Monday, May 05, 2014

It's Yer Giro d'Italia in Preview, Part Tre: The Sprinters!

Look, generally, I have zero use for sprints at the Giro. But there's a truly obscene 6 or 8 of 'em this year (depending on yer view), and as a result, there's actually some competition. So what to expect? Here's yer guys:

1. Roberto Ferrari. Strengths: Remember that !@#hole who crashed Cav at the 2012 Giro by careening across the entire road and takin' half the rest of the peloton with him? Yep, that's Roberto! He's selfish, unapologetic, and even--if he can knock the other guys off their bikes first--fast enough to win. Minuses: who the !@#$'s gonna do anything to help--hell, not actively hurt--this guy? In bocca al lupo Roberto--if the other squads don't preemptively bushwhack you first! Here, Captain Sportsmanship takes his line:

2. Elia Viviani. Strengths: Italy's hot young sprint hope, he beat Mark Cavendish two times last week at the Tour of Turkey. Weakness: Cav ain't riding the Giro. And just hope Ivan Basso doesn't show Cannondale the legs to pull rank!

3. Alessandro Petacchi: Strengths: with Cav saving his energy for the Tour de France by riding the Amgen EPO Tour of Screw You UCI For Scheduling This Opposite the Giro! California, Petacchi can ride this race for himself. He's got experience, he's got tactics, he loves the race, and he's got incentive at likely his last-ever Giro. Weaknesses: at 40, he's lost some power. But he's still banking wins, so don't count this Fassa Bortolo veteran out!

4. Marcel Kittel: Strengths: let's be honest--it's basically between Kittel, and everyone else. And his hair alone will demoralize half his competitors. Weaknesses: no way is he going to screw the rest of his season sticking it out through the mountains. At least someone else can take the points jersey in Milano!

5. Nacer Bouhanni: Strengths: He's had a great season, but still ain't number one on the watchlist. Really, has anyone been paying attention to FDJ? Weaknesses: there's great, and there's winning-a-sprint-at-a-Grand-Tour great. We'll see!

6. Michael "Bling" Matthews and Ben "Swifty" Swift: Strengths: oh come on, you know it's their nicknames. That, and they do have a kick. Love to see one of 'em take a stage!

7. Tyler Farrar: Strengths: I am convinced, despite all evidence, that the old Tyler's still in there somewhere. Weaknesses: a crap few seasons, and resulting squat for team support. He needs luck, timing, and luck. Forza Tyler!

Well, them's yer thoroughbreds. If I missed anyone, let me know--and boys, watch out for you-know-who!

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