Rising Polish star Rafal Majka came close to winning the white jersey last year, matching Carlos Betancur blow-for-blow throughout the race. Majka led the way through much of the middle part of the race, and in fact wore the jersey into the penultimate stage before Betancur finally made it his own on the Tre Cime di Lavaredo. Now 24, Majka – who finished seventh overall last year – has continued to go from strength to strength since then though and appears likely to launch another assault for the white jersey this year.
The Pole has already topped one young riders’ classification this year, at the Criterium International, and enters the Giro on the back of 13th overall at the Tour de Romandie. The Tinkoff-Saxo rider will be roll out of Belfast in support of Nicolas Roche and he may have to forego personal ambition if the Irishman launches a serious GC assault. But Majka has proved he is more than capable, and if he can get the teams backing – or even if he is employed as a super-domestique for Roche – he will certainly be up there in the race for the maglia bianco.