Once the light’s dimmed at Turin’s Carignano theatre to close out the official presentation of next year’s Giro d’Italia route, a murmuring of riders and team officials talking filled the air.
Many of the old guns were at Carignano, like 2004 winner Damiano Cunego, and long-time team manager, Gianni Savio. However, there were also the new faces.
Australian Chris White of Pegasus Sports team searched for race director Angelo Zomegnan, Brian Nygaard and Max Sciandri suited up for their new roles in new teams, and there was that one lone English-speaking cyclist.
Dane Brian Nygaard will get his first taste of a Grand Tour as General Manager of Team Luxembourg next year at the Giro d’Italia. He is thinking about bringing one of the Schleck brothers, Fränk or Andy.
“It might make sense since the parcours is so hard; it is one of the hardest editions I can remember seeing in some time. Different riders have their different strategies, maybe racing the Giro as Tour preparations, but a Giro d’Italia like this should be raced for itself,” said Nygaard.
“I would not rule it out. They will have to see the route after they return from the race in Mexico. Andy had an amazing ride the one time he tried [best young rider and second overall]. I know that he wants to come back and try to win it.”
Max Sciandri will make his Grand Tour debut as a sports director with BMC Racing next year at the Giro d’Italia after leaving the British Academy.
“There are not many secrets in this Giro d’Italia, it is all there for us to see. The course is hard in two ways: the route and the transfers,” said Sciandri.
“When you go to Calabria [Italy’s toe] it is one thing, but when you go to Sicily it is a totally different ball game as a rider. It will be hard on the staff, too, those distances. The heat will be felt; hopefully, Mount Etna volcano will not be alive.
“The Giro d’Italia is always hard, but it is a good place to start. It will be my start in a Grand Tour with Fabio Baldato. Taylor Phinney? We have an outline of races for him, but it is not official yet. That stage to Orvieto will suit him, a bit of dirt road.”
Australian Matt Lloyd will return to lead OmegaPharma-Lotto after winning the green jersey of best climber this year.
“There are violent climbs day after day. Someone who is condition to go on breakaways and win stages, like me, will have a chance to win the race,” said Lloyd.
“I don’t want to say that the pink jersey is my aim, I still need to take time to decide. However, if you can win the green jersey in a race like the Giro then you have the potential to step it up a notch. I think my experience will give me a chance to try.
“I need to do a bit of research of the stages and the team is backing me for that, to have a schedule that suits racing the Giro d’Italia. They want me there to get involved, not just for the green jersey, but for stages and other opportunities.”
Chris White is waiting on the UCI to announce that his team has a place in the first division. Once there, White will be able to field the first Australian team in the Giro d’Italia.
“We’d love the Giro, just as we would love go to the Tour and the Vuelta,” said White. “There should be an Australian team in all the top races.”
Zomegnan then pulled White away to talk. The rest of the riders and team officials left the theatre to discuss next year’s course over dinner.