GIRO D’ITALIA’19: The PEZ Rider Preview – Who’s HOT!
Giro’19 Rider Preview: Yesterday we dissected the 2019 Giro route stage by stage; today Ed Hood takes a look at the riders with a chance of the big Italian win and which stages they will make their move. Who’s hot and who’s not… in the first Grand Tour of 2019 – The Giro d’Italia.
Tom Dumoulin could repeat his 2017 Giro win
It’s almost that time, ‘when all the world is pink’.
Italy turns pink in May
The organisers of the 102nd Giro d’Italia break it down thus:
# 3578.8 kilometres
# 21 stages, no prologue
# 170.4 average kilometres per stage
# 22 teams of eight riders
# three time trials
# six ‘low difficulty’ days
# seven ‘medium difficulty’ days
# five ‘high difficulty’ days
(Here at PEZ we make it 21 ‘high difficulty’ days!).
2019 Giro d’Italia profiles
The Main Course:
Famous for something they don’t eat in Bologna – Spaghetti Bolognese
‘Foodie’ heaven, Bologna is where it all begins, next Saturday with Stage One, a savage, short lung burster time test of 8.2 kilometres with 16% sections up to the Santuario Madonna di San Luca. From the very first five miles we’ll know who can win this Giro.
Stage Two is 200K from Bologna to Fucecchio, one for the escape artists or just maybe a sprinter, their teams will all be fresh for a chase.
Stage 2 profile
Stage Three is 219K from Vinci to Orbetello IS for the velocisti.
Stage Four is 228K from Orbetello to Frascati looks flat but drags all the way to the line, probably too much for the ‘pure’ sprinters.
Stage Five has a couple of lumps but it’s just 140K from Frascati to Terracina and should end in a mass charge.
Stage Six from Casino to San Giovanni Rotondo is 233K and definitely won’t be a sprint finish – a day for Androni or Bardiani.
Stages 5 and 6
Stage Seven from Vasto to L’Aquila, another up and down all day hard slog of 180K and the pro conti teams.
Stage Eight from Totoreto Lido to Pesaro is 235K and could go either way, sprinters or baroudeur on the lumpy coast road?
Stage Nine will be the first major sort out – 34.7 ever-dragging kilometres against the watch from the coast at Riccione to San Marino. If you can’t test then at least you can look forward to the rest day on Monday.
Stage 9 time trial for Tom Dumoulin?
Stage 10 is about as flat as it gets, 147K from Ravenna to Modena – sprint trains, ‘Ahoy!’
Stage 11 is longer at 206K from Carpi to Novi Ligure, still one for the sprinters but dragging all the way home.
Stages 10 and 11 for Elia Viviani?
Stages 10 and 11
Stage 12 from Cuneo to Pinerolo is 146K and looks like a breakaway stage to us.
Stage 13 is where it gets real serious, Pinerolo to Lago Serru, 188K with two big climbs then a monster to finish – be ‘there’ or forget your GC pretentions on this, one of the hardest days of the race.
Stage 14 is another killer, just 131K but with five horrible ascents between Saint Vincent and Courmayeur – it’s another big GC day – or maybe there will be a truce and the break will be left to get on with it?
Stage 15 from Ivrea to lovely Como is 237K with the last 100K taking in the Lombardia percorso – a day for the escape artists for sure.
Stage 16 yesterday’s rest day is but a memory as they tackle Lovere to Ponte di Legno, 226K over the Gavia – at 2,618 metres, the race’s high point, and Mortirolo – of Andy Hampsten fame – a savage day.
Passo di Gavia on stage 16
Stage 17 from Val de Sole to Antholz, a toughie but breakaway rather than GC for this 181K trek through the montagne.
Stage 17 3D profile
Stage 18 from Valdora to Santa Maria di Sala is 220K, a few humps but with a long downhill trend in the second half the surviving sprinters might just have their day.
Stage 19 from Treviso to San Martino di Castrozza is 151K and with the whole second half of the stage dragging upwards, it’ll be a painful day.
Stage 20 from Feltre to Croce d’Aune – of Campagnolo fame – a horrible saw toothed 194K loop of a day.
The Croce d’Aune stage 20
Stage 21 is no soft procession, rather a 17K chrono over the hump of Via Torricelle in Verona with a fast finish to the beautiful Roman amphitheatre – a spot not unused to drama.
‘Yes, yes, all very well’ we hear you say, ‘but who’s gonna win ?’ Good question. . .
Let’s start by telling you who we DON’T think will win:
Egan Bernal (Ineos and Colombia): DNS due to a broken collar bone.
Bernal – 100% not going to win
Mikel Landa (Movistar and Spain): is back with some form, but we don’t think he can handle the pressure that comes with bossing a Grand Tour. A podium? Maybe.
The win will probably be out of Landa’s grasp
Rafal Majka (Bora-Hansgrohe and Poland): a podium, maybe – will love the climbs but all those chrono K will be too much for him.
The time trials will be a problem for Rafal
Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida and Italy): a great rider who we respect and admire but the ‘new wave’ are too good and too versatile for him to beat them.
The ‘Shark’ might bight
The good news is that it should be a great race, there are four REAL contenders, not dreamers or ‘interview winners’ but men who have the credentials to win this race. We’ll go through them in alphabetical order:
The top men
Tom Dumoulin (Team Sunweb and The Netherlands): has won this race before, is a master against the watch and has a very effective climbing technique, ignoring the accelerations of the little guys he simply grinds onwards at his own relentless pace and is very difficult to put big time into.
Probably the favourite – Tom Dumoulin
Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana and Colombia): he’s just 25 years-old but has already stood on the Giro and Vuelta podiums – this year he won his home UCi 2.1 Tour in Columbia and the Volta a Catalonia. Backed by a very experienced and strong team, his time is nigh.
Time for ‘Superman’ Lopez
Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma and Slovenia): This year he’s won every stage race he’s ridden; UAE Tour, Tirreno-Adriatico and Tour of Romandie – where he won three stages. Last year he won the Pais Vasco, Romandie, the Tour of Slovenia, was just off the podium in the Tour de France and on it in the Tour of Britain. He’s a stage race ‘natural’ and our favourite to be in pink in the city of Romeo and Juliet.
Roglic has had a very strong ’19 season so far
Simon Yates (Mitchelton-Scott and GB): he should/could have won this race last year but popped in spectacular fashion, albeit taking three stages along the way. He went on to win the Vuelta but wants this one, bad. He’s added a new string to his bow with time trial win in Paris-Nice and is in shape and hungry – we envisage a Yates/Roglic shoot out.
‘Unfinished business’ for Simon Yates
And let’s finish with a few stats:
# youngest man in the race is Nippo Vino Fantini’s Alejandro Osorio at just 20 years-of-age; Ineos’ Tour of the Alps winner, Pavel Sivakov is 21 years-of-age.
# ‘Golden Oldies’ are Spaniards Spaniard Markel Irizar (Trek-Segafredo) and Ruben Playa (Israel Cycling Academy) both 39 years-old.
# the man with the most Giro starts – 11 – is AG2R-La Mondiale’s Hubert Dupont (France) – this will be Lotto Soudal’s stalwart Aussie Adam Hansen’s ninth Giro.
# as well as having won the race overall in the past, Vincenzo Nibali is the ‘winningest’ for stage wins on eight.
# 52 Italians ride – 14 Spaniards, 12 Australians.
# 33 nations will be represented, including Costa Rica, Ecuador, Israel and Eritrea.
Three weeks – you have plenty of time to sample Dreher, Moretti, Peroni, Negroni and Grappa – not to mention any number of vineyards. . .
# Keep it PEZ for the best Giro coverage: Stage reports, rest day thoughts, news round-up in EUROTRASH and the best photos from Cor Vos. For live action go to SteephillTV.
It was November 2005 when Ed Hood first penned a piece for PEZ, on US legend Mike Neel. Since then he’s covered all of the Grand Tours and Monuments for PEZ and has an article count in excess of 1,700 in the archive. He was a Scottish champion cyclist himself – many years and kilograms ago – and still owns a Klein Attitude, Dura Ace carbon Giant and a Fixie. He and fellow Scot and PEZ contributor Martin Williamson run the Scottish site www.veloveritas.co.uk where more of his musings on our sport can be found.