Giro dell’Emilia 2015 Preview – Ciclismo Internacional

Giro dell’Emilia 2015 Preview

By David Hunter

Bologna – San Luca 200km

My favourite race of the year!

Finishing at the Basilica San Luca, it’s one of the most beautiful races in the world.


The race finishes with 5 climbs in San Luca. It’s a gruelling 2.1km at 10%, with a maximum of 18%. Having to complete this 5 times is why I love the race. Not only is it spectacular racing but the scenery is great too. Fans get to see their heroes 5 times as they grind their way up the climb. I look forward to being one of those fans, sometime in the future!

The earlier part of the race should not be forgotten as it can destroy the peloton. Depending on the attitude of the teams, they can ensure that a small bunch reaches San Luca, for the lap circuit. Or, they take it fairly easy, as they wait for the brutal slopes of San Luca. The opening climb, happening after 60km, is 11.5km at 6%. Soon after, they are faced with 3.4km at 11%. These climbs are hard and as I have said, if a few teams lift the pace, the peloton will be in big trouble. A long descent and flat section follows, before we hit the slopes of the Badolo climb. This is much easier, 6km at 5.5%.

Experience is crucial here. Knowing when to attack and which moves to follow is really important. Davide Rebellin knows this, having won the race twice, he’s also finished 2nd and 3rd on two occasions. 6 podiums over the years tells us that Rebellin is the man to follow. He’s had another good season and loves short, steep climbs. A 3 time winner of Flèche Wallone, he has to be considered the favourite for the race. He was looking good in the recent Italian races, but he was disappointing in Lombardia.

Hugh Carthy is a rider who has been looking forward to this race. As soon as he found out he was in the squad, his thoughts turned to preparing well for a big result. He went in the break, in Tour de Vendee, to try and get his legs ready. His recent form has been good, 9th in the US Pro Challenge and won the white jersey in Tour du Gevaudan. I spoke to him today and he is hopeful of a big result. I’ve told him to follow the wheel of Rebellin! He was disappointed to miss out on Coppa Sabatini, but he hopes he’ll be nice and fresh. The team have been performing well, with Prades taking the win in Sabatini. The also have Madrazo, who finished 2nd in 2014, and Jose Goncalves, the Vuelta sensation. The team will expect to finish on the podium.

Lampre and AG2R are the only WT teams here. They would normally expect to dominate the race, but I’ve seen stronger teams. Lampre have a strange mix of riders. They do possess good climbers in Cattaneo, Polanc and Niemiec, but they will miss Diego Ulissi. Valerio Conti is a talented rider, but I think the steeps slopes will be too much from him.

AG2R have Pozzovivo, Bakelants and Latour. The race should suit Pozzovivo, down to the ground, but he’s never made the podium here. I always find this surprising and his recent form doesn’t suggest anything will change. In Lombardia and Milano-Torino, he didn’t quite looked himself. His 11th place in the Vuelta, was good, but not as good as he would have liked. I think the race is too hard for Bakelants, so that leaves Latour. He’s about to turn 22, but seems to have been riding for the team for ages! 2015 has been a breakthrough season for him and he is well suited to the race. If Pozzovivo falters, I would expect a big result from the Frenchman.

Aside from Rebellin, we have another two experienced riders. Both Cunego and Pellizotti have previous here. Cunego has never made the podium, but has been a regular in the top 20. In the last three years, Franco has finished 3rd, 4th and 3rd. 2015 hasn’t been a vintage year for him, but he has a chance to take a title he’s been after for a long time. I wouldn’t put it past him to surprise.

The last two years, has seen Zardini and Bongiorno go close. Zardini finished 6th and 4th, with Bongiorno claiming 5th place on both occasions. They offer Bardiani a multiple option, which can be very important near the end of the race. Neither rider has had the season they would have liked, but like Pellizotti, this does offer one last chance. With just two wins in 2015, the team will also hope for another win. It really has been a poor year for the Italians.

Team Colombia are another outfit who have disappointed in 2015, except from Rodolfo Torres. His problem has been bad luck. This is a race he can do well in and he should be able to count upon the support of Duarte and Rubiano. The theme of this preview seems to be riders who have disappointed in 2015, Duarte certainly fits into that category. Such a talented rider, he seems to have lost his way. Hopefully he can find some form again for 2016.

The other team capable of challenging is MTN. They arrive with multiple options, for a race that is almost a “home” race for many of their riders. They have Meintjes, Cummings, Berhane, Kudus, Pauwels and van Rensburg. By far, this is the strongest squad here. One issue is recent form. Most of these boys seem in holiday mode and might fight the race too tough. It looks like Meintjes or Pauwels will be their best bet. With so many good riders, they really should be challenging for the win.

Another rider capable of a big performance is Sergey Firsanov. Having finished 2nd in Tre Valli and 4th in Almaty, the Russian is certainly in form. He will be aiming for a top 1o result.

Prediction Time

Experience counts double in this race. Rebellin has to be the overwhelming favourite for the race, especially considering the form of the other challengers. I think we’ll see him take his 3rd title, 9 years after his first!

David Hunter

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