The Tour of Italy, first Grand Tour of the year, starts this Saturday. Our chronicler Cyrille Guimard, who has won this event three times as a sports director (1980 and 1982 with Bernard Hinault, 1989 with Laurent Fignon), did with us the turn of the favorites, of Primoz Roglic at Tom Dumoulin Passing by Simon Yates and Vincenzo Nibali. He also mentioned the French who, even if they should not play the podium in Rome, will still have the opportunity to shine with Alexis Vuillermoz, Tony Gallopin or Arnaud Démare.
Primoz Roglic at the arrival of the 1st stage of the 102nd Giro!
Of all the leaders present at the start, Primoz Roglic is the one who has shown the most beautiful things since the beginning of the season. Is he the big favorite?
On what we see for three years, Roglic is in a position of great favorite, with a team that seems well honed. He is the one who offers the most guarantees on paper, and he has been imperial since the beginning of the season. The other big favorites did not show as much. You have to be wary of a rider like Simon Yates, last year I think he was over-powered, and I do not see him doing the same thing again this year, even though I think he's still an outsider compared to in Roglic. I think he's missing something, he's there, but maybe he's missing some power. After in a race it can all happen, especially in Italy, and runners like Vincenzo Nibali or Tom Dumoulin can enjoy it.
Can the absence of Egan Bernal change the face of the race?
On the Grands Tours there is always a number of favorites, a dozen at most. Depending on the race circumstances, half are eliminated and there are only three or four left in the last week. There, Bernal was eliminated even before the start, like Valverde although since his title of world champion he is not really the same runner. It's the race, it's like that.
What can we expect from the French riders, who in the absence of Thibaut Pinot should not play a place on the podium?
For some time, the French are uninhibited, and they will go on this Giro without particular pressure. Alexis Vuillermoz can go for a top 10. He will be an actor for the victories of stages or something else, the doors are wide open and he will have to let go, take initiatives. Some courses are like a glove. It's the same for his team mate Tony Gallopin, who can redo on this Tour of Italy what he did on the Tour of Spain last year (a stage victory). They will not win the Giro, but they have a shot to play. On this Tour of Italy, all French can and must take their chance.
The only French who will be under pressure is Arnaud Démare …
He had a half-hearted start to the season, and it is true that he will have a lot of pressure. It will have to come with a knife between his teeth, especially as the competition for sprints will be tough, but he has the means to win even if a Viviani home with the armada Deceuninck – Quick-Step will be hard to beat . Afterwards, the whole Groupama-FDJ is built around him, even if the young Valentin Madouas could have his map on some steeper stages. But what Nacer Bouhanni has already done on the Giro in the past (3 stage wins in 2014), Arnaud Démare can do it.
David Gaudu will not be present in Italy, while he showed on the Tour de Romandie that he was in great shape. Would not it have been a good time for him to lead a Grand Tour?
The team's program was built like this from the end of last year. It could have modified it according to certain external elements, but it remains difficult to leave this programming. For the moment, David Gaudu is not yet in a leadership process, he is in a process of lieutenant in the service of his leader. Is he now mature enough to lead the Grands Tours? On a Tour of Romandie, on a Dauphiné, yes, but on a Grand Tour it's different. The power, it is taken, and at some point it will take the power. It will come, but for now I think he is not ready.
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