This race has become very popular for those looking to get some Giro preparation in the legs, and this year is no different with many riders who’ll be hoping to fight for the pink jersey in May. Looking at the route, I’d say it’s one of the hardest editions I can remember.
The race starts with a bang. The final categorised climb of the day is the mighty, Kerschbaumer Sattel, which is 5km at 10.5%. It might be the first stage, but this is a big day in the GC battle.
Scenario – GC day.
Easier than the first stage, but still a hard one with two categorised climbs in the final 20km.
Scenario – sprint from a group of 30-40.
The only mountaintop finish in the race. San Valentino is 15.8km at 7.1%, expect big gaps.
Scenario – GC day.
The fourth stage starts with a huge climb of 15.6km at 7.3%. With huge gaps on GC, this could be a good day for the breakaway as the final climb isn’t the hardest, but it all depends on the GC situation and the attitude of the teams.
Scenario – breakaway day.
The final stage also starts with a monster climb, I wish the organisers of grand tours would take note. It’s a short stage, and the final climb is hard enough for the GC riders to have a go at each other, so we’ll have to wait and see if it’s a day for the break or GC men.
Scenario – GC day.
Ineos – take your pick from Arensman, Geoghegan Hart, Thomas and Sivakov, obviously they have the strongest team in the race. Of the four, Tao has had the best season so far. He was 3rd in Valenciana, 6th in Andalucía and 3rd in Tirreno, he’ll be hoping to be the protected rider, but I think the team will let the road decide. Thomas is continuing his gradual build up; he should now be nearing his best. Arensman is a good climber, but possibly a little below Tao and G, but not my much. Sivakov is a former winner of this race, he’s also got a shout at being team leader. With four strong options, Ineos will expect to win the race.
Hugh Carthy – after finishing 8th in Tirreno, Hugh arrives here aiming for a top result, the podium should be in his sights. The alpine climbs in the race are perfect for him, he’ll be hoping for a strong showing this week.
Aleksandr Vlasov – his start to the year has been a little on the slow side, he’s only got 13 race days in the legs. After a brilliant 2022 I was expecting more from him, but his goal is the Giro, a good result there is what he’s concerned about. After finishing 5th in last year’s Tour de France, he’ll be eyeing the podium in the Giro, a good result here would be a welcome confidence boost.
Domenico Pozzovivo – a late signing for Israel – Premier Tech, I have no idea why they didn’t sign him up earlier. Pozzovivo was always confident of securing a deal, it was no surprise to see him hit the ground running in Coppi e Bartali. This is his type of race, incredible to think he’s now 40 and still riding at a high level.
Jack Haig – it’s taking him a while to reach the level he was at before crashing out of the Tour de France, but I believe he’ll get back to his best. On his day, Haig is one of the best climbers in the world. After struggling to reach his old level, this race is hugely important in terms of helping him get his confidence back before the Giro.
Geoffrey Bouchard – 3rd in Oman and 3rd in the Queen stage of the UAE Tour, he started the season in good form. Unlike those already mentioned, he’s not doing the Giro, maybe his level won’t be quite as high as his rivals.
Iván Sosa – such a frustrating rider. At his best, he is a brilliant climber, but we rarely see that level anymore. The Colombian is still just 25, he’s got a long time ahead of him in his career. This is contract year; he needs to land a result of two if he wants to continue riding for a top team.
Given the strength of their team, Ineos will win this race.
I’ll take a win for Tao Geoghegan Hart.
You must be logged in to post a comment.