The Giro d’Italia’s overall favourites are planning for a classification shake up tomorrow in Le Marche. The race confronts a 54.8-kilometre time trial that could make as much as of a difference, or more, than a mountain stage like Le Tre Cime di Lavaredo.
Cycling Weekly spoke with five of the top overall contenders in the last week to get their thoughts on the test.
Bradley Wiggins (Sky)
“It’s huge for the overall. I know a lot of guys have seen it and I know a lot of guys are scared of it, but it’s good for me.
“It’s one of those ones you have to be good from start to finish. If you die off at the end, you’re going to lose three minutes on the final climb.
“The priority is to win the stage and see where that puts you on the GC … I am the Olympic champion, so you know…”
Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin-Sharp)
“It will be a tough test and even more so demanding after a long first week. The GC will become clearer afterwards. I am focused on the best ride I can do and will assess the overall after that. There is still a lot of racing in this Giro beyond that point.
“It’s long, hard and has everything. It’s technical, with a lot of climbs, big power stretches. It’s hard to say the kind of gaps between specialists and pure climbers. It took me one hour, 45 minutes to ride it in recon. It’s going to hurt.
Vincenzo Nibali (Astana)
“Wiggins a favourite for the time trial, for sure, he’s the best time trial rider here at the Giro. The idea is to lose as little as possible because we have to keep it close for the mountains.
“I’m more of a climber than a time trial rider, but I’m able to defend myself well. I’ve had good rides. I’m even able to win in one-day tests. I’ve trained for those mountains, but also for the time trials, trying to cover my bases. I’m 64kg, Wiggins is heavier and he’s able to push bigger gears.”
Robert Gesink (Blanco)
“It’s especially technical with a lot of up and down riding in the beginning. The team recorded parcours, which I have seen, but not seen it live yet; that’s gonna happen on Saturday before the race.
“Of course Wiggins is the man everybody’s watching. My aim is to keep my losses as tight as possible. I have no figure in my head on how much I can lose to Wiggins where it would still be okay for me. My focus is to do as best as possible, nothing more, nothing less.”
Cadel Evans (BMC Racing)
“It’s a really hard time trial. Not only is it long, but there is really not much flat involved. It’s going to be long at 55km, but also long in time because it’s not on particularly fast roads, and with the gradient, it’s not going to be a real fast time trial.
“[That] I can ride at the front of the peloton is a sort of good indication. With it being the first individual time trial against everyone, I don’t know how I stand in that regard. Wiggins is he the standout favourite or is that an assumption people shouldn’t make? But it’s not a perfect time trial [route] for him. He is probably more suited to that flatter faster time trial.”
Giro d’Italia 2013: Previews and race info
Giro d’Italia 2013: Stage reports
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Photos by Graham Watson