A huge outsider for the classification, Davide Villella is among the youngest riders in the race at just 22. The Italian, in his first full year with Cannondale, makes his Grand Tour debut on the back of finishing second in the youth classification at the Coppi e Bartali and winning the King of the Mountains jersey at the Tour of the Basque Country. Villella can climb – proving as much with two stage wins and the overall prize at last year’s Giro Ciclistico della Valle d’Aosta Mont Blanc.
With no prior three-week experience however, whether he can maintain such a challenge over the length of a Grand Tour – particularly given the fiercely difficult nature of the mountainous final week. The race instead will be about supporting Ivan Basso and setting up Elia Viviani on the sprinters stages. A tilt at the white jersey may be a little early for Villella this season, but with experience under his belt he will certainly be one to look out for in future.