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Analysing Trek-Segafredo's Giro d'Italia line-up

(Image credit: Getty Images)

With Vincenzo Nibali, Trek-Segafredo take to the Giro d'Italia with one of the favourites for the overall title. 

The two-time Giro winner is riding his first Grand Tour for the team, after joining from Bahrain McLaren last year. After Richie Porte's podium at the Tour de France, hopes will be high for a rider who has 11 Grand Tour podiums to his name, and four victories.

The 35-year-old is backed by a support cast that blends youth and experience, and here we take an in-depth look at all eight riders.

Vincenzo Nibali

  • Age: 35
  • Giros raced: 8
  • Best result: Winner in 2013 and 2016

He’s pushing 36, and sure, the form isn’t anything to write home about, but if you’re genuinely writing Nibali off even before a pedal stroke has been pushed in this year’s Giro d’Italia then you’re a braver person than most. You just have to look at the Trek-Segafredo rider’s record when it comes to his home race, with two wins and six podium places in all. In fact, the veteran hasn’t been lower than third overall in the race since his first two Giros back in 2007 (19th) and 2008 (11th). Nibali is, behind Chris Froome and Alberto Contador, the stage racing rider of his generation.

Granted, reputation and experience will not get Nibali up the climbs any faster in 2020 and some of the zip in his legs has dissipated with age but he’s just such a complete competitor that he’ll never throw in the towel and even if there’s a hint of salvaging the win he’ll look to exploit his rivals’ weaknesses. While Nibali may no longer be the outright favourite for Grand Tour success he knows how to win this race – something no one else on the start list does – and if he can limit his loses in the time trials and hit the final week less than three minutes down he will remain a threat.

Julien Bernard

  • Age: 28
  • Giros raced: 1
  • Best result: 42nd overall in 2017

Tour Cycliste International du Var et des Alpes Maritimes 2020 - 52nd Edition - 3rd stage La Londe - Le Mont Faron 136 km - 23/02/2020 - Julien Bernard (FRA - Trek - Segafredo) - photo Regis Garnier/BettiniPhoto©2020

(Image credit: Bettini Photo)

Bernard has been with Trek since turning professional in 2015 and in the years since he has quietly established himself as a dependable helper when it comes to stage racing. Of course, he took his first pro win earlier this year – two if you want to count online racing – and he’s often a willing rider for day-long breaks in the mountains when he team wants to throw riders up the road for support late on in stages. 

Bernard will once more fulfill that role as Nibali uses his best domestiques like chess pieces in the mountains, positioning them before a possible checkmate on his opponents, and Bernard will selflessly give everything for his leader. He may not the popularity or verve of some of the other French climbers but every team manager would want a rider like Bernard in their roster. 

Gianluca Brambilla

  • Age: 33
  • Giros raced: 7
  • Best result: 22nd overall in 2016, when he won a stage and wore pink for two days.

The purple patch from three or four years ago has faded into the rearview mirror but Brambilla still has plenty to offer, even at the age of 33. He was Trek’s best finisher on GC at Tirreno Adriatico, with 9th overall, and he was an important rider in Bauke Mollema’s GC challenge in last year’s race. 

Brambilla doesn’t have the consistency or quality of the pure mountain domestiques but he still brings a lot to the table and on the medium mountain stages or those days when an ambush at the Giro could transpire, he’s exactly the sort of rider you want fighting in your corner. 

Giulio Ciccone

  • Age: 25
  • Giros raced: 4
  • Best result: 16th overall, a stage win, and the KOM jersey in 2019

(Image credit: Getty Images)

A month ago, Ciccone was designated to be Nibali’s right-hand man in the mountains of this year’s Giro but a case of coronavirus has meant that the talented young climber hasn’t raced since the national championships. He missed Tirreno-Adriatico has part of his recovery and he arrives at the Giro undercooked in comparison to most of the opposition. That means the first week will need to be raced with a degree of caution as Ciccone finds his rhythm after his absence but if he can make it towards the first rest day then Trek and Nibali will be hopeful that the 25-year-old can come into his own as the race opens up. 

The form before his enforced break was of the highest order, so both rider and team will know that the base of his training has been a success – a lot depends on how much the virus has taken out of him.

Nicola Conci

  • Age: 23
  • Giros raced: 1
  • Best result: 63rd overall in 2019

Conci is the youngest rider on the roster and the least experienced when it comes to Grand Tours but he adds valuable steel to the Trek line up and is a testament to their drive for more youth within their ranks. 

He’s a fine climber and his development has been steady rather than spectacular but he’s already notched up some decent top-ten results in the last years and after last year’s Giro debut he and the team will be looking for further progress.

Jacopo Mosca

  • Age: 27
  • Giros raced: 1
  • Best result: 98th overall in 2018

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Mosca rode for Trek briefly as a stagiaire back 2016 but had to take a step down to Pro Continental and then Continental level before he was brought back to the WorldTour by Trek midway through 2019. He’s seized the opportunity with both hands and has racked up 30 days of racing already this year despite lockdown and a non-selection for the Tour de France. 

The form is good, he’s had several top-tens in hard-fought home-based races in the last couple of months, but he’ll be on domestique duties for most of the Giro. He might have a chance for himself if there’s a reduced bunch because he has a fair old kick after a long day in the saddle but his main focus will be on protecting Nibali and Ciccone. 

Antonio Nibali

  • Age: 28
  • Giros raced: 2
  • Best result: 76th overall in 2019

The younger Nibali is a pro rider in his own right and not just a gesture from sponsors to keep the more successful sibling happy, and the younger sibling has forged a career as a solid domestique. He’s a better climber than most give him credit for, while team managers must appreciate that he’ll never kick up a fuss or demand individual opportunities because all parties recognize the fact that his best role is that of domestique.

Pieter Weening

  • Age: 39
  • Giros raced: 5
  • Best result: 45th overall in 2011, including a stage win and several days in pink

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This was an astute signing from Trek-Segafredo, who recognized that they were short of climbing firepower and rescued the veteran Dutchman from retirement in June. His days of winning are long gone but Trek have a rider grateful for one last ride on the carousel and in return Weening will bring a wealth of experience and knowledge that a neo-pro would take years to develop. 

Normally teams would opt for youth but in such a bizarre season it helps to bank on riders who have been around the Grand Tour block. It has been five years since Weening has raced a Grand Tour, that’s true, but since his return to the WorldTour he’s been more than dependable. Sure, he’s a short-term fix but if he helps Nibali win the Giro it will have been more than worth it.