You may say it's early, but I'm saying it's the Tour of the Alps!
An elite field, ripped of the two Super-Slovenians Primoz I. and Tadej I., but with old/ last year's superstar Jai Hindley and coming super-superstar Anton Palzer who will ride through the most beautiful places in the world, well, Europe and battle to become the successor of Francesco Moser, Gianni Bugno, Vincenzo Nibali and ... Pavel Sivakov.
They will start in Brixen / Bressanone, pass the Brenner (unfortunately Marco won't be there to take say Hi to his geo-friend) and the Passo Campo Carlo Magno, following Charlemagne's footsteps, or so they say, and finish at the Lake Garda.
Stage profiles for an overview:
Hasn't shown much this year, hasn't had many opportunities to do so. Until recently it wasn't even sure which Grand Tour he would concentrate on, but now it's clear he's doing the Giro. This is a great race for preparation and a great route for him, but I'm not even sure he will get that much support. As a contender for a podium I rate him ***
Funnily last year's Giro doesn't mean this guy is now top GT material in my eyes, but he's young, he's lovely, and a great climber. He can form a leader's duo with Bardet, that's probably how DSM want to play it. **
He's in really good form, as shown in the Basque Country, but no time trial here for him. Probably top10, but no podium. *
Since I was told Bernal isn't in the race he climbs up my ranking a few steps. Well, one. ** Okay, ***, because Pinot's goat told me I am underrating him.
Will have a lot of supporters, here, in France, in Italy, everywhere he goes... But will that help? All depends on his back, I guess. **
Hard to rate, second behind Primoz/Max was solid but not spectacular. He's a strong guy, but against these top riders it's not going to be an easy trip. If Astana are serious about the Giro for him he should be at a very good level now. ***
Where does he stand? Looking good, but might still miss a few percent for the biggest heights. (Can you say biggest heights?) ****
Primoz and David broke him, but maybe he's fixed by now. Won't be enough for a podium here, though, I can see that in my crystal ball. *
Why is he on this list? Because he has a nice smile, mostly.
Yep, great route, great rider, but this has not been his spring so far, so I doubt it's going to be his race. *
Daniel Felipe Martínez
Hoefully doesn't crash, then he should be good, but will he be able to ride for himself? **
New Trek leader with a very good spring so far. *
Oldie with increasing chances for a podium as more and more riders drop out. *
Up-and-coming star, should step in for Buchmann, unless he has to work for proven leader Palzer. *
Maybe it's because I still haven't listened to that Besenwagen podcast (I hate podcasts), but I don't think he's going to win this. At least not by two minutes.
Climb profiles provided by the Devil's Elbow
Enough of the dropping now, if you're on the startlist, stay in the race!