A whistle-stop tour of the 2021 Giro d’Italia contenders
Let’s take a look at the main contenders for this year’s Giro d’Italia. Let’s do it quickly, as if we’re a character in a film riffling through a filing cabinet in someone’s office when we know that someone is on their way back.
The first and most important thing to note is that last year’s surprise winner, Team Ineo’s Tao Geoghegan Hart, isn’t actually taking part this time around.
It quite often seems to work like this for the Giro. I suppose it at least opens things up a bit for another surprise winner.
So who’s in contention?
Bernal had a highly unlovely time at the Tour de France last year, but he did win it the year before. That probably makes him the highest profile rider in this year’s race and he’s also racing for the team that’s won two out of the last three Giros. Set against that, last year’s back problems loom threateningly.
Another Grand Tour winner (the 2018 Vuelta a Espana), Syates has what will no doubt repeatedly be referred to as “unfinished business” with the Giro, having led for most of the 2018 race before folding in on himself like a disappointing soufflé when Chris Froome went on the rampage.
Australian rider Hindley is best known for his agonisingly protracted efforts to get dressed while cycling up a snowy mountain last year. He did however also finish as runner-up to a guy who isn’t racing this year, so he’s surely worth keeping an eye on.
Some other names
Belgian rider Remco Evenepoel has been labelled a contender, even though he’s never so much as started a three-week race and also hasn’t raced at all so far this year. His Deceuninck-QuickStep team-mate Joao Almeida should also be there or thereabouts after leading for most of last year’s Giro.
Pavel Sivakov is Ineos’s Plan B.
The optimistically-named Bahrain-Victorious bring two Basque riders, Mikel Landa and Pello “the Puppy of Guernica” Bilbao.
Alexander Vlasov is the Russian guy you don’t know much about.
Bauke Mollema will probably finish about fifth.
Emanuel Buchmann has previously finished fourth in the Tour de France which suggests he could do well.
Marc Soler and George Bennett are usually support riders in big teams, but are getting a chance to show what they can do.
It seems like we’re petering out a bit by this point, but there are a few more interesting names I need to mention.
Snooker-loving Preston lad, Hugh Carthy rides for EF Education-Nippo after finishing third at the Vuelta last year.
Romain Bardet is riding the Giro for the first time.
Vincenzo Nibali is riding it for the 10th time, having won it twice.
Dan Martin is racing.
Domenico Pozzovivo is racing.
How to follow the Giro
Odds are they won’t actually be weekly though. I’ll most likely do it in two ‘halves’ (Stages 1-10 and then Stages 11-21.)