Let's break this up a bit. You surely don't need another list of teams and whether I think they'll be lauded for their overall performance. It just doesn't capture all that makes the Giro so great. No, let's break out the teams' performance into what really matters: stage wins, GC, secondary jerseys, TV time, and fashion. I am not sure yet where this is going, so let's proceed alphabetically. Each factor carries a rating of 0-5, and the more the merrier.
Acqua e Sapone
Stage Wins: Nice try today. With the rolling terrain throughout this Giro, Garzelli or one of the Flying Masciarellis is sure to bag something eventually. Well, not sure, but they won't rest til it happens. 2.5
GC: Long gone. Simoni will kick Stefano's ass again. sigh. 0
Secondary Jerseys: In the bag! Nobody within 30 points of Garzelli's leading KOM total will give a rat's ass about the competition, and that's leaving open the unconfirmed possibility that maybe Scarponi or Visconti might take a gander. Really, it's Garzelli's to lose. 4
TV Time: Not bad, particularly on today's long escape. Sponsors are getting their money's worth. 3.5
Totals: 12 points
Girbecco says: "So far, they're this year's most memorable irrelevant team!"
As usual, this might take a while. On the flip!
Stage Wins: Valjavec made an effort in the Dolomites, but that's it. On the plus side, they are in perfect position on GC to be allowed to chase long escapes. 1
GC: Tourists. Well, that's not completely fair, Valjavec is riding consistently well enough to make a play for the top ten. 0.5
Secondary Jerseys: Hm, fourth overall in the Fair Play rankings. Pretty good indicator you're not in contention for anything else when people congratulate you for playing nicely. 0
TV Time: This isn't July. 1
Girbecco says: "Looking good guys!"
Stage Wins: Zero interest whatsoever. Can you imagine Levi growling "no gifts!" into the microphone after bagging a stage? They'll probably nab a crono, but that's it. 1
GC: All over it. 5
Secondary Jerseys: Until they start decorating folks for the Fast Team Competition, there's nothing to see here. 0.5
TV Time: The story of the Giro so far. I could easily put a 10 here if I hadn't promised to use a five point scale. 5
Girbecco says: "Have you been watching stages and thinking to yourself, 'I sure do wonder what Lance is up to right now'?"
Stage Wins: Two legitimate threats, but watching Hunter get blown out by Boasson Hagen was a real reality check. Actually, a better bet might be Cardenas on a long escape. I'm bullish here. 3.5
GC: When Soler hurt his wrist in stage two, it was game-set-match. He should work his way up to the top ten at least, but over 4' back of Levi and Menchov is fatal. 2
Secondary Jerseys: Can't really see Soler chasing the KOM, or Froome making up 7.37 on Lovkvist. 1
TV Time: Consistently getting someone up the road, for better or worse. 2.5
Girbecco says: "Where exactly is Barloworld? Does the quarterback who wins the Arena Bowl run off the field shouting 'I'M GOING TO BARLOWORLD!!!'?"
Stage Wins: Voeckler gives you pause, but he's probably saving it for July. 0.5
GC: Tourists. For real, this time. 0
Secondary Jerseys: As unbelievable as it seems, the Giro have yet to invent a classification in which Bweeg are even a minor contender. 0
TV Time: For once, you can't blame the cameras for making Bbox Bweeg seem invisible. Maybe if they start running bottles up to Lance, you'll see them. 0
Girbecco says: ...snort... huh... "you were saying something?"
Stage Wins: Joaquim Rodriguez is usually a bet for a stage win someplace. Actually, CdE can be pretty proficient in minor wins, with a deep roster of guys who can pick their spots and hammer out a climb. 3
GC: The only downside is their slow realization that maybe they should have held Arroyo back for July. Anyway, he's ninth on GC, with a few names still likely to slide out of there. They're probably looking at their best Giro in years, which they accomplished by making it to Venice without any training disasters. 4
Secondary Jerseys: Not really their thing, unless they have one of their young studs in the young rider hunt. Not this time. 0
TV Time: RAI is bound to notice Arroyo one of these days. But they know J-Rod all too well from his consecutive Montelupone escapes. 2.5
Fashion: Solid. The red works well with the carbon-ized black pattern, and the outfit has been in circulation long enough to take on a certain "classic" status. Probably in the top three current kits you see on the Burke-Gilman Trail. 4
Girbecco says: "Spanish style. Really, they're a few bottles of hair gel from qualifying for an Italian license."
Cervélo Test Team
Stage Wins: Naught. aught
GC: It would fit the 2009 script nicely if Sastré went off on the Block Haus and made off with the race. Actually, come to think of it, it would really fit the script if he rode like a madman and finished second. 4.5
Secondary Jerseys: The Knights of é don't bother with secondary jerseys. 0
TV Time: Count on it. Quiet to this point, but it's all about week three. 3
Girbecco says: "Nice guys finish last. Except when they win the Tour. And maybe the Giro. And take second in all the monuments. Never mind."
Stage Wins: What they do best, although their various stage hunters (Kessiakoff, Capecchi, Vigano, etc.) aren't sure bets to ever cash in. 2
GC: Moving right along... 0
Secondary Jerseys: Am having trouble picturing anything. Hector Gonzalez is anonymous enough to chase the KOM, but he's starting from pretty far back. 1
TV Time: About the last thing anyone wants, though simply putting guys in long breaks guarantees you don't get shut out. 1.5
Fashion: Their kit actually has some nice 70s style to it, with the arching powder blue band as the nameplate. There's something missing in the execution, however, because whenever I see it in the pack it looks utterly dull. More contrast needed maybe? 3
Girbecco says: "Think the riders long for the good old days when they were named after a Mexican meat-packing plant?"
Stage Wins: Salvation lies herein. But if Cavendish sticks around, their chances of even the smallest consolation goes down dramatically. 2
Secondary Jerseys: I don't sense any interest. Cameron Meyer might win a white jersey somewhere, since he has about another five years' eligibility. 0
TV Time: Not until Farrar wins a sprint, or unless Zabriskie loves him some hilly time trial. 1
Girbecco says: "Their season has gone from bad to cruel in under two weeks."
Stage Wins: It's the role they were born to play! Now, actually winning something might be nice. But they remain active in the early stages, which is all you can ask of their lineup of solid non-stars. And yes, I called heartthrob Giovanni Visconti a non-star. 3
GC: Twas never thus. 0
Secondary Jerseys: Andriy Grivko is probably the most likely candidate to go after Garzelli's mountain kit. They have nothing else to work toward. 2
TV Time: Have Visconti, will get on TV. In fact, Visconti is leading the T. V. Competition, though I haven't the faintest idea what it's about. 3.5
Girbecco says: "Oscar the Gatto! Wait, shouldn't it be Felix?"
Stage Wins: Plenty of firepower for stage-hunting, but I suspect it's all held hostage to Cunego's interest in a high GC placement. Eventually they may get Gavazzi or Gasparotto in some breaks. 1
GC: Many bits spilled describing Cunego's fall from contention, but Marzio Bruseghin shouldn't be dismissed until we see what he does Thursday. 2.5
Secondary Jerseys: Not interested ever since Cunego's 26th birthday. 0
TV Time: Much! Probably more than they wish. 2
Girbecco says: "Who's idea was it to put a curse on the World Champion? It was funny when it was an unknown Latvian sprinter. Not so funny when it's a classy, powerful Italian star."
Stage Wins: Not likely. Basso and Pellizotti are closely watched, and the rest of the team is busy towing the peloton over every climb. 0
GC: Pellizotti looked frisky again today, which revives the two-headed GC monster storyline. If they could stop acting like US Postal circa 2003 and start racing more conservatively over the minor stages, they might actually accomplish something. But there's a reckoning on the horizon Thursday. 4.5
Secondary Jerseys: No time. 0
TV Time: All over the front of the race every day. The sponsor can't be too upset about this. 5
Fashion: You either love it or you hate it. When I see it hanging in a shop window, I hate it. And last year's version was truly bad. But when I see Basso or Nibali hanging around, looking tanned and tranquillo, I think it's pretty sharp. 3.5
Girbecco says: "Climb on my back boys! Wait, not all of you."
Stage Wins: The entire strategy. And it's working. 5
GC: See previous sentence. Each day that passes with the Killer in pink, it gets easier to imagine him staying there. 4.5
Secondary Jerseys: Accidentally, sure, why not? Actually, Petacchi is bound to win some sort of sprinter classification as well. 5
TV Time: Di Luca is the story of the race, and his team has been seen massing on the front when needed. And when not, there's always Petacchi. 5
Girbecco says: "Dear god, please don't let this story end with 'pipi of the angels'..."
Stage Wins: It's the role they were born to play! In Belgium, or Australia, or Qatar. 1.5
GC: Until they start keeping cumulative time in Vlaamse Wieler Week, fuggedaboutit. 0
Secondary Jerseys: They'd dearly love to be in the hunt for the points jersey, but the course doesn't suit Davis at all. However, Seeldrayers has a solid chance to catch Lovkvist in the young guns comp. 3
TV Time: Zippo. zippo
Girbecco says: "Hey! Quick Step are here!"
Stage Wins: One so far, though they won't be chasing anything outside GC stages. 2
GC: Looking more and more like the favorites. 5
Secondary Jerseys: No interest. 0
TV Time: Wait til week 3, when they are known for something other than Horrillo's plummet. 1.5
Girbecco says: "Nobody will ever tell Pedro Horrillo to HTFU again. Get well brah."
Serramenti PVC Bladyblah
Stage Wins: Excellent team for stage wins. One so far. 4
GC: Unless that stands for "Garzelli classification," Simoni isn't winning it. 2
Secondary Jerseys: Possibilities abound. Lovkvist, for example, shouldn't sleep on Jackson Rodriguez. But my hunch is they would prefer stage wins. 2
TV Time: Definitely a high enough profile to draw attention. 3
Girbecco says: "Making Hugo Chavez proud!"
Stage Wins: Gilbert has it in him. 2
GC: Are you kidding? From this sorry excuse for a cycling team? Honestly, other than providing Cadel Evans inadequate support every July, does this team have any real aspirations? Is there a plan someplace? Because this is the second-biggest race in the world, they're a thin outfit in the largest race, they are a constant, horrific disappointment in the classics... all with a very talented roster and a good budget. They make Rabo's management team look like geniuses every time. 0
Secondary Jerseys: I really hate their management. 0
TV Time: Their management fucking sucks. 0
Girbecco says: [muttering darkly]
Stage Wins: Devouring them at a record pace. There's a limit to the value of stage wins, but what's cool is seeing three different guys plus a team win. 5
GC: The inexorable fade is underway. I don't hate Rogers or Lovkvist in the crono, but they are giving up too much time on climbs that pale next to what lies ahead. The podium is a longshot, though not beyond their grasp. 2.5
Secondary Jerseys: Most definitely! Columbia are ready to sample something from every corner of the buffet. Maybe not points, but young rider and some minor classifications are very likely. 4
TV Time: Win stages, get on the toob. 4
Girbecco says: "Named after a company that's named after a river that unleashes power in every direction... except up."
Stage Wins: Filippo Pozzato desperately wants a stage. Desperately. They can be counted on to unleash someone every day. 1.5
GC: Not even close. 0
Secondary Jerseys: No interest. 0
TV Time: The camera LOVES Pippo! 3.5
Girbecco says: "Make it happen Pippo! This Giro needs a win by one of the northern classics guys, and that pretty much leaves you."
Stage Wins: Minor threat for a flier. 1.5
GC: Thomas Rohregger is their sole hope to make a dent on this Giro. 1
Secondary Jerseys: Nuthin. 0
TV Time: Why would you? 0
Girbecco says: "More German tourists, just what Italy needs."
Stage Wins: Quiet. Almost too quiet.... 1
GC: Long gone. Riis is retooling a bit this year, and the first major commitment to cross of the list was apparently the Giro. Now that he has a taste of maillot jaune, he can't let go. 0
Secondary Jerseys: I can't believe one of these vague classifications doesn't describe Jens Voigt to a tee. 1
TV Time: In the Processo, maybe. 1
Girbecco says: "More Jens!"
Stage Wins: Still picturing them getting someone away in a break that sticks. Presumably they are too. 2
GC: Never a threat. 0
Secondary Jerseys: Not interested. Stages only! 0
TV Time: Again, just in the breaks. And then only if there are no Italians along, and Lance isn't doing anything. 1
Girbecco says: "Thanks for coming! Don't forget your commemorative gift bag, and the buffet is open from 7-9:30."