Alejandro Valverde enters his first Giro d'Italia as one of the favourites and believes Team Sky's Mikel Landa is the one to beat for the pink jersey
At the age of 36, Movistar‘s Valverde is riding his first Giro with the goal of completing the trio of podium finishes, having achieved this already at the Tour de France and Vuelta a España.
With Landa showing his form at the Giro del Trentino last month, and Nibali finishing well down in the classification, Valverde cites his fellow Spaniard as the one to beat.
“I consider Landa more dangerous than Nibali because of the excellent run of form he showed in Trentino. They, along with [Rigoberto] Uran, [Esteban] Chaves, [Rafal] Majka, [Tom] Dumoulin and [Ilnur] Zakarin will become men to monitor closely,” he told Spanish newspaper AS.
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Valverde begins the Giro as third favourite for the title behind Nibali and Landa, but has dismissed the idea that his inexperience in the race will hold him back in his battle for the general classification.
The 2009 Vuelta champion says his years as a professional cyclist and experience from other Grand Tours will hold him in good stead over the next three weeks.
“I think that age and experience help you ride with more focus, with responsibility, and with less tension,” he added. “I have inspected the mountain stages with Andrey Amador, and have the support of my team – a united and powerful group.”