Sean Kelly Analysis: Giro d’Italia is wide open after Denmark stages
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Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Sean Kelly Analysis: Giro d’Italia is wide open after Denmark stages

by Shane Stokes at 6:28 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Interviews, Giro d'Italia
Irishman names his favourites, is surprised weather wasn’t a factor in breaking things up

Sean KellyFormer world number one and Eurosport cycling expert Sean Kelly has said that the list of possible winners of the Giro d’Italia is much longer than many had expected after the opening stages, with the predicted echelons failing to materialize and break things up.

The Irishman admitted he was surprised with how things had played out, and the fact that two bunch sprints settled stages two and three of the race.

“When you look at the stages we have had in Denmark, people were saying two, three, four months ago that there was the possibility of a lot of windy conditions in first two road stages. Many said that there was going to be some of the favourites who are going to lose a lot of time.

“Yet here we are after the second road stage, and everything went through without any problems for anyone. That is a surprise to me…I was concerned that there would be a lot of windy conditions, aggressive racing, crashes, and favourites losing three, four, five minutes. But that hasn’t happened.”

Time gaps have largely remained the same as they were after the opening time trial. Taylor Phinney (BMC Racing Team) stays in the Maglia Rosa after a final kilometre crash yesterday, but won’t challenge for the overall. John Gadret, the least-well placed of the riders targeting GC, is just one minute sixteen seconds back.

The time gaps will certainly open further in tomorrow’s team time trial, but the absence of echelons means that the climbers will likely all remain within striking distance heading towards the first mountains.

“Now we go back to Italy and from here on we should have more of a normal race,” says Kelly. “The weather conditions can still possibly affect things - there could be bad weather and, as we know in Italy, some of these finishes can be quite hectic if the weather conditions are not nice.

“But we definitely have more guys in the general classification than I would have forecasted three days ago.”

Kelly’s likely contenders:

Pressed on who he sees as the main runners for the final pink jersey, Kelly names several riders as those who he perceives as the most dangerous. Two former winners are the first to come to mind, then four climbers.

“The favourites for me are [Ivan] Basso, I think he is starting to look okay. [Michele] Scarponi too - I don’t think we can count him out. [Frank] Schleck has got through these important days too. Then you have the likes of [Domenico] Pozzovivo and [José] Rujano – if they can limit their losses prior to a very difficult final week, then they go into that list of who can win the race and who can be on the podium.

“[Joaquim] Rodriguez is the other one – he has definitely got through these two days well. He would have been a little bit concerned about those stages as he doesn’t like flat conditions, and if there is a lot of wind and very aggressive, hectic racing, it is not his cup of tea at all. But he has also come through that fine.”

Also see: Kelly speaks about yesterday’s chaotic final sprint and the need for sprinters to accept when they are wrong.


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