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2016 Giro d'Italia Countdown 2016: Day 2


Hello and welcome to our second day of counting down to the 2016 Giro d'Italia. 

The race starts on Friday with the 9.8km time trial and the biggest news of the day so far is that Fabian Cancellara has been hit by a stomach bug. He no longer has a fever but surely this will hamper his chances of pulling on pink tomorrow. 

We'll have a Q&A with him later today but here's what he had to say on the recent illness when we called him. 

“It’s not the best situation but we’re working on it,” Cancellara told Cyclingnews from his team hotel on Thursday morning.

"Yesterday in training I had strange feelings, I felt tired and had some joint pains. Then, after training I went into my room and I was more a guest of the toilet than the hotel. Last night, I had a fever and it’s not the best situation regarding tomorrow. I’ll rest and we’ll see what comes.”


The full story is right here.


Last night we also caught up with Matt White from Orica GreenEdge. He's here with a few objectives  - Chavez for the GC and Ewan for the sprints. Here's what he had to say on the young sprinter in his team.


“Where he will be going into unchartered territory is backing up day in, day out,” White said of Ewan’s Giro start. “He has proved over shorter kilometres and shorter races that he can do it, but the Giro is obviously another step up. He has a big first week of the Giro kilometre wise and [with] transfers. It will be good for him and an eye opener for him.”

The full yarn, is right here.


Fabian Cancellara is now with us and will be answering some of your questions via Twitter.


How does your bucket list after cycling look? #AskFabian

Fabian Cancellara:

Do you mean my to do list? Well in the winter time I want really go skiing. That's a big one on my list. I also want to get used to my 'second life', you know, do all the things like spend time with my family and friends at the weekends. That's something that's hard to do when you're a rider and at races all the time. I'm really looking forward to that.

@Cyclingnewsfeed @f_cancellara Who was your favourite roommate ? Thank you. #AskFabian

@Cyclingnewsfeed #AskFabian @f_cancellara What will Fabian miss MOST about being a pro cyclist? miss LEAST about being pro cyclist?

@Cyclingnewsfeed @SadhbhOS @f_cancellara what was your hardest day on a bike? #AskFabian

#AskFabian After the disappoiment of the paris-roubaix Are you going to ride the next season until the paris-roubaix??

#AskFabian Training Tips? Or Off-Season tips

@Cyclingnewsfeed @f_cancellara Who is a promising young rider , you think with your successor? #AskFabian

@Cyclingnewsfeed @f_cancellara Is there anything lacking from your dream-career other than the Maglia Rosa? #AskFabian

#AskFabian Can I have your legs please.

Thanks for joining us today and recover well ahead of tomorrow's TT.


Fabian: Thanks for having me.


Thanks to all of you who sent in questions. Sorry we couldn't get to all of them.


We had a whole host of press conferences yesterday and there are some more today. LottoNL-Jumbo held theirs this morning, with team leader and GC hopeful Steven Kruijswijk. Etixx-QuickStep and Marcel Kittel are also due later today. 

One of the team's that appeared before the press yesterday was Astana with their leader, and pre-race, favourite Vincenzo Nibali. Nibali's final preparation races for the Giro d'Italia were the Giro del Trentino and Liege-Bastogne-Liege. While his rival Mikel Landa rode to victory in Trentino, Nibali was well down in the overall classification. 


Nibali told reporters yesterday that, while he wasn't happy with his performance, he isn't worried. "“I wasn’t overly happy with how it went but I am pretty calm and confident and ready for the Giro. Immediately before Trentino I had previously trained very hard, so it was almost like I was recovering from that spell of training as I headed towards Liege-Bastogne-Liege. I ‘m building towards this Giro and the biggest stages, the key stages, will show us what is what.”


You can read what Nibali had to say in full here


Our reporters out in Italy, Patrick Fletcher and Alasdair Fotheringham, have been out to look at the time trial course for tomorrow. We'll have a full preview of the route later but they say that the opening section looks a bit tricky. 


The latest episode of inCycle is out and this week they take a good look at the Giro d'Italia and the contenders. There are interviews with Vincenzo Nibali, Mikel Landa, Rafal Majka, Esteban Chaves and Ryder Hesjedal. If that isn't enough for you then there's also interviews with Marcel Kittel and Caleb Ewan. Plus a look behind the scenes at LottoNL-Jumbo's altitude training camp and the One Pro Cycling team. Watch episode 8 of inCycle right here


In case you missed the news this morning, Fabian Cancellara's Giro preparation hit a stumbling block after he fell ill yesterday. However, he told Cyclingnews this morning that he was keen to battle on


We also posed some of your questions to Cancellara earlier today and if you scroll down then you can read his answers. 


Several of the teams have been out on the time trial course this morning. Cannondale's Simon Clarke posted this photo of his steed for tomorrow. 

Got my new stealth @cannondalepro TT rig ready for the @giroditalia Prologue tomorrow. @rideargyle #cannondale

We'll have a Giro d'Italia preview podcast for you soon but why listen to the latest podcast offering about the crisis that has engulfed British Cycling in recent weeks. Remember to subscribe to make sure you get our Giro episode as soon as it's out. 


Etixx-QuickStep will be up in front of the press in an hour's time with Marcel Kittel. The German will be the hot favourite for stages 2 and 3 in the Netherlands and will have his thoughts on his chances soon after the press conference is finished. 


The start order for tomorrow's time trial have been released. It will be Italian Fabio Sabatini that has the honour of kicking off the 2016 Giro d'Italia at 13:45 local time. Tom Dumoulin will be off just over an three hours later as the 183rd rider off the ramp. Fabian Cancellara will be the penultimate rider to go at 17:01, with Orica-GreenEdge's Michael Hepburn the final starter of the day. 


Our reporters Patrick Fletcher and Alasdair Fotheringham are back from their own recon of tomorrow's time trial route. We hear it's a nice and wide course with just a few 90 degree bends but nothing too tricky. The whole thing will start in the Apeldoorn velodrome and here is a look at that interesting start set-up. 



Got a question for Joe Dombrowski? Send it via #AskJoe and he'll answer during live coverage. Get your question in before 15:00 CET.


Our friends at inCycle have put together this video on the GC riders for this year's Giro d'Italia. 


RT @Cyclingnewsfeed: Got a question for Joe Dombrowski? Send it via #AskJoe and he'll answer during live coverage. Get your question in bef…

@Ride_Argyle Thu, 5th May 2016 12:29:00

Riders and team are out on the course still, previewing tomorrow's course ahead of the opening time trial. Hepburn is the last rider off tomorrow and will carry Orica GreenEdge's hopes in the TT.


Don't forget you can bookmark our main Giro d'Italia race page, right here.


Last plug for a while -  you can also download the Cyclingnews Tour Tracker ahead of the Giro and follow the race that way. It takes our supreme live coverage and combines it with race routes. You can download it here


RT @Cyclingnewsfeed: Got a question for Joe Dombrowski? Send it via #AskJoe and he'll answer during live coverage. Get your question in bef…

@dnlbenson Thu, 5th May 2016 12:23:22

The Ettix QuickStep press conference is about to start and Marcel Kittel is on stage.


Kittel:  Of course I look at Giro stages, one big reason is because there are a lot of opportunities for sprinters, especially here in Holland but also in Italy, too.


Marcel Kittel:

I don’t want to compare teams, I don’t know if Mark Cavendish compares teams, I've never heard him doing that. I don’t think it’s possible to do that. But I’ve found the connection really good here between my new team-mates and when you look at the results I personally cannot complain about the way the leadout works. We’ve been successful with an experienced leadout, but also with less experienced riders.


Kittel: As always I don’t want to decide if the Giro was good based on numbers or victories. I will take it day by day, of course be very focussed o, and also on doing a good time trial. This team is not what you’d immediately call a very experienced leadout team, but it’s a very strong one. I’m very confident. I’m sure we will fight for victories.


We'll bring you more from Marcel a little later but it's time to welcome Cannondale's Joe Dombrowski into the CN blimp and have him answer some of your questions.


@Cyclingnewsfeed Hi Joe, who's your best pal in the peloton? #AskJoe

@mattymckechnie Thu, 5th May 2016 13:02:52


That's a tough one because there are a lot of guys to include. I'm actually rooming here with Nate Brown and we both requested to share with each other. I live with Larry Warbasse  and train with guys like Tejay van Garderen. We've got a good little American crew down there so I tend to hang out with those guys and hang out with them in races too.

@Cyclingnewsfeed @JoeDombro Star Trek or Star Wars? #AskJoe

@jukkamatala Thu, 5th May 2016 12:48:38


I'm not really a sci-fi guy but I'm going to go with Star Wars. Star Trek just seems a bit... nerdy.

@Cyclingnewsfeed Which stage of the #Giro are you most looking forward, Joe? #AskJoe

@RickyCadel95 Thu, 5th May 2016 12:37:38


Joe: Stage 20. I know the climbs into France and then we go into Italy. I happen to know that stage because it's not so far from where I'm based in Nice. A number of us will train at altitude at Imola 2000 which is on the French side, because it's super roads for riding and it's only 90 minutes from Nice. I know the roads around there super well. Additionally, my family and some friends will be in Nice at that time and they'll be there to watch stages 19 and 20. I'm really looking forward to that.

@Cyclingnewsfeed Hey @JoeDombro What stays w/ you to this day from your very 1st Euro experiences w/ @EuroCrossCamp? Buona fortuna #AskJoe

@CrossSportif Thu, 5th May 2016 12:36:06


Joe: I guess the Euro Cross camp was back when I was racing in my last year as a junior. I suppose the biggest thing, and to this day, I think it comes down to learning to adapt. That's stayed with me. At the end of the day it's still a bike race and bunch of guys trying to cross the line first but at the highest level, whether it's on the road, MTB or 'cross, almost all of it happens in Europe.


For an American rider some adaptation needs to occur in order to perform at a high level. 'Cross camp was my first experience with that and has been valuable to this day. Even when I came to the World Tour with Team Sky a couple of years ago, the first few years were pretty hard. Obviously it's a big step up in terms of talent and depth but also you need to sort yourself out in terms of your life off the bike. You need to make it work over in Europe. 

We're just taking a short break but we will be back with Joe in a few minutes. 


@Cyclingnewsfeed @Ride_Argyle when does @JoeDombro's beer come out? When will he ship it to me? #askjoe

@iamnotTedKing Thu, 5th May 2016 12:36:03


Joe: I was back in the States in March and we had a brew day. The name of the beer is Dombrewski. I've been working with a team back home and the brew day was on March 1. Just today the brew went into wooden rum barrels from Jamaica. It will age until some point in the summer... I'm thinking July. It's not a huge batch, maybe 900-950, 750ml bottles. The distribution will be a little limited but there's been interest and maybe it will take off and we'll do another batch. 

@Cyclingnewsfeed Are there any races this season for which the team will be riding for you or that you'll have an opportunity at? #AskJoe

@alexkellum Thu, 5th May 2016 13:11:53


Joe: To be honest I don't really know my race schedule after the Giro. Normally if you come out of the Giro and you're not sick or tired then you would do something like Suisse or Dauphine. In an ideal scenario I'd like to have a good Giro and use some of that post-Giro form in one of those races. We'll have Rolland and Talansky getting ready for the Tour but I may have some opportunities in June. I might then have a break in July. There was some talk of doing Utah and Vuelta. I won Utah last year so it might be the plan to go back and try and defend. I'm not 100 per cent on my schedule yet. It's all about the Giro for now.

@Cyclingnewsfeed Hi Joe! Will you ride this Giro fighting the GC or you'll give your 100% for Urán? Maybe stage win? #AskJoe Good luck!

Hi @JoeDombro What is your favourite thing to do? Cycling excluded. #AskJoe @Cyclingnewsfeed

@joeycycle Thu, 5th May 2016 12:24:02


Joe: Mostly just catching up with friends and family back in the US. Additionally, I like to be outside, so it might be mountain biking, skiing or hiking.

That's all from Joe Dombrowski for now. He gets his Giro underway in a little under 24 hours' time, when he rolls down the start ramp at 15:49 local time in Apeldoorn. The full start order for tomorrow's stage 1 time trial is here.

Earlier this morning, we had another pre-Giro Twitter Q&A, with Fabian Cancellara. You can read the full transcript here, while he also spoke to Cyclingnews about the bout of stomach flu that has laid him low in the build-up to this race.


To mark Cancellara’s bow at the Giro, his former teammate Filippo Pozzato penned a column in this morning’s Gazzetta dello Sport, recounting a rapport that dates back to 1996 and the Youth Olympics in Lisbon. Two years later Pozzato would place third behind Cancellara in the junior time trial at the Valkenburg Worlds, and in 2001, they became teammates at Mapei.


“At the start, I didn’t like him that much, I considered him a bit of a show-off,” Pozzato admitted. “Then, at Mapei, they put us sharing a room and said, ‘You’ll either butcher each other or become friends.’ We became friends and we are still.


“When he’s focused on an objective, he lives in another world. Even before this year’s Milan-San Remo, we were messaging each other in the build-up, but at the start he came right by me and didn’t even acknowledge me. But then, during the race, after 100km, we had a laugh about it. As for the maglia rosa… he can do it.”


The Cyclingnews Giro d'Italia preview podcast is now available. Featuring interviews with Tom Dumoulin and Caleb Ewan, it sets the scene for the opening days in the Netherlands and looks ahead to the three weeks of racing that follow. You can subscribe to the podcast here.


1986 world champion Moreno Argentin has tipped Vincenzo Nibali to win this year’s Giro, telling Tuttobici that the race “will be won by a complete champion.” Argentin, who placed third overall at the contentious 1984 Giro, won by Francesco Moser ahead of the late Laurent Fignon, has backed Nibali despite his recent subdued form. “The Giro d’Italia is designed for the best rider in the race to emerge, a rider who has to be strong in the mountains and in the time trial. In this sense, the Giro is a real stage race.”


With the Giro set to spend a significant block of time in excess of 2,000 metres above sea level in the third week, the words “extreme weather protocol” could well featuring in headlines comes the final week in May. Speaking yesterday, Nibali revisited his displeasure at the cancellation of the toughest stage of March’s Tirreno-Adriatico due to snowfall.

“They said: ‘We’ve cancelled the Monte San Vicino stage for security reasons.’ But that day there wasn’t any snow,” Nibali said, according to Corriere della Sera. “It was a similar situation at Liège-Bastogne-Liège, but there, for everybody – and I mean everybody – the objective was to do the race. Even if there’d been a tornado, everyone would have wanted to race. But in any case, even if I’d won Tirreno, it wouldn’t have changed my career.”


Alejandro Valverde seems to be the man Nibali views as his most dangerous rival, and Alasdair Fotheringham has the full story on the Movistar man's first tilt at the Giro

Movistar directeur sportif Jose Luis Jaimerena is not concerned by Valverde's lack of Giro experience - or by the potential pitfalls on the opening days in the Netherlands. "He knows what it’s like to race a Grand Tour abroad, in fact the 2009 Vuelta started in Holland, too, and he won that," he says. "He knows how nervous a Grand Tour can get when it’s going over flat terrain like in Holland. Ok, so not all races are the same and prior experience of a race is always a point in a rider’s favour. But he’s 36, he’s a very versatile rider, so I’m sure he will be able to get through these first nervous stages without any real problems.”


Away from the Giro, the second stage of the Four Days of Dunkirk has been won by Bryan Coquard (Direct Energie), his second win in as many days. Full results to follow here.


The Giro team presentation is just getting underway in Apeldoorn. The final list of the 198 starters is available here.


A sizeable crowd has gathered in Apeldoorn's Grote Markt for the presentation but one man who risked missing out is Team Sky's Ian Boswell, who has written on Twitter: "Starting my first @giroditalia off right, team left for the presentation without me." 

Meanwhile, Patrick Fletcher has the full story from Marcel Kittel's pre-Giro press conference here. On his previous appearance in 2014, Kittel won sprint stages in Belfast and Dublin - and then pulled out ill ahead of the first Italian stage in Bari. He has, mind, a 100 percent career success rate in Giro sprints... This time around, he is hoping for a spell in the pink jersey to boot. “I’m not a GC guy but if there is an opportunity that would make it possible, it would be great to try at least - that’s the mentality I have for the time trial," he said.


At the presentation now and the organisers are showing off the jerseys for this year's race. Pozzovivo who crashed out early last year is currently being interviewed by the host broadcaster and is discussing his form. 

Battaglin who won a stage in the Giro is next up. The LottoNL rider will once again be targeting stage wins in the race. 


Don't forget you can listen to and download out latest Giro d'Italia preview podcast. It's a corker and features Dumoulin, Ewan, and the CN team. It's right here.


Something that was cut from the podcast was my insistence that Zakarin would make the podium. Trust me, it might happen. Word is he's flying and the TT in the middle of the race does really suit him. 


Cunego is now on stage. It's a shame that his 2004 Giro d'Italia win is almost seen as a Trivia Pursuit question - that obscure it must seem to to a new generation of cycling fans. I remember Damiano, I remember. 


Now Tinkoff are on stage. True story - Majka refused to be interviewed by yours truly at a Tinkoff camp a couple of years ago because he was too tired from playing table tennis. Apparently he had been playing for several hours. 


Guidi is on stage now and will be coming out with his Cannondale team. Uran leads but they have Formolo, Moser who needs a win, and Clarke in their ranks. They could surprise a few people actually. It's a much fresher team this time around for the American squad.


Table tennis... I still can't get over it.


Anthony McCrossan is on stage and introducing the riders and teams. He has the job of generating excitement as LottoNL walk on stage. 

171 Steven Kruijswijk (Ned)
172 Enrico Battaglin (Ita)
173 Moreno Hofland (Ned)
174 Twan Castelijns (Ned)
175 Martijn Keizer (Ned)
176 Primoz Roglic (Slo)
177 Bram Tankink (Ned)
178 Maarten Tjallingii (Ned)
179 Jos van Emden (Ned)


Kruijswijk would be a decent bet for a top five, podium if the rub of the green goes his way. 


Up next BMC Racing. Baldato and Sciandri walk on stage doing their best Next catalogue impressions. Through the smoke come the riders. 


31 Manuel Senni (Ita)
32 Darwin Atapuma (Col)
33 Alessandro De Marchi (Ita)
34 Silvan Dillier (Swi)
35 Stefan Küng (Swi)
36 Daniel Oss (Ita)
37 Manuel Quinziato (Ita)
38 Joey Rosskopf (USA)
39 Rick Zabel (Ger)


It's all about stage wins for that team. A few decent shouts in Oss, De Marchi and Kung. 




And now it's Trek on stage with Cancellara and Hesjedal in their ranks. Cancellara was sick yesterday and is just overcoming stomach flu. 


Can't say I was too reassured today to see bus driver take out a magnifying glass to check the time on his dashboard before driving onwards.

@wegelius Thu, 5th May 2016 17:08:20

Movistar rock up. Valverde, Amador and Betancur. That's a pretty strong trio for the mountains. Valverde, of course, in his first ever Giro but has won the Vuelta and finished on the podium in the Tour de France (2015). 


Cioni and Aversen come onto the stage for Team Sky. And the riders, led by Landa, quickly follow. Landa is here for the win and they've put a strong team around him with Roche, Deignan, Nieve all here. No Konig though. Viviani is here for the sprint and stage wins. Boswell makes his Giro d'Italia debut. 


A dance troop are now on stage. I'd describe what was happening but I've honestly no idea. Would you like some more images?




That concludes the teams' presentation ahead of this year's Giro d'Italia. 


Before we close our live coverage for today, we'll just run through a few important details and bits of news ahead of tomorrow's start.


Here you'll find the official start list. You'll want to keep that link safe for the next three weeks.


Another important list is this one, it's the start times for the TT tomorrow. Here you go.


You can download our race preview podcast, right here


And finally, here's our link to our HUGE Giro d'Italia landing page

That's all from us today. Thanks for tuning in. We'll be back tomorrow with complete live coverage from stage 1 of the Giro d'Italia. 


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