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Gallery: Favorite riders presented at the Giro d'Italia

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The overall favourites pose with the Giro trophy

The overall favourites pose with the Giro trophy
(Image credit: Sirotti)
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Which one of these riders will be wearing pink in Trieste come June 1?

Which one of these riders will be wearing pink in Trieste come June 1?
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Joaquim Rodriguez

Joaquim Rodriguez
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Belfast welcomes the Giro

Belfast welcomes the Giro
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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The overall favourites for the maglia rosa with the Giro trophy

The overall favourites for the maglia rosa with the Giro trophy
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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One of the many Giro signs in Belfast lining the roads ahead of the team time trial

One of the many Giro signs in Belfast lining the roads ahead of the team time trial
(Image credit: Sirotti)
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It may be Giro but there is no mistaking the 2014 grand partenza is in Belfast

It may be Giro but there is no mistaking the 2014 grand partenza is in Belfast
(Image credit: Sirotti)
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Belfast is embracing pink

Belfast is embracing pink
(Image credit: Sirotti)
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The Titanic museum in Belfast

The Titanic museum in Belfast
(Image credit: Sirotti)
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The 2014 Giro d'Italia trophy

The 2014 Giro d'Italia trophy
(Image credit: Sirotti)
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Cadel Evans and Mauro Vegni

Cadel Evans and Mauro Vegni
(Image credit: Sirotti)
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Is Purito letting Rigoberto Uran know where he's going to attack on the Zoncolan?

Is Purito letting Rigoberto Uran know where he's going to attack on the Zoncolan?
(Image credit: Sirotti)
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Nairo Quintana (Movistar)

Nairo Quintana (Movistar)
(Image credit: Sirotti)
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Nacer Bouhanni (FDJ)

Nacer Bouhanni (FDJ)
(Image credit: Sirotti)
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Marcel Kittel (Giant-Shimano)

Marcel Kittel (Giant-Shimano)
(Image credit: Sirotti)
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Joaquim Rodriguez and Nairo Quintana

Joaquim Rodriguez and Nairo Quintana
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Some Giro d'Italia publicity.

Some Giro d'Italia publicity.
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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A little love for Belfast, which will host the start of the Giro d'Italia

A little love for Belfast, which will host the start of the Giro d'Italia
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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The top Giro d'Italia contenders eye the trophy

The top Giro d'Italia contenders eye the trophy
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Nico Roche, Michele Scarponi and the Giro d'Italia trophy

Nico Roche, Michele Scarponi and the Giro d'Italia trophy
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Moreno Moser (Cannondale)

Moreno Moser (Cannondale)
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Marcel Kittel (Giant-Shimano) and Nacer Bouhanni (FDJ) will go head to head on the flat stages

Marcel Kittel (Giant-Shimano) and Nacer Bouhanni (FDJ) will go head to head on the flat stages
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Dan Martin (Garmin Sharp)

Dan Martin (Garmin Sharp)
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Ben Swift (Team Sky)

Ben Swift (Team Sky)
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Cadel Evans

Cadel Evans
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Rigoberto Uran

Rigoberto Uran
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Joaquim Rodriguez and Nairo Quintana

Joaquim Rodriguez and Nairo Quintana
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Nairo Quintana

Nairo Quintana
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Michele Scarponi

Michele Scarponi
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Nicholas Roche

Nicholas Roche
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Joaquim Rodriguez speaks at the Giro d'Italia pre-race presscon

Joaquim Rodriguez speaks at the Giro d'Italia pre-race presscon
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Joaquim Rodriguez

Joaquim Rodriguez
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Joaquim Rodriguez

Joaquim Rodriguez
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Michele Scarponi

Michele Scarponi
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Cadel Evans

Cadel Evans
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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The Giro's fast men

The Giro's fast men
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)

On the eve of the 97th Giro d'Italia which begins in Belfast, Northern Ireland on Friday, the favourites for the maglia rosa were all present at Wednesday's pre-race press conference held at the Belfast City Hall.

Nairo Quintana (Movistar), Joaquim Rodríguez (Katusha), Cadel Evans (BMC), Michele Scarponi (Astana), Rigoberto Uran (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) and Nico Roche (Tinkoff-Saxo) attended one press conference while the sprinters of this year's Giro, Marcel Kittel (Giant-Shimano), Nacer Bouhanni (FDJ), Diego Ulissi (Lampre-Merida) and Dan Martin (Garmin-Sharp), attended another before tomorrow's 21.7km team time trial around Belfast which starts at the Titantic Museum.

At the press conference, race-favourite Quintana stated it would be an open Giro. "The keys to the route? In Ireland, there's already one to worry about, and that's not to lose the Giro here. Then we can try and open up the gaps in the high mountain stages when the race gets back to Italy," Quintana said.

"It's a very open race, and luck will be as big a factor as ever. There are climbers, too, who haven't been present here [in the opening press conference] and for sure they're going to do it well, too."

For Evans, his season is about the Giro and has fond memories of the Italian grand tour. "For me on a personal level, the Giro was the first grand tour that I did back in 2002 and now on a professional level, the team wants me to do the Giro and not the Tour, so obviously here I am at the Giro," Evans said.

"But on a personal level, that’s fine for me. I'm lucky that things came together in at least one of my Tours. I don't know if I'll race the Tour again but regardless of whether I do or not, I leave it reasonably satisfied and now I'm putting my energy into the Giro."

With three podium places in his last four grand tours, Rodriguez knows "it's about time" he won one. "I know I have to take this race on the day by day, but if there’s one thing I've learned is that you don’t give away a single second.

"You've got to remember that 16 seconds are enough to lose the race and you may not even know why. I lost it all in the Vuelta [2012] that year on a day when it was least expected." Rodriguez said.

"I wish it was just a fight between two riders" - Rodriguez and Quintana being the most named as favourites for overall success - "but in fact it’s going to be a very open race.

"The big difference between this year and 2012, the last time I raced, is the time trialling. In 2012, the last time trial was completely flat. This time, both of the time trials are much harder. It's better for me, but it’s better for the out-and-out climbers, too."

Can Rodriguez finally net the Grand Tour that has eluded him for the last 14 years? "I hope so, I hope so," Rodriguez told Cyclingnews. "It's about time. But you know that two and two never equal four in this sport, at one race you can have the best form in the world and the best route for you in the world and lose it, and another day you can think you're in really bad shape and that there’s no way you can succeed and you win."

Click here to see a gallery of the presentation.

Check out the video about this year's Giro contenders and click here to subscribe to the Cyclingnews YouTube channel.