The Giro d’Italia has released the provisional line-up for this year’s race with Vincenzo Nibali (Astana), Mikel Landa (Team Sky), Rafal Majka (Tinkoff), Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) and Tom Dumoulin (Giant-Alpecin) headlining the general classification riders. Fabian Cancellara (Trek-Segafredo), Philippe Gilbert (BMC) and Andre Greipel (Lotto-Soudal) are two more big names that will be taking part in the Corsa Rosa.
The Giro d’Italia will begin in Apeldoorn, the Netherlands on Friday, May 6 and ends in Turin three weeks later. With defending champion Alberto Contador focusing on the Tour de France this season, it will be Italy’s Domenico Pozzovivo that wears the number one on his back. Pozzovivo crashed out of last year’s Giro d’Italia on a descent during stage 3.
Former winner, Nibali and, last year’s podium finisher, Landa are widely considered as the pre-race favourites. Nibali’s coach put the Italian’s participation in doubt after he claimed Nibali could skip the race following the cancellation of Tirreno-Adriatico’s queen stage. It appears that was not much more than a bit of bluster but all eyes will be on Nibali should the weather turn bad. Michele Scarponi, who is currently making his comeback from a broken collarbone, will support him along with Jakob Fuglsang.
Landa finished third behind Contador and then teammate Fabio Aru last year and will the lead at his new outfit, Team Sky. He will have the support of Nicolas Roche, Phil Deignan, Ian Boswell and compatriot David Lopez in the mountains while Elia Viviani will be the team’s sole hope in the sprints. Sergio Henao has also been named in the team’s line-up, but that is likely to change after he was pulled from racing while the CADF look into his biological passport. Landa had a delayed start to the season due to illness but is making up for lost time with a stage win and the race lead at the Giro del Trentino.
Dumoulin and Valverde will both be making their debuts at the Giro d’Italia. Dumoulin put in a surprise performance at last year’s Vuelta a Espana, wearing the leader's jersey for several days before finishing sixth. Valverde, who won Fleche Wallonne, will be looking to add the Giro to his list of Grand Tour podiums.
Leading Cannondale this season will be Uran, who has twice finished on the podium at the Giro d’Italia. Fellow Colombian Esteban Chaves (Orica-GreenEdge) will be hoping to build on his fifth place from last year’s Vuelta. Rafal Majka (Tinkoff) missed the race last season but has twice finished in the top 10. BMC will be looking to Darwin Atapuma for their GC hopes but it is Philippe Gilbert who is their strongest chance at a stage win.
Cancellara is racing the Giro d’Italia for the third time and will be one of the favourites in the time trials. With a pink jersey one of the few not in his collection, the Swiss rider will be keen to get off to a strong start in the team time trial. That will be good news for his teammate and former winner Ryder Hesjedal, who will lead Trek-Segafredo.
Greipel will return to the Giro d’Italia after a successful ride in 2015 that saw him take a stage win. Challenging him in the sprints will be home favourites Viviani, Sacha Modolo, Kristian Sbaragli and Giacomo Nizzolo.
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