Britain’s Daniel Lloyd, a veteran of the 2009 and 2010 Giri, turns his thoughts to the second week of the 2013 corsa rosa.
The former pro, who raced the Giro d’Italia in service of 2008 Tour de France champion, Carlos Sastre, provides a fascinating statistical insight into the chances of joint favourites, Bradley Wiggins (Team Sky) and Astana’s Vincenzo Nibali.
Much will depend on the time trials, Lloyd believes, held this year on stages eight and nineteen. He compares the relative performances of the two men in the two most recent Grand Tours in which they have clashed.
In the 2011 Vuelta a Espana, a race Nibali entered as defending champion, Wiggins took 1.22 out of Nibali in the final test against the clock to finish third overall, some 3.52 ahead of seventh-placed Nibali.
Last year’s Tour de France saw a similar display of dominance from the Londoner in the crono. Wiggins sealed victory on stage 20, churning out 450 watts, an average of 6.3 watts per kilo, to end Nibali’s challenge by finishing 3.38 ahead of him on the stage.
Nibali, however, is considered a better climber than Wiggins, and Lloyd is expecting “fireworks” on stages 14 and 15, the first back-to-back mountain stages, ones that will include a combined 6,300 metres of climbing in two days.
Stage 15, one that crosses the border into France, will include the Col du Galibier, a fearful challenge that will take the riders to an altitude in excess of 2,600 metres.
Lloyd also highlights stage nine, a route that will take the riders through Tuscany, the home of Italian cycling, and into Florence, onto roads that will be used in the world road race championships in September.
Stage 10 will also be significant, Lloyd believes, offering the first summit finish of the race, and the first climb with an altitude greater than 1,500 metres.
By the time the riders reach stage 10, he adds, they will have raced for 1,500km – almost half of the race distance.