Thursday, May 05, 2016

It's Yer Giro d'Italia in Preview, Part Final: the Climbers! the Sprinters! The Lowdown! #Giro

The Lowdown!: yep, we are just one twee day away from starting the most beautiful race on the planet, and how's it shaping up? Well, crap, literally, if you're poor Fabian Cancellara--in his final Giro, and on the eve of his near-inevitable farewell stint in the maglia rosa, our poor Spartacus has been stricken with stomach flu, and will be lacking just that last least bit of energy on for the opening time trial. But don't give up yet, fanboys'n'girls: a sick Fabs can do more damage in nine kilometers than most time trialists can do in twenty, so there's still hope. So try some flat ginger ale or a cup of chamomile tea to soothe the turmoil, and good luck domani Fabian!

The Climbers!: Look, it's the Giro, so if you're a climber, you're probably also a GC contender, but what're you gonna do if you have a sudden Valverdean urge to backstab yer team captain, or an injury or ill-timed flat knocks him off the podium hunt? *That's* right, you're done being someone else's headwind b!tch, and you get to go off and up on your own. Betancur, Nieve, Scarponi, Atapuma--not to undercut your bosses, but you might want to leave just a *little* bit in the tank, just in case!

The Sprinters!: yeah, it's the Giro, but they *have* crammed a good seven flat days in there, and to its credit, it's attracted a truly bangin' sprint field. A resurgent Kittel's good for at least a coupla stages (and, unlike most of these guys, has vowed to stick it out to the end in Torino, mountains be damned), Elia Viviani's got extra motivation on his home stomping grounds, Caleb Ewan's got a fine shot--but for sheer wanting it, my dough's on Andre "the Gorilla" Greipel, slowly healing from a !@#$ start to his season and rarin' to stay upright and get revenge. Vai vai vai you big lug--is there anything more lovely than a primal Greipel scream at the line?

The 'Nother Guys!: y'know, even though there's buckets of puncheurs this race who can bag a win, without the scrappy and intermittently violent Philippe Gilbert in the field, I just didn't have the heart to yap on 'em. And I feel like I have the same fruitlessly optimistic rainblow-unicorn desire every GT for dashing studpup-about-town Pippo Pozzato to shake off his years-long ennui and take a stage. But give him a lackadaisical field and a flash of inspiration--heck, even a half-!@#edly committed breakaway--and our dear bon vivant is still, I *swear*, a candidate for a win. He's already gotten sorta close a coupla times this season--keep it up, and I promise, you'll earn yourself a smashing pink-and-gold Giro tat front-and-center somewhere if you've still got space!

All right gents, time to post that final pre-race selfie, down your last meal-o-marginal-gains, and saddle up. In bocca al lupo, and may the best man--well, okay, I'm flat out rooting for Landa--win! And to get you in that special mood, here's the Official 2016 Appeldorn Giro d'Italia Theme Song


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