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Pro Tour preview of May

Pro Tour Preview – Month of May
  
Here we are again, after an exciting month with several surprising winners it’s time to take a look at the new month with the Giro as the main highlight of course. We also have Tour de Romandie and Volta a Catalunya to look forward to, but to start at the top.
 
Giro d’Italia also referred to as the Giro is one of the three Grand Tours in cycling, the others being Vuelta Espana and of course Tour de France. It’s all up to personal opinions, but it’s probably “the 2nd” of the Grand Tours with Tour de France being the most famous one. On the other hand, most Italian and South American cyclists would rather win The Giro then The Tour.
 
This year will be the 90th edition of the race and it starts of in Sardegna with a Team Time Trail on the 12th of May and ends the 3rd of June in Milano as usual. The first serious stage will be the 4th one with a mountain finish on the Montevergine di Mercogliano, a decisive 17km climb. It’s only the first of a whooping five mountain top finishes this year.
 
There will also be a 13km mountain TT featured, that could cause some changes in the fight for the Magila Rosa. Stage 17 is another massive test, with a finish on the Monte Zoncolan that has a max of 22% gradients. Also notice that the white jersey (best U-25 rider) makes a comeback after over 10 years replacing the Intergiro.
 
Let’s take a look at the favorites now:
 
The main favorite this year (with Basso out of the disco team now) is 25 year old Damian Cunego from Lampre. The 2004 winner has shown a growing form this year and will certainly be a hard rider to break. He won the white jersey in Tour de France last year and also took a podium behing Alejandro Valverde and Paolo “il grillo” Bettini in Liege-Bastogne-Liege that year.
 
He will have a strong competitor in two time winner of The Giro (2001, 2003) and former team mate Gilberto Simoni. Though the 35 year old hasn’t shown much this year he is dangerous and can’t be taken easy, he also has a great helper in Ricco. He has without a doubt a good chance of ending on the podium, maybe even taking his 3rd win. Another Giro two time winner (2002, 2005) Paolo “il Falco” Savoldelli is also a great threat for the win. The Italian is greatly known for his fast downhilling that has been vital for his Giro wins. With this year having five mountain finishes it takes away one of his advantages over the other riders, but he still a huge threat if not treated carefully.
 
The 4th “main contender” for the magila rosa is also the 4th Italian, the 2005 Pro tour champion, Danilo di Luca. He had a great 2005 with his 4th overall and 2 stages in the Giro as examples. Last year was a step down with 23rd place, but he still has the talent to come back and fight for the win.
After these four we have a number of riders that can surprise, Danish rabobank rider Michael Rasmussen for one, with one of the TT’s being a mountain one and also having five mountain finishes he can be a rider to count with if he is in the right form. We also have Davide Rebellin, the pro tour leader with an amazing form so far this year can maybe do what di Luca did in 2005.Other then them we have riders like Ardila, Ricco, Mayo, Pellizotti, Cioni, Fothen to mention a few that with some luck can go far.
 
Moving on to the flat stages and the sprinters now, as always we have Petacchi here, but after his somewhat disappointing season so far he will not be the top favorite for once. This will be McEwen or Hushovd, neither of them has been at top level this year, but they are first class sprinters. We can’t take away CSC rider Haedo, a rider that has the form and talent to seriously shake up the “top three” so to speak. Other sprinters to be mentioned are Förster and van Heeswijk.
 
Taking a look at the white jersey now, basically Cunego is going to win it, anything other then that would be a huge surprise. It’s hard to see any rider that could challenge him in that competition. We also have the magila verde, the mountain jersey, with five mountain top finishes there is a good chance that a rider like Cunego or Rasmussen could take it, but there could also be a rider that only aim to win it.

Prediction:   
Top 5 GC
1.Cunego
2.Simoni
3.Savoldelli
4.Rasmussen
5.Di Luca
 
U-25
1.Cunego
 
Mountain jersey
1.Simoni
  
Now after that we will have a quick look at the other two pro tour races this month starting with Tour de Romandie. The favorites are Savoldelli, Kashechkin, Valverde, Moreau, Sastre, Anton, Cioni, Gomez Marchante, Brajkovic and last years winner Cadel Evans. With Valverde probably being the main man after his recent performance in the classics. The race has four mormal stages and two Time Trails being held on the first and last stage. The race is between 1st-6th May.
 
Prediction: 
Top 3
1.Valverde
2.Gomez Marchante
3.Brajkovic
  
Volta a Catalunya is being held 21st-27th May and is the last pro tour race of the month. Very few riders is known at the moment, but it looks like we will have a showdown from last years Vuelta with Vinokourov and Valverde fighting for the win. 

Prediction: 
Top 3
1.Vinokourov
2.Valverde
3.Danielson

Comments
#1 | JustinWK on 03. May 2007 18:23
I don't know about Cunego, last year Simoni was better then him
#2 | forzacunego on 10. May 2007 17:21
Cunego can't win the U-25 because he turns 26 in september.
#3 | kaan333 on 11. September 2012 09:40
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