Only a week before the Giro d’Italia’s Big Start in Sardinia, here we present a second group of potential GC contenders vying for the final victory at the Giro 100.
Milan, 28 April 2017 – The first challenge against the clock will come after the second rest day with the Sagrantino Stage from Foligno to Montefalco (Stage 10), followed by the stage on the Appennines, number 11, from Firenze (Ponte Ema) to Bagno di Romagna where riders will face the Passo della Consuma, Passo della Calla, Passo del Carnaio and Monte Fumaiolo, all four being classified KOM climbs.
The finale of Stage 14, from Castellania to Oropa, is an 11km climb with an average 7% gradient, peaking at 13% a few kilometres from the finish line. The following day’s Stage 15, Valdengo to Bergamo, presents a very similar final section to the 2016 edition of the Classic Monument race Il Lombardia.
Today’s group of GC contenders to watch out for at the Giro d’Italia 100 are:
Thibaut Pinot (FRA – FDJ). The best young rider (and third overall) at the 2014 Tour de France, Pinot decided to prioritize the Giro d’Italia over his home race as he’s convinced the Italian style of racing suits him better. The tattoo on his right bicep (in Italian) says everything about his intention: ‘solo la vittoria è bella’ (‘only victory is beautiful’).
Thibaut Pinot said: “I decided to take part in the Giro100 even before the 99th edition started. For several years I’ve wanted to do it… it’s the right time now. The Giro d’Italia is probably the race that suits me better than any other with the kind of mountains I like and the bad weather there is sometimes in the Dolomites in May. I’m determined to race for GC. The Tour of the Alps has been reassuring in terms of the physical condition I’m in now. I believe I’m ready to fight for the final podium.”
Geraint Thomas (GBR – Team Sky). Fifteenth overall at both the last two Tours de France while backing Chris Froome, Geraint Thomas opted for the Giro d’Italia he discovered as a neo-pro with Barloworld in 2008 and raced again with Team Sky in 2012 (taking 2nd place in the closing time trial). The Welshman will lead the British squad along with Spaniard Mikel Landa who finished third at the 2015 Giro.
Geraint Thomas said: “To go to the 100th Giro as one of Sky’s team leaders is a huge opportunity for me. It’s been a big journey for me to get here. My preparation has gone really well and I’m ready. I can’t wait to get there now. The Tour of the Alps was my last race before the Giro and so to win there was obviously a huge boost to my morale. I know it’s going to be a really strong field at the Giro. It’s going to be a tough, unpredictable race but I’m really looking forward to it.”
Bauke Mollema (NED – Trek-Segafredo). The arrival of Alberto Contador at Trek-Segafredo has helped Mollema to return to the Giro d’Italia, a race he finished 12th in as a neo-pro in 2010. The Dutchman was second overall in the Tour de France with three days to go before dropping down to 11th. A top three finish at a Grand Tour is within reach.
Bauke Mollema said: “I am really looking forward to go back to Italy, where I rode my first Grand Tour back in 2010. For sure it will be a special Giro being the 100th edition – the Italian fans are always one of the best, which gives me a lot of motivation. I have seen a lot of stages already and I know for a fact it will be a hard Giro. Like always I could say, because with its aggressive way of racing and all the climbing, the Giro might well be the hardest of the three Grand Tours. I, myself, hope to get to my personal best level and be in the mix for the 100th pink jersey!”
Tejay van Garderen (USA – BMC Racing Team). Aged 28, the American is a Giro rookie after finishing fifth at the Tour de France in both 2012 and 2014. BMC Racing Team has two cards to play with van Garderen and Rohan Dennis. The former track rider from Australia has announced his ambition to become a Grand Tour contender after finishing second at this year’s Tirreno-Adriatico, winning both time trial stages.
Tejay van Garderen said: “The Giro d’Italia is a race I have never done before and it was a race I had been asking to do for a while. This year, the team gave me the green light to give it a try and it was a good opportunity for me to lead the team in a different Grand Tour. The parcours suits me well. There is a good number of time trialling kilometers and a good number of mountain stages; it’s a very balanced Grand Tour. It’s hard, certainly, but I like the route. My lead up to the Giro d’Italia has been good. It has been a slow progression but I think I am hitting good form at just the right time”.
PHOTO CREDIT: BettiniPhoto – ANSA – LaPresse
Follow us on Twitter | Like us on Facebook | Follow us on Instagram