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The grande partenza of the Giro d’Italia is days away. Riders are in Bologna, Italy, wandering around their team hotels in team-issue sweats, heading out for brief spins in the warm spring weather. It’s a week for press conferences, and handful of the favorites for the overall — Primoz Roglic, Tom Dumoulin, Miguel Angel Lopez, Vincenzo Nibali, Bob Jungels, Simon Yates and Tao Geoghegan Hart — spoke ahead of the race.
We’ve pulled the best bits. Here’s what they said:
The Giro’s GC men
Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma)
The context: Roglic came into the Tour de Romandie last week ostensibly as a super domestique for Steven Kruijswijk, but ended up winning the thing. Oops. Some worry that he may have peaked too soon, or over-raced himself, but he took a long break from racing between Tirreno-Adriatico and Romandie to train at altitude.
“I didn’t see any need to hide my form there,” he said of Romandie. “Every race I start, I do it for winning. The Giro looks hard on paper. I’ve recce’d the main mountain stages. I can do well on all terrains. I feel more tension than before my first Giro three years but it’s normal and we also need to enjoy, have fun, and like it, otherwise a three-week race is too long and too hard for everyone.”
Tom Dumoulin (Sunweb)
The context: Dumoulin was 2nd last year behind Chris Froome, who is not at this Giro. On paper, he should be the favorite. He had a good Tirreno, 4th overall, and last raced at Liege-Bastogne-Liege. He is considering a Giro/Tour double, and the opening time trial suits him.
“Liège-Bastogne-Liège was bit of a downer but hopefully it was due to the weather. I don’t know if it’s possible to win the Giro and the Tour the same year but I’m here to win the Giro.”
“There’s a possibility that I take the Maglia Rosa if I have the right legs but it’s not in my mind to think what I’ll do if I win the opening time trial. It’s a beautiful time trial that we start with. I love this kind of uphill finish.”
Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida)
The context: Nibali said he was fit going into the Tour of the Alps, and he took the race by the horns. But he finished behind the Ineos duo of Geoghegan Hart and Pavel Sivakov. Can you ever count out the Shark in Italy, though? Nope.
“It’s hard to give stars to everyone but at the moment, Tom Dumoulin, Primoz Roglic, Mikel Landa and Simon Yates are my most important rivals. Being superstitious, I don’t want to say more than that I’m here for a nice result. I miss winning. My last victory was too long ago [the 2018 Milan-Sanremo]. Raising the arms up in the air is the nicest thing for an athlete.”
Simon Yates (Mitchelton-Scott)
The context: Yates is back for redemption. He led this race until stage 18 last year.
“In a way I have unfinished business at the Giro, but I would just like to have another go. We were so close last year so I’m motivated to give it another go and I’m trying to arrive in the best shape possible to try and do that.”
“We start directly with a prologue, so we will know how everyone’s form is there. If I can race aggressively, like I would do normally, that’s how I would like to race because that’s what I enjoy but we’ll have to see once we get there.”
“I like to race aggressively but you can’t always do that unfortunately and that’s what I really learnt from last season. I will apply those lessons and hopefully come off with the win.”
Tao Geoghegan Hart (Ineos)
The context: One of Ineos’ rising young stars, Geoghegan Hart was 2nd behind his teammate at the Tour of the Alps. He is part of his team’s youngest every grand tour squad.
“The Tour of the Alps has made me quite confident. Pavel Sivakov and I enjoyed the race. It was our first time to be the centre of the attention with podium ceremonies and press conferences and coming to the hotel one hour after our teammates.
“It was definitely strange to hear the news about Egan [Bernal crashing] as I rode with him earlier that day. It was an emotional shock for everyone who invested in supporting him for months. This sport is brutal, really, but a Grand Tour presents a great more deal of opportunities than any other race. We’ll see Egan back. Now it’s up to us and Ineos to make this Giro special. We’re bringing a lot of energy and enthusiasm into this race as a young team.”
Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana)
The context: Lopez hasn’t raced since March, but he won his last race, the Volta Catalunya. He’s one of the strongest climbers in the race but could suffer in the three time trials.
“If I lose more than two minutes to Tom Dumoulin and Primoz Roglic in all the time trials combined, it would become complicated but I don’t think the time trials are bad for me because they’re hilly.”