Giro d’Italia 2014 – Sprinters – Ciclismo Internacional

Giro d’Italia 2014 – Sprinters

By David Hunter

We are days away from the start of the Giro and it’s time to look at some of the riders that will feature heavily over the next 3 weeks.marcel-kittel

This version of the Giro is difficult and it features many mountain stages, meaning the sprinters will have to hang tough!

The best sprinter in the world, Marcel Kittel, is here and looking forward to picking up quite a few stages. This is his first Giro, and the nature of the course means that Marcel will not finish the race. He is also riding the Tour de France, so look out for Kittel going home after stage 13, or maybe even earlier.

The start of the race is well suited to the “pure” sprinters, as stages 2,3 and 4 look good for big sprints. Who can challenge Kittel?

The real answer to the question is nobody, so who will challenge for the podium?

Nacer Bouhanni is the 2nd best sprinter in the race, just like 2013 when Cavendish dominated him. He is very quick but not in the same league as Marcel. He climbs better than the German, so he will have more opportunities to win stages, as there are 3 stages where he should arrive at the end without him. The young Frenchman, will leave the race with his 1st ever grand tour stage win.

Elia Viviani is a rider who seems to be hitting form at the right time. 2 stage wins in Turkey, where he defeated Cavendish. His story will be similar to Bouhanni, not fast enough to beat Kittel but can get over climbs, so will have a good chance of a couple of stages. Consistency has always been his problem. Too often his positioning is very poor and he has to launch sprints from far out.

Giacomo Nizzolo was looking good in Romandie, but couldn’t deliver a win. He is quick but slower than the big 3, I can’t see him beating Kittel.

Roberto Ferrari will have his eye on a few stages, but will also struggle to beat the big 3.

Tyler Farrar has had a good start to 2014, but he seems to prefer sprints after a hard race these days.

Francesco Chicchi should be able to make the occasional top 5, although he does have the necessary speed to go better. He usually ends up behind the top sprinters in the lead-out and makes it too difficult for himself.

Michael Matthews is a very interesting rider. He won 2 stages in the 2013 Vuelta, but didn’t impress me that much. His recent victory in Pais Vasco was impressive and I’m interested to see how he goes in the Giro. He prefers a sprint after a hard day, but his team is full of big engines who can deliver him into a perfect position, on the flat days.

It’s very interesting to see Alessandro Petacchi return to the Giro. With 27 Giro stages to his name he is a man to fear, although age is not on his side. He won GP Cerami this year and can still go fast when required. He has a wealth of experience that is invaluable against these young guns. It would be brilliant to see the 40 year old, get stage number 28, in what might just be his last Giro.

The other sprinters in the race prefer stages that are harder, and will ensure that stages which suit them are raced at a high speed to remove the faster riders. In this category we have: Colbrelli, Battaglin, Appollonio, Dehaes, Hurel, Mezgec, Swift and Felline.Csf Bardiani  2014

After a great year Ben Swift will be looking to secure at least 1 stage win. He’ll probably have to wait till later in the race, once the quicker men are a bit tired.

On a personal level, I would love to see Sonny Colbrelli win his first ever race at the Giro. After a brilliant season, with 6 podiums, the young Italian is due a win.

The “pure” sprints are stages 2, 3, 4, 13, 17 and 21. The harder sprints are stages 7, 10 and 11.

There is a nice balance to the 2014 Giro and hopefully not too many of the riders go home after the 1st week. The organisers have changed the points system and we should see a sprinter claim the red jersey. No prediction yet!.

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