Giro d'Italia Overall Preview
He was second here last year despite a great performance, such that led also to a second place in the Tour, and he won the race two years ago. It was in 2017 that he confirmed his 3-week racer abilities (that were until then put to doubt) and since then he's become a very evolved rider with virtually no weakspot. His team was one, some would say, but this year it doesn't look like it's an issue. He's done almost the exact same run-up as last year, was 6th in the UAE Tour and 4th in TIrreno-Adriatico, had two more race-days, more recently in Liège-Bastogne-Liège where he didn't look great but the conditions of the two races have nothing alike so it isn't a proper sign of his form. He looks to be preparing to be in the best condition possible for the last week, perhaps the favourite that is coming with the slowest start into the race.
Main Support: Sam Oomen, Chris Hamilton.
Another rider coming from a break in racing is Yates, he hasn't raced since Catalunya so he's also clearly targeting the final week. Yates looks a more complete rider than ever with his astonishing TT win in Paris-Nice, he hasn't focused on the GC on any race so far this season which really points out what his real goal his. He's light, explosive and equally as strong in long climbs, his time-trial looks dialed so he is a great favourite to win, something he was on the brink of doing last year.
Main Support: Esteban Chaves, Mikel Nieve.
The complete opposite of Yates is Roglic. He has won 3 World-Tour stage-races this season and 5 stages. But in reality he hasn't raced that much, only those 3 races exactly. Roglic is looking like another rider with no weak spot, his sprinting looks very good, climbing he almost never looks in distress and his time-trialing looked almost untouchable in Romandie. His team may be his weak spot with so much climbing in the race, Sep Kuss replaced Jumbo's initial option of Gesink, alongside with Laurens de Plus they should be the main support, but there are teams that will be able to support their leader better.
Main Support: Sep Kuss, Laurens de Plus, Antwan Tolhoek.
He's a rider who has the endurance to deal with these massive backloaded Tours, and also of the massive stages we'll have. Nibali wouldn't initially come in the main favourite list with the other three... But recently, in the Tour of the Alps and Liège-Bastogne-Liège he looked sharp. It is an unusual sight to see Nibali in such good form between the Grand Tours, so coming in so well can mean he will be equally as dangerous and a favourite as the others, the hilly time-trialing will come to his favour, and a set of dangerous descents and familiar roads will come to his favour aswell, plus he is coming with a very good team to back him up.
Main Support: Domenico Pozzovivo, Damiano Caruso.
Miguel Angel Lopez
The Colombian climber still seems a somewhat fragile rider to racing in the wind, and has a tendency to crash. If he can avoid that this year he's a clear contender for the podium, Astana have been having an inequable season and their team here won't be any weaker. Lopez will enjoy the extreme amount of climbing in some stages, the time-trialing will be his weak spot but his huge team support and several options may give him an advantage in relation so some of his rivals.
Main Support: Ion Izagirre, Pello Bilbao, Jan Hirt, Dario Cataldo, Andrey Zeits.
Mikel Landa & Richard Carapaz
Even with Alejandro Valverde's absence from the race, Movistar is bringing a strong duo for the overall contention. Landa has shown very good form recently, 7th in Liège, and strong performances in Basque Country and Asturias. He's complained of an ankle issue and abandoned Asturias after a dominant stage alongside Carapaz, which isn't the ideal way to come into the race, but he should fancy the mammooth stages the suit him very well. Carapaz was last year's revelation finishing 4th and with a stage win to his name, he won the Vuelta a Asturias this past weekend and is looking fit to fight for the GC again, despite having some more racing this season than the other contenders already.
Main Support: Amador, Pedrero.
Bob Jungels is for many an unknown in the race. He has on the youth classification back in 2016 and 2017, and unlike his power climber physique might indicate he's actually very strong in the backend of Grand Tours. The climbing may be too much for him this year to be in for the first places but there are three time-trials that suit him very well and he is another very complete rider fit for every race situation. His support will rely on youngsters mainly, the team will focus on Elia Viviani's ambitions but he has shown to be able to take care of himself in the mountains before. He took a resting period after his great cobbled classics campaign so his form is unknown coming in.
Main Support: James Knox.
He's a joker, his third place in the 2017 Vuelta seemed the confirmation of a very dangerous Grand Tour contender but last year he failed to perform to expectations. He was 9th in the Tour, not a disapointment but much like his team, he hasn't looked in his best. He was strong recently in Romandie which leads to a belief that he will be up there in the race, but his lack of team support and fragility in the flats/hills will have him in a not-so-good position.
Main Support: Dimitry Strakhov, Daniel Navarro.
He's has been having quite a season so far. A massive Catalunya stage win, a second place in Liège, he is definetely riding the best season of his career so far but his speciality seems to be more in the explosive hilly racing than in the high-mountains. Formolo is a thorough GC contender, last year he finished 10th despite a disastrous climb to Etna after a puncture. He's a good rider but in the time-trials he will loose time and in the high-mountains he won't be able to be use his power in the way he prefers. He comes with Majka who may be an overall option but recent history would indicate Majka will be fighting for stage wins and the Maglia Azurra.
Main Support: Rafal Majka, Pawel Poljanski.
These riders all are genuine threats in the overall. Their situation comes in that they will likely be cards and/or be in chasing duties for their leaders. But obviously, they are serious riders to look at and their extra freedom may be their best advantage. Of these the Astana riders are obviously the most dangerous ones due to their strenght in number, but also Domenico Pozzovivo has been one of the strongest climbers in the last few years and the climb-heavy route will be very suiting for him.
Tao Geoghegan Hart/Pavel Sivakov/Ivan Sosa
Team INEOS is surely a puzzle. With Egan Bernal's impossibility to race it opens up the team's expectation completely. Ivan Sosa came to replace him, and the duo that finished a brilliant 1-2 in the Alps Hart and Sivakov are set to lead. Both of them have only debuted on Grand Tour in last year's Vuelta, Sosa is a debutant. The previous two seemed already on the top of their game some weeks ago and Sosa wasn't specifically preparing for this race so there's a chance to see them in the overall contention but the final week will surely be too hard for them to resist, but the thing is it's their first overall tilt so it's entering the unknown, for everyone.
Main Support: Sebastian Henao.
⭐ Landa, Carapaz, Jungels, Zakarin, Pozzovivo, Formolo
My call, Tom Dumoulin. He's prepared specifically for this race. I don't see Roglic cracking but he won't be able to take advantage of his great form coming in and his team is a level below his rivals. Yates, the best climber and strong time-trialist, but Dumoulin... Dumoulin was amazing last year, he is the whole set, and he will still be flying on the final week, I think he can pull it off.
Maybe the fittest sprinter in the race? Fact is this last year Viviani has looked like a massive strenght in the sprinting field, his nemesis Sam Bennett won't be here and Dylan Gronewegen will miss aswell, so Deceuninck's leadout will surely be in the top names to deliver a top rider. Viviani won 3 stages here last edition, he'll be looking to replicate the same this year.
Leadout: Sabatini, Sénéchal, Honoré.
Gaviria was a somewhat last-minute call, at least publically, but he is coming as the main opponent to Viviani. He's won only in San Luis this year, but his focus on the cobbled classics justifies a bit of his lack of wins this season. In the Giro he will be looking to get his best legs back and try to get back his winning ways.
Leadout: Consonni, Molano, Marcato, Bohli.
Ewan has recently looked brilliant in the Tour of Turkey, netting two impressive wins in uphil sprint finishes. His switch to Lotto-Soudal was somewhat unexpected but has had a solid start, Ewan has got some wins to his name this season already but above all he'll have a team fully focused on him which should be an extra point. He seems to struggle in the technical finishes but compensates with his ability to climb the small hills and be able to sprint as well.
Leadout: De Buyst, Kluge, van der Sande, de Gendt, Campanaerts, Hansen.
He was in the middle of a peloton sub-plot involving his presence in the race, a crash in the Tour of the Alps seemed to have finished those hopes but he came back last week in Frankfurt to take a big win. Ackermann comes to the Giro with big pressure on him, he has 3 stage wins so far this season all in classics, but he looks fit and his team has a very good reputation in the leadout game, so he is one to look at.
Leadout: Selig, Schwarzmann, McCarthy, Benedetti.
With a win to his name in the Tour of Oman Nizzolo still comes far from the top favourites list. His name comes as a two-time winner of this same jersey despite lacking a win in the race. His consistency and determination in intermediate sprints alongside the resistance to battle the mountains is his strong point, he can make it a third win this year if he resist what the other sprinter can't.
Leadout: Gibbons, Renshaw.
He hasn't seemed a dominant force in the sprints lately, he hasn't won this season yet but there'd no better place to debut. He has a full team behind him which will be good for him, he can climb and he will need those rougher stages as he currently lacks the power to beat the others.
Leadout: Sinkeldam, Guarnieri, Konovalovas, Le Gac, Scotson, Ludvigsson.
A bit of an outsider, Modolo is also a rider who doesn't have the top end for the sprints but can deal with the hills and the roghness of the race, so he's definetely worth a mention aswell. And hey, this is Italy!
Leadout: Se.Bennett, Breschel.
The roughness of the race may still mean these end up being in the fight for the win. The time-trials, the amount of climbing stages and relative lack of pure sprint stages can have these in a good position as the fight for bonifications may be a motivation for some extra points, they all have good top ends inbetween the climbers, and they are some of the main climbers aswell.
Also worth a mention Jakub Mareczko, Manuel Belleti/Andrea Vandreame, Davide Cimolai/Kristian Sbaragli and Enrico Battaglin.
⭐ Nizzolo, Modolo, Dumoulin, Roglic, Cimolai
Finish - 50,35,25,18,14,12,10,8,7,6,5,4,3,2,1
Intermediate - 20,12,8,6,4,3,2,1
Finish - 25,18,12,8,6,5,4,3,2,1
Intermediate - 10,6,3,2,1
Finish - 15,12,9,7,6,5,4,3,2,1
Intermediate - 8,4,1
I will go for Caleb Ewan. If he will be the strongest sprinter I don't think so, but he will be able to be in contention in some harder stages but above all his small structure will help him massively get over the mountains. With only 1 sprint stage after stage 12, motivation will be low for the sprinters, and the last one will come with 4 days to finish the Giro. Resistance will be key, and if they want that jersey they will need to be good climbers.
Bauke Mollema/Giulio Ciccone/Gianluca Brambilla
Trek have a team that could be said going for the overall, but Mollema hasn't looked at his best in long climbs since the 2017 Giro. In fact his specialty seems in the hills, the steep ones mainly which is good for him in this race. He's strong but with such a strong startlist I think he'll benefit more from being in the fight for stage wins and this classification. From Gianluca Brambilla, read the above, exact same situation. As for Ciccone I believe he'll want to be in for the GC, not a top result but he's capable of a Top15 if he finds his best legs, as a young Italian it's likely his goal for the race. But all 3 lack some in the time-trials, but the amount of climbing should see them prosper in case they fight for the Azurra.
Majka there isn't much to say. He has lacked in the Grand Tours when it comes to the overall, but has had great success in breakaways and KOM classifications. With Bora focusing on Ackermann and Formolo as a genuine contender for the overall, it'd be a smart move for the Pole to race differently, more freely as he loves, without the pressure and he will surely net a stage win, and he can fight for more.
Fausto Masnada & Mattia Cattaneo
The Androni duo were massive in the Tour of the Alps. Masnada is on the form of his life having had two stage wins in front of the World Tour teams, he's climbing very well, Cattaneo is more of a stage-racer but the high mountains can even be considered his weak spot due to his great versatility and ability. I think the breakaways will suit him better, he has lots of stages that suit him like a glove, and as a PCT team they should target a classification specifically and some stage wins too.
Nieve is an enigma. In theory we should see him assisting Simon Yates, last year after his collapse he went in the breakaway in the final mountain stage and won dominantly. A fan of the colossal mountain stages and backloaded Tours, he has 3 stage-wins to his name in this race and they all came in that exact situation, in dominant solo wins. He's also won this jersey in 2016 and has been in the overall contention several times, he's a rider who loves this race.
Emirates bring a team without realistic GC ambitions, with Jan Polanc and Diego Ulissi they will surely be looking for stage wins and this jersey. Conti specifically was second in Turkey just some weeks ago and his form seems dialed for the Giro. A lightweight climber, the steep ones should suit him very well and in those there will be tons of points in display.
Thomas de Gendt
De Gendt is a power rider, he prefer the hilly stages and can very well get a stage win from them. But, with his history mainly in this race, specifically thinking of the 2012 edition, we know that on his best day he can climb the high mountains too. The brutal Alpine passes won't favour him, but there's some stages where even in the mountains he should be in contention for the win if he finds himself in the break.
⭐ Brambilla, Cattaneo, Conti, Ulissi, de Gendt, MA.Lopez, Formolo
Cima Coppi - 45,30,20,14,10,6,4,2,1
1st - 35,18,12,9,6,4,2,1
2nd - 15,8,6,4,2,1
3rd - 7,4,2,1
4th - 3,2,1
I'm going with Mollema. Trek has a great climbing team and GC doesn't seem like their priority. Mollema is their leader surely, and this jersey would be a good result for him taking into acount his recent years, he fits the hilly stages very well also, and the mountains he can be one of the strongest if he opts for this.
Miguel Angel Lopez
Arguably the main favourite for this jersey, it's hard to believe Lopez is still allowed for this competition with the year's he's been having at the top level. Last year he had Richard Carapaz giving serious competition for the jersey but this year he will have his sights on the pink, as this one he is the undoubtful main contender.
Tao Geogheghan Hart/Pavel Sivakov/Ivan Sosa
The INEOS trio has been mentioned for the overall contention, so you know what I think of them. They should have the jersey at some point I believe that as Lopez isn't exactly strong in the time-trials, but in the end team depth and individual strenght should dethrone them.
Oomen comes as a backup for Dumoulin in the overall, and as a domestique. But last year even with that scenario he rode to a strong 9th place. He's only 23 but very mature already, he will have more chances so I believe he's in for Dumo duty and the jersey will be on hold for another year.
He's a relative outsider, he hasn't been giving the best indications at all but last year he was thriving in the Giro until a crash on the epic stage 19 derailed his race. He's hungry for more this season, team support will be there despite lacking the quality, he's a call but will be hard.
Finally there's Hugh Carthy. This is a really exciting rider to follow, his first Grand Tour leadership if he finds himself in that position, EF come with lots of quality riders but no true contender for the classifications. Kangert and Dombrowski may act as support, stage hunters or KOM chasers, but also as support as Carthy may very well find himself in the fight if he keeps climbing the way he has this past month.
⭐ Sivakov, O'Connor, Carthy
There isn't much to this one. Lopez is the obvious contender, only crashes or bad luck can really take this away from him if he's on his best, which is pretty much a guarranteed fact. But he can have a fight, I think Oomen and Carthy can be solid competition.
Make sure to let us in on your opinion, and of course follow us on twitter for the latest updates!