Giro d'Italia - Favourites prepare for open Giro
Some of the riders expected to be among the main protagonists of this year's Giro D'Italia believe it could be the most open race for years.
Ahead of the first stage of the 95th edition of the race on Saturday – a time trial in the Danish city of Herning - a pre-race press conference saw several entrants claim it would be a tight contest.
"There are a lot of favourites this year, who all have an equal chance of victory or to climb on the podium," said 2011 winner Michael Scarponi. "This will affect the first part of the race; it’ll be more difficult to control."
Joaquin Rodriguez of Spain agreed, adding that the unfamiliar conditions of the first three stages in Scandinavia will have an effect on the field.
"There are a lot of riders who can win the Giro, including some who could cause a surprise," said the Team Katusha rider. "The last week will be tough and will decide the race. The problem here in Denmark will be the wind. I don’t like it but I’m not worried about it."
One rider who will know the roads of the first three days' stages inside out is Danish rider Thor Hushovd.
"My season hasn’t gone as I hoped so far," he said. "I was sick at Milano-Sanremo, crashed at Paris-Roubaix and lost the race.
"I’m motivated to do well at the Giro d’Italia and want get a first win wearing a BMC jersey. I’m especially looking forward to the opening stages in Denmark, it’s like racing at home for me."