Update [2007-5-9 14:40:41 by chris]: OK, re-time-stamped, as a companion to our Favorites Wiki, above... read this, then scroll up and chime in, per piacere.
[editor's note, by chris] Thanks to Elvisgoat for the following: a rundown of the teams!
Handicap is the operative term here... but I've never been one to let ignorance stand in the way of getting my opinion out there... and I can't resist chris' pleas for assistance...
In this installment, I'll give the Giro teams a once over and see if I can come up with something interesting to say...
Now where is that cyclingfever.com site...?
More on the flop...
This one is easy, all Evil Cricket all the time... other than that, Tosatto is the only one to have a chance at a stage or jersey... Given the way QS's year has gone so far I'd say that the Cricket will be a shoe-in for at least a stage win or two... they need it.
These kids look like a serious GC outfit. Savo has won it twice in the past, was flying in the TT's at TdRomandie and has a no nonsense team to support him. I don't see any ambitions there other than to deliver him to Milan in pink. These guys want to roll the Giro and then set Vino and his little pal Kash loose on the TdF. Given the teams legacy as a Saiz team look for them to get busted by some as yet undisclosed link to OP...
Gibo for the GC hunt and I look for him to finish top 5. He'll have solid support from this team that has little else to distract them. Gibo will have solid mt support from Piepoli, Gomez and Mori. I can't overlook the fact that these guys are also bringing Mayo to the party (we'll all be interested in wether or not this former TdF "contender" can finish the race. If things go pear shaped for Gibo, look for Ricco to take a stage at some point.
Another solid, no nonsense GC team... all for The Kid. If Napolitano gets the chance, look for him to contend a sprint or two, but I think he'll be on his own there with no real effort spent to lead him out. Tiralong has been riding well all spring and Bono won a stage at TdRomandie. Like Astana, they have some good rouleurs and a decent TTT squad there to help get their man to Milan.
Hmm... I like Garzelli, he's won this race back in what...? 2001 or so and was most likely set-up in a drug test back in his Mapei days as well. He's a perennial there-abouter... But I dropped him from my VDS 'cause I just don't think he has it in him anymore to pose a serious run at the GC. Top 10 tops. He'll have a few reliable team mates in the form of Codol and Balducci, but not a very strong team at all.
Huh... 'nuff said...
See AG2R and Bouygues except in Spanish. These teams, along with TMob's, are as good an argument as you can get for the inanity of the ProTour requirements that everyone bring a team. Look for these guys to limp around the back of the peloton, talking on the cellular to friends back home while complaining about the weather.
Rather than bothering with the last 3 teams we should have a few more outfits like these guys. Look for them to enliven many stages and for Sella to give some of the big name GC guys fits, while Cuapio goes on the hunt for multiple mt. stage wins. I like these guys. They ditched Brownie... and went with the wacky mt climbing talent. If Sella stays on the bike he can fly... you'll see a lot of these guys.
Whew, I should have saved my ProTour rant for these guys... I mean seriously, are they going to do anything other than take up space?
The best of the teams that don't want to be here. Caucchioli is a sure bet for top 8 or so, maybe better than that... The God of Thunder will be looking to regain his Giro form of a few years back. These guys have also cloned Bodrogi and have BOTH of him on the team... look for them to take out the TTT.
Ahh yes, what could have been... don't get me started on what a sorry sack of shit is Basso. God what a punk! The whole "I sinned in my heart thing" drives me nuts. I guess it's because here in Carolina, I grew up seeing jerks like Swaggert and Jim Baker and other megalomaniacs plead for forgiveness before their adoring (and blind) public. Basso is a full fledged asshole and liar... I'd bet my left nut that he was dopped to the gills in last years Giro, and in those years of sitting on LA's wheel in the Tour. What a pathetic loser. Jeez... I am ashamed that I put him on my VDS team ... never again. He would have had a serious outfit around him for this race, the inclusion of George only helps (as long as he's not forced to ride for himself). Look for Popo to be a real threat for Pink and for Vaitkus to mix it in the sprints at every opportunity.
Mt. stage wins likely from just about any of these guys... that's about it though.
More French guys riding around Italy enjoying the cappuccino. Dacruz could win a rolling stage if he cares to go for it.
No GC ambitions as far as I can see, but lots of talent and drive... Look for stage wins from TinTin, Foster or Fothen... a good shot at the team or intergiro comps.
The Killer! Could this be the year? Damn, I hope so, I've admired DiLuca since his first Giro in '99, the year Pantani got bounced. He'll have great support from the whole damn team... Nibali and Pellizotti in particular, Noe is supper solid rouleur... a really good team there. I'd say these guys could pull off a top 3 at least.
Long in the tooth, from Robbie on down to Nick Gates... McEwan can't be discounted yet, and I'd bet he'll win at least one stage... but not stage after stage like before. I hope Van Huffel gets off his ass and wins a stage... my VDS needs something to show for the 1.5 spent on him.
More stage raiders... maybe :-> will go for it in the big hills one day, but I'm not betting on it. Ardilla rode well a few years ago, helping Savo up some dirt road if I remember... Brown can win a sprint, if he can knock enough people out of his way, he'll have Van Bon and Max to clear the way for him too now and then. Look for many top 5 sprints for him, but no more.
Tony is the team leader! WTF? What gives with that one? Is Andy Schleck the real leader a'la the tall doper in ONCE's last Vuelta (who was that guy...)? These guys will win the TTT and probably the the team overall (forget what I said about CA). JJ will win a sprint 'cause I got him on my Giro VDS AND my season VDS just for that reason. Dave Z or Tony (or both of them) will win the long TT. Bad ass team... look for them to try to place Andy high in the GC.
Some guy named Ale Jet... I don't hope for much.
Michael Barry !! Hello, hello...