What could happen in the final week?

Simon Yates is absolutely flying. He’s clearly ahead in the GC, and clearly the best climber at this year’s Giro. Whilst he’s dancing a perfect ten, his closest rivals are trudging round the dancefloor at an ugly tempo. Unfortunately for Yates, there’s a time trial to come before three monster mountain stages bring the race to a close. Basically, his two minute advantage provides no real assurances. There’s a time trial tomorrow before we visit Pratonevoso, Finestre, Sestriere, Jafferau, San Pantaleone and Cervinia. Here are a few scenarios that could play out…

Dumoulin Giro

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Six riders to keep your eyes on at the Giro d’Italia

At three weeks long, the Giro provides plenty of time for a rider to crash, lose time, adapt their goals, swap roles with a teammate, and still have a pretty decent race (hey Mikel Landa). There’s so much time, in fact, that some riders will go to Italy with multiple options, a free role, or no idea what they want to achieve. There are plenty of exciting riders with big question marks against their names. Here are six riders to keep your eyes on.

Ciccone

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Can Mareczko win a Giro stage?

It’s the 2nd November 2017. You’re checking the latest cycling results and see Jakub Mareczko has just taken his tenth win in a three week period in China. To put that into perspective, punchy Movistar sprinter Jose Joaquin Rojas has ten victories to his name in his twelve year professional career. Fast-forward to the time of writing and 23-year old Mareczko can boast 35 professional wins. That’s more than superstar contemporaries Dylan Groenewegen and Fernando Gaviria, as well as 27-year old green jersey winner Michael Matthews. He’s just one behind former UCI number one rider Greg van Avermaet.

Mareczko 1

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Fair play to Valverde…

I spent most of Tuesday night messaging people to tell them why I thought Julian Alaphilippe was going to upset the status quo and defeat Alejandro Valverde on the Mur de Huy. A lot of my points were based on blind faith and I attempted to swat away Valverde’s obvious threat by repeating line like – “yeah, but did you see Alaphilippe at Izulia?”.

La Fleche Wallone 2

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A Wannabe Walloon

De Brabantse Pijl is cool race. It’s a date to look out for on the calendar and an event I’d one day like to watch live. Starting in Leuven, Brabant, the race is another under the Flanders umbrella. However, it doesn’t feel much like its cobbled siblings – taking place a full 10 days after Ronde – and instead seeks companionship from the upcoming Ardennes week. Brabtanse Pijl is often called a transitional race which allows fans to wave goodbye to the cobbled season and get ready to embrace the hills of Liege.

Sprint Brabantse

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The Best Nibali?

At the end of 2015 I wrote about the struggles of being a Vincenzo Nibali fan. I had watched him become a star, watched him throw a bottle at Chris Froome, watched him catch a ride from his team car to earn disqualification from the Vuelta, and then watched as he claimed an angry Lombardia title. At the time I found myself looking back to his Liquigas days to remind myself why I liked him so much. It’s far easier these days and Nibali’s stunning victory at Milan-Sanremo reminded me that not only is he the best Grand Tour contender of his generation, but he’s also a highly likeable rider.

Nibali Sanremo 2

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Do I like Marcel Kittel?

Towards the end of the Dubai Tour – as I made yet another ‘Where’s Wally?’ joke – I began to wonder precisely how much I liked Marcel Kittel. I’m a big Mark Cavendish fan and the fan club rules say I’m not allowed to like Kittel. Riding for Giant, Kittel arrived on the frontline and kicked the Manxman off his throne with a succession of easy sprint wins. Cavendish fought a losing battle in his time with Quick-Step but the rivalry kept him hungry. Moving to Dimension Data, Cav responded by taking four brilliant stages of the 2016 Tour de France. They were great rivals and I needed to pick a side; it was always going to be Cavendish.

Kittel Abandons

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