Giro stage 1 preview

Stage 1: Napoli to Napoli, 130km, flat

This year’s Giro dispenses with an opening prologue and goes straight to the road, giving the sprinters a clear run at the first maglia rosa. The last time Naples saw a Giro start was in 1963 and much has changed in 50 years, so the circuits around the city and seafront are the perfect showcase for the rejuvenated city.

While the parcours has a few lumps in the first 56km, the seafront circuits are flat, which will have the sprinters frothing at the mouth to be the first over the finish line. There are three tight right-handers in quick succession to negotiate just before the 2km marker, and with everyone anxious to make a big first impression the chances of a crash are high. But for those who make it through the road is wide and straight for the final kilometre – perfect for a clean lead-out.

Of course, Italian sprinters such as Saxo-Tinkoff’s Daniele Bennati, Cannondale’s Elia Viviani and Lampre’s loose cannon Roberto Ferrari will be wanting to strut their stuff in front of their countrymen. But they will have to outfox a motivated John Degenkolb (Argos-Shimano) and Mark Cavendish – if he can get the OPQS sprint train on the right track – for the honours.

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Link: Official website

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