Friday, May 09, 2008

Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Nope its not that the semester is winding down-although after this weekend spent cramming for finals, I will at least have a break for a month. It also has nothing to with the weather finally getting nice in Minnesota. We’ve still got a couple months to wait for warm temperatures and the winds to get under control.

It’s the best time of the year because the best of the grand tours—the Giro D’Italia starts on Saturday. Why is it the best? It finishes around my birthday for one, but more importantly it consistently has some of the most amazing mountain stages around (this year especially with the Gavia coming into play).

I won’t go into too much detail because race junkie has a great primer, but I do think it will be a race of survival this year.

As for favorites or predictions.......

for the sprinters's going to be hard for the sprinters this year with a course that skews to the climbers but Robbie McEwen may have started to peak at the right time. Otherwise I think Danilo Napolitano is one to watch as well. I would love to say the cricket is going to pull it off, but with all the injuries this spring I don't think his form is up to taking the jersey (stage win here or there probably).

For the climbing's hard to argue with Soler as an obvious favorite but he is focused on the Tour so maybe not. The other favorite has to be Simoni in his last Grand Tour. It would be great to see Piepoli take it for all the work he did last year

for the maglia rosa....Simoni is always a threat when it comes to the Giro. With 4 time trials I'm not sure that it is his type of Giro but the mountain stages make him a likely podium contender. Di Luca has been MIA this spring due to his fight not to be banned and lose the 07 Giro so I just can't see him pulling off the back to back wins. With Piepoli as his top lieutenant Ricco can't be counted out in this year's Giro but is he mature enough to win a grand tour and are his injuries healed?

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