Early Giro predictions...

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Power13 said:
I don't think he should "stick" to one-day races.....but at some point you realize your own limitations and focus on your strengths. And there is nothing wrong with that.....lots of guys would KILL to be a great one-day rider and week long stage guy.

I like that you say "KILL" here in all caps. It draws a link to another hilly one-day racer who recently won The Giro. (Danillo Di Luca, aka The Killer)

The Giro seems to lend itself to guys like Di Luca, Cunego, and Ricco--all of whom have the same punchy style that works so well in the Ardennes but can also translate to GT success.

So I don't think I'd rule them out based on that criterion.

And here's my podium:

1. Basso
2. Leipheimer (I don't think he's gonna pull any punches...)
3. Cunego

This is totally premature and not very well informed, but whatevs. there it is.
 
Mar 10, 2009
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Dave Z!

He won't beat Levi, but he will be damn close. While Basso will be strong, his team has as divided allegiances as many would say of Astana - Pellozotti, Kreuziger, not to mention the sprint/stage race battles of a homegrown Italian team. De Luca and Rebellin may still shine in the classics, but they dont have the gas for a major stage race. Cunego and Simoni will shine in the mountains, byt they will get shelled in the TT. Pellozotti and Stephan Garzelli are my dark horses.
 
Mar 18, 2009
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lookkg386 said:
Agree, think that Cunego is favourite, he tried his luck at the tour and in all honesty wasn't good enough. But back home at the Giro he is a major force and i think this is his major goal once again this year.
Cunego no longer has "it" as a GT contender. Whatever he was doing a few years ago, he has toned it down. He should concentrate on hilly one day races.

It will come down to Basso, DiLuca, Leipheimer. Kloden could fill in for Leipheimer if something befalls his teammate, but other than that he will dutifully sacrifice his chances like he has his entire career.

Basso wins if he is within spitting distance of the rider he was in '06, but he probably won't be.

With the test for CERA, some riders won't perform as well as they have in the recent past. I won't mention names of the suspected--*Cough*luca*cough.

I would love to see Pellizotti pull it off, but I do not see how he gets past all the TT kilometers.

That leaves Leipheimer to win it, as much as I dislike the little bore.
 
Leipheimer doesn't stand a chance.
For a start, he'll be racing under team orders; save it for the Tour.
Even if uses the power of the "tiny trialist" to take the race lead against the clock, that's where his problems start.
Three successive stages through Central Italy are almost impossible to control, especially for a sub-strength team.
He'll end up isolated and getting worked over by a gaggle of Italian contenders, just like Contador in Paris-Nice, Kloden in Tirreno-Adriatico.

So far, no one has mentioned the prospects of Dennis Menchov. I seem to recall he went rather well, last year and even managed to drop Contador on a couple of the monster finishes....
 
What do you guys think the racing overall will be like in the Giro this year? Will the racing be fast paced throughout the race?

The big diffrence between the Tour and the Giro at least going back a few years was that in the Tour the racing started from km 0 with high pace and attack after attack and then a high even pace throughout the day. Especially in the first week. In the Giro the race seemed to go very casually and rather slow until the TV coverage started and then if there was mountains or whatever they would start moving in the end of the stage. This leads to a much gentler race than what the Tour is.

Will there be a diffrence this year or will it be the same old thing?
 
Tour stages start more frenetically than the Giro's;true.
The Italians seem to be more relaxed about letting a break go.
After that, I'd say the race patterns are similar.
Fish on a hook etc.

The Giro blows the Tour out of the water, with Italy's topography.
It always offers far less prescripted finishes. Often the peloton can be shattered in the last 10-15kms, on a realtively flat run in.

Prudhomme has gone some way to correct this oversight.
Brittany, normally a flat procession, used tougher undulating parcours, last year.
He needs to take further leaves out of the Paris-Nice handbook.
 
Oh dammit. My predictions were VERY premature. I totally forgot about Zabriskie and Menchov.

I'd put Zabriskie over Leipheimer. Zabriskie's been building form all season and getting better and better whereas Leipheimer MUST have peaked by now. (But then again, he's shown the uncanny ability in the past couple of years to not only continue to get stronger w/ age [especially in the TT], but to be at top form throughout the season.)

And Menchov. How could he NOT be among the favorites. I think a lot of people forget about him (myself included) b/c he just quietly goes about his preparations. (Also, he doesn't speak English, and that's probably the most important factor for how much coverage a cyclist gets in the Anglo media.) Is he targeting the Giro? If so, then he'd be up there, too.
 
Mar 18, 2009
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The big problem the Giro faces - and it's compunded with Armstrong's crash putting him out of contention and almost certainly out of the race - is that this year, more than ever, the Giro will simply be a warm up for the Tour.

Astana will be 'keeping their powder dry' to quote Duffers so they can fully support a resurgent Armstrong in France. The other contenders that turned up to rub Armstrong's nose in it in Italy will now have to reapparaise their objectives. It will come down to which Italian wants the centenary Giro most.

As for that TT - which must be the most anticipated GT stage this year alongside the Ventoux - photos and comments here http://www.podiumcafe.com/2009/3/29/814311/just-checked-out-the-61k-g
 
Mar 11, 2009
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Mellow Velo said:
The Giro blows the Tour out of the water, with Italy's topography.
It always offers far less prescripted finishes. Often the peloton can be shattered in the last 10-15kms, on a realtively flat run in.

Prudhomme has gone some way to correct this oversight.
Brittany, normally a flat procession, used tougher undulating parcours, last year.
He needs to take further leaves out of the Paris-Nice handbook.

I totally agree, for me the Giro is always more exciting to watch than the tour. ASO would never have the balls to put in a stage like last years stage 16 up Plan de Corones even with Prudhomme in charge.
 
Mar 16, 2009
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bianchigirl said:
The big problem the Giro faces - and it's compunded with Armstrong's crash putting him out of contention and almost certainly out of the race - is that this year, more than ever, the Giro will simply be a warm up for the Tour.

Astana will be 'keeping their powder dry' to quote Duffers so they can fully support a resurgent Armstrong in France. The other contenders that turned up to rub Armstrong's nose in it in Italy will now have to reapparaise their objectives. It will come down to which Italian wants the centenary Giro most.
Not to pick on you BGirl, but what you say about a warm-up for the tour is probably only true for a handful of riders, a small handful at that. Who do you have in mind that is racing simply for the miles?

And I find it really hard to believe that teams/riders are putting their programs/seasons together based on what LA does. If anything LA's absence from the Giro seems like it would offer an opportunity to teams to go for it at the Giro. Astana doesn't have to keep their 'powder dry' they have a handful of potential GT winners and a stable of capable domestiques, even in the LA dominance days they competed hard at the Giro, they even won it in '05, what makes you think that would change?

Forgot about Zabriskie. Dont see him winning a GT, but I love his season so far and hope he can stay strong. Showed some nice climbing form at Castilla.

Menchov is like Sastre/Cunego IMO, can certainly win a GT with the right circumstances and has to be considered a contender.

Who is going to be 'the man' for Saxo? Do we need to throw a Schleck on the table here too?

My money is on Millar! ;)
 
Mar 18, 2009
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If riders seasons weren't being dictated to by the 2nd Coming, I wonder why a whole slew of them signed up for the Giro when Armstrong announced his participation? As for the supposed strength of Astana - they won the 05 Giro by making deals with CSC and Lotto (and because the field wasn't exactly packed with contenders) and last year was virtually a solo effort by Contador - if you really think that Leipheimer, or indeed Armstrong, have the class to pull off what Contador did, weel, I'd like to see them try. They sent a decent squad to T-A and snatched defeat from the jaws of victory. Contador's P-N squad were actually pretty decent on paper and we all know how visible they were. I don't think other teams are scared of Astana any more and with Contador cracking and Armstrong down a ditch, the air of invulnerability of their leaders has gone to. And, seriously, can you see anybody quaking in their boots over the threat of Leipheimer? Can't see Basso having too many sleepless nights.

I'm not disputing that the Giro is often the race to watch - but, like it or loathe it, the Tour is the race to win. And those who wish to be competitive in the Tour will be at the Giro for the miles not the victory.

And I speak as someone who was v excited when Basso announced his intention some seasons ago to go for the Double - I wish more riders would. But, for whatever reason, the Double - or winning GTs and Classics - seems to be no longer an option for today's riders
 
Mar 16, 2009
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bianchigirl said:
If riders seasons weren't being dictated to by the 2nd Coming, I wonder why a whole slew of them signed up for the Giro when Armstrong announced his participation?
Can you name any of this "slew" that signed up when LA announced he was riding the giro?

You are completely contradicting yourself. If teams were as afraid of LA as you say why would they rush to sign up to race against him?

I dont doubt that some TdF riders ride the Giro for the miles, but you still can't seem to identify any names.
 
Mar 18, 2009
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Sastre, Menchov and, yes, Armstrong, all state the Tour as their primary aim for starters. The Little Prince would love to add it to his palmares. Basso is perhaps the only GC rider who has specified the Giro (actually the Giro/Vuelta double) as his primary aim for the season - and that's only because he thought ASO wouldn't let him ride the Tour.

Hmm, let's think - why would riders want to topple the self styled 'Boss', 7 time TdF winner? Can you seriously not imagine why riders would be queueing up to take a pot shot at him - 3 1/2 years off the bike and in his late 30s?

You also need to take a look at exactly how many teams are fielding a credible GC candidate:

Aqua e Sapone: Garzelli
AG2R: Gadret
Astana: Leipheimer
Caisse: ?
Cervelo: Sastre
Garmin: ?
ISD: ?
Lampre: Cunego
Liquigas: Basso
LPR: Di Luca
QS: Davis
Rabo: Menchov
Serramenti: Simoni
Lotto/Katusha/Saxobank/Xacobeo: ?

So at least a third of the GC contenders are targeting the Tour (you think Gadret would prefer success in Italy or France?), several of them are over the hill and are realistically looking at stage wins (Garzellie and Simoni) and the rest are there because a) it's the Italian GT and b) they couldn't get a ride in the Tour.

I think the parcours is great. I have enormous question marks over the fact that they wouldn't retro test for CERA. I think several riders are there honing their legs for the Tour - sad but true. I think several riders GC riders - has Evans made up his mind yet - because of the presence of Armstrong/the fact this is the centenary Giro. I think it'll be a great race as usual, particularly if stages like the Blockhaus don't disappoint.

Snake, what you're missing is the fact that I don't enjoy the fact the Giro always gets to be the bridesmaid. I don't like riders turning up to races to train. I think if you're in a race you should be there to race. But riders will be there to do that this year, just like they've been there for years to prepare for the bigger fish that is the Tour. Even Astana's DS Alain Gallopin admits the fact.
 
Apr 1, 2009
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patswana said:
I think Cunego is back...
Too weak in TT's.
Yes, I know the big one is technical and up and down, but he'll still lose at least 3-4 minutes.
Also in the really big mountains, I think Basso will give them all something to think about.
Cunego top 10 for sure, top 5 possibly.
Podium reserved for the likes of Menchov, Basso and one of the Astanas - LL/LA
 
Basso and Cunego are question marks to me. It's really hard to say how well Basso will ride. He showed incredible talent, if tainted, 2-3 years ago. Does he still have it? So far he hasn't shown a whole lot.

Cunego seems to finally be healthy, and focused entirely on the Giro, and he and Simoni are friends again with Gibo saying he'll support Cunego in the Giro. But outside of his one Giro win, Damiano hasn't done much.

Diluca is another mystery man. Is he done? He's been so quiet this spring, but looked good in T-A.

I'm not even certain Levi is set to ride the Giro, is he? Can anyone verify for certain? I know Contador isn't. But if Lance is reasonably strong to support, Astana and Kloden support him, and he says he is going for it, I too think Levi could win the Giro. There are two climbing stages (not the Blockhaus, which I think he can excel on) that have a lot of shorter, steeper climbs that he might lose time on though. But he seems very much on form and as strong as he's ever looked in his career.

The 60km ITT in the middle is very technical. Cunego rode it recently and said it's so extreme that he might actually ride a regular road bike on it. But if you guys think 60km is a lot, you need to go back to the days of Mig winning the Tour when the total TT km's were close to 200km. I believe 1992 it was over 200km.
 
Apr 2, 2009
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The word is that there will not be a lot of Mass Sprint finishes in this Giro.

Will Alesandro Petacchi be the man to beat in these Sprints ?
 
Maximaal said:
The word is that there will not be a lot of Mass Sprint finishes in this Giro.

Will Alesandro Petacchi be the man to beat in these Sprints ?
I think it'll be Bennati (sp?) and Cavendish in the sprints. But we'll see, and it'll be fun finding out.
 
Mar 10, 2009
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bianchigirl said:
The big problem the Giro faces - and it's compunded with Armstrong's crash putting him out of contention and almost certainly out of the race - is that this year, more than ever, the Giro will simply be a warm up for the Tour...
Disagree. Brunell is not an idiot, and neither are Kloden or Leipheimer, or Contador or Armstrong for that matter. Both Kloden and Leipheimer recognize that either Contador at his best, or Armstrong at what he used to be, could clobber them. BUT, it is uncertain that either Berto or Lance will have that form. It is therefore incumbent upon both to prove that if either, or both falter in the TdF, they (Andreas or Levi) can come through. But because of pre-existing heirarchy and assumptions, Andreas and Levi have to continually prove themselves.

For the Giro, Contador is out and Armstrong has telegraphed that he won't finish (baby due). Armstrong has shown great domestique capabilities thus far, but no real shining moments. Thus Andreas and Levi have to shine at the Giro to gain protected status.

And if they both feel they must shine, the Giro is much more than a warm-up. I'm expecting a heck of a race - and that is only within Astana.

There will be many more antagonists I suspect, and the route is... stunning or daunting depending upon if you are riding or spectating.

I'm looking forward to it.
 
Alpe d'Huez said:
Cunego seems to finally be healthy, and focused entirely on the Giro, and he and Simoni are friends again with Gibo saying he'll support Cunego in the Giro. But outside of his one Giro win, Damiano hasn't done much.
I missed the part where Gibo and Cunego joined the same squad?:D

Besides that I believe that Basso is going to be the main man this year. I'm also certain that Di Luca and Pellizotti are going to be "spot on" the form for their season goal.

I'm still a little stunned by his T-A win, but it's going to be interesting to see Scarponi in his home tour.

If they do in fact start Il Giro (The preliminary start list says they do), I think we're gonna see great performances from:

David Arroyo and Joaquin Rodriguez, Caisse
Thomas L?vkvist, Columbia
Matthew Lloyd, Silence-Lotto
 
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