CYCLING Preview: Roglic the favorite, but just barely ahead of Nibali and Dumoulin in 102nd Giro d’Italia

2017 Giro d'Italia winner Tom Dumoulin (NED)

One of the three annual Grand Tours, the 102nd Giro d’Italia gets going on Saturday, covering 3,518.5 km (~ 2,186 miles) over 21 stages, including three time trials, eight sprinter’s stages, four hilly stages and six mountain stages. The schedule:

● 11 May: Stage 1 (8.0 km Time Trial) ~ Bologna to Madonna di San Luca
● 12 May: Stage 2 (205.0 km) ~ Bologna to Fucecchio (flat)
● 13 May: Stage 3 (220.0 km) ~ Vinci to Orbetello (flat)
● 14 May: Stage 4 (235.0 km) ~ Orbetello to Frascati (flat)
● 15 May: Stage 5 (140.0 km) ~ Frascati to Terracina (flat)
● 16 May: Stage 6 (238.0 km) ~ Cassino to San Giovanni Rotondo (hilly)
● 17 May: Stage 7 (185.0 km) ~ Vasto to L’Aquila (hilly)
● 18 May: Stage 8 (239.0 km) ~ Tortoreto Lido to Pesaro (flat)
● 19 May: Stage 9 (34.8 km Time Trial) ~ Riccione to San Marino
● 20 May: Rest day
● 21 May: Stage 10 (145.0 km)~ Ravenna to Modena (flat)
● 22 May: Stage 11 (221.0 km) ~ Carpi to Novi Ligure (flat)
● 23 May: Stage 12 (158.0 km) ~ Cuneo to Pinerolo (hilly)
● 24 May: Stage 13 (196.0 km) ~ Pinerolo to Ceresole Reale (mountains)
● 25 May: Stage 14 (131.9 km) ~ Saint Vincent to Courmayeur (mountains)
● 26 May: Stage 15 (232.0 km) ~ Ivrea to Como (hilly)
● 27 May: Rest day
● 28 May: Stage 16 (226.0 km) ~ Lovere to Ponte di Legno (mountains)
● 29 May: Stage 17 (181.0 km) ~ Commezzadura to Anterselva/Antholz (mountains)
● 30 May: Stage 18 (222.0 km) ~ Valdaora / Olang to Santa Maria di Sala (flat)
● 31 May: Stage 19 (151.0 km) ~ Treviso to San Martino di Castrozza (mountains)
● 01 June: Stage 20 (194.0 km) ~ Feltre to Croce D’Aune-Monte Avena (mountains)
● 02 June: Stage 21 (17.0 km Time Trial) ~ Verona to Verona

The race includes just six men who have finished as medalists before:

● Vincenzo Nibali (ITA) ~ Winner in 2013 & 2016; third in 2010-11-17
● Tim Dumoulin (NED) ~ Winner in 2017; second in 2018
● Esteban Chaves (COL) ~ Second in 2016
● Miguel Angel Lopez (COL) ~ Third in 2018
● Mikel Landa (ESP) ~ Third in 2015
● Thomas de Gendt (BEL) ~ Third in 2012

However, the entries also include 38 men who have won one or more stages in the Giro. The top multi-stage winners:

● 8: Vincenzo Nibali (ITA)
● 6: Diego Ulissi (ITA)
● 5: Elia Viviani (ITA)
● 4: Tom Dumoulin (NED)
● 4: Fernando Gaviria (COL)
● 3: Mikel Nieve (ESP)
● 3: Mikel Landa (ESP)
● 3: Simon Yates (GBR)
● 3: Enrico Battaglin (ITA)
● 3: Esteban Chaves (COL)

Who’s the favorite? The betting lines show Slovenia’s Primoz Roglic, undefeated this season in the UAE Tour, Tirreno-Adriatico and Tour de Romandie, at 7/4, followed by Dumoulin (5/2), Simon Yates (GBR: 11/4) and then Nibali (13/2), followed by Lopez at 9/1.

At the pre-race news conference, Roglic showed he understands the attention being paid to him “It’s true that we started the season really strong as a team. After Tirreno-Adriatico, we had a hard training camp and the Tour de Romandie has been a good preparation but the Giro will be a totally different race.

“Every race I start, I do it for winning. The Giro looks hard on paper. 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.”

Said Nibali, “I’m very calm ahead of this Giro. As always, I prepared for the race well and I aim to race with the team as united as possible. We decided to have the Giro as my main goal this year. More and more riders come to Italy with a great shape every year and it makes the Giro more and more international.

“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.”

Dumoulin was more optimistic: “I have the feeling that I’m in a good condition right now. Liege-Bastogne-Liege [50th] 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. I don’t expect anything at the moment. It’s a beautiful time trial that we start with. I love this kind of uphill finish.”

If you’re looking for a wild card, perhaps Poland’s Rafal Majka or Russian Ilnur Zakarin could be considered. They have both finished as high as fifth in the Giro in prior years.

In the U.S., the Giro is only available via the online site Look for results here.