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Re: Giro 2019: The Big Preview
« on: May 03, 2019, 20:32 »
#pink Classifica Generale[1]

There are only a couple of days left before the Giro d'Italia Big Start takes place in Bologna. The 102nd edition of the Giro d’Italia will run from 11 May to 2 June, starting and finishing with Individual Time Trials, in Bologna and Verona respectively. In this city, from today until the final stage in a month's time, the Trofeo Senza Fine awaits its winner.

GC contenders to watch out for at the 102nd edition of the Corsa Rosa are:

#bahrain Vincenzo Nibali (Ita, 34, Bahrain - Merida)

The only multiple winner of the Giro d’Italia (2013, 2016) in this year’s race is back after one year of absence following his third place overall in 2017. He’s the only grand slam holder (along with La Vuelta a España 2010 and the 2014 Tour de France) to line up in Bologna, and is the clear crowd favourite. At the age of 34, the Sicilian is still one of the favourites for a Grand Tour victory. His recent third place at the Tour of the Alps indicates that his efficient preparation for the Giro at an altitude training camp in Gran Canarias keeps him among the top contenders against the up and coming climbers of the new generation.

Vincenzo Nibali said: “The approach to the Giro was the ‘classic’ one, starting with altitude training on Mount Teide and the return to the races at the Tour of the Alps and, last Sunday, at the Liège. My condition is growing and everything is going well. The Giro starts immediately with a short time trial; a commitment of certain importance that will already challenge those riders who aim for the GC. The first stages should not be underestimated, because even without any particular difficulty in altitude, the routes are very difficult and challenging. Not to mention that everyone, in the first week of the race, has the strength and the desire to show off and some captain might try a surprise move.”

#sunweb Tom Dumoulin (Ned, 28, Team Sunweb)

The Dutchman is the only other former winner of the Giro d’Italia to start this edition, having snatched the top spot on the exceptional occasion of 2017’s Giro100. Tom Dumoulin is true to his words as he said he fell in love with the Corsa Rosa and the Maglia Rosa when the race started on his home soil in Apeldoorn in 2016 and he has lined up every year since: following his second place to Chris Froome last year, this is his fourth straight participation. No other favourite knows the Giro as well as the “Butterfly from Maastricht”. Aged 28, he has already worn the Maglia Rosa for 17 days, at least one in each Giro he started and only three days less than Nibali. After placing 6th in the UAE Tour and 4th at Tirreno-Adriatico, he’s also conducted an altitude training camp to approach his biggest goal of the year in top shape.

Tom Dumoulin said: “As always I’m looking forward to heading to Italy to get started with the Giro! It’s a great race with a great course this year. We’re expecting a tough battle but now that the preparations are done it will be nice to get things underway in Bologna.”

#jumbo Primoz Roglic (Slo, 29, Team Jumbo - Visma)

Primoz Roglic made a household name for himself across the world of cycling three years ago when he lost the inaugural time trial of the Giro d’Italia to Tom Dumoulin by only one-hundredth of a second in Apeldoorn. Both riding for rival Dutch teams (even though Team Sunweb is registered in Germany, its soul is in the Netherlands), they have three stages against the clock on their agenda to fight for the Maglia Rosa, starting with the cronoscalata (uphill time trial) to the San Luca of Bologna on May 11. The 29-year-old Slovenian is unbeaten in the only two races he competed in this year before the Tour de Romandie: the UAE Tour and Tirreno-Adriatico. He also made the Giro d’Italia his number one objective of the 2019 season.

Primoz Roglic said: “I think that a lot of good guys are starting the Giro. We will go all in with with our goal, which is to win the Pink Jersey. It will be a really tough race. People say the race suits me, but when you are good, everything suits you. When you are good you can race all sort of climbs. I wanted to do the Giro because there are three individuals time trials, which is what I can do best. There's also a lot of mountains, which I also like.”

#mitchelton Simon Yates (GBR, 26, Mitchelton-Scott)

Throughout his journey in the Maglia Rosa during the 2018 Giro d’Italia, Simon Yates transformed into a new rider. His 13 days leading the Corsa Rosa changed him as he fully embraced the historical and cultural dimension of the event. But knowing his inferiority to the likes of Tom Dumoulin and Chris Froome against the clock, he fought for every second up for grabs along the way and ultimately paid for his efforts in the last three mountain stages in the Alps to eventually finish 21st overall. Yet he learned so much from this experience that he capitalized on his kind of mistakes to win his first Grand Tour three and a half months later. Having bagged La Vuelta, he decided to return to the Giro with the feeling of unfinished business.

Simon Yates said: “I’m approaching the Giro the same way I would do any other race. I really like to try to win every race I start so for me it’s just business as usual. My lead up to this year’s Giro is actually very very similar to last year. I’ve raced exactly the same number of days as last year. I hope the condition is the same as last time and we will just race a little more conservatively and we will see how that goes. We start directly with a prologue, so we will know how everyone’s form is there. I would like to race aggressively as I do normally. I don’t have my eye on any particular stages, I think the last week is just very very difficult. and can shape the race. A lot of guys will be conservative until that point and then we will see from there.”

#astana Miguel Angel Lopez (Col, 25, Astana Pro Team)

Like Primoz Roglic, Miguel Angel Lopez has two stage race victories under his belt since the beginning of the season, with the Tour Colombia and Volta Catalunya. They confirm that his status is on the rise after his two Grand Tour podiums last year as he finished third overall in both the Giro d’Italia and La Vuelta. “Superman” is another modern champion who says he loves the Giro and returns, intent on winning it. He didn’t only go back to Colombia for altitude training in his province of Boyacá, but also for the birth of his first child in April. He’s the true leader of the Astana team that is one of the most successful of the 2019 season. Aged 25, he’s also a true favourite for the Giro d’Italia starting in Bologna even though he might hide his very best riding before we reach the big mountains.

Miguel Angel Lopez said: “I am waiting for the start of this Giro d'Italia with great interest and impatience! The result of the last year brought me a huge motivation and now I am really looking forward to coming back to the Giro. Last season’s race became a real show, it was something very beautiful and emotional! I really hope this year it will be the same or even better. At least our team will try to make this edition of the Giro d'Italia unforgettable.”

#ineos Egan Bernal (Col, 22, Team INEOS)

Aged only 22, Egan Bernal is a rookie at the Giro d’Italia after having successfully raced the Tour de France at the service of Geraint Thomas and Chris Froome last year. But he’s familiar with Italian roads as he started his career based in Piedmont with the Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec team that hired him directly following his stint of international mountain bike racing at junior level. Now with the pedigree of a Paris-Nice winner, the Colombian climber is set to lead the rebranded Team INEOS that, despite the name change, carries the weight of being the defending champions on the start line for the first time in Bologna. The prodigy from Zipaquira went back home after his third place at Volta Catalunya to gear up for the three-week race in the land that made him aware of his exceptional ability.

Other contenders

Other contenders for the victory in the General Classification of the Giro d'Italia are: Bob Jungels (Deceuninck - Quick Step), already twice a winner of the Maglia Bianca of best Young Rider in 2016 and 2017, of a stage in the Giro and of the Liege-Bastogne-Liege; Mikel Landa (Movistar Team), who was third in the 2015 Giro and winner of three stages at the Corsa Rosa; Rafał Majka (Bora - Hansgrohe), who has previously finished fifth, sixth and seventh at the Giro d'Italia and is a winner of stages on both the Tour and the Vuelta.
 1. Source of all text: RCS press release
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