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29 April 2017

THE PINK DREAM

All top riders of 100°edition are ready to fight for the final victory. Few days left at the start of Giro d’Italia in Alghero, just one of them will raise the Trofeo Senza Fine.

The last days of racing are likely to be the decisive for the Giro 100’s General Classification. Only the strongest rider, the one who’ll be able to dominate the mountains and remain unscathed in the final Time Trial, will be awarded the Trofeo Senza Fine in front of Milan’s Dome, wearing the final Maglia Rosa.

 

The final GC contenders to watch out for at the Giro d’Italia are:

Vincenzo Nibali (ITA – Bahrain-Merida)

Among the starters of the Giro 100, the Sicilian is the only rider to have won the race twice (in 2013 and 2016). The ‘Shark’ said: “I am very happy to be at the start of the Giro in such a special edition. This is the 100th edition of the Giro, moreover there are stages on the two main islands, Sardinia and Sicily: this is not so common for the Giro. I am personally happy because stage 5 will finish in my town, Messina; there are not many times the Giro has arrived in Messina. My objective is to race at my best, then it will be for the road to decide.”

Nairo Quintana (COL – Movistar)

With the Giro d’Italia special as his first Grand Tour victory (in 2014), Quintana, the 2016 Vuelta a España winner, declared that he couldn’t miss the hundredth edition of the Corsa Rosa. Quintana’s victory at Tirreno-Adriatico makes him the hot favorite.

Nairo Quintana said: “The Giro is one of the most beautiful races I’ve ever competed. It is special, exciting and with a lot of support from the fans. I have already won one Giro, and I’m particularly attached to this race: I could not miss the 100th edition of the Giro. Overall, I have positives memories of all my races in Italy, I got some positive results in this country and I have always received support from Italian fans: I think they like me and and it is also because of them that I like to race in Italy.

 

Steven Kruijswijk (NED – LottoNL-Jumbo)

The Dutchman has become something of a Giro d’Italia specialist, having led the race for five days last year until a crash descending the Colle dell’Agnello cost him the Maglia Rosa with two days remaining. Seventh overall in 2015 and fourth in 2016, Kruijswijk promised he’d return, aiming to win. “After last year’s Giro, I can’t hide my ambition: everybody will understand that I aim for a spot on the final podium. I’ll try to reach the maximum possible.

Adam Yates (GBR – Orica-Scott)

He is a natural favorite for the white jersey at the Giro d’Italia in his last season in the u26 category. He’s also a serious contender for the final podium for which he and his twin brother Simon have been designated by their Australian management to co-lead the team. “The 100th edition gives the Giro some big prestige this year and you are seeing just what that means in the quality of the field starting, particularly in GC contenders.

Thibaut Pinot (FRA – FDJ)

The best young rider (and third overall) at the 2014 Tour de France, Pinot decided to prioritize the Giro d’Italia over his home race as he’s convinced the Italian style of racing suits him better. The tattoo on his right bicep (in Italian) says everything about his intention: ‘solo la vittoria è bella’ (‘only victory is beautiful’). “I decided to take part in the Giro100 even before the 99th edition started. For several years I’ve wanted to do it… it’s the right time now. The Giro d’Italia is probably the race that suits me better than any other with the kind of mountains I like and the bad weather there is sometimes in the Dolomites in May. I’m determined to race for GC.

Geraint Thomas (GBR – Team Sky)

Fifteenth overall at both the last two Tours de France while backing Chris Froome, Geraint Thomas opted for the Giro d’Italia he discovered as a neo-pro with Barloworld in 2008 and raced again with Team Sky in 2012 (taking 2nd place in the closing time trial). The Welshman will lead the British squad along with Spaniard Mikel Landa who finished third at the 2015 Giro.  “To go to the 100th Giro as one of Sky’s team leaders is a huge opportunity for me. It’s been a big journey for me to get here. My preparation has gone really well and I’m ready. I can’t wait to get there now. The Tour of the Alps was my last race before the Giro and so to win there was obviously a huge boost to my morale. I know it’s going to be a really strong field at the Giro. It’s going to be a tough, unpredictable race but I’m really looking forward to it.”

Bauke Mollema (NED – Trek-Segafredo)

The arrival of Alberto Contador at Trek-Segafredo has helped Mollema to return to the Giro d’Italia, a race he finished 12th in as a neo-pro in 2010. The Dutchman was second overall in the Tour de France with three days to go before dropping down to 11th. A top three finish at a Grand Tour is within reach. “I am really looking forward to go back to Italy, where I rode my first Grand Tour back in 2010. For sure it will be a special Giro being the 100th edition – the Italian fans are always one of the best, which gives me a lot of motivation. I have seen a lot of stages already and I know for a fact it will be a hard Giro. Like always I could say, because with its aggressive way of racing and all the climbing, the Giro might well be the hardest of the three Grand Tours. I, myself, hope to get to my personal best level and be in the mix for the 100th pink jersey!”

Tejay van Garderen (USA – BMC Racing Team)

Aged 28, the American is a Giro rookie after finishing fifth at the Tour de France in both 2012 and 2014. “The Giro d’Italia is a race I have never done before and it was a race I had been asking to do for a while. This year, the team gave me the green light to give it a try and it was a good opportunity for me to lead the team in a different Grand Tour. The parcours suits me well. There is a good number of time trialling kilometers and a good number of mountain stages; it’s a very balanced Grand Tour. It’s hard, certainly, but I like the route. My lead up to the Giro d’Italia has been good. It has been a slow progression but I think I am hitting good form at just the right time”.

Tom Dumoulin (NED – Team Sunweb).

After spending six days leading last year’s Giro d’Italia before winning two major stages of the Tour de France while preparing for the Olympic time trial race (where he finished 2nd), the Dutchman has only one focus this time around: the overall classification of the Corsa Rosa. For the first time, Dumoulin trained at altitude in preparation. “The Giro d’Italia is a great race. Last year I had the honor of wearing the Maglia Rosa for a few stages, it was really special. It’s going to be an exciting race this year with the 100th anniversary edition but also for me personally, aiming for a GC result from the start of the Grand Tour for the first time. Me and my Team Sunweb team-mates are ready and want to perform at our best in Italy, and we’ll see what result we end with in Milano.”

Ilnur Zakarin (RUS – Team Katusha Alpecin)ù

The Russian lay fifth overall in last year’s Giro d’Italia when he was forced to pull out following a heavy crash while descending the Colle dell’Agnello. Zakarin recovered in time to win a mountain stage of the Tour de France, then started the 2017 season on the right foot as runner up at the Abu Dhabi Tour – he’s aiming for more at the Giro d’Italia. “After my crash and forced abandon in 2016 I really want to show that I am able to finish a Grand Tour in the top five. I think that last year, without my crash in the descent of the Colle dell’Agnello, I would have been able to finish the 2016 Giro in the top five.

 

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