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Giro d’Italia: top 10 contenders

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Michele Scarponi (Lampre-ISD)

Michele Scarponi (Lampre-ISD)
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank-SunGard)

Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank-SunGard)
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Denis Menchov leads his team up the climb

Denis Menchov leads his team up the climb
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Vincenzo Nibali makes a name for himself in 2008.

Vincenzo Nibali makes a name for himself in 2008.
(Image credit: Sirotti)
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Roman Kreuziger (Astana) was almost three minutes behind.

Roman Kreuziger (Astana) was almost three minutes behind.
(Image credit: Fabrice Lambert)
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Carlos Sastre and Geox TMC teammate Denis Menchov are ready for the Giro d'Italia

Carlos Sastre and Geox TMC teammate Denis Menchov are ready for the Giro d'Italia
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Paolo Bettini and Sella pose at the start

Paolo Bettini and Sella pose at the start
(Image credit: Sirotti)
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 Marco Pinotti (HTC-Highroad)

Marco Pinotti (HTC-Highroad)
(Image credit: Stephen Farrand)
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Arroyo celebrates keeping his lead

Arroyo celebrates keeping his lead
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Igor Anton (Euskaltel-Euskadi)

Igor Anton (Euskaltel-Euskadi)
(Image credit: Rafael Gómez Alonso)
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Joaquim Rodríguez in the 2011 Katusha team kit

Joaquim Rodríguez in the 2011 Katusha team kit
(Image credit: Team Katusha)

Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank Sungard): Starts as favourite, although there are questions about his form and psychological state during the ongoing clenbuterol affair. The Spaniard has had a mixed time over the past month, winning a time trial at the Vuelta Castilla y León, missing out on the main prize there due to untimely punctures, then failing to make much of an impact at Flèche Wallonne. Since then he’s done reconnaissance of the Giro’s key stages, admitted it’s the toughest test he’s ever faced, and trained quietly in Madrid’s sierra. But at least he’s had some preparation for this Giro, unlike before his last appearance where he came straight from the beach – and won! Still looks the man to beat.