Really. I'm looking at all the hot young talent moving up in the ranks and, bless me, they sure ain't here! That's overstating it a bit but think of the climby kids who aren't here: Gesink, Kreuziger, Nibali, Andy Schleck, C. A. Sorensen, Spilak... sigh. All of which will make for a rather thin Young Rider Competition. Now I'm not saying there isn't young talent here; it's just that much of it is in the sprinter category- and this Giro will not go down in history for its sprinter competition. So below I divide up the kids into two categories: 1) The Young Rider Competition: the climbers 2) The Sprinter types.
The Young Riders:
Okay there are some good climber phenoms here, starting with the BCS himself:
1. Kevin Seeldrayers, Quickstep
It's the BCS!!!! The Belgian Climbing Sensation!!! In what will no doubt be looked upon as an odd choice to win the Young Rider competition in light of who is #2, Girbecco kept pointing at this name as his choice. I ignored the Goat for a bit then he gored me into making this pick.
But consider what the BCS (who is not on the VDS list) has done this year: A nifty 11th place at California highlighted by a 6th on Stage 2, the stage where Levi exploded past the peloton. That was just a nice warm-up for his 7th place finish at Paris-Nice, including 12th on the Ventoux' Little Sister uphill finish stage. After that Quickstep wisely shut him down and he only emerged for training at the Romandie.
Girbecco says: Boonen? Who the 'ell is Boonen?????
Go to the flip to find out who's ranked 2nd...
2. Thomas Lovkvist, Columbia
Yeah this is the chalk #1 pick here and his early season backs it up, finishing ahead of the BCS at California (5th) and added a tasty 4th at Tirreno Adriatico and 6th at Fleche Wallonne. In the comments you can ridicule me to know end, but isn't odd that the talk at Columbia is about Siutsou and Rogers? Sandbagging or what?
Girbecco says: Old skool chrono excellence combined with good climby skills has won many a Giro!
3. Jackson Rodriguez Ortiz, Diqui
Who? The Ragin' Venezuelan'! 3rd at Langkawi, 1st at Vuelta Mexico, and 10th at Trentino where he was Simoni's right hand man. The kid loves his verticals. Chrono abilities? Meh. Finished 1:26 (81st) behind Kloden at Trentino's 16.3 km course.
Girbecco says: The second coming of Rujano!
4. Morris Possoni, Columbia
Possoni is the highest returning Young Rider from last year, landing in 8th place a year ago.
Girbecco says: There are two things in life that it's not wise to do: engage in a land war in Asia and overlooking an Italian in the Giro. Oh and betting against Sicilians when death is on the line. That too.
5. Francis De Greef, Silence Lotto
A respectable 41st on the main climb at Pais Vasco, finishing with the likes of Siutsou, Arroyo, and Di Gregorio allows a passing thought he might do okay here. Better yet, he raced the Giro last year, finishing in 40th with a high of 16th on the Marmolada climby stage 15. Makes one think of Van den Broeck, no?
Girbecco says: Can Silence strike twice in two years? Survey says yes!
6. Chris Froome, Barloworld
1st of a pair of vertically inclined Barloworldians on a team of such riders. And Hunter. Must not forget Robbie Hunter.
Girbecco says: Who says Brits can't climb?
7. Francesco Masciarelli, Acqua & Sapone
One of the Masciarelli triplets at A&S, had a decent prep race at Trentino, finishing in 23rd, right behind Kloden. This is one of those Italian kids you've never heard about who proceeds to make big noise at the Giro. So instead of scratching your head wondering who he is, now you can impress your friends by saying he's one of the top contenders for the Young Rider competition.
Girbecco says: He's ranked way too low!
8. John-Lee Augustyn, Barloworld
Froome's teammate, best known for taking the quick way down a mountain.
Girbecco says: Young teammates will help each other!
9. Dario Cataldo, Quickstep
I think of him as an all-rounder. Had a decent prep at Romandie where he finished 22nd.
Girbecco says: Between this kid, the BCS, Devo, Deveyens: Quickstep is building a Grand Tour team! They think!
10. Eros Capecchi, Fuji
A stealthy 16th at Tirreno-Adriatico hasn't been followed up by anything much.
Girbecco says: Great name!
11. Ignatas Konovalovas, Cervelo
Strength is against the clock.
Girbecco says: This kid has a long future as a glue guy!
The Sprinter Types
No descriptions or quotes from Girbecco, who's off pawing the ground, impatiently waiting for the start.