[Article was written before the start of the Giro d’Italia and has not been updated.]
Obviously, to win the 2016 Giro d’Italia climbing skills are a requisite, but equally important is time trialing. Three stages are chrono races, totalling at no less than 61 kilometres. This suits specialist Tom Dumoulin, who found himself as a serious GC contender in last year’s Vuelta.
Still, top favourite to win his home race is Vincenzo Nibali. The 31-year-old Sicilian won all three Grand Tours and he is both a brilliant climber and a good time trialist. Moreover, he has a strong Astana squad to back him up. Earlier this year he warmed up to the season with the overall win in the mountainous Tour of Oman.
Rigoberto Uran is another strong time trialist with an appetite for the mountains. Both in 2013 and 2014 he was second in the Giro, once behind Nibali and once behind Quintana. And what about Rafal Majka? The 26-year-old Pole finished third in last year’s Vuelta and he is young enough to improve. He is not the best time trialist in the world, but the Giro offers enough stages in the high mountains to grant the KOM-winner in the 2014 Tour de France the chance to make a mark.
Sky arrives in Italy with Mikel Landa, last year’s number three, as a leader. Back then Landa rode for Astana and he had to assist Fabio Aru, while at times the Basque looked stronger. In May it is up to him to show if he can improve. However, his Achilles’ heel is… the individual time trial.
GC Favourites Giro d’Italia 2016:
*** Vincenzo Nibali, Rafal Majka, Mikel Landa, Tom Dumoulin
** Alejandro Valverde, Rigoberto Uran, Esteban Chaves
* Domenico Pozzovivo, Andrey Amador, Ryder Hesjedal, Steven Kruijswijk
Giro d’Italia 2016: Height profiles, route maps, and more
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