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Giro d'Italia preview

Bradley in last year’s ToB
© Gerard Brown Photography

The 88th Giro d’Italia starts on Saturday
There are two UK riders flying the flag on the three week tour of Italy and although Bradley Wiggins has had a relatively quiet season since his Olympic success he’s been consistently finishing major races so far this Spring. Now he comes to the first of the big three stage races with some excellent form and should be set for a good performance in the 1.1km opening time trial. A good performance will see him supported by a strong team with no clear leader. A pink jersey may even make Bradley the protected rider.

Stage specialist
Bianchi-Liquigas rider Charly Wegelius has shown some excellent form in stage races already this year, however expect him to play a supporting role on the Italian team to riders like Danilo Di Luca for stage wins and Stefano Garzelli for the overall. Charly could sneak a stage win and will be prominant on the tough days in the Dolomite mountains.

The favourites
The race looks set to be a battle of the Italians however it’s still pretty open, take your pick from the following:
Damiano Cunego (Ita), Gilberto Simoni (Ita), Paolo Savoldelli (Ita), Joseba Beloki Dorronsoro (Spa), Stefano Garzelli (Ita), Ivan Basso (Ita)

So who will win?
An Italian definitely and a climber probably. I expect to see Basso on the podium and as long as Simoni and Cunego don’t have a fight (they are on the same team) Cunego is in good form should win it. Although Paolo Savoldelli (Ita) has a very strong Discovery team backing him up… should be some fireworks. Sadly no Cipo means the sprints will be less fiercely contested and more than likely dominated by another super quick Italian; Alessandro Petacchi.

Dark horse
Discovery rider and Tour de Georgia winner Tom Danielson (USA).

Great name to watch and a dark horse?
Illes Balears rider and best U23 in the Tour de France last year Vladimir Karpets (Rus) bad mullet and suitably eastern European hard looking face, he’s an RCUK favourite.

the route for the 88th time around
© Giro d’Italia
2005 Giro d’Italia stages

Saturday May 7 – Prologue TT: Reggio Calabria, 1,150 m
Sunday May 8 – Stage 1: Reggio Calabria – Tropea, 208 km
Monday May 9 – Stage 2: Catanzaro Lido – S.M. del Cedro, 177 km
Tuesday May 10 – Stage 3: Diamante – Giffoni Valle Piana, 210 km
Wednesday May 11 – Stage 4: Giffoni Valle Piana – Frosinone, 197 km
Thursday May 12 – Stage 5: Celano – L’Aquila, 215 km
Friday May 13 – Stage 6: Viterbo – Marina Di Grosseto, 154 km
Saturday May 14 – Stage 7: Grosseto – Pistoia, 205 km
Sunday May 15 – Stage 8: Lamporecchio – Firenze ITT, 41,5 km
Monday May 16 – Stage 9: Firenze – Ravenna, 139 km
Tuesday May 17 – Rest Day-Ravenna
Wednesday May 18 – Stage 10: Ravenna – Rossano Veneto, 212 km
Thursday May 19 – Stage 11: Marostica – Zoldo Alto, 150 km
Friday May 20 – Stage 12: Alleghe – Rovereto, 178 km
Saturday May 21 – Stage 13: Mezzocorona – Ortisei, 217 km
Sunday May 22 – Stage 14: Egna – Livigno, 210 km
Monday May 23 – Stage 15: Livigno – Lissone, 207 km
Tuesday May 24 – Rest Day – Lissone
Wednesday May 25 – Stage 16: Lissone – Varazze, 207 km
Thursday May 26 – Stage 17: Varazze – Limone Piemonte (Colle di Tenda), 194 km
Friday May 27 – Stage 18: Chieri – Torino, ITT 31 km
Saturday May 28 – Stage 19: Savigliano – Sestriere (Le Valli Olimpiche), 190 km
Sunday May 29 – Stage 20: Albese con Cassano – Milano, 121 km

Total race distance: 3,465km

• Official site here

• Unofficial Site here

• Live stages here

• Random merchandise here where you can buy a frisbee or a strange fluffy animal If anyone buys anything let us know… actually you might want to keep it to yourself?!

Charly Wegelius in last year’s ToB
© Gerard Brown Photography


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