Quintana Favorite Heading Into A Somber Giro d’Italia

It’s time for the Grand Tours!

The Giro d’Italia kicks of on May 5th, spanning 21 stages (and 2,220 miles) in three weeks. Often featuring a watered-down cast as cycling’s cream preps for the Tour de France (TDF) instead, this year bucks the trend. The start list is replete with strong Pink Jersey contenders, and fans should be in for a rousing battle.

Tragically missing from the list is Michele Scarponi, who was scheduled to lead Team Astana. The 2011 winner was killed last week when he was hit by a car during a training ride, leaving the entire cycling world in mourning. 

As the peloton attempts to move on from the loss, so do we. With the Giro just over a week away, here are the odds for the top contenders.

2017 Giro d’Italia Odds (General Classification)

Nairo Quintana (Team Movistar): 3/2

Nairo Quintana will be seeking the Giro-Tour double this season, and he starts the Italian Grand Tour as the overwhelming favorite. The pocket-sized climber won the event in 2014, snapping up two stages and winning by almost three minutes.

Last year, he won the Vuelta a España and placed third at the Tour. This year, he’s off to a great start after picking up a win at Tirreno-Adriatico.

He may not be the favorite for the TDF, but he’ll start the Giro as the man to beat.

Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida): 4/1

The defending champion will be looking to win the event with the newly formed Bahrain-Merida team. The four-time Grand Tour winner was forced to make way for the younger Fabio Aru at Astana, and he’ll be looking to show his former team that it made a grave mistake.

While his season is only just starting, he’s already picked up a win at the Tour of Croatia. He may not have as strong a team supporting him this season, but at least he’ll have their undivided loyalty. His willingness to take chances, his sublime bike handling, and his transcendent descent skills make him ever-dangerous, especially when paired with his never-say-die approach. 

Steven Kruijswijk (LottoNL-Jumbo): 8/1

Steven Kruijswijk was en route to his first ever Grand Tour win last year at the Giro before crashing out in spectacular fashion during a treacherous descent in the snow.  He’ll be looking for redemption this year and he’ll definitely be a fan favorite coming into the event.

Mikel Landa & Geraint Thomas (Team Sky): 12/1

Mikel Landa and Geraint Thomas start the Giro as co-leaders for Team Sky, at least on paper. There’s always a lot of politics at play when this happens, and both riders will be vying for more support than the other. Thomas has had a better start to the season, picking up the Tour of the Alps. Landa’s season hasn’t gone according to plan, placing fifth in the same race.

There’s not much between the two, and the odds reflect that.

Tom Dumoulin (Team Sunweb): 15/1

Team Sunweb (formerly Giant-Alpecin) features a brand new roster this season, and their General Classification hopes are pinned on the young Tom Dumoulin. The 26-year-old time trialist has dreams of being a GC contender and he’s started out well in quite a few Grand Tours.

However, when the gradients start to rise, he begins to suffer and the smaller climbers start to wreak havoc. He’s still improving, though, and if he can hold on in the high mountains this season, he’ll have a fighting chance.

By BestKevin from Italy (mini-DSC_5169) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons