Giro d'Italia Teams Preview
Movistar had planned to bring Valverde here but on close look his presence wouldn't be of best use, he wasn't on his best form but even in it he isn't suited to the long mountain stages ahead, on the other hand Landa and Carapaz are. The team will be fully focused on the overall standings initially, they have a team able to protect two leaders, with Amador, Pedrero, Mas and Carretero as support in the climbs and breakaway attempts, Rojas also but him and Sutterlin should be eyeing to protect their leaders on the flat stages and be road captains.
AG2R La Mondiale
They aren't the biggest fans of racing in Italy, not a lot of results history and they aren't bringing a top team into the race. Tony Gallopin and Alexis Vuillermoz co-leading, it's possible to see one of them trying to be in the overall contention, most likely Gallopin, but the stage wins and possibly the KOM classification may be their goal. It's a team of solid climbers in fact, with Denz and Gastauer the best options outside of the others, Dupont is a Giro expert that can get to the final week with good legs but his far from his peak, Bidard, Peters and Warbasse should also bring some more breakaway possibilities. This team definetely comes packed with experienced riders suited for the breakaways, so it should be a surprise to see them leaving without a win.
Androni Giocattoli - Sidermec
Androni comes with one of the most exciting teams on the race. GC shouldn't be their ambition so it will certainly be another stage-hunting team. In the lead, Fausto Masnada and Mattia Cattaneo, two rider frequently mention as contenders for the Maglia Azurra, two strong climbers and Cattaneo is a jack-of-all-trades really, very suited for multiple stages as he can sprint and is very explosive aswell. But there is lots of potential in this team, Andrea Vandreame and Francesco Gavazzi bring a majour quality in the uphill sprint finishes and harder sprints, whilst Manuel Belletti will lead the faster sprints. Matteo Montaguti is debuting in the Giro for the team, brings a lot of experience and also a strong puncheur in his best day. Completing the squad are promising youngster Miguel Flórez and Marco Frapporti.
Astana Pro Team
Astana will bring a team that matches their season so far really. Miguel Angel Lopez will be looking to top his 3rd place from last year, but he's bringing massive support with him. Ion Izagirre, winner of the Itzulia last month for a start, Pello Bilbao who was 6th last year, both are overall contenders in their own right. Jan Hirt has been riding very strongly in the Alps and Romandie, Cataldo and Zeits are also in great form coming into the race. Those that will support more on the flats are two climbers themselves, Villella is more of a puncheur, and Boaro, they will add more support and possible breakaways.
They are bringing one of the strongest climbing teams. Nibali coming in as the leader and showing great form which is a very good sign. Domenico Pozzovivo, in the day the Giro starts will only have a race day on his belt in the last two months, where he crashed out of Flèche Wallone. He isn't coming on his best form surely, but will be dialed for the final week that will be vital. Damiano Caruso also set up for the Giro in support, he's a very strong rider to have and if he finds his best legs Bahrain will have a demolishing squad. Antnonio Nibali and Andrea Garosio should provide some more support in the climbs, Koren for the flats aswell and Grega Bole, who may fancy his chances on some sprints.
Bardiani - CSF
Bardiani have a history in the Giro but this year they will likely not have such a strong presence. Enrico Barbin leads, but really the team's priority will be to be in the breakaways, have stints in leading a classification or two. Giovanni Carboni and Manuel Senni should bring some climbing strenght, Mirco Maestri won the points classification in Tirreno-Adriatico and alongside Paolo Simion are the most powerful riders, suited for the flatter stages. Luca Covili, Umberto Orsiniand Lorenzo Rota complete the squad.
BORA - Hangrohe
Bora bring a two-head aproach into the race. On one side comes Davide Formolo leading the team, he's had a great season so far and he's a rider to consider for the Top10. Rafal Majka also brings a secondary GC possibility but should above all focus on stage wins and the mountain jersey, they will have Pawel Poljanski as their main support for the rought terrain. For the flat there's Pascal Ackermann who will attempt to net stage wins on the sprint stages, he'll have a good leadout, with Rudiger Selig and Michael Schwarzmann. Jay McCarthy aswell, he can also target some hilly stages, and Cesare Benedetti will likely be on the front of the peloton for large periods in those stages.
CCC without Greg van Avermaet and Patrick Bevin is a bit fragile, it's known. Jakub Mareczko will be the rider most protected by the team, he has some riders that will be a solid leadout but not comparing to the others, with Francisco Ventoso, Josef Cerny, Kamil Gradek and Lukasz Owsian set to guide him through the faster finishes, and to complete the harder stages which should at some point end his Giro as he is known to have a majour dificulty in the mountains. Outside of those there are three riders, all will have freedom to attack in the harder stages, with Amaro Antunes, Victor de la Parte and Laurens Ten Dam who will attempt to get a stage out from the breakaways.
Deceuninck - Quickstep
Deceuninck have been having quite the season and with the team they're bringing there's arguably good chances of continuing their run. Elia Viviani is the team's headliner, the Italian champion is looking to fight for the sprint stage wins and also the Maglia Ciclamino, he isn't going to have Deceuninck's premier leadout as it'll be in California, but Fabio Sabatini, Florian Sénéchal and Mikel Honoré will be there for him, and with so many sprinters it'll be more important to have riders to position instead of launching. Bob Jungels has had a massive cobbled classics season and is setting sights on the race where he confirmed his 3-week stage-racer attributes. He's won the youth classification twice here, but this year it's solely the overall challenge. The time-trialing and backloaded race will suit him, but his lack of specific preparation may be a stepback in comparison to some of his rivals. He has Grand Tour debutant James Knox with him, Pieter Serry and Eros Capecchi for support in the mountains.
EF Education First
EF will save a strong team for the Tour, here they will have some interesting riders but miss a strong leader from which to capitalize. Hugh Carthy has been riding very well lately, he's likely set to lead the team but entering the unknown in Grand Tour fighting. He, Tanel Kangert and Joe Dombrowski will be the mountain setup as they can get some stage wins, fight for the Maglia Azurra, there's some possibilities. Nathan Brown and Jonathan Caicedo will also provide some more volume to their climbing team.
Groupama - FDJ
A very specialized team from the French, Arnaud Dèmare is coming for the sprints and the points jersey and he will have a full team in support of him. Ramon Sinkeldam and Jacopo Guarnieri are great leadout sprinters, and there's a full setup of rouleurs behind them, with Olivier Le Gac, Ignatas Konovalovas, Tobias Ludvigsson and Miles Scotson. Also in the team is Valentin Madouas, a promising puncheur who will get his Grand Tour debut and a lot of freedom, he can do well in the punchy terrain and will likely be looking at some stage win opportunities.
Israel Cycling Academy
Having had a brilliant race last season, starting in their home country, Israel are coming with a strong team into the race. Davide Cimolai has shown great form lately and is a solid contender for the sprints, with Kristian Sbaragli and Guillaume Boivin also having his back. Connor Dunne is one of the most reputaded riders in the pack, he'll be good for leadouts and breakaways, then there is Krists Neilands and Rubén Plaza for the harder stages, with some oportunities where they can prosper in the mountains.
Lotto is another team that's coming free of overall ambitions. In fact, they are very focused on the sprint stages, with Caleb Ewan leading the team and with some good expectation after a good performance in Turkey, mostly in the harder finishes that will exist here too. Jasper de Buyst, Roger Kluge and Tosh van der Sande will be his main leadout men, lots of experience and power within this group, with Thomas de Gendt and Campenaerts, who will also have their goals in the time-trials and breakaways but also in the assist of Ewan. Finally there's Adam Hansen who will have the same goals, of chasing and helping in the flat stages, and Jelle Vanendert who has the freedom in the hilly stages, and will be looking for his opportunities there.
A fully focused team for the overall battle. Primoz Roglic has been unbeatable this season and is coming with formidable form into the race, he is the all-out team leader and it will revolve around him. Sepp Kuss came in replace of an injured Robert Gesink, and alongside Antwan Tolhoek and Laurens de Plus they will look to give the Slovenian the best support possible on the mountains. Koen Bouwman will have the same goal, we'll see if he can step up his game and have a strong presence with his teammates. It isn't all about the mountains though of course, Paul Martens and Tom Leezer will provide a lot of support in the flat stages, alongside Jos van Emden who although facing adverse conditions in the time-trials, will surely have a tilt at them.
Micthelton - Scott
Mitchelton are also coming all in for the overall obviously, Simon Yates was close to have a brilliant win last year after a dominating race, this year the team brings a similar setup with Esteban Chaves and Mike Nieve as the main support in the mountains. Lucas Hamilton and Brent Bookwalter will add some power to the rougher stages. In front of them, mainly in the flat stages will be three powerful rouleurs to take charge of the race and protect Yates against the weather and hazards, Cris Juul-Jensen, Luke Durbridge and Jack Bauer.
Nippo Vini Fanitini Faizanè
As it is costume from the Italian team, the leaders are their rouleurs, Marco Canola is a very powerful rider, suited for hilly stages and technical finales. But with Juan José Lobato in the team there's also a realistic possibilty of being in a stage contention in the harder finales, with Giovanni Lonardi and Nicola Bagioli as solid leadout. Damiano Cima aswell, and two Japanese riders will be on course with Sho Hatsuyama and Hiroki Nishimura. And finally there's Ivan Santaromita who is a good puncheur, a possibility if he finds himself in the right breakaway.
Team Dimension Data
A very similar squad to EF, lots of quality riders but no sure leader to get the results. Giacomo Nizzolo is a solid sprinter possibility, specially having Ryan Gibbons as a leadout if they can find themselves well positioned, there's some stage winning material there but only with some luck, they will have Mark Renshaw and Danilo Wyss as support there. Then there's Ben O'Connor who had a breakthrough Giro last year until he crashed out close to the end, he's coming back for taste of success but he's late form hasn't been the best, he'll have Scott Davies and Amanuel Ghebreigzabhier as support in the climbs. In the team there's also Enrico Gasparotto wh will be on the lookout in the hilly stages.
There was a big drama in the week leading to the race, with team leader Egan Bernal forced to stop due to a training accident and Gianni Moscon claiming lack of form, the team was left without a proper team leader to command a very strong support squad that was to come. With that it was Tao Hart and Pavel Sivakov, who were first and second in the Tour of the Alps. They are set to now lead the team but will be in only their second Grand Tour and looked to strong already before the race which means they will likely struggle in the final week if they are in the overall contention. Ivan Sosa came to replace Bernal, a strong climber but far from a complete GC rider, experience and possible breakaways in the mountain stages are to be expected from him. Jhonatan Narvaez and Sebastián Henao will be a help in the mountains, whilst Salvatore Puccio and Christian Knees will do so on the flats.
Team Katusha - Alpecin
Katusha have been having a season far from their past years. It's been very hard, only two teams so far and the news of Kittel's termination with them won't do any better. Ilnur Zakarin has luckily given some good indications lately which will come as a motivating sight, he will try to repeat the results he's had here finishing in the Top5, he's coming strong but support will be few, with Dimitry Strakhov and Daniel Navarro as main support. It's a stage-hunter team, with Enrico Battaglin and Marco Haller as very good riders for the job, they will have good support when it will come with that with Jenthe Biermans, Reto Hollenstein and Viacheslav Kuznetsov.
Another sole goal team, their only goal is to win the Giro. Tom Dumoulin will try to take back his winning ways after finishing second last year in both Grand Tours he's raced, he's coming in the race a bit below last year's form but that may come to play in the final week. The question that used to be around him regarding support is no longer an issue, he will have Sam Oomen back with him to provide the main support. But, the thing is his whole team is set of riders who can climb. Chris Hamilton, Jay Hindley and Rober Power, all Australians looking to be the main support in the mountains, Belgians Louis Vervaeke and Jan Bakelands and finally North-American Chad Haga. A very dialed team for the mountains, it may be the support Dumoulin needs to take his second Giro win.
Trek - Segafredo
A strong team that will be here for Trek. Bauke Mollema leads but until what point will he fight for the overall? Recent history would say he would be better of fighting for stage wins and the Maglia Azurra, as the 2017 Giro was his last successful GC tilt, but there's a strong climbing team overall in both scenarios. Giulio Ciccone and Gianluca Brambilla are coming with good form, both are strong candidates for that same classification, the lack of time-trialing ability will be a factor that will likely take them towards that goal. Nicola Conci will provide extra climbing power, Michael Gogl some for the hills, and then in the sprints Matteo Moschetti will have his chance, Will Clarke and Markel Irizar will be looking to support him there.
UAE - Emirates
The final team is a strong one, Fernando Gaviria was a somewhat late call, at least publically, to the race, but there won't be any lack of support for him in the flat stages. Simone Consonni and Juan Sebastian Molano are two riders with great power who will surely do a great job in backing the Colombian, Marco Marcato and Tom Bohli will be adding extra firepower into the Emirates train. The other three riders in the team will surely all be stage hunters, and good ones. Diego Ulissi who was third in Flèche Wallone recently will be looking to add on his 6 stage wins in the race, very suited for the explosive finishes, whilst Jan Polanc and Valerio Conti will be more geared for the high mountains, with the Maglia Azurra likely in their sights.
⭐ Trek, Mitchelton, Jumbo-Visma, EF, Deceuninck
It seems like a sure deal for Astana though, breakaways always have a huge impact on how this classification unrolls but with such depth and pure quality in the team Astana seem quite unmatchable in relation to most teams, I could only see Bahrain fighting with them, but would be a very bold call.