The 102nd Giro d’Italia has the potential to be a wide open, rock ’em, sock ’em race.
That’s especially true with Team Ineos now missing their star GC rider Egan Bernal after an unfortunate crash and fractured collarbone. However, we’ll be spared the Sky-style throttling of the race with their big budget resources.
Yes, it’s really a toss-up as to who will wear the final maglia rosa. Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma), Tom Dumoulin (Sunweb), Simon Yates (Mitchelton-Scott), Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida), Miguel Ángel López (Astana) and Mikel Landa (Movistar) all have a serious shot at victory.
Roglic has been nothing short of red hot, going three for three in stages races so far this season. He’s swept the overall of the Tour of Romandie, Tirreno-Adriatico and the UAE tour somewhere in the desert. Form? — Hell yeah. He’s oozing form. He can both climb and ride well against the clock. Can he ride smart for three solid weeks and win his first grand Tour? He was fourth in the 2018 Tour de France so this could well be his breakthrough moment. Vibe: full speed ahead
Right now Tom Dumoulin is a bit of a mystery, despite his great credentials and time trial mastery. In some sense, it feels like he’s flown under the radar this season and he’s made no big pronouncements other than he thinks his form is where it needs to be. He’ll be thrilled with all the time trial kilometers. He can count on his consistency and if not for Chris Froome’s astonishing long range attack on the dirt roads of the Finestre climb on stage 19 of last year’s Giro, Dumoulin would have won his second Italian grand tour. Vibe: quiet but confident.
The battle plan for Simon Yates can be summed up in one word: patience. He had last year’s Giro well in hand until he blew spectacularly on the day of Froome’s big roll of the dice. In terms of motivation, “unfinished business” is always a watt-enhancing attitude. An excellent climber, he’s also worked on improving his time trial and the bonus is there are plenty of TT kilometers in this Giro that are uphill. This time around he won’t be jumping off the front the instant the road climb up in search of ten seconds. He just wants to be in pink on the final day. Vibe: Not making the same mistake twice.
Ahh, Vincenzo. We can’t help but wonder if he’ll ever been the same after a fan’s camera strap hooked his handlebars in the 2018 Tour de France and took him down hard. The injuries were structural and significant — his position on the bike is no longer the same and his phsyio is still working ten months later to get him back to 100%. He’s 34 now and the whispers have begun — getting old, backside of career, next generation ready to take his place. However, we’re talking about a Sicilian in his home grand tour. By all accounts, including his long-time trainer and his team boss, he is in absolute tip-top form. Vibe: Don’t think I won’t win.
It feels like ever since a bitter Mikel Landa left Sky, he’s been talking big and then under-delivering big time. He’s crashed, he’s been unlucky, things just haven’t worked out for the guy who missed the 2017 Tour de France podium by one second. Let’s keep in mind that while riding for Astana, Landa took third overall in the 2015 Giro despite working for teammate and eventual winner Fabio Aru. Vibe: I believe in me even if you don’t.
Superman has many powers but the big question is, can he win the Giro d’Italia? Last year he made the third step in both the Giro and the Vuelta a Espana. He was also impressive in his win over Adam Yates in the Volta a Catalunya. Even when Yates went on a bold, last chance attack that saw him in the virtual leaders jersey, Lopez never panicked and slowing brought the Briton back. Vibe: My nickname says it all.
The 2019 Giro d’Italia is a tough one to call. We’re going with Dumoulin and his consistency, TT and steady toughness on the climbs. Yates takes second with with Roglic third and sadly, Nibali off the podium.