The Giro d’Italia starts in earnest today with an 8.7 kilometre time trial in Denmark. The first grand tour of the season sees a number of riders at the head of the IG Markets Index compete for stages wins, the overall, and points within the Index itself.
Joaquim Rodriguez is the highest placed rider on the IG Index, sitting in third place. He’ll be looking out for stage wins and a possible crack at the maglia rosa in this year’s Giro. With an improved time trial and a difficult final week in the mountains, the Spaniard will be one of the favourites for the overall title.
Defending Giro champion Michele Scarponi also returns to the race, hoping to win the race on the road rather than in the court room, having been awarded the 2011 title after Alberto Contador was stripped of his title and banned for a doping offence dating back to 2011. Scarponi, who sits 15th in the Index, has had mixed form so far this year but has improved greatly in stage races since returning from his own doping related ban a few seasons ago. One of the most consistent performers in the mountains, Scarponi is an underrated time trialist and start the Giro as the favourite.
Away from the GC favourites Mark Cavendish (Team Sky) makes his grand tour debut for the British team and will be keen to scoop up the stages on offer to the sprinters. The World Champion has had a decent start to the season and despite an off-day in Milan-San Remo will be the favourite to win a number of flat stages. With Alessandro Petacchi focussing on the Tour, Cavendish will face stiff opposition from Matthew Goss, Mark Renshaw and a host of Italian sprinters.
About the IG Markets Index
The IG Pro Cycling Index is a 12 month rolling ranking system designed answer the question “Who is the best cyclist in the world?” We teamed up with sports data experts Opta to create a comprehensive cycling ranking system that was based on an entirely new formula. We source results from the 120 top international road races throughout the season. Races are ranked by our expert panel, based on their prestige and their importance to cycling fans and put into four tiers in three different categories.
The IG Pro Cycling Index has a number of features that make it unique: Races are tiered depending on history, importance and calibre of field rather than UCI Class. So winning the Tour of Beijing will not give you the same points as winning Paris-Nice or the Dauphiné. Wins carry much greater weight and are rewarded more than placings. Bonus points are awarded for multiple victories in the top races, winning the most prestigious stages at the Grand Tours or winning multiple classics.