The first grand tour of the year is finally upon us. This Saturday the heroes of the road will grab their time trial bikes and race against the clock in Turin. Three weeks later we know who’s taking the Maglia rosa and the title of Giro Winner 2021. But who will that be? We’ll take a dive in the peloton and provide you with our picks.
When Mikel was confronted with the route of the Giro 2021, he must have smiled. Less time trial kilometres is a big win for the Spanish climber, his Achilles heel. In previous grand tours he proved his consistency with several top ten finishes in the general classification after three weeks of riding. With a strong formation of Bahrain riders surrounding him Mikel is ready as he can be for the pink jersey.
In previous year’s Giro he owned the Maglia rosa for over more than two weeks and finished fourth overall. The youngster will be monitored closely this year by the other contenders, who is a real threat for their own ambitions. Almeida has a strong team to rely on and he claimed to be ready. Who are we to defy him?
The tall Britton of EF Education-Nippo is a man who’s made for a three-week race like the Giro. In last year’s Vuelta he managed to ride himself on the podium. What impressed the most was his victory on the mystical Angliru. His form in 2020 is fine, he finished 5th overall in the tour of the Alps, and his form will peak at the Giro if all things fall in the right place. Besides that he has a strong team surrounding him, and their only goal is to get ‘Huge’ Carthy on the podium. No Pressure!
The overall winner of the Tour of the Alps is Simon Yates. He showed his heels to all of his competitors, who will ride the Giro as well. That must have given him confidence. The team that surrounds him is reasonably good, a fine mix of youngsters and veterans and he knows what it takes to win stages (he claimed three victories in previous editions of the Giro), but he never reached his ultimate goal: the pink jersey.
The man to beat is Egan Bernal. Don’t be fooled by the rumours of his back injury, the results of 2021 proves otherwise: he finished 4th in the Tirreno Adriatico and 3rd in Tour de la Provence. The team that will support him is the strongest of them all. Besides this he proved to be one of the best climbers and could handle a three-week race. He already possesses the yellow of the Tour de France (2019: winner) and we expect that he will add the pink jersey to his already impressive collection.
It’s the first time he can compete for a spot on the podium in a grand tour. No Roglic, no Kruijswijk, no Dumoulin. He can climb, that’s a sure thing, but how will he fare when he has to carry the whole team? A wildcard, but one that ultimately can pay off.
When he works his way up to a steep mountain slope his face will begin to show the pain he’s feeling in his legs. He makes bike racing more heroic than it already is. In the Vuelta of 2020 he finished 4th in the general classification, and his form in 2021 is on the rise. He performed quite well in the Tour of the Alps. Martin has an explosive sprint, which he can use to gather some bonification seconds at the finish and there are less time trial kilometres the team which he represents is completely built around Martin. A podium is in his reach.
This cyclist of the Ineos formation has a lot of potential to grow in the role of a grand tour winner. But, until now, he has always had someone to work for when it really hit the fan. With the lingering back issues from Bernal he has a chance to prove it’s worth to the team and the whole world. It’s now or never!
The young Russian cyclist is a legitimate grand tour candidate for many years to come. If you look at his results of 2021, 2nd in Paris-Nice and 3rd in the Tour of the Alps, he’s due for a podium. But is he ready for the wear and tear of 3 weeks of riding? If so, he is a serious contender for a podium spot.
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