A sensational 2013 season saw Quintana pick up the overall in Basque Country, not to mention 2nd in the Tour with a stage win, the white jersey and the polka dots. 2014 started with the overall win in the Tour de San Luis and with the Giro as his stated aim for the season, Quintana will be the one the other favourites fear most when the road goes uphill.
Rodriguez fell hard in the 6th stage and broke a finger and a rib. He was unable to continue what should have been a battle for pink
2nd in last year’s Giro after his team leader Bradley Wiggins crashed out. Now at Omega Pharma-Quikstep, Uran will be the main man from day 1. There is a sense that the Columbian is a little under-rated compared to the other GC favourites, something that won’t bother him one bit as he looks to take the field by surprise in what would be a huge victory for both him and a team renowned as classics specialists.
We know Cadel is a fighter. He is also a very astute racer. He may be 37 but he’s already shown in the Tour Down Under, Strade Bianche and the Giro del Trentino that he is still a force to be reckoned with. He took the Giro by surprise last year, finishing 3rd when he hadn’t even targeted the race. What that means for this year remains to be seen but we know he will do all he can to put the more explosive climbers off their stride.
Pozzovivo has a string of top 10 placings in the Giro d’Italia as well as a stage win in 2012. The tiny climber showed his form in the Ardennes where he was unlucky not to win in Liege after breaking free on the Saint Nicolas. Given the number of climbing days in this year’s race, Pozzovivo could well be in with a chance of the overall.
When the Giro starts the young Dutchman will have just turned 23. He already appears to have the talent to outperform his compatriots and teammates Mollema and Gesink in grand tours. He’s got everything to be a top favourite, a good time trialist and climber and the right mentality to perform in high pressure situations. 17th in his first Giro was impressive and this year he’s aiming for the top-10. That may be a modest target considering his talent and he would maybe benefit from the bravado shown by Quintana in challenging more established riders.
Giro d’Italia 2014: Images
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