Last year, Chris Froome completed cycling’s grand slam – Tour, Vuelta, Giro -, but he failed to add a fifth Tour de France victory to his tally that summer.
Arguably, Tom Dumoulin, Simon Yates and Primoz Roglic are the major GC-contenders in the Corsa Rosa. With overall victories at the Tirreno-Adriatico and the UAE Tour, the Slovenian is on fire this season. Dumoulin and Yates have outstanding 2018 credentials. The Dutchman was runner-up in both the Giro d’Italia and the Tour de France, while the Brit won the literally hottest Grand Tour of the season, La Vuelta. He was also outstanding at the Giro. Yates rode thirteen days in the maglia rosa and pocketed three stages in Italy before he cracked in the final week. It all came down in the Colle delle Finestre stage, when Chris Froome bravely attacked with Tom Dumoulin in pursuit. That day, Yates collapsed and lost almost 40 minutes. Now he’s back and he wants to show the world he is ready to win Italy’s Grand Tour.
Obviously, Vincenzo Nibali is always a force to be reckoned with, yet the Sicilian rider is a bit of an enigma. When you think he is on the ropes, he bounces back with an amazing performance. That said, he didn’t win anything since his Milan-San Remo victory of 2018 and his last Grand Tour win dates back to 2016. On the other hand, Nibali is one of only seven riders who can say that he is a winner of all three Grand Tours. Furthermore, Bahrain Merida general manager Brent Copeland believes that his team leader is in the best shape he’s ever been in this close to the start of a Grand Tour.
Miguel Ángel López, Primoz Roglic and Mikel Landa – they are all eager to win their first Grand Tour. Just looking at the statistics, López is best-placed to do so. Recently, he won the Volta a Catalunya and he also turned out on top in last February’s Tour Colombia. López won the young rider classification in the 2018 Giro d’Italia, so arguably he should be able for the next step. Is the 25-year old Colombian ready to rumble with the big boys?
Roglic is in fine form, too, winning the aforementioned Tirreno-Adriatico and UAE Tour. The Slovenian is a strong time triallist, which comes in handy given the amount of kilometres against the clock. Obviously, this factor is in favour of Tom Dumoulin as well.
Three stellar sprinters feature prominently on the start list. Elia Viviani, Fernando Gaviria and Caleb Ewan are eager to take on the flat stages. The route features six opportunities for the fast men to shine, while the race takes in eight summit finishes.
Looking forward to the first Grand Tour of 2019? Check out the actual cycling betting odds as given by 888sport.
Additional information on the website of the Giro d’Italia.