Tour of Italy: Giro: Three time trials, mountains and a German hope

The 106th Giro d'Italia starts on Saturday with an individual time trial in Abruzzo.

Tour of Italy: Giro: Three time trials, mountains and a German hope

The 106th Giro d'Italia starts on Saturday with an individual time trial in Abruzzo.

The German hopes rest on Lennard Kämna, who is tackling the overall standings in a Grand Tour for the first time. The top favorites for overall victory are world champion Remco Evenepoel and three-time Vuelta winner Primoz Roglic.

How is the track this year?

The start will be on May 6th with a 19.6 km individual time trial in Fossacesia Marina in Abruzzo. There are a total of three time trials this year with a total length of 73 kilometers, which should suit German champion Lennard Kämna. The tour ends after 3489.2 kilometers on May 28 in Rome. The decision about the overall victory will be made in the last week when three mountain finishes in Monte Bondone, Zoldo Alto and Tre Cime di Lavaredo as well as the mountain time trial to Monte Lussari are pending. A total of 51,400 vertical meters have to be mastered in the Giro.

Who are the favorites for overall victory?

The starting field at the second largest cycle race in the world is filled with top-class players like it hasn't been for a long time. Belgian road world champion Remco Evenepoel and three-time Vuelta champion Primoz Roglic from Slovenia are the top favourites. Both have already presented themselves in excellent form in the spring. Evenepoel again won the spring classic Liège-Bastogne-Liège. Roglic won at Tirreno-Adriatico and the Tour of Catalonia, where he stayed just ahead of Evenepoel. Also in attendance are former Tour de France winner Geraint Thomas and ex-Giro winner Tao Geoghegan Hart of Great Britain. The Australian defending champion Jai Hindley from the German Bora-hansgrohe team, on the other hand, is driving the Tour of France this year, instead the Russian Tour fifth-placed Alexander Vlasov will start.

What can we expect from German hopeful Lennard Kämna?

The talented ex-Junior World Champion drives for the first time in a Grand Tour in an overall ranking. The 26-year-old is an excellent time trialist and can also get over the mountains well, as he proved with his stage wins in the Tour (2020) and the Giro (2022) in the high mountains. But it is questionable whether the North German can keep up with the best for three weeks in a row. Anyway, his shape seems to be good. In the difficult tours of Tirreno-Adriatico and Tour of the Alps, he finished fourth and sixth overall.

Which other German drivers should be considered?

In the sprints, Pascal Ackermann is the focus. The Palatinate won two Giro stages and the points classification in 2019. Since then, however, not much has worked together for the Sprinter. The 29-year-old has been waiting for a win in the UAE team since the beginning of August 2022. It will also be interesting to see how Anton Palzer does as a helper in the Bora team. The 30-year-old is a career changer in cycling, in ski mountaineering he had previously won numerous World Cup medals.

What were the best German placings at the Giro d'Italia?

Kurt Stöpel (1932) and Didi Thurau (1983) made it to fifth place overall. Last year, Emanuel Buchmann still managed seventh place. However, no German driver has yet been granted a podium finish. The ex-tour winner Jan Ullrich, who was later suspended because of doping, only rode the Giro as a preparatory race in his career.

Why aren't superstar Tadej Pogacar and Tour de France champion Jonas Vingegaard there?

The tour begins just five weeks after the end of the Giro. The time is usually too short to compete for victory in both tours. The last rider to do this was climbing specialist Marco Pantani, who died in 2004 in 1998. Pogacar was also injured after his fall in Liège, and the Slovenian had to pause for several weeks due to a scaphoid fracture.

Where is the tour shown on TV?

The Giro can be seen free of charge. It will be broadcast again on Eurosport.