep pace with Contador and Nibali.

While most observers ooh and aah over the total number of climbs in the race, the real issue will likely be recovery. It is one thing to climb strong for a week. It is quite another to do so consistently day after day. There will be no safety for the maglia rosa, as the course just provides far too many opportunities for rivals to put in attacks.

Patience and consistency, consistency and patience. And luck. Don’t forget luck.

Of course, it is far too early to begin picking an overall winner, but let’s try something different for this week’s Group Ride. Stage One is a Team Time Trial. Who will win it? AND…who will be in the pink jersey on the first rest day?

Stickers for correct pickers.

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11 comments

  1. Nelson

    TTT – Liquigas

    Would love to see Cadel Evans in Pink by the first rest day. (Tho I doubt whoever is in pink that day wont be holding on to it at the end of week 3)


  2. Author
    Robot

    @Nelson – As a Cadel fan, I would love to see him in pink too, alas he’s not riding the Giro this year. He’s all in for the Tour. Go fish.

  3. Nelson

    Thanks Robot. Haven’t been keeping up I guess. My next hope would be for a new, young rider to have pink for a day or 2. That’s my guess. Some rider I dont know.

  4. Joe

    TTT Htc-High road

    Pink, I’m thinking Contador. He’s never seemed to be one to hold back, or play the waiting game. That and he’s one every grand tour he’s started for how many years running? I’m patiently awaiting my stickers ;)

  5. James

    TTT= Liquigas

    Pink first weekend= Scarponi

    I’m really looking forward to this years Giro! Should be amazing!

  6. armybikerider

    TTT – Liquigas

    Pink – I was hoping that Peter Sagan would be riding the Giro..In his place, and keeping with the Liquigas theme….I’ll pick Nibali

  7. Christopher

    Souleur has the right idea and I hope for Pinotti through and through so instead of another guess I’ll just back yours, mon frere.

  8. Paul

    TTT – HTC or Liquigas.

    I’m surprised not to see Igor Anton in your list of favorites, he seemed to have Nibali’s number at the Vuelta last year before his crash.

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