Riders worried about rain and wind during weekend road stages
Riders have been keeping an eye on the skies above Belfast as the Giro d'Italia kicks off, worried that they could be racing in the rain for all three of the opening stages.
Forecasts for the team time trial expect dry conditions but rain is expected to arrive overnight, with sun and showers for most of Saturday.
Similar conditions are forecast for Sunday, with chilly temperatures of between 9-13C. Westerly winds could also cause problems for the riders and make the two road stages around the northern coast and to Dublin an early test for the overall contenders.
Team Time Trial number crunch
Gazetta dello Sport has revealed some interesting number concerning the team time trial.
The first ever 'crono squadre' was held in 1937, with a 60km test between Viareggio and Marina di Massa on the Tuscan coast. The stage was won by Gino Bartali's Legnano team at an average speed of 43.902km/h.
The record average speed for the team time trial at the Giro d'Italia was set by the CSC team in 2006.
Bjarne Riis' team covered the flat 38km between Piacenza and Cremona at an average of 56.860km/h.
In 2013 the team time trial was held on stage 2 on the island of Ischia, near Naples. Team Sky won the rolling 17.4km test, with Salvatore Puccio crossing the line first and so he pulled on the pink leader's jersey.
Remembering Wouter Weylandt
The Giro d'Italia is a hive of activity before the racing begins but may riders in Belfast and the race organisers took time to remember Wouter Weylant, the Belgian rider who tragically died in a crash on May 9 during stage three of the 2011 Giro d'Italia.
His 108 race number was officially retired by RCS Sport as a sign of respect and remembrance.
During the day many riders and team staff have remembered Weylandt by posting photographs and messages on Twitter and Facebook.
Young riders to watch
The year's Giro d'Italia has been tipped as a Giro of renewal, with young riders expected to take the change to emerge in the absence of the likes of Alberto Contador, Vincenzo Nibali, Chris Froome and Mark Cavendish.
Gazzetta dello Sport has name the following Italian riders as 'speranze' or hopes: Diego Rosa (Androni Giocattoli), Salvatore Puccio (Team Sky), Fabio Felline and Giacomo Nizzolo (Trek Factory Racing), Enrico Battaglin (Bardiani-CSF), Moreno Moser (Cannondale) and Diego Ullissi (Lampre-Merida).
The promising international riders include: Sebastian Henao (Team Sky), Wilco Kelderman (Belkin), Luke Durbridge, Michael Matthews and Michael Hepburn (Orica-GreenEdge), Tom-Jelte Slagter (Garmin-Sharp) and Mikel Landa (Astana).
38 riders were born after January 1 1989 and so are eligible for the best young rider's white jersey. Rigoberto Uran won the jersey in 2012, Carlos Betancur won it last year, with Nairo Quintana the favourite in 2014.
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