The countdown to the Grande Partenza of the Giro d’Italia is almost over, with Friday’s official team presentation in the San Remo casino the last official act before the start of the team time trial stage on Saturday afternoon.
The 22 teams in this year’s Giro d’Italia, were all given a warm welcome by the crowds outside the casino before entering on a pink carpet, with some riders stopping to sign autographs and take selfies. Inside they were called on stage rider by rider, with the announcers calling their names and highlighting their career victories. Each team leader was given one of the official race wolf Giro d’Italia mascots and a round of applause from the packed theatre room next to the slot machines and tables of the casino.
Cyclingnews was given access behind the scenes of the presentation and was able to talk to the riders in the green room after they posed for official photos and spoke to the television channels that will broadcast the race. Riders said hello to some of their friends and rivals in the peloton before beginning the three weeks of intense racing.
Heinrich Haussler stood out amongst his IAM Cycling teammates thanks to his green and gold Australian national champion’s jersey. He revealed he became a father to twins during the Classics and will be targeting stage victories during the Giro d’Italia.
Richie Porte (Team Sky) was relaxed before going on stage, happy to be about to finally start racing. Porte and Team Sky are looking forward to Saturday’s opening team time trial.
“I’ve been looking forward to the Giro d’Italia since the end of last season. To come here in good health and good condition means I’m ready for a good battle,” he told Cyclingnews. “I don’t think it’s going to be won or lost in the TTT but it’s an opportunity with the team we have here to take a little time on other GC guys. Like any TTT it’ll be nervous and let's hope we get a good run at it.”
Alberto Contador and his Tinkoff-Saxo teammates were the last on stage and the Spaniard got a huge cheer as he begins his attempt to win a Giro d’Italia-Tour de France double. With six Grand Tours already on his palmares, Contador is the favourite for this year’s corsa rosa, even if he denied it in an exclusive interview video interview with Cyclingnews.
Cyclingnews will have full live coverage, reports, photo galleries and interviews from Saturday’s opening team time trial stage.