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La Maglia Ciclamino

Who will take home the points jersey?

Petacchi, McEwen, Browne, Napolitano... should be some real sprinting fireworks, right? Maybe, but that doesn't mean the points jersey will be awarded from this crowd. Since the Giro has so much climbing, it has recently taken the special all-round skills of Paolo Bettini to take this secondary prize. Not since 2004, when Alessandro Petacchi won commandingly, has a traditional sprinter taken the maglia ciclamino, and that was following the year when the sprinting genius Gilberto Simoni won it.

Look at last year's final points standings:

  1. Bettini
  2. Basso
  3. J.E. Gutierrez
  4. Olaf Pollack
  5. Paolo Savoldelli
This year will severely challenge the sprinters' teams to make it over the daily hump if they're going to be in points contention, and I for one expect them to largely fail, meaning the points classification may look a lot like last year's. Bettini, therefore, becomes an odds-on favorite and my pick to win: he'll be racing with pride, the top number, and a little desperation after a largely fallow spring. Plus his team has nothing better to focus on. Ricardo Ricco is targeting the maglia bianca, but he's a similar rider. Maybe Garzelli will give up on the overall and make some noise here. If Simoni goes berserk in the mountains (on the bike for once), he could accidentally win again. Rebellin and Cioni might target points as well.