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I can't wait for this years massive Giro to start...just 2 1/2 more days! Here are my top five picks on this years GC.

1. Ivan Basso- obvious choice considering exceptional climbing ability and good TT
2. Damiano Cunego- fine form so far this year, return to 2004 form
3. Danilo di Luca- has focused everything on the Giro
4. Gilberto Simoni- does his team have what it takes to lead him to podium
5. Paolo Savoldelli- can't see him staying with the leaders in the high mountains

To me, 2-5 could be changed around in every possible order. Basso is the clear favorite and its his race to lose. I am impressed by Cunego so far this season, but not so sure about his climbing ability on the steep mountains. Di Luca is another gamble for the podium, as we havn't seen him zap everyone on the climbs, I just think he has worked super hard for this race. Simoni looked strong as always last year, but I don't know about his team this year, but he very well could win the race. Savoldelli is probably the weakest climber of the bunch, but he seems to get the job done often.
 

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I think Savoldelli will do a lot better than people expect. He has trained specifically for more climbing this year, and whatever medical program Disco has has a proven track record. On the downside, it looks like Disco is going to screw him by giving Danielson some sort of quasi-leader status.

I am pulling for Simoni, but this is how I see it.

1. Cunego
2. Basso
3. Savoldelli
4. Simoni
5. Rujano
6. Di Luca
7. Garate
8. Van Huffel
 

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It's Basso's race to lose.

But Damiano Cunego could pull an upset if he keeps it close enough to the final week.
 

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Under ACrookedSky said:
On the downside, it looks like Disco is going to screw him [Savoldelli] by giving Danielson some sort of quasi-leader status.
I hope not. Have you seen something from Bruyneel/Demol/Yates to this effect?
 
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Under ACrookedSky said:
I think Savoldelli will do a lot better than people expect. He has trained specifically for more climbing this year, and whatever medical program Disco has has a proven track record. On the downside, it looks like Disco is going to screw him by giving Danielson some sort of quasi-leader status.
I think all the noise about TD is a head fake, to keep the pressure off Savoldelli. At least I hope so. And I agree, I think the Falcon will podium, barring a crash or illness. TD just doesn't seem to have the endurance for long stage races yet. He can fly up single mountain timed challenges - but doesn't seem to be able to pull off a strong attack in long stage races.

Should be an great race! I'm even thinking of going for the OLNTV/cycling.tv offer.
 

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harlond said:
I hope not. Have you seen something from Bruyneel/Demol/Yates to this effect?
Why not? If Savoldelli can't follow in the mountains why not give Danielson a free reign. If it's not the final climb Savoldelli can catch up on the descents (and would drop Danielson if he hung back with him). If it is the final climb, how much help could Danielson be if he stays with a dropped Savoldelli? Plus two danger men on GC can always make for an interesting tactical advantage.

All for one guy is really only a great strategy if you have the strongest guy in the race. Savoldelli is unlikely to be that guy and will probably be hanging on for dear life the final week in the mountains.
 

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vivelance6 said:
I can't wait for this years massive Giro to start...just 2 1/2 more days! Here are my top five picks on this years GC.

1. Ivan Basso- obvious choice considering exceptional climbing ability and good TT
2. Damiano Cunego- fine form so far this year, return to 2004 form
3. Danilo di Luca- has focused everything on the Giro
4. Gilberto Simoni- does his team have what it takes to lead him to podium
5. Paolo Savoldelli- can't see him staying with the leaders in the high mountains
That's about what I figure. Maybe move Savoldelli up a spot or two as I think either Di Luca or Simoni will not have a great Giro. Cunego certainly seems to be back to his Giro winning form of a couple of years ago but it's hard seeing him putting enough time into Basso to make up for what he loses in the TTs.

Then there are several outsiders who could show well in the last week but gotta figure the podium will come from those 5 riders.
 

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Dwayne Barry said:
That's about what I figure. Maybe move Savoldelli up a spot or two as I think either Di Luca or Simoni will not have a great Giro. Cunego certainly seems to be back to his Giro winning form of a couple of years ago but it's hard seeing him putting enough time into Basso to make up for what he loses in the TTs.

Then there are several outsiders who could show well in the last week but gotta figure the podium will come from those 5 riders.
My picks are:
1. Basso
2. Savoldelli
3. Cunego

It's Basso's race to lose - with strong team and best resume (on paper). But I still question Basso's decision to do both Giro and TdF. Then it's a toss-up between Savoldelli and Cunego. Cunego is a better climber, but Savoldelli is a better all-rounder and can get a lot of time back on time trials and downhill escapes.

it's interesting how giro introduced TTT the year when TdF got rid of it. I like TTT - it's a team event anyways, so why not?
 

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1. Basso
2. Cunego
3. Simoni
---
4. Savolodelli
5. Rujano
6. DiLuca
7. Ardila
8...

Basso's big advantage is he could have a 4 minute cushion over the climbers after the TTs in the first half of the race and he certainly showed over the last 2 years at the Tour that he can hang on anyone's wheel in standard issue mountains. The question mark is that the Tour doesn't have mountains like this Giro and the steeper the climb the more watts per kg matters and Cunego (+ Rujano) is certainly better than Basso in that regard.

Simoni must be able to show better snap in the mountains to get on the podium and I am assuming that he has not blown too much in the early season this year like he did last year. Plus the motivation of trying to spank Cunego could really push his limits to new levels.

Unfortunately for Paolo the only mountain stage where he will really be able to use his descending to advantage is at Aprica and just being able to catch up with the leaders starting the final climb won't be enough to keep him highly placed on the tough stages. My hope is he gets dropped on every climb and RAI assigns a camerabike solely to follow him down all the descents as he tries to catch up. It would be the best descending training video ever. :)
 

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terzo rene said:
. My hope is he gets dropped on every climb and RAI assigns a camerabike solely to follow him down all the descents as he tries to catch up. It would be the best descending training video ever. :)
Did you buy the Cycling.tv Giro coverage? If OLN follows their typical editing practices you won't see descents, only the climbs.
 

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Dwayne Barry said:
Why not? If Savoldelli can't follow in the mountains why not give Danielson a free reign. If it's not the final climb Savoldelli can catch up on the descents (and would drop Danielson if he hung back with him). If it is the final climb, how much help could Danielson be if he stays with a dropped Savoldelli? Plus two danger men on GC can always make for an interesting tactical advantage.

All for one guy is really only a great strategy if you have the strongest guy in the race. Savoldelli is unlikely to be that guy and will probably be hanging on for dear life the final week in the mountains.
Well, not all for one can be a problematical strategy, too, if T-Mobile is any indication, but sure, two contenders can be an advantage. It's not that I want Danielson to do poorly, or that I would want Discovery to scuttle Danielson's chances if it became clear Savoldelli couldn't do it. If Savoldelli can't win it, I'd love for it to be Danielson. But Savoldelli has amply demonstrated his ability to win this major tour, while Danielson has not, and I wouldn't want to see Discovery sell Savoldelli out prematurely. Until Savoldelli rides himself out of the race, I think he should be the undisputed leader, that's all. If Discovery ends up with a 1997 Telekom situation, so be it.
 

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harlond said:
Until Savoldelli rides himself out of the race, I think he should be the undisputed leader, that's all. QUOTE]

Why not just have Savoldelli and Danielson as protected riders each permitted to ride their own race? If Savoldelli falters it probably won't be until the last week in the mountains and by then if you've had Danielson unnecessarily squandering his energies it's too late (not to mention Danielson is already probably hampered by poor pack skills that cause him to waste energy). Discovery isn't going to have to worry about controlling the race for the most part; CSC, Liquigas, Saunier-Duval will control the GC race and Milram, Davitamon, Gerolsteiner and Quickstep will take care of the flatter stages.
 

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well I don't think the parcourse

helps Paolo but we don't know what Johann and Co. have put him through to prep for it. If anyone can prepare someone for this it is them. Don't forget the TTT which will favor CSC and Disco. With Zabriskie, Voight, Julich and Basso on the squad they'll take this.
Danielson should drag Paolo up every climb if needed and if and only if Paolo blows should TD be let go.

1) Basso
2) Savoldelli
3) Cunego

TT and TTT's favor those 2,plus the strength of their squads. Gibo is good but not a great TTer and not on a great team, same for Damiano (why I have him 3rd). If Paolo has the ability to limit losses on the steeps he's in the game. Di Luca will be good but I think he lacks the squad and the TTing.
 

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atpjunkie said:
1) Basso
2) Savoldelli
3) Cunego
Darn, a few minutes too late. ATP came and stole my picks.

Basso will dominate from start to finish. Everyone seems to forget last year when he dropped the 'climbers' on the first big mountain day. Savoldelli will take second, with the disclaimer that he is healed up from his stomach problems a few days ago. As others have said, expect both of these riders to have a 3-4 minute cushion going into the mountains.

I think the final podium spot is a bit of a toss up. Cunego, Simoni, or DiLuca could take it. All three have shown some form this year, with Cunego impressing the most, so I'll slot him in third.

Rujano will be a joke, IMHO.

Silas
 

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SilasCL said:
Darn, a few minutes too late. ATP came and stole my picks.


Silas
But ATP stole those picks from me! :)
I am in good company here... I am sure we will all be wrong as Basso drops out to prepare for the Tour and Cunego kills everyone by 3 min in a single climb, but these picks are as good as any
 

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Rujano will lose time in the TTT

will not be allowed to gain time in the Mtns (he won't have the "I'm not a GC threat,I'm only KOM" leash he took advantage of last year) plus a team that ain't too stoked on him right now, plus suspicious form. I think Cunego will spank Simoni a la 04. I just don't bet against CSC and Discovery due to their talent, direction and organization.
 
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