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…
1. The Great Yates
Winner? Simon Yates
What happens? True to current form, Yates demolishes the time trial to take a shock third place and loses just a handful of seconds to stage favourite Tom Dumoulin. He goes on to win the Finestre stage and has no problem marshalling his deflated rivals on Stage 20. It’s all too easy for the Mitchelton rider, who completes the Giro without a single bad day.
Will it happen? It seems to be the most likely scenario so, no, it probably won’t happen.
Would it be exciting? Impressive and eye-brow raising, rather than exciting
2. The Late Yates
Winner? Simon Yates
What happens? Tom Dum brings the fire to Tuesday’s time trial, defeating Yates by nearly two and a half minutes and seizing the Maglia Rosa. However, despite an ice cool performance up to Pratonevoso, Dumoulin suffers Vuelta flashbacks on Stage 19, crumbles on Finestre, and falls off the podium. Yates takes back his Maglia Rosa and wins ahead of Thibaut Pinot.
Will it happen? Very possible. Yates won’t be able to destroy the opposition every day but he looks, without doubt, the strongest climber.
Would it be exciting? Yes, but less so if you’re a veteran Dumoulin fan
3. Tommy Too Good
Winner? Tom Dumoulin
What happens? The result of Tuesday’s time trial is never in doubt as the World Champion mops up in his favoured battleground and takes the race lead. Yates’ response is blunt and Dumoulin goes from strength to strength to produce a defensive masterclass on the race’s highest mountains. He wins the Giro by over a minute.
Will it happen? If Yates wobbles, Dumoulin remains in pole position to make his move
Would it be exciting? Yes, but more so if you’re a fan of rocksteady Dumoulin swatting away the traditional climbers
4. Changing Froomes
Winner? Chris Froome
What happens? By winning the time-trial, Froome shows glimpses of his old self which serve as a warning to his rivals who are suitably spooked. The Team Sky captain brushes off the scars left from his crash and takes chunks of time on all three mountain stages. He crushes Yates – who winds up finishing second.
Will it happen? Possibly, but Zoncolan looks like the exception rather than the norm
Would it be exciting? Even the Froome hate-club would admit that this would be the most exciting of all his Grand Tour victories
5. Superman Returns
Winner? Miguel Angel Lopez
What happens? It’s all change in the final week as Yates tires drastically, Dumoulin cracks and loses four minutes, and Pinot falls out of the top five. Lopez is there to pick up the pieces, completing an unlikely turnaround on Cervinia and delivering a huge win for a ruthless Astana.
Will it happen? Probably not…
Would it be exciting? Absolutely! Lopez is yet to turn promise into dominance and it would be a fantastic time to start
6. Doctor’s Orders
Winner? Domenico Pozzovivo
What happens? After another monumental time trial, Pozzovivo finds himself a favourite for the podium. He dances away from Dumoulin on the Pratonevoso, and is gifted the Maglia Rosa on the final day when Yates blows up in spectacular fashion.
Will it happen? Domenico is in the form of his life, but it’s a huge ask. He’d need to ride through the perfect storm.
Would it be exciting? Yes! We need to see Pozzovivo in the Maglia Rosa at least once in our lives