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Giro: How are our favorites doing?

So let's take a look at the Top 20 that we predicted before the start in Belfast. What still stands and where did we drop the proverbial (crystal)ball? I made some pretty.....let's call them definite predictions and it now turns out we have encountered some weird thing called "reality" in the first week of the Giro. So here are some very minor adjustments to the original predictions now that we have put the second rest day behind us.

Bryn Lennon - Velo/Getty Images

1. Nairo Quintana

Let's face it, if Gilberto Simoni were here he wouldn't have declared that "the Giro starts now" yet so let's not over-analyze Nairo's performance so far. He hasn't ridden everyone off his wheel but nor has he looked to be in trouble at any point so let's just say he's had a normal week for any top-favorite aiming to make the difference in the final week. He hadn't raced since Catalunya either so it would have been weird if he was storming out of the gate.

2. Joaquim Rodriguez
always finds some way to f*** up is what I said. This wasn't what I meant really. Bad luck is bad luck, no harm in that. We'll probably see a J-Rod hungry for revenge in the Vuelta, or even the Tour and opponents may be ruing the day he crashed out here then. NEW PREDICTION: DNF

3. Rigoberto Uran
Good old trusty Rigo looks a fair bit sharper than we're used to. Maybe it's the fact that he is the trusted No 1 GT captain at OmegaPharma or maybe it's just that he has been more solely focused on the Giro this year with very few distractions along the way. Either way he looks scary good so far. He may actually be the man I'm most interested to follow in the Barolo TT, partly because he is one of the bigger questionmarks for me there. If he does well it really opens up a huge window of opportunity. He could end up being a way bigger favorite than I gave him credit for.
NEW PREDICTION: Still 3rd but possibly with a bullet.

4. Domenico Pozzovivo
It looks so convincing doesn't it? Ag2r are looking red hot, no crashes or timelosses in the first days, he steals half a minute on the rivals, we know he's going to dominate the TT in true Pozzerwagen style...... how can you not make him the top favorite right now? Well, I stil have faith in his ability to lose the plot somewhere and lose enough time to keep him out of the top spots. And all jokes aside I have an nagging doubt about his long TT, I think he will end up losing some valuable time there frankly.

5. Cadel Evans
Better than we thought, more relaxed than we thought, more focused than we thought, the team looks about as strong as we thought, no crashes, confidence gained from an aggressive first week. I know there's still the chance that he has the dreaded off-day or that the big climbs are just one level too much for him these days but I'm going to go out on a limb and say he's back near his best level.

6. Rafal Majka
The kid is looking mighty impressive. His teammates talk about his calm leadership and relaxed attitude which is a bit odd considering he doesn't have all that much experience. He may be lacking a little confidence to take those last chances that would propel him higher in the standings and his strategy is simply to try and follow the best as much as he can but that's not a bad plan for a guy in Majka's shoes.

7. Dan Martin
Ja. Luck of the Irish probably requires you to irish irish for real irish, not some sort of half-adopted Brummie. We all know what went wrong.

8. Fabio Aru
First hurdle is crossed, getting Scarponi out of the way. Got through the carnage ok too it seems. TT seems to be the big question mark now. After that it should all be opportunities for the Astana rider. He should stand as good a chance as any of the other kids (Nairo , Majka, Wilco) to last the three weeks one would think?

9. Wilco Kelderman
I know what your thinking, "he's going to sing that bloody Hegemony song again". Well, I am. How good does Wilco look right now? Damn good is how good he looks. Of course we all probably knew he could handle the kind of stages we've seen so far and we all probably know he can handle the timetrial ok, so maybe we should just shut up and wait to see what happens on the road up to Oropa and on the climbs that follow? That would probably be prudent. Right now though I'll say the kid will do alright.

10. Przemyslaw Niemec
As Diego Ulissi went up like a rocket Niemec fell flat like a pancake. That's about par for the course on wacky Lampre. Not sure why dull and dependable Niemec lost the dependable part but his Giro is over. He's looked lost but if he has any legs left in this race he will be asked to put them in service of Ulissi at this point.

11. Michele Scarponi
Crash victim. I don't think we missed out on much frankly. This way Astana got some help making the call to put all it's weight behind Aru instead of pandering to the old timer and the Italian journalists that can't let go of the past. Notice how I drifted into a whole different discussion there? Nvm. Scarponi will probably come to a day when this isn't fun anymore and he'll go focus on the TdF instead.

12. Robert Kiserlovski
I called Kiserlovski a golden donkey last time but he looks a lot more than that in this race. I'm still not convinced he will be up to the pace when the real bad days come but he' s impressive so far. With Arredondo out of it and probably chasing stages and the mountains jersey, Trek really should be focused on Kiserlovski and it could pay off. That said, the guy still feels like should fall off the pace when the real bigs go hard on the three big mountain stages and he doesn't really master the TT so ........

13. Ivan Santaromita
Orica has been all over this and maybe Santaromita got swept away in the hubbub. Anyway he's been far off so far but he feels like the dude who will keep grinding away to a solid but unspectacular 20th place
NEW PREDICTION: 20th place.

14. Riccardo Zoidl
So that didn't happen at all did it. Guess he wasn't ready for this level after all. 

15. Ryder Hesjedal
Discount the TTT crash and Ryder is looking golden here. Of course he was looking triple-golden last year before he imploded like a game 7 Boston Bruins team last year which makes him hard to predict. I have a feeling he will ride conservatively to show that 2012 wasn't a huge fluke and it will keep him near-ish the top.

16. Pierre Rolland
If anyone has a clearer picture of what Rolland will get out of this race than they did a week ago please raise your hand. He obviously has some mad form but what is he trying to do? Was his attack on stage 8 a serious attempt to gain GC time or is he solely focused on getting a big mountainstage-win somewhere? If it was the first all he needs is some cool and some smarts and he should climb to a very solid placing. Otherwise, who knows?

17. Maxime Monfort
I haven't noticed Monfort in the race yet and I doubt I will much later either
NEW PREDICTION: Same as the old prediction.17th. Exciting.

18. Dario Cataldo
So that went well. Did Sky start polishing the bus for the TdF yet?

19. Ivan Basso
Maybe I should have had him higher up in the ranking?  Hahahahahahahaha
NEW PREDICTION: 18th (whaa? he's actually looked good so far)

20. Julian Arredondo
"Expect a strong start" is what I said so maybe not pay so much attention to me at this point perhaps? Granted, without the crash he probably would have had a strong start. The attempt to rebound on stage 8 was admirable too and he could become a serious serious candidate for the climbers jersey.

The New Kids on the Blocco

We said goodbye to a few so here are some who could be filling their places instead.

Diego Ulissi
Wonderkid who suddenly looks like an at least semi-serious climber. Will he when he sees the Stelvio? Nah.

Wout Poels
Truly talented kid who will be working hard for Uran in the weeks to come. Will probably squeeze a respectable placing out of it too.

Fabio Duarte
With seventy six potential Colombians in the top 20 some will have to go . Still not convinced Duarte will be relevant but ok he can perhaps squeeze in the top 20.

Konstantin Siutsov
Skys best bet for a result in Italy was probably Kosta all along but presumably he has bigger jobs ahead. At this point I wonder if he doesn't squeeze in a good GC anyway in the end

Dani Moreno
With J-Rod gone there's the spunky understudy left. He was clearly uninterested in his GC from the start but from his position about 10 min back he could well get a decent result yet. Or he just aims for stages just to screw with me? Damn Spaniards.

Franco Pellizotti
He of the formerly great hair is high on the list of suspects (no not that this time) to get in a good break and sneak up the GC.

Hubert Dupont
Token French anonymous climber to stick high up in the GC as the tough climbs come around.


  1. Nairo Quintana
  2. Cadel Evans
  3. Rigoberto Uran
  4. Domenico Pozzovivo
  5. Rafal Majka
  6. Wilco Kelderman
  7. Fabio Aru
  8. Robert Kiserlovski
  9. Pierre Rolland
  10. Ryder Hesjedal
  11. Diego Ulissi
  12. Dani Moreno
  13. Franco Pellizotti
  14. Konstantin Siutsou
  15. Hubert Dupont
  16. Wout Poels
  17. Maxime Monfort
  18. Ivan Basso
  19. Fabio Duarte
  20. Ivan Santaromita