The 2017 edition of the famous Giro d’Italia cycling race is going to be very special. Not only will the world’s greatest cyclists compete for the sought after pink jersey but it will be the 100th time the race has been staged.
One of cycling’s Grand Tour races, the 2017 Giro d’Italia will take place between the 5th and 28th of May. The race will start in Alghero on the island of Sardinia in the Mediterranean Sea and eventually work its way north before finishing in Milan. The route will cover a total distance of 3,572 kilometres, which is 105 kilometres longer than the race distance last year.
There will be 21 stages in total, which are split between flat stages, hilly stages, medium-mountain stages, mountain stages and individual time trial stages. There are six flat stages, starting with the first stage in Sardinia and two hilly stages, both of which come early in the race. There are four medium-mountain stages and seven mountain stages, many of which are during the latter stages of the race. There will be two individual time trials, one of which is stage 10 and the other stage 21, which will be the final stage of the 2017 Giro d’Italia.
There are some fantastic climbs to look forward to in this 100th edition of the Giro d’Italia including Mount Etna, Blockhaus, Mortirolo, Oropa, Stelvio, Monte Grappa and Pordoi.
In contrast to last year’s race, when some stages were in the Netherlands, every stage of the 2017 Giro d’Italia will take place in Italy. However, the total number of rest days and their timing will remain the same, with breaks coming after stages 3, 9 and 15.
There are several classifications riders can aim for but the General Classification is the one all the top riders want to win. To judge the winner of the General Classification, all the riders’ times at the end of each stage are added together to create one final time. The rider with the lowest overall time is declared the winner. To determine who is currently the leader of the race, he will wear the pink jersey, also known as the Maglia Rosa, for the following stage. The winner of the General Classification in 2016 was Vincenzo Nibali, who completed a fantastic comeback.
【Giro d’Italia 2016: How Vincenzo Nibali Won the General Classification】
The three other main jerseys riders will be competing for in the 2017 Giro d’Italia are the Mountain Classification, Points Classification and Young Rider Classification. The jerseys awarded to the riders for winning a stage related to these classifications are green, red and white.
In addition to these classifications, there is also the Team Classification and other, minor classifications such as the Sprints Classification and the Combativity Classification.
All 18 Union Cycliste Internationale (UCL) World Teams are entered automatically and are expected to participate in the race.
As mentioned above, the defending champion coming into the 2017 Giro d’Italia is Vincenzo Nibali. The Italian won the race in what was one of the most dramatic final weeks in recent Giro d’Italia memory. The Pink Jersey changed hands twice in the final week and eight times in total during the whole race with Nibali all but sealing the victory coming into the final stage.
With Fabio Aru unable to participate in this year’s race due to a knee injury, things have opened a little for Nibali, who is 11/2 with online bookie bet365 to win the 2017 Giro d’Italia. The pressure will be huge as the Italian aims to become the first rider since Miguel Indurain in 1993 to win back-to-back General Classification titles.
Nibali has not done anything of note this year and rumor has spread he was overweight by two kilos. This is something he can change before the 2017 Giro d’Italia but to do that and find form in the lead-up to the race is difficult. At odds of 11/2, Nibali must be classed as a risky bet this year.
The favourite at bet365 to win the 2017 Giro d’Italia is none other than Nairo Quintana. The Colombian showed his form by winning the Vuelta and is due to compete in both this and the Tour de France for his team Movistar.
Quintana knows what it takes to win this race having done so in 2014. In addition to his success at the Vuelta this year, he has won the Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana and Tirreno-Adriatico. The mountain stages are where Quintana will pick up time as the two significant time trials will not help his cause. Quintana is the form rider coming into the race and it’s easy to see why he is considered the favourite at 10/11 with bet365.
【2017 Vuelta Asturias: Nairo Quintana’s Performance】
Steven Kruijswijk will need to banish memories of his fall on the descent of stage 19 last year and concentrate on the good cycling that had him leading the Giro d’Italia by three minutes over his nearest rival.
The Dutchman made one mistake in 2016 which cost him dearly and that’s what many people remember about his race. However, the fact remains Kruijswijk was leading the race at the time and if he can return and deliver the same sort of performance, minus the fall, he has a very good chance of winning the 2017 Giro d’Italia. He has had a quiet season to date but at 9/1 with bet365, these are odds that cannot be ignored.
Another Dutchman who will feel he is capable of winning the 2017 Giro d’Italia is Tom Dumoulin. Priced at 12/1 with sportsbook bet365 to claim the General Classification, Dumoulin broke his wrist during the 2016 Tour de France having started the race promisingly. He has enjoyed a good 2017, finishing inside the top ten when he has raced and it will be interesting to see how he fares over the mountain stages.
If Dumoulin is to take the pink jersey it may not be until the latter stages, so keep an eye on his progress because he will be dangerous if still in contention.
Team Sky brings an interesting pairing to the race in Mikel Landa and Geraint Thomas. The main question mark hanging over the head of Thomas, who is priced at 14/1 with bet365, is whether he can maintain the consistency required to win over three weeks. He will be in charge, so will not have to fall back this year and tasted success in the recently contested Tour of the Alps, so things are looking promising for the Welshman.
Landa, who was hoping to show off his credentials during the Tour of the Alps did so by protecting Thomas in the final stage of the race. It was a fine ride from the Spaniard, who was forced to settle for fifth place in the General Classification. However, Landa has looked more erratic than his teammate this year and the odds of 12/1 with bet365 for Landa to win the Giro d’Italia seem a little short.
French rider Thibaut Pinot has taken the bold decision to focus on winning the Giro d’Italia this year and concentrate on stage victories at the Tour de France. The pressure on Pinot at the Tour de France is huge and given his strong past performances in Italy, who can blame the 26-year-old for choosing to focus on the Giro?
Pinot has enjoyed a good 2017 coming in third overall in the Tirreno-Adriatico and beating Alberto Contador in a summit finish on the Alto Pena del Aguila in the Ruta del Sol. The Frenchman also won the final stage of the Tour of the Alps coming in second to Thomas in the General Classification. At 12/1 to win the 2017 Giro d’Italia, Pinot makes a more tempting bet than Landa.
【2017 Tour of the Alps: Thibaut Pinot’s Performance】
Other riders worth considering for the 2017 Giro d’Italia include Bauke Mollema (16/1), Tejay van Garderen (25/1) and Ilnur Zakarin (25/1), the latter of which showed what he was capable of in 2016 before crashing out.
In terms of the favourite however, you cannot back against Nairo Quintana, a guy who knows what it takes to win this race and is in good form. With that said, if you are looking for better odds than the 10/11 quoted for Quintana and want to take a risk for more profit, the 12/1 for Thibaut Pinot is very difficult to ignore.