10 GC riders to target the Giro d’Italia in 2018

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10 GC riders to target the Giro d’Italia in 2018

While the 2018 Giro d’Italia route has been unveiled to the public the number of Grand Tour contenders set to take part remains unclear. Chris Froome (Team Sky) and Fabio Aru (UAE Team Emirates) are two of the exceptions, having already declared their participation, while the likes of Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain Merida) and the defending champion, Tom Dumoulin (Team Sunweb) remain coy. Cyclingnews looks at the key riders who could line up in Jerusalem next May.

Chris Froome (Team Sky)
Chance of riding: 100 per cent
GC prospects: The four-time Tour de France winner has already announced that he will race the Giro for the first time since disqualification in 2010. The Team Sky leader is an unrecognisable force since then, and has become stage racing’s dominant proposition. He appears to modify his characteristics for each challenge, and while the Giro is an entirely different beast to the Tour, or even the Vuelta, Froome will head to Israel as the man to beat. Whether he can maintain his condition and win a fourth straight Grand Tour in July is far more uncertain but the 32-year-old’s participation marks Team Sky’s most determined attempt to win the Giro since their inception.

Tour de France winner Chris Froome flanked by runner-up Rigoberto Urán and third-placed Romain Bardet

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Fabio Aru (UAE Team Emirates)
Chance of riding: 100 per cent
GC prospects: Aru is the only other genuine Grand Tour contender to have thrown his hat into the ring at this early stage. The Italian, having moved teams from Astana to UAE Team Emirates, doesn’t have the armoury around him that Froome possesses at Team Sky but the importance of racing on home roads can’t be overlooked, and while Froome has been concentrating on the Tour the Sardinian has finished second and third at the Giro, and picked up three stage wins along the way. The lack of depth at UAE could prove to be a telling issue at the Giro but at least Aru can concentrate on a Grand Tour that has neither a team time trial nor Alexander Kristoff to contend with. Spare a thought for Dan Martin.

Esteban Chaves (Orica Scott)
GC prospects: 100 per cent
Overall: After a disappointing 2017 Chaves needs a strong Giro d’Italia, and while Orica Scott are keeping their Grand Tour plans under wraps until the new year, Italy makes the most sense for the Colombian climber. Second in 2016, and with a relatively mountain-friendly parcours, the 27-year-old could be Froome’s most dangerous rival. The prologue in Jerusalem will be a minor concern, and although the Rovereto test against the clock will likely see Froome gain between two and three minutes, Chaves should be knocking on Matt White’s door demanding a Giro shot.

Louis Meintjes (Dimension Data)
Chance of riding: 100 per cent
Overall: Both Meintjes and his team have already announced that the South African climber will target the Giro in 2018. The Tour de France remains the long-term goal but with Mark Cavendish heading to France in order to break Eddy Merckx’s stage record, Meintjes is heading to Italy in order to ‘get some more experience’. Having finished in the top-10 in three Grand Tours already one could argue that the Dimension Data returner already has the knowledge to race over three weeks but the Giro perhaps gives him the chance to compete over more favorable terrain. The lack of team time trialing in Italy will please him, while his style of plugging away in the mountains and remaining consistent should help during the Giro’s brutal mountains.

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