With the 99th Edition of the Giro starting in a matter of hours, it’s high time for me to publish a post.
Giro d’Italia 2016, the 99th edition of one of the greatest Grand Tours of the Pro Peloton
- 6th to 29th May, 3463.1 km over 21 Stages
- Three Individual Time Trials
- Seven flat stages for Sprinters
- Seven medium mountain stages
- Four high mountain finishes
- 1km of individual time trial, no team time trial
There are six must-watch stages in this year’s race
Most of us would love to sit down and watch every stage of the Giro d’Italia.With that in mind, here are the stages you should definitely try to watch:
Stage 6: The first uphill finish of the race and the first opportunity for the GC contenders to test their legs.
Stage 8: This stage features a steep, 10km climb just before the finish, 6km of which is unsealed. The last kilometre, too, is uphill, taking the riders through the cobbled streets of Arezzo.
Stage 14: A truly epic stage in the Dolomites with six ascents and more than 5,300m of climbing!
Stage 15: The uphill individual time trial. Should shape the GC.
Stage 19: Features two monster climbs: the Cima Coppi and the uphill finish to Risoul.
Stage 20: A short stage at 134km but with three big climbs (the first straight out of the neutral zone) and a 2.5km ramp to the finish, it’s sure to be an exciting stage.
Favorites to win the GC:
- Vincenzo Nibali (Astana): Grand Tour Grand Slam having clinched GC wins at the 2013 Giro, 2014 Tour de France, 2010 Veulta a Espana; this year’s race will be one to watch as he aims to prove his worth to Astana knowing that there’s a youngling (Fabio Aru) waiting to overtake him in the team as he enters his last year of contract with Astana. But Nibali is a performer, he’s a contender and he’s a legend of our time.
- Tom Dumoulin (Giant-Alpecin): One of the biggest threat to the other contenders. Besides being a very good time-triallist he’s also very good at climbs, but this will be his debut at the Giro and how will this race pan out for him? Only time will tell.
- Alejandro Valverde (Movistar): This may be his first Giro, however knowing that he has got an amazing records for one-day races (classics) and also at the Grand Tours, this is one guy to beat even though this will be his first appearance in the Giro. Movistar is also fielding a strong team (with on-form Carlos Betancur) to help Valverde accomplish this feat. Will he win the Giro in his first attempt?
- Rigoberto Uran (Cannondale): Pressure is on him to win the Giro after coming in 2nd placing for both 2013 and 2014, and for someone who has yet won anything in 2016. He’s expected to perform in this edition and with Cannondale indicating that the Giro is THE race for the year, I wonder if he’s able to pull this off. I’m sure he’s thirsty for the Giro and being runner-up twice is painful enough.
- Mikel Landa (Team Sky): With a recent win at the Giro del Trentino, he’s in a happy state and surely confident that he will be able to achieve something here. Leading for Team Sky at this Giro, he will have the support of Nicolas Roche, Phil Deignan, Ian Boswell compatriot David Lopez and Sergio Henao in the mountains.
- Ilnur Zakarin (Katusha): One of the procyclist to watch this season. Young, intelligent and a very strong Russian cyclist coming up the ranks of Pro-Cycling. This is one dark horse to watch for the year
- Esteban Chaves (Orica-GreenEdge): Without a doubt that this Colombian will be someone to watch for the GC, as OGE has also fielded a strong team to support Chaves. This race will get him the necessary exposure and experience in the Grand Tours and that would be something that OGE aims to get under his belt. He may potentially win a few stages if given the opportunities.
Not to forget with 3 individual time trials this will be for someone with the likes of Cancellara (Trek Factory Racing), Dumoulin, Valverde, Nibali and Uran to get the Maglia Rosa.
If Cancellara is fit for race today (after his stomach bug), he could be wearing the Maglia Rosa for the first day, which is the perfect race stage for pure time-triallists! The other two time trials are not ideal for pure time-trialists in my personal opinion as they are uphill climbs which would benefit the likes of Valverde, Nibali and Uran.
And if the advantage after the three time trials proved to be good enough, the GC winner could possibly be one of the three mentioned.
Seven flat finishes is one to watch out for and there will be so many top guns out in the sprints.
Marcel Kittel (Etixx – QuickStep), Andre Greipel (Lotto-Soudal), Elia Viviani (Sky), Arnaud Demare (FDJ) and Caleb Ewan (Orica-GreenEdge).
We all know the power of the Gorilla (Greipel) and Kittel, but there’s one young star that is rising and that’s Caleb Ewan (only 21 years of age). He being labelled as “Pocket Rocket” is one to watch out for during the sprint finishes as he goes into his extremely aero sprint style (more so than Mark Cavendish).
Every edition of the Giro d’Italia is nothing short of spectacular.