Ahead of the Giro d’Italia which gets underway on Thursday, we take a look at six riders expected to challenge for the pink jersey.
Who do you think will win?
Has the pedigree and is in fine form with victories at the Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana and Tirreno- Adriatico plus a runner-up at Vuelta Asturias.
Time trials are always seen as an Achilles heel for the Colombian but he’s been improving on that front and with so many climbs to suit his best attributes, there’s a very good reason why he’s the No1 favourite for a second pink jersey.
The Giro has become his race and last season’s victory – where he came back from 4:43 down in the last two mountain stages – is ample reason why he can never be counted out, especially with so much home support.
Emotionally, Michele Scarponi’s death will be in the background throughout but, at the same, victory would also be the perfect tribute to his friend.
Team Sky have placed their faith in the Welshman who has three top-20 finishes at the Tour de France super-domestique for Chris Froome, but hasn’t raced in the Giro since 2012.
Now is his time to show he be a genuine GC contender, although Spain’s Mikel Landa is ‘coleader’ indicating Sky have a contingency plan.
Victory at the Tour de Alps puts him in a good place.
Was within two stages of victory last year only to suffer a catastrophic crash and allow Nibali in.
There was an element of misfortune about it but that’s bike racing and the 29-year-old will want to put himself back in contention quickly.
Excelled in the time trials and up the climbs, so he has the all-round ability to match the challenges of the route. One issue, however, is his form with two retirements and a best of eighth over his last five races.
Is competing in his first Giro, which is slightly curious given his position as the man most likely to end France’s long wait for a Tour winner.
Climbing is his primary calling card so he should be in contention at some stage, while his time-trialling is something he’s successfully worked out.
He arguably has the weakest team of the main contenders in FDJ, however, and may have to target a podium place.
Failed to finish both the Giro and the Tour last year, meaning 2017 will be one of redemption for the Dutchman.
His third place at the Abu Dhabi Tour has been his best finish this season but he also managed sixth at the Tirreno- Adriatico.
The volume and severity of the climbs over the route perhaps makes him the best of the outsiders but he has the pace to claim stage wins and, who knows, maybe contend overall.
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