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2013 Giro d'Italia countdown 2013


Welcome to Cyclingnews' rolling coverage of the built up to the 2013 Giro d'Italia...

Good morning and welcome to our rolling ticker as we build up to tomorrow's Giro d'Italia. We'll be bringing you news and reactions throughout the day. Stay tuned for all your pre-Giro coverage.

The build up ramped up yesterday with a riders' presson conference at the Castel dell'Ovo in Naples.

Cyclingnews were on the ground and you can read about the press conference and flick through our huge gallery of images, right here.

Cadel Evans has come out and said:

Cadel Evans (Team BMC):

A focused Mark Cavendish was also in attendance at yesterday's press conference in Naples. The Manxman has settled at QuickStep and is a favourite for tomorrow's opening stage. He's looked fast this year but his lead out has stuttered at times. There was talk of Petacchi making a swift return to the sport and leading him out but that was quashed by the UCI.  Here's what Cavendish had to say:


At yesterday's press conference Wiggins was diplomatic to a fault when asked to assess his rivals for the pink jersey, acknowledging that Nibali was the biggest threat but refusing to rule anybody out of the running before a pedal has been turned in anger.

Carlos Betancur is in Naples ahead his eagerly-awaited grand tour debut. The Colombian was in fine form at the Ardennes classics but he insists that Domenico Pozzovivo is the outright leader at Ag2r-La Mondiale.

Away from the Giro for just a moment, the UCI has confirmed that they'll carry out Biological Passport cases at the Amgen Tour of California this year. Good news? USADA don't really think so. Here's the story.

Robert Gesink leads a strong Blanco team at this year’s Giro, flanked by Wilco Kelderman and Steven Kruijswijk. The Dutch squad is keen to make an impact early in the season in order to attract a title sponsor to replace the departed Rabobank.

Cadel Evans and Taylor Phinney charmed their Italian hosts by answering questions in Italian and then translating their answers into English at the pre-Giro press conference in Naples on Thursday.

Mark Cavendish has been asked about how it would feel to pull on the maglia rosa tomorrow:

Geraint Thomas has told the BBC that Bradley Wiggins can win the Giro/Tour double. No rider has done so since Marco Pantani in 1998.

Ivan Basso has been talking to Gazzetta about the cyst that ruled him out of starting this year's race. The 35-year-old is a two-time winner of the event.

Highly rated Wilco Kelderman is making his grand tour debut at the Giro. He's spoken to de telegraaf and said: "I do not consider myself as the shadow leader [to Robert Gesink]. It's just another step in my career, without expectations. Whether I can compete for the white jersey remains to be seen. It is most important that Robert high finishes in the standings. "

Breaking news: Vuelta wildcards have been announced with spaces going to NetApp-Endura, Cofidis and Caja Rural. Story on CN coming.

Here's the story on the Vuelta wildcards. Katusha made the cut having secured the 19th place in the WorldTour earlier this year.

BikeRadar have picked up on Nibali bike images and put together this story. CN will have more on the Italian in our news feed shortly.

Samuel Sanchez has been talking to the Spanish press.The former Olympic road race champion had these words to say:

Breaking news: The UCI advised Columbian rider Marlon Alirio Perez Arango that he is provisionally suspended. The decision to provisionally suspend this rider was made in response to reports from the WADA accredited laboratories in Montreal and Köln respectively, indicating adverse analytical findings of metabolite GW1516 sulfone – Metabolic Modulator and sibutramine in urine samples collected from him during tests in the scope of the Vuelta a Costa Rica on 19 and 26 December 2012.

Riders and teams are starting to arrive for the teams' presentation in Naples. The start of which is less than one hour away.

Contract news: Taylor Phinney has told Cyclingnews that he has started negotiations with BMC. The American is coming to the final phase of his current three year deal.

This year's Giro will mark Phinney third grand tour start: “I’ve been looking through the stages in the second and third weeks, and there are a number of stages that are listed as flat but are not necessarily flat and are not pure sprint stages.

From my recent riding in Toscano, I’m in that transition from being the guy who is dropped on every climb to the guy who can survive and get better and better. It’s along the lines of someone like Daniel Oss. He’s a guy who I can look up to. He’s big like me but he can get over climbs and sprint well. It’s another stepping stone in my career."

Cyclingnews' Barry Ryan has spoken to Vincenzo Nibali, the home favourite for this year's race. The Astana leader is looking to capture his second Grand Tour title:

To read the full story on Nibali and his Giro chances, click here:

Not a huge crowd turnout at the moment but expect that to change in the next few minutes as more and more people head to the Piazza Plebiscito.

The 96th Giro d’Italia begins tomorrow in Naples. 207 riders of 30 different nationalities, representing 23 teams, will start the race. 58 Italians will start the race, in a peloton that also includes 17 Dutch riders, 16 Spaniards, 15 Colombians, 13 Belgians, 13 French riders, 10 Australians, 8 Russians, 6 British riders, 5 Germans, 5 riders from the USA, 4 Canadians, 4 riders from Portugal, 3 Danes, 3 Kiwis, 3 Polish riders, 2 Brazilians, 2 Croats, 2 Kazakhs, 2 Slovenians, 2 Swedes, 2 Swiss riders, 2 Venezuelans, 1 rider from Belorussia, 1 Chinese rider, 1 Estonian, 1 South African, 1 Lithuanian, 1 rider from Luxembourg, and 1 Ukrainian.

The 2013 Giro d’Italia will be broadcast in 174 countries.

Breaking news: IAM Cycling have reacted to the news that they've missed out on a Vuelta wildcard: "We acknowledge and respect the decision of the organizers. From our side, it should push us to exceed in all races we will contest to prove to the organizers what our true sporting value really is. Of course, we are working to establish a program of races for the second part of the season, but are also making plans for 2014."

Movistar have arrived with their line up for this year's Giro: 141 Capecchi; 142 Cobo; 143 Dowsett; 144 Herrada; 145 Intxausti; 146 Karpets; 147 Lastras; 148 Ventoso; 149 Visconti

You can buy a copy of the Giro d'Italia race guide, right here.

The official team presentation is now underway, with the Vini Farnese-Selle Italia team the first to ride onto stage.   

The team has an extra sponsor for the Giro, with Acqua & Sapone now on the jersey. Their sponsorship helped secure the arrival of Danilo Di Luca in the team.  

The FDJ team is now on stage, with Bouhanni wearing his French national champion's jersey.

The Colombia team is now on stage. Each team leader is carrying a huge flag to show their nationality.

Saxo-Tinkoff is now on stage in the stunning Piazza del Plebiscito in the heart of Naples.

Here's Lotto Belisol with 2012 stage winner Lars Bak waving the Belgian flag.

It's the turn of Androni Giocattoli, with Italian national champion Franco Pellizotti waving the tricolore flag.  

Mattia Gavazzi is the team's sprinter and he could cause an upset on the first stage tomorrow. He's a pure sprinter and is on form, winning the Giro della Toscana last Sunday.

Here comes Radioshack-Leopard. There is no Cancerllara in thew team but watch out for Giacomo Nizzolo in the sprints.

Argos-Shimano is on stage. Their team includes the first Chinese rider Ji CHeng, while John Degenkolb will be a big factor in the sprints.

Next up is the Bardiani Valvole team. They have a touch of pink on their kit to celebrated being at the Giro d'Italia.

Legedanry British and Manchester City soccer player Lee Dixon is at the Giro presentation. Like many in Britain, he is now a keen cyclist. 

Here come Vacansoleil-DCM.  Italy's Marco Marcato leads the team. It's his first Giro. Thomas De Gendt is not rising this year. He was third in 2012.

Samuel Sanchez :"My Giro started in January, not with the first stage. It's an important race for me and the team. The racing starts tomorrow but I've been getting ready for it for  three months."

Ortica-GreenEdge is on stage. Matt Goss is the team's sprinter, while Luke Durbridge is the youngest rider in the Giro d'Italia.

Vincenzo Nibali is due to go on stage soon. He talked to Italian TV: "We'll see what happens. You'll need legs and a lot more to win. There's a lot of climbs and a lot racing to do. It won't be easy to win for anyone. The final week will be decisive with all the legendary climbs. They'll decide the race."

Ag2r-La Mondiale is on stage, with 3 Italians in its team: Pozzovivo, plus sprinters Belletti and Appollonio. Betancur is also riding and could be a real outsider in the Giro.

Next up is Movistar, with Cobo as team leader and Dowsett making his debut in a Grand Tour.

It's a stunning spring day in Naples, with similar weather and 30C predicted for Saturday's first stage.

Here come Lampre-Merida team, with Ferrari for the sprints -Watch out Cavendish!, Pozzato for stage wins and Scarponi for the GC.

Sanchez leads Euskaltel-Euskadi on stage, carrying the Spanish flag.

Who's your favourite to win Saturday's first stage? 

The Blanco team is next on stage, with Robert Gesink leading the team. This race could be decisive for his career as a Grand Tour team leader. 

The Cannondale team rides on stage. Ivan Basso is already at home, with Damiano Caruso now the team leader, while Elia Viviani is the team's sprinter for the expected seven sprint finishes.

Mark Cavendish talked before he went on stage, saying: "I hope the first stage ends in a sprint. I'm excited and I'll be doing everything I can to win in Naples. I think that Matt Goss is a threat for tomorrow. We've got a good team, with riders for every kind of stage."

Here comes Omega Pharma-Quick Step.

Cavendish wears number 161.

The team includes Keisse and Steegmans to help Cavendish in the sprints, with Italy's Trentin expected to be his leadout man.

It's the turn of Team Sky to ride onto the main stage.

Wiggins wears number 181 and is backed by a very strong team that includes Henao, Uran, Cataldo, Pate and Siutsou.

Bradley Wiggins spoke timidly when on stage: "I'm honoured to be here and I hope to do well. The Giro is one of the most important races in the world."

Wiggins has cut his hair short and shaved off his sideburns. A sign he is serious about targeting the Giro.

The 2014 Giro d'Italia starts in Belfast, in Northern Ireland. This is the official site for further info.  

Astana is now on stage, with Nibali as team leader.

Garmin-Sharp is now on stage, with 2012 Giro winner Ryder Hesjedal wearing the pink jersey on stage.

He is apparently 3kg lighter than last year and seems on form. 

Race director Michele Acquarone is now on stage.

Hesjedal is now reading the rider promise to compete fairly, honestly and with fair play. It's a symbolic but significant moment. 

That's it from the team presentation in the centre of Naples. It's almost time to race. 

This time tomorrow we'll know who has won the first stage and who will be the first wearer of the pink jersey.

Cyclingnews will have live coverage of all the stage, with news, interviews and reports from the race, with Barry Ryan and Alasdair Fotheringham on the ground in Naples. 

To find out more about the this year's Giro d'Italia, check out comprehensive coverage and our special ten-day count down to the race.

Another great source of info is the official race guide published by our sister title ProCycling. You can get the digital version here:  

Thanks for following this long live coverage of the countdown to the Giro d'Italia. Join us tomorrow for liver coverage of the Giro d'Italia.

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