Giro 2024: GC Favourites

Tadej pogacar - Giro 2024: GC Favouritesfoto: Cor VosWho are the top contenders to win the Giro d'Italia? Tadej Pogacar stands out as the favourite, while Thymen Arensman, Romain Bardet, Geraint Thomas, Ben O'Connor, and Daniel Felipe Martínez are expected to battle for the remaining podium spots.

[Underneath text was written before the start of the Giro and has not been updated]

Tadej Pogacar is the man to beat in the Giro d’Italia. He was in another league in all the races he’s competed in this year. Strade Bianche – tick, solo win with 81 kilometres effort. Volta a Catalunya – tick, overall victory and wins in four out of six stages. Liège-Bastogne-Liège – tick, solo win with 34 kilometres effort. So yes, as long as he stays healthy, it’s almost certain he’ll claim the overall victory.

However, cycling remains unpredictable, and you never know how a race unfolds. Last year, Remco Evenepoel won two stages in the first week of the Giro, only to have to withdraw due to a COVID-19 infection. And recently, in the Tour of the Basque Country, it was expected that the battle for the overall victory would rage between Jonas Vingegaard, Primoz Roglic, and Remco Evenepoel, but all three crashed and were forced to abandon with (serious) injuries.

Let’s hope that misfortune spares the riders in the Giro d’Italia. In that case, Tadej Pogacar is undoubtedly the hot favourite for the GC win, with Romain Bardet, Daniel Felipe Martínez, Geraint Thomas, Ben O’Connor, and Thymen Arensman as his main challengers. One could also argue: they’ll contend for the other two podium spots.

Warm-up races
In the run-up to the Grande Partenza Romain Bardet showed fine form in the Tour of the Alps, which he underlined by finishing second behind Pogacar in Liège-Bastogne-Liège. Ben O’Connor was also strong in the Tour of the Alps, where he finished second. Daniel Felipe Martínez hasn’t shown much lately, but he hasn’t raced much either. However, he showed good form early this year – he finished second in the Volta ao Algarve in February behind Remco Evenepoel.

Relatively many Giro contenders were racing in the Tirreno-Adriatico in March. Ben O’Connor (fifth), Thymen Arensman (sixth), and Cian Uijtdebroeks (seventh) were riding the Race of the Two Seas, while Luke Plapp (sixth) was the only Giro hopeful who participated in Paris-Nice that month.

Uijtdebroeks is Belgium’s second great hope behind Evenepoel. The 21-year-old rider from Visma | Lease a Bike won the Tour de l’Avenir two years ago and finished eighth in his first Grand Tour, last year’s Vuelta. He is one of many dark horses, another one being Juan Pedro López. The Spaniard from Andalucía wore the pink jersey for ten days straight two years ago and recently he turned out on top in the GC of the Tour of the Alps. Arguably, more of a stage hunter, but he might excell on GC also.

Geraint Thomas
Of last year’s Giro podium – Roglic, Thomas, Almeida – only the Welshman is competing this time. In the previous edition, he wore the pink jersey for eight days, but eventually, Roglic took over in the mountain time trial on the penultimate day. The 2018 Tour de France winner did not do well this season, to say the least. Thomas finished 27th in the Vuelta a Catalunya and 13th in the Tour of the Alps. In his case, it doesn’t necessarily mean much, as his performances in last year’s run-up to the Giro were even worse – he finished 45th in Catalonia, but two months later he bounced back with a steady performance in Italy. Thomas turns 38 two days after the finish in Rome, so a pink jersey would be a perfect birthday gift to himself.

At INEOS, Geraint Thomas shares leadership with Thymen Arensman, which may be their strength. While Pogacar, Bardet, Martínez, and O’Connor are the absolute leaders within their teams, the British outfit has strength in numbers, as Tobias Foss is another rider who should be capable of finishing in the top 10. If they are all up there they could take turns putting pressure on their opponents.

That said, Arensman didn’t fare well in his his last preparatory race, the Tour de Romandie, and while Foss wore the leader’s jersey in the Tour of the Alps, he eventually ended up as 31st on GC.

Former winners
Only one former winner lines up at the start of the Giro, Nairo Quintana. It’s been ten years since he claimed the pink jersey. Two years later, he won the Vuelta a España. What seemed to be a launch pad to more success turned out to be no such thing. Things quieted down around the Colombian, and he only won some stages for the remainder of his career. Last year, he wasn’t even part of the professional peloton, but now he is back at Movistar. Not to battle for the pink jersey, but to hunt for stage wins.

Favourites 2024 Giro d’Italia

**** Tadej Pogacar
*** Thymen Arensman, Romain Bardet, Ben O’Connor
** Daniel Felipe Martínez, Geraint Thomas, Cian Uijtdebroeks
* Juan Pedro López, Damiano Caruso, Alexey Lutsenko, Antonio Tiberi

Watch the highlights of recent races here:
Leave a comment
1 comment(s)

Related articles
Riders - Giro 2024 Winners and records - Giro d'Italia
More articles