Giro d'Italia 2011 Preview and Predictions
The 2011 Giro d'Italia will celebrate the 150th anniversary of Italian unification.
for the escapees to be far ahead of the peloton when they reach the climb, and look from them to fight for the day's honors on the descent and the run to the finish.
Stage 19, a 209-km ride from Bergamo to Macugnaga, will feature a Category 1 ascent to the finish. An early break will form, and its members will attempt to stay away to fight out the finish. With a much harder stage the following day, the GC contenders might permit this. However, if the race is close, the heads of state might decide to ride the break down. If that happens, then they will fight for the day's honors.
Stage 20, the 2011 Giro's final mountain stage, will feature a Category 1 ascent followed by a Category 2 climb to the finish. The GC contenders will not be generous. One of them will win. If the race is close, the stage winner could take the race lead.
Stage 21, the race's final stage, could decide the outcome. The flat, 31.5-km time trial in Milan will decide a close Giro. In addition, it will sort out final GC positions that are still in doubt. Look for a spirited battle among those who are still in contention.
Who will win the 2011 Giro? Three years ago, Alberto Contador won the Giro d'Italia without training for it. With the race being one of his season's foci, the Spaniard will be the strongest man in it. He combines excellent climbing with very good time trialing, and those abilities should bring him victory. Pencil him in for first.
Denis Menchov (Geox-TMC) won the 2009 Giro d'Italia. His climbing and riding against the clock make him a rider to be respected. If Contador falters, Menchov could win his second Giro.
Michele Scarponi (Lampre-ISD) who finished fourth in last year's edition, could repeat the feat this year. The mountain stages and the mountain time trial will suit him, but the flat time trial will not. In 2011, Scarponi will finish fourth--exactly where he finished last year.
Roman Kreuziger (Astana) will take on his first Giro in 2011. He has had a good spring, winning a stage of the Giro del Trentino and riding well at Liege-Bastogne-Liege. A top-five finish looks feasible for him.
Joaquin Rodriguez (Katusha) has had a good spring with second place finishes in the Amstel Gold Race and La Fleche Wallonne and a win in the Tour of the Basque Country. He loves hard climbs, and the Giro will serve up plenty of them. For him, too, a top five finish is possible.
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