2020 Giro d’Italia Preview: The Giro d’Italia starting in September! That’s nearly as crazy as the Vuelta a España in finishing in November, but here we are. At least we have some racing during these covid-19 times we are living in. Ed Hood has had a good look at the new course and who’s hot to trot in Italy for the next three weeks.
No Carapaz this year
It’s like Dave, my Ragazzo on many a Giro adventure always says; ‘you can’t compare the Giro to the Tour, they’re different beasts.’ But if I had to choose, it would be, ‘The Pink Race.’ Very few janitors, stunning scenery, the tifosi, the home pro conti. teams refusal to be over-awed by the big boys of the WoldTour and of course, it’s impossible to get a bad cappuccino.
Cappuccino with Luca Scinto?
However, my favourite stage race is feeling a little neglected this year; usually it’s the first Grand Tour of the year and expectation is at fever pitch. But this year that darn, ‘Grande Boucle’ thing came first and if that wasn’t bad enough served up the best Grand Tour finale in three decades. Thus, like the English kids say, the Giro is being received with a kinda, ‘wot evva’ vibe. But not here at PEZ – pink is our favourite colour!
The whole world is pink!
The organisers must be praised for a complete ‘re-draw’ of the first week with those Budapest stages consigned to the, ‘what might have been but for Covid’ file. There are three time tests, five – but maybe seven – for the sprinters, six for the GC guys and the rest for the ‘attacante’ – the Italian equivalent of the ‘baroudeur,’ the breakaway artists who more often than not get caught but when they don’t, it’s beautiful.
Stage One: Monreale to Palermo, 15.1K ITT: The organisers must have known Filippo Ganna was going to win the Worlds, this time test course is made for him to display that beautiful skinsuit for the first time, there’s a ‘hump’ at the start but then it’s 58 x 11 to the finish.
Downhill big ring TT
Stage Two: Alacamo to Agrigento, 149K: that ‘bump’ at the end means many of the sprinters won’t make it – an early chance for Sagan to prove he still has the sparkle?
Stage 2 made for Peter Sagan
Stage Three: Enna to Etna, 150K: ‘Etna’ as in massive, active, volcano, the GC battle could erupt here – sorry.
A tough stage 3
Stage Four: Catania to Villafranca Tirrena, 140K: with a big climb in the middle but the last 70K are downhill or flat – it’ll re-group.
Stage 4 to the Straights of Messina – No Sharks here
Stage Five: Mileto – Camigliatello Silano, 225km: a ‘saw tooth’ day for the breakaway BUT that final climb could just turn this into a GC day.
Stage 5 – Break or GC day?
Stage Six: Castrovillari – Matera, 188km: breakaway but just maybe a day for Sagan or Matthews?
Tough finish for stage 6
Stage Seven: Matera – Brindisi, 143km: for them fast twitch dudes.
Will stage 7 put a smile on Viviani’s face?
Stage Eight: Giovinazzo – Vieste (Gargano), 200km: Breakaway but again, it could come back together?
A nervous day of action
Stage Nine: San Salvo – Roccaraso (Aremogna), 207km: a doomed breakaway day with the GC battle for real today over 4,000 metres of climbing.
A GC day with lots of climbing
Stage 10: Lanciano – Tortoreto, 177km: The late break will win this one.
The day for a break?
Stage 11: Porto Sant’Elpidio – Rimini, 182km: the express trains will run into Rimini…
A stage that would have suited Cipo
Stage 12: Cesenatico – Cesenatico, 204km: an Androni Giacattoli Sidermec breakaway day, if ever I saw one, maybe two of them in there?
The Marco Pantani Monument in Cesenatico
Stage 13: Cervia – Monselice, 192km: pan flat then two ‘bumps’ late in the day, it depends on how deep the pure sprinters can go?
There should be a sprint battle in Monselice
Stage 14: Conegliano – Valdobbiadene, ITT, 34.1km: there’s a ‘muro’ – that’s a wall, dude – early but Ganna is such a beast that he’ll drag back the seconds on Geraint Thomas to win it. The PEZ just rode through here as part of the Prosecco Cycling gran fondo – and said: “that Poggio climb is a bitch – about 1.5km with grades up to 20%. But I doubt they’ll have a prosecco and scampi rest stop at the top like we enjoyed.”
Stage 15: Base Area Rivolto (Frecce Tricolori) – Piancavallo, 185km: a huge breakaway but then GC day – one you can lose the Giro on.
Tough stage 15 after the TT
Stage 16: Udine – San Daniele del Friuli, 229km: for the breakaways with the GC guys and sprinters happy to see them go after yesterday.
Stage 16 3D and profile
Stage 17: Bassano del Grappa – Madonna di Campiglio, 203km: another ‘monstro’ GC day with four mega mountains and a mountain top finish.
Stage 17 – Monstro!
Stage 18: Pinzolo – Laghi di Cancano (Parco Nazionale dello Stelvio), 207km: more of the same including the sprinters’ nightmare that is the terrible Stelvio.
The late Felice Gimondi climbing the Stelvio in 1977
Stage 18 and the mighty Stelvio
Stage 19: Morbegno – Asti, 253km: a present from the kindly organisers to the sprinters who have survived the last two days.
Will there be any sprinters left?
Stage 20: Alba – Sestriere, 198km: a genuinely terrifying day is you’re not a climber, it climbs from the start for more than 100 kilometres to the top of the Agnello with another three killer ascents to follow. The day you win/lose this race.
The killer stage 20
Stage 21: Cernusco sul Naviglio – Milano, ITT, 15.7km: I can’t see Ganna making it this far but if he does he deserves every one of these pan flat kilometres. Thomas’ opportunity to steal back any seconds he needs on Yates.
Thomas – Don’t forget your Garmin
All the stage profiles
That was the PERCORSO, how about the PROTAGANISTI?
But please remember that we can only go by the latest start list we have to hand.
Gallopin – Stage win?
AG2R – La Mondiale: Destined for doomed breakaways but if Tony Gallopin is at his best they could just about steal a stage – but it’s hard to win from the break with those Italian pro conti. guys all ‘agitato.’
Savio’s boys should get something
Androni Giacattoli – Sidermec: Gianni Savio’s boys always, ‘honour the pink race’ and with those South American connections of his – Bernal was his boy – watch for them in the montagne with Colombia’s Jhonathan Restrepo perhaps the best bet.
Big chance for Fuglsang
Astana Pro Team: ‘All for Jakob’ – that’s the ‘Bird Song’ boy, on four stars with us, BUT if he stumbles watch for last year’s Russian Champion Aleksandr Vlasov; this year he’s won the Ventoux Challenge, was fourth in Piemonte, third in Lombardia, won Emilia and was fifth in Tirreno – he’s on his way. ‘Superman’ Lopez is in there too but he’s unlikely to have recovered from le Tour and ‘too many cooks spoil. . .
Battaglin – Famous name
Bahrain – McLaren: Enrico Battaglin has three Giro stages to his name, he could make it four?
The purple boys
Bardiani – CSF – Faizane: Used to be the, ‘Green Team’ but are now the ‘Purple People Eaters’ [but I’m not sure if that record was ever a hit in Italy?] a team full of hopefuls, expect to see them in the breaks.
Does Sagan still have the ‘sparkle’?
BORA – hansgrohe: ‘All for Peter’ with several stages made for him, too tough for the ‘pure’ fast men but ideal for him – does he still want those wins bad enough though? Watch for Rafał Majka in the mountains, he has a stage win in him.
Zakarin – ‘Something or nothing’
CCC Team: With the team folding at the end of the year there will be guys here desperate to catch the eye – watch for breakaway certainties, Ilnur Zakarin and Victor De La Parte.
Viviani – Not much to report from France
Cofidis, Solutions Credit: Will the home air give Elia Viviani the boost he needs to get his arms in the air? I’d like to see it but doubt it.
Expect more from Knox
Deceuninck – Quick-Step: They’ll be stage hunting with the likes of Davide Ballerini and Alvaro Hodeg, both big finishers aided and abetted by Iljo Keisse but remember that Britain’s James Knox just missed the top 10 in last year’s Vuelta and was seventh in Tirreno this year.
Clarke – 7th in Tirreno
EF Pro Cycling: Simon Clarke from a break would seem to be their best bet?
Démare likes the Giro
Groupama – FDJ: With 10 wins this year it has to be ‘all for Arnaud’ and on Monsieur Démare’s ‘gruppetto days’ the rest can keep him company.
Don’t forget about Cimolai for a stage win Ed
Israel Start-Up Nation: Can you see a stage winner? Me neither but I’d be delighted to be proved wrong.
Top ten for Carl Fredrik Hagan
Lotto – Soudal: No Caleb Ewan, obviously not recovered from all those ‘gruppetto days’ in France. Norway’s Carl Fredrik Hagen rode a strong Vuelta last year with eighth place, refusing to fade in the last week – management will be living in hope.
Simon Yates is in form
Mitchelton – Scott: ‘All for Simon,’ with no distractions; the ‘other Yates’ that is, he lead the race for a long spell in 2018 before he popped – unfinished business for one of our two five star race faves. He has just won Tirreno-Adriatico, so he has the form.
Your guess is as good as ours
Movistar Team: Erm?
NTT and Nizzolo need results
NTT Pro Cycling: Giacomo Nizzolo was a very good bet but obviously hasn’t recovered from his Tour crash. Louis Meintjes was 12th in Tirreno and is ‘hard to drop. . .
The top favourite for Ed
Team INEOS – Grenadiers: ‘All for Geraint,’ pure and simple, second in Tirreno, fourth in the Worlds TT, he’s ready – our second five star fave. They also have some guy called Ganna who’s supposed to ride a decent time test?
Kruijswijk has the experience and the talent – But has he recovered?
Team Jumbo – Visma: ‘All for Steven,’ big diesel Dutchman Kruijswijk should have won this race back in 2016 but for a moment’s inattention. He was third in last year’s Tour don’t forget – has he recovered from his Dauphine crash? Etna will tell us, three stars for now.
Matthews – Back to Mitchelton next year – Giro stage wins just the same
Team Sunweb: ‘Running hot’ off a great Tour with the team having three stage wins, I’d be surprised if Michael Matthews doesn’t continue the trend.
Home start in Sicily for Nibali
Trek Segafredo: He was second in the Giro last year, yes – but at 35 years-of-age, Padre Tempo is in pursuit of ‘The Shark,’ four stars and third behind Yates and Thomas is the best Vincenzo Nibali can hope for – but I’d be delighted to get that wrong.
Ulissi – Stage wins or overall?
UAE – Team Emirates: Sure he won Luxembourg, was fifth in Poland and fourth in Coppi e Bartali; but Diego Ulissi can’t make the Giro podium – he can win stages though, maybe?
Visconti – Bound to try something
Vini Zabù KTM: Underestimate Giovanni Visconti at your peril, he may be 37 years-old but in the right breakaway he could make this little squadra’s Giro.
There you have it then, Thomas from Yates and Nibali.
And don’t forget; ‘ALL THE WORLD IS PINK!’
2020 Giro d’Italia (3 – 25 October) Stages:
Stage 1: Monreale – Palermo 15.0 km (ITT)
Stage 2: Alcamo – Agrigento 150.0 km
Stage 3: Enna – Etna 150.0 km
Stage 4: Catania – Villafranca Tirrena 140.0 km
Stage 5: Mileto – Camigliatello Silano 225.0 km
Stage 6: Castrovillari – Matera 188.0 km
Stage 7: Matera – Brindisi 143.0 km
Stage 8: Giovinazzo – Vieste 200.0 km
Stage 9: San Salvo – Roccaraso 208.0 km
12.10.20: Rest Day
Stage 10: Lanciano – Tortoreto 177.0 km
Stage 11: Porto Sant’Elpidio – Rimini 182.0 km
Stage 12: Cesenatico – Cesenatico 204.0 km
Stage 13: Cervia – Monselice 192.0 km
Stage 14: Conegliano – Valdobbiadene 34.1 km (ITT)
Stage 15: Base Aerea Rivolto – Piancavallo 185.0 km
19.10.20: Rest Day
Stage 16: Udine – San Daniele del Friuli 229.0 km
Stage 17: Bassano del Grappa – Madonna di Campiglio 203.0 km
Stage 18: Pinzolo – Laghi di Cancano 207.0 km
Stage 19: Morbegno – Asti 251.0 km
Stage 20: Alba – Sestriere 198.0 km
Stage 21: Cernusco sul Naviglio – Milano 15.7 km (ITT).
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And if you can’t be in Italy for the Giro, then wear your T shirt, socks and… underpants!