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Viva il Giro! Prologue Preview and Friday Open Thread

Happy Friday to all! Tomorrow, we will have GIRO. How excited am I? Really, very excited. Italy! Bike racing! What's not to like? Okay, it's not quite Italy yet, there's that Denmark part to get through. Sharing the love, that's what.

Podi-2_medium Tomorrow's opening stage is a 8.7 kilometer flat time trial. I believe this is actually a prologue, but I never quite remember what the rule is about prologues versus time trials. Because it involves numbers and you know how well that always goes for me. Anyway, this thing is flat in the style of a pancake. The early kilometers are a bit technical with several 90-degree turns. Good bike handling will be key in this section. Then, there's a long straightaway, a final corner, and boom! It's over. Gazzetta has your stage information.

Jackson Rodríguez of Androni-Giacottoli-Venezuela is the first rider and will depart at 15:40 European time. Michele Scarponi of Lampre, last year's winner, will start at 19:19 as the final rider. Here is a prologue startlist with departure times so you can play along at home.

Favorites? Taylor Phinney, interviewed during the presentation show on RAI, said he had good legs and said he dreamed of wearing the Pink Jersey. This flat, fast time trial should suit him well. Geraint Thomas of Team Sky is another to watch for this one. This thingy is probably a bit short for Marco Pinotti, but he is a specialist against the watch, and Italian. The sprinters like Thor Hushvod and Tyler Farrar will likely place well. Sprinters, always looking for that first week Maglia Rosa. I'm just going to go ahead and pick Phinney to win. Why not?

Viva il Giro! Come on in, have some chat. Tomorrow, GIRO!