The cast of the 2014 Giro d’Italia

This is a personal selection of riders to keep an eye on during this year’s Giro and therefore represents the probable cast of this website over the next few weeks. There are quite a few names, so let’s keep this as short as possible.

The favourites

Nairo Quintana

Second in the Tour last year and a rider who we probably haven’t seen the best of yet. The case against says he hasn’t raced much recently, so we don’t know his form, but he’ll be hard to beat.

Joaquim Rodriguez

One of my favourite riders, partly for his approach and partly for his relentless bridesmaidery. ‘Purito’ has finished in the top seven in nine of the last 10 Grand Tours he’s raced and he’s stood on the podium in three of the last four. There is no more consistent rider in the peloton, but also none so desperate for a win.

Cadel Evans

I honestly don’t know what to make of Cadel these days. Now 37, he appears to have spent the last two years making excuses, but he still managed to come third in last year’s Giro despite it being a fairly last minute decision to race. He won the Giro del Trentino recently, but it wasn’t a mega field. I predict a strong showing, but ultimately falling slightly short.

Rigoberto Uran

Same for Uran. He was second last year, but while he’s always in amongst the favourites, he never seems to actually win much.

Outsiders

Nicolas Roche

I think I had Nico Roche all wrong. I sort of saw him as being a moderate rider trading on being the son of Stephen Roche. However, I warmed to him immensely during last year’s Vuelta. He seemed incredibly realistic about his abilities and was endearingly delighted about holding the race lead. This is a man’s whose father won the Giro d’Italia, the Tour de France and the World Championships¬†in the same year and yet he was over the moon about getting to wear a red jersey for a single day.

Dan Martin

For someone who climbs so well, Dan Martin’s Grand Tour record is, frankly, piss-poor. I get the impression that he just really loves racing and gets bored playing the long, patient game. He’s still young(ish) though. Maybe he’ll form one half of an Irish assault on the race, along with his cousin who I’ve just mentioned.

Thomas de Gendt

I don’t know why I like Thomas de Gendt, but I do. Perhaps it was the glorious long break in the 2012 Giro which saw him hijack a podium spot to go on his otherwise crappish palmares.

Ryder Hesjedal

He won the Giro once, you know. He hasn’t won a right lot else. Should probably mention him though.

Domenico Pozzovivo

This website’s official hero was uncharacteristically high profile in Liege-Bastogne-Liege, indicating he may have a bit of form. However, he’ll really need to make the most of the steep stuff when it appears, what with the great long list of things that he can’t do hampering his chances. Fortunately for him, this year’s Giro has plenty of wallish slopes, so he’s got an outside chance.

Chasing stage wins

Adam Hansen

An honourable mention for the rouleurs’ rouleur. This will be Hansen’s eighth Grand Tour in a row in an era when even two in a row is considered demented. He’s aiming to do all three again this year. His stage victory last year was one of my highlights of the season. I’d love to see a repeat.

Others

Peter Kennaugh

A few days ago, I was listing Team Sky’s injuries, illnesses and absences and saying that at least it would give me a chance to watch Peter Kennaugh ride for himself. Well, Kennaugh’s out. He’s had a bug. This means that the team that’s supposed to have a surfeit of leaders has nothing approaching a leader.