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Pogačar and the other top contenders of the Giro d’Italia 2024

03/05/2024

The time has come! In less than 24 hours the Giro d’Italia 2024 will get underway. 22 teams and 176 riders are ready to battle it out on the beautiful Italian roads, competing in time trials, sprints and climbs. Everyone starts with their own goals, their own hopes. 21 days of racing give everyone the chance to dream big.

Maglia Rosa favourites

He clearly stated that he doesn’t like to be on everyone’s lips all the time, but Tadej Pogačar is inevitably the beacon around which the entire 107th edition of the Corsa Rosa will revolve. And it could not be otherwise, as the UAE Team Emirates captain has come to Turin with the aura of the invincible phenomenon, and from what we have seen in this 2024, that is indeed the case. With the exception of the Milano-Sanremo, the Slovenian has always won with relative ease, and he certainly has no intention of stopping now, at his first participation in the Giro d’Italia.

Fortunately for the rivals, anything can happen in three weeks, a mechanical failure or a bad day may compromise everything. Geraint Thomas (Ineos Grenadiers), who has pretty much seen it all in his career, knows this well. At the age of 38, the Welshman is still one of the top riders in the peloton. In this first part of the season, he has not picked up any particular results, but that was also the case last year, when he eventually came within 14″ of taking the Maglia Rosa.

Speaking of experience, Romain Bardet (dsm-firmenich PostNL) will join the competition galvanised by his second place at Liège-Bastogne-Liège and with all the right credentials to aim for the final podium, taking back what he missed out on in 2022 due to health problems when he was one step away from conquering it. Ben O’Connor (Decathlon AG2R La Mondiale) has performed better than ever in this early part of the season and has made no secret of wanting to be on the podium in Rome as well, backed up by a very well-equipped squad, with Aurélien Paret-Peintre as a top domestique.

Great curiosity surrounds riders such as Daniel Martinez (Bora-hansgrohe), who hasn’t raced since Tirreno-Adriatico after a sparkling start to the season in the Algarve, Alexey Lutsenko (Astana Qazaqstan), who has only raced the Giro once but has managed to achieve two top 10 finishes in the Tour de France in his career, and Juanpe Lopez (Lidl-Trek), recent winner of the Tour of the Alps. Same goes for Nairo Quintana (Movistar), who has not raced a Grand Tour in almost two years, and Esteban Chaves (EF Education-EasyPost), back to the Giro after five long years.

Among the youngest are Cian Uijtdebroecks (Team Visma | Lease a Bike), Antonio Tiberi (Bahrain Victorious) and Einer Rubio (Movistar), who will balance their lack of experience with grit and imagination. Finally, let’s keep an eye on Michael Storer (Tudor), Damiano Caruso (Bahrain Victorious), Eddie Dunbar, Luke Plapp and Filippo Zana (Jayco AlUla), Michael Woods (Israel-PremierTech), Lorenzo Fortunato (Astana Qazaqstan), Florian Lipowitz (Bora-hansgrohe), Thymen Arensman and Tobias Foss (Ineos Grenadiers), Davide Piganzoli (Team Polti-Kometa), Giulio Pellizzari and Domenico Pozzovivo (VF Group-Bardiani CSF-Faizanè).

Maglia Ciclamino favourites

The roster of sprinters is nothing short of stellar. Let’s start with Jonathan Milan (Lidl-Trek), who is here to try to repeat last year’s remarkable performances. The Italian will find even stronger opponents on his way: among the year’s most successful riders, with seven successes in three months, is Tim Merlier (Soudal-QuickStep), along with Olav Kooij (Team Visma | Lease a Bike) keen to make his debut in a Grand Tour.

How not to mention Biniam Girmay (Intermarché-Wanty), who can usually hold his own on the climbs more than the other sprinters, Laurence Pithie (Groupama-FDJ), also making his GT debut, Fabio Jakobsen (dsm-firmenich PostNL), still looking for the right confidence with his new team, Caleb Ewan (Jayco AlUla), Fernando Gaviria (Movistar), Phil Bauhaus (Bahrain Victorious) and Alberto Dainese (Tudor).

Among the outsiders, on the other hand, attention must be paid to Ethan Vernon (Israel-PremierTech), Danny Van Poppel (Bora-hansgrohe), Kaden Groves (Alpecin-Deceuninck), Giovanni Lonardi (Team Polti-Kometa), Matteo Trentin (Tudor), Juan Sebastián Molano (UAE Team Emirates) and Enrico Zanoncello (VF Group-Bardiani CSF-Faizanè), without forgetting that Tadej Pogačar might well be interested in this ranking…

Maglia Azzurra favourites

This is always a rather tough ranking to predict, as it is often a target that riders put in their sights as the race goes on, once they better understand their shape and role in the competition.

Among the possible candidates, however, are Simon Carr and Jefferson Cepeda (EF Education-EasyPost), the brothers Aurélien and Valentin Paret-Peintre (Decathlon AG2R La Mondiale), Filippo Zana (Jayco AlUla), Lorenzo Fortunato (Astana Qazaqstan), Matteo Fabbro (Team Polti-Kometa) and Giulio Pellizzari (VF Group-Bardiani CSF-Faizanè).

Let’s not rule out that this jersey might become a target for Julian Alaphilippe (Soudal-QuickStep) on his first Giro, or for his teammates Mauri Vansevenant and Jan Hirt. Also not to be excluded are Michael Woods and Marco Frigo (Israel-PremierTech), Einer Rubio (Movistar), Michael Storer (Tudor), Nicola Conci (Alpecin-Deceuninck), Christian Scaroni (Astana Qazaqstan) and Attila Valter (Team Visma | Lease a Bike).

Maglia Bianca favourites

The fight between the riders born after 1 January 1999 promises to be fun and tight. Cian Uijtdebroecks (Team Visma | Lease a Bike) and Antonio Tiberi (Bahrain Victorious) are by far the greatest favourites, as they will play the leading role in their respective teams and have the stated ambition to compete for GC.

However, riders such as Thymen Arensman (Ineos Grenadiers), Luke Plapp and Filippo Zana (Jayco AlUla), Florian Lipowitz (Bora-hansgrohe) and Mauri Vansevenant (Soudal-QuickStep) cannot be ruled out. Finally, it is also worth keeping an eye on Valentin Paret-Peintre (Decathlon AG2R La Mondiale), Giulio Pellizzari (VF Group-Bardiani CSF-Faizanè) and Davide Piganzoli (Team Polti-Kometa), all riders who are always happy as the road gets steeper.

 

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