Oh yeah, baby, it's three days and counting down to the smashing Giro d'Italia, the bitchinest race (along with the Vuelta) of the year! And yes, those vultures Froome, Quintana, and Nibali *are* bagging the Giro in hopes that the ultracompetitive Contador'll blow his legs out in this one and leave him gobsmacked--or at least slightly less supernatural--for his run at the second half of the mythical Giro-Tour double, but there's still plenty of other GC action to be found this May. Who? These guys--and their jerseys so you can tell who's who from the helicopter shot, to boot!
Alberto Contador: yep, he's been training at altitude, virtually unseen for months, and his form is, consequently, rather a mystery. But Oleg Tinkov is *not* bull!@#$ting around, and he's packed Alberto's Giro squad with experienced two-time Giro-winnin' slickster Ivan Basso, the explosive if intermittently erratic Roman "Please Don't Let Him Get Popped Again" Kreuziger and Mick "Holy !@#$ Did You See This Guy Last Year?" Rogers. Only downside: he needs these guys in July, especially to make up for whatever Oleg decides to squander on Peter Sagan's green jersey plans, so they gotta leave *something* left in the tank. But with some real heavyweights out of the GC race, will that even matter? Forza Alberto--this is yours to lose, and if you want to make your irritable team boss happy, you damn well better not!
Richie Porte: y'know who's actually been taking win after win this year? Yes, it's crappy to compare 'im to a recently-healed Contador, but this guy has been bringing home the *bacon*, honey. And without having to worry about herding Froomey around--or even just dodging to stay out the way of Froome's ever-flailing limbs--if he can keep his cool and not have a disastrous crack, he's a known--and virtually proven--quantity. Downside: with all that hype, he's gonna be marked almost as much--even more--than Contador. I'm sure with the slick black team kit no-one'll notice you, Richie!
Rigoberto Uran: he's got a bangin' pink-skull clothing line, a suave nickname, some damn good legs, intimate familiarity with the Giro podium, and, on a completely irrelevant note, we love Tom Boonen this year--but Uran hasn't pulled off his Grand Tour overall win yet. On the plus side, his hairdo of late has knocked even Marcel Kittel off his perch. Lookin' good Rigo!
Fabio Aru: apparently, you can't say anything bad--or at least preemptively slanderous--about this guy or he'll get all prickly and sue. Ergo, even though he actually hasn't won a Grand Tour yet, he's my first choice for top of the podium, and I hear he only eats wholesome whole grains, lean cuts of organic untainted meat, and legitimately purchased all-natural sports drinks. Furthermore, his team kit is made of earth-friendly undyed hemp, he's nice to puppies, and he calls his DS promptly every night at 9 p.m. to wish him good night and sweet dreams and to ask if the nar--uh, to wish him good night and sweet dreams. Wait, what the !@#$ is this about? oh right, he's got a pretty impressive young palmares too. Good luck Fabio--Nibali sure made it clear he wasn't gonna save your !@# by riding this race for you! Wait, wrong Fabio!
Ryder Hesjedal: am I the only one who counts this former Giro d'Italia champ in with the big boys, and if so, why the hell? Besides Alberto, the only one with the final maglia rosa, and the iconic spiral trophy, to his credit. Oh, stuff it, he can so too either--remember this, suckers?
Well, there's the top five (yeah, I *know* what everyone's been whining about the rest of the field)--good luck to the lot of you, and stay the hell on Aru's good side!