Our guide to all things Giro. Who to watch, when, where, ride it.
The Guardian's William Fotheringham tells us: "I'd be keeping a very close eye on the Cavendish v Renshaw battle because of their past as team mates, with the added twist that Cav needs to build form for the Olympics.
Frank Schleck because (Radio) Shack have had an appalling year so far and his relationship with Bruyneel is under pressure, and Taylor Phinney because he's the next big thing and it's always interesting to see how NBTs fare in a Grand Tour."
Fotheringham's latest exhilirating read focuses on Eddy Merckx. "Half Man, Half Bike" is a fascinating, often bleak portrait of a remarkable athlete and an unnerving man.
Tom Southam is a former professional racing cyclist. After devoting his youth to becoming part of the European pro peloton, and achieving that goal by twenty-three, he spent seven years racing full time in some of the greatest and most diverse races across the globe. He has lived in France, Italy, Holland and Australia and is fluent in three languages. He is the editor of Inside-Out and can be found tweeting from a Rapha Condor Sharp team car every so often.
Tom tells us who he'll be keeping an eye on at the 95th edition of the race.
Damiano Cungeo - I picked Cunego, not as a winner really, but more of a potential protagonist. He is a strange rider in that because he won the Giro when he was so young he was tagged as being a great stage racer. Over the years he has proven to be an ok stage racer, but a brilliant one-day rider. The trouble is that all his wins in events such as Lombardy or Amstel still seem to be overshadowed by the impression that he is not quite fulfilling his potential. 2004, when he won the Giro, is a long time ago now, but I think it would be great for him to win a couple of stages and maybe podium. It would seem to justify his career in many people's eyes I think.
GreenEdge - Green Edge is a team not an individual, but I think that choosing Goss, their leader for the sprints would be too obvious. I do think though that they could excel in the first week of the race. Their team time trial line up, with guys like Tuft, Lancaster and Bobridge, should be the envy of other teams. But the thing that I think is most important to this team is the close connection the Australian riders have with Italy having had the national team based there for so long. Many of the Australian riders have grown up as part of the Italian system and I think that to them the Giro is almost as important as to the Italians, so they will be ready to perform.
Jan Barta - This is without doubt my wild card. NetApp have been consistently bad as a team for most of the two years they have been registered as a pro-conti outfit. However they have still been selected for the Giro, in perhaps the most controversial wild card selection, and will be desperate to perform. A stage win at the Giro would justify not only their inclusion in the race, but probably also their existence as a team. Barta is a guy who I've raced against (he came second to Simon Richardson when he won the RAS with Rapha Condor) and he is just the kind of aggressive rider who could forge a win from an escape.
Tom says "As far as stages go, my three picks are all mountain stages (it is the Giro after all)."
I would love to say the Stelvio, but I think that by that stage of the race the overall will generally be pretty settled and all that will happen is the race leader will, if anything, reassert his authority on the race, as Basso did on the same finish in 2006.
My three picks are:
Stage 14: Cherasco – Crevinia
Stage 15: Busto-Arsizio – Pian dei Resinelli
Stage 17: Falzes – Cortina d’Ampezzo
These three stages all come in quick succession but more than anything I think where they fall in the race is the most important thing. These are the days that I think the race will be decided.
The Inner Ring cycling blog names a successive run of stages in the middle of the Tour that are going to be decisive. The cycling blog agrees with Southam's prediction for fireworks in the mountains.
Stage 14: Saturday 19 May: the first Alpine finish with a true summit finish, Stage 14 should shake-up the overall classification.
Stage 15: Sunday 20 May: another mountain stage with a summit finish. Will this stage confirm the previous day’s results or perhaps overturn them?
Stage 17: Wednesday 23 May: the only mountain stage with a descent to the finish line, this should be a nervous finish where descending skills can deliver big results.
The Giro is also screened live worldwide for free. This coverage is in Italian but don't be scared, the images talk for themselves!
If you don't have British Eurosport and want English-language coverage you can subscribe to the Eurosport player. A one month subscription to see all their sport programming is £3.99.
All live coverage will be shown in store at Condor.
UK TV Schedule
British Eurosport is the channel with live daily coverage. Below is the schedule for live and highlights programming from each stage for the first week, all coverage is British Eurosport (Sky channel 410, Virgin Media channel 521) unless otherwise stated.
Saturday 5th May - Stage 1 Herning - Herning
|Live: British Europsort 14.30 - 18.30||Highlights: 23.00 - 00.00|
|Saturday 6th May - Herning - Herning|
|Live: 14.15 - 16.30||Highlights: 17.30 - 18.30|
|Monday 7th May - Stage 3 Horsens - Horsens|
|Live: 13.45 - 15.15||Highlights: 23.30-00.30|
|Tuesday 8th May - REST DAY|
|Highlights: 15.46 - 16.45||Highlights: 19.30 - 20.30|
|Wednesday 9th May - Stage 4 Verona - Verona|
|Live: 13.45 - 16.30||Highlights: British Eurosport 2
18.45 - 19.45
22.45 - 23.45
|Thursday 10th May - Stage 5 Modena - Fano|
|Live: 13.30 - 16.30||Highlights: 21.00 - 22.00, 23.00 - 00.00
British Eurosport 2: 19.00 - 20.00
|Friday 11th May - Stage 6 Urbino - Porto Sant' Elpidio|
|Live: 13.00 - 17.00||Highlights: 19.00 - 20.00
British Eurosport 2: 22.30 - 23.30
|Saturday 12th May - Stage 7 Recanti - Rocco Di Cambio|
|Live: 13.30 - 16.30||Highlights: 21.30 - 22.30, 23.30 - 00.30
British Eurosport 2: 19.00 - 20.30
If you like the look of the mountain found on stage 17 of the Giro. The excellent Maratona Del Dolomites is the perfect way to experience Italian cycling and a super sportive. The event is so popular it is shown live on TV and attracts famous names like Mario Cipollini. Entry is via a lottery process and sells out within minutes, however cycling holiday provider Love Velo has spaces reserved for riders.
We've ridden the event several times over several years and praise the route, organisation and the experience.
The ride takes place on 1st July.
There is more information here.