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.
Peter Cossins has written about professional cycling since 1993 and is a contributing editor to Procycling. He is the author of The Monuments: The Grit and the Glory of Cycling's Greatest One-Day Races (Bloomsbury, March 2014) and has translated Christophe Bassons' autobiography, A Clean Break (Bloomsbury, July 2014).
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