by Justin DAVIS
NAPLES, Italy, May 03, 2013 (AFP) – Penpix of favourites for the Giro
d’Italia winner’s pink jersey:
Bradley Wiggins (GBR/SKY)
As the reigning Tour de France champion, Wiggins has earned the right to be
labelled the man to beat in the race for the Giro’s pink jersey.
Strong in the mountains, especially with teammates like Sergio Luis Henao
and Kanstantsin Siutsov to help with pacing and containing attacks from
rivals, Wiggins will also be relying on his time trialling skills.
With three time trials, one team effort and two individual races against
the clock, this year’s course plays into Wiggins’s hands. Since the Giro
remains his primary objective this season, Wiggins also knows he can give the
race his all.
Vincenzo Nibali (ITA/AST)
Racing on home soil against an Englishman known throughout the cycling
world for his class and style — on and off the bike — and who has a very
real chance of dominating the race, Nibali will rightfully want to throw a
spanner into the works.
The Sicilian, known as ‘The Shark’ for his attacking style, will want to
use every possible avenue to upset Wiggins’s plans.
After the Briton suffered a mechanical problem on the final stage of the
recent Tour of Trentino, Nibali went on the attack to seal the overall race
At the Giro, however, his Astana team will prove key against Wiggins’s
powerful Sky outfit while the Italian cannot afford to lose too much time on
the time trials.
Ryder Hesjedal (CAN/GRM)
Although his victory last year came as something of a surprise, Hesjedal is
an experienced Grand Tour campaigner who, as he says, has already tasted
victory in the race.
Armed with that new found confidence, there is every reason to believe the
big Canadian can repeat.
Last year’s win, however, came in the absence of Wiggins, who was honing
his form for his successful Tour de France campaign.
Hesjedal says he has been fixated on defending his title and he will wear
the number one bib “with pride”.
Garmin, and Hesjedal, should be strong in the time trials but he may need
Americans Peter Stetina, Tom Danielson and Christian Vande Velde to be on top
form for the mountains stages to keep him in touch.
Cadel Evans (AUS/BMC)
Evans almost won the Giro d’Italia when he made his race debut in 2002, but
the gnarly Australian, strong in almost every department, has since tasted
triumph and defeat in equal measure when it comes to the Grand Tours.
On paper the BMC team leader should be there or thereabouts, however the
shadow of crashes and injury occasionally hovers over Evans and he has often
been left to his own devices in the decisive, latter sections of the tough
Also scheduled to race the Tour de France in July, there must be a question
mark about how deep Evans can dig if he is to then go on and challenge for
yellow just over a month later.