Giro d'Italia Stage 1 Preview
The opening stage of the Giro comes already as a hard challenge. The day may have a fight for the stage win and the fight of the overall contenders, but seeing the way some of the overall contenders are riding and the dificulty of the final climb it's likely to see the same sub-plots unroll together.
The prologue is only 8 kilometers long, it will be a short and intense effort, the first 5.9Km will be on the streets of Bologna before a sharp right-hand turn into the Basilica di San Luca climb, 2.1Km at 9.7% average gradient, it is a very inconsistent climb though so the explosive riders and lightweight climbers will have a say in the fastest ascent times.
The sun will be clear and the wind won't make it's presence felt, power and tactics will be the only interference in the rider's performance. Oh, and bike choice too!
Pure overall fight or are there riders who can get on the way?
Well Victor Campenaerts is a prologue expert, he isn't bad on the short hills the problem is that the climb will have a big influence and so he will have to face the fact riders like Dumoulin and Roglic can easily dethrone him there.
Dumoulin and Roglic yes, both time-trial experts and climbing well no need to mention. Roglic seems in better form, he has the best odds to take the win and with good reason. Dumoulin is equally as good but form will be different for sure.
The climb won't come from a fast start as it does in the Giro dell'Emilia, it will come after an almost 180-degree turn which will mean the riders will start the climb almost at standing speed. And the climb isn't constant, with Simon Yates' performance in time-trialing this season we can expect him to be up there, the climb suits him like a glove and there is some time that can be won in the corners before, which can come to his play if he's lucky.
Bob Jungels and Ion Izagirre are two other riders who are very strong in these short efforts, neither are very explosive but they're serious contenders for the stage podium, and with gaps being made everyone will make sure to be on top of their game not to loose too much for the main men.
Luke Durbridge could be mentioned as an outsider, the climb seems too much for him but there still exists a flat run-up to it where a rider like him can gain some good time, a prologue expert from the track, he should like such an intense effort. As Jos van Emden, both will loose out on the climb but they can be compensated in the early section of the stage.
⭐ I.Izagirre, Durbridge, Nibali, van Emden, Hart, Cattaneo, de Plus, Ulissi
Roglic has had the spotless run-up to the Giro, 7 wins to his name and 3 GC wins, all in World Tour races. Almost inequable this year, he comes into the Giro just having won a time-trial by far and will be as motivated as he can be. The prologue suits him like a glove, he will have strong competition, and bike choice can make a big difference, but he has the experience and the legs to capitalize tomorrow and take pink from the start.
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