Header Ads

Giro d'Italia Stage 1 Preview

The first stage of the Giro d'Italia provides an opportunity for one of the sprinters to take the Maglia Rosa for the first time since 2003. In the last nine editions, the race has started with a time-trial, but this circuit starting and finishing in Napoli will give the likes of Mark Cavendish the chance to wear the leader's jersey that he held for two stages in 2009.

The stage starts with the first loop, which sees the riders covering the category 4 climb up Via Francesco Petrarca four times. There should be plenty of riders from the smaller teams looking to get away into a breakaway here and look to pick up the King of the Mountains jersey and some coverage for their teams. However, given there are not many stages for the pure sprinters, there is no chance that this stage will not end in a bunch sprint.

Mark Cavendish is rightly the favourite, but it was interesting that he opted to ride the Giro del Trentino in preparation for this. It suggests that he is probably targeting the points jersey by riding through the whole race and it may take him a stage or two to get into perfect sprinting form. Despite his ability, he rarely wins the first sprint stage of a Grand Tour - the 2012 Giro d'Italia and 2009 Tour de France are the only two in the past 4 years. Omega Pharma Quickstep have also struggled this year to lead Cavendish out perfectly, and although he is certainly capable of winning stages without this, it makes it far more difficult.

Mark Cavendish will be looking to win his 11th Giro d'Italia stage

The next three in the betting are John Degenkolb, Nacer Bouhanni and Matt Goss. Goss and Degenkolb should have good leadout trains and it would be no surprise to see Orica GreenEdge and Argos-Shimano leading the peloton into the sprint with Cavendish looking to latch onto one of these.

The Italian charge will be led by the sextet of Giacomo Nizzolo, Elia Viviani, Roberto Ferrari, Mattia Gavazzi, Sacha Modolo and Francesco Chicchi. For me, the most likely from this group would be Nizzolo and Chicchi. Nizzolo has had several top 5 finishes this season, most recently a 2nd place in the first stage of the Tour de Romandie. Chicchi was poor in Turkey, but has several wins this year, particularly in these shorter stages. Neither Viviani or Ferrari have been in particularly good form this season, while I struggle to see Gavazzi or Modolo beating the top sprinters in a race like this.

While Cavendish is certainly the rightful favourite, he is too short in the betting to really be confident to back him. I would be looking for odds-against to back him for the stage, so it is really a matter of trying to find who could beat him.

For me, Nacer Bouhanni is the in-form sprinter from the group that could beat him. While Goss and Degenkolb undoubtedly have the ability, their form this year has been questionable. As I mentioned, out of the Italians, I would lean toward Giacomo Nizzolo to give the home fans something to cheer.


1. Cavendish
2. Bouhanni
3. Nizzolo
4. Degenkolb
5. Chicchi

Recommended Bets:

Nacer Bouhanni E/W @ 7/1
Giacomo Nizzolo E/W @ 33/1

No comments:

Powered by Blogger.