No Brits in Giro d’Italia – resting for the Tour de France or not enough good Brits for the Grand Tours?
For the first time in 15 years, no Brits will begin the Giro d’Italia. Team Sky is being led by Australian Richie Porte, and though there are seven Britons in the team that is supposed to be an incubator for British road cycling, none will start in this, the second biggest Tour after the Tour de France. What’s going on? Is British cycling going down the tubes or are they just resting their legs?
Cav having a break
Manxman Mark Cavendish is one of the best sprinters in the world yet has had a poor run of form in recent Tour de Frances. Since 2013 he has skipped the Giro d’Italia to rest his legs ahead of the big one starting in July.
This may well be the reason for the lack of British entrants in the race overall. Our adopted hero, Kenyan born Chris Froome is also taking a break though has strongly indicated his intention to race in the Tour de France. If last year’s race is anything to go by then he will be supported by Richie Porte as his super domestique. Porte is on form and unlike last year’s Tour de France is a stalking horse contender for the title should something go wrong for Froomey again.
This year Team Sky is fielding a team of foreign cyclists for the race. The nine man team on the Giro includes two Italians and riders from Australia, Europe and Colombia.
Many watchers again point to the Giro taking second fiddle to the three week French classic. More Brits than ever before are on the road cycling squad, with a number who have had a lot of experience on the Tour de France before. Geriant Thomas is a well renowned Team Sky stalwart where fellow Welshman Luke Rowe is setting his sights on a Tour debut after finishing 8th in this year’s Paris Roubaix.
Other British riders with plans to help go for another British victory at the Tour de France include tough nut Ian Stannard and 2014 Tour of Austria winner Peter Kennaugh.
Could €1 million help the Giro?
So, it seems that it isn’t the lack of British talent that’s the reason for a British no show at the Giro d’Italia. It is the race itself. Though Alberto Contador is racing it in preparation for the Tour de France, the British contingent are resting their legs. Celebrity talent frequently makes or breaks a race, and though the Giro is widely held as the second most important of the Grand Tour circuit, the big guys don’t stoop to racing the second biggest. Part of going for glory is risk, and many a contender for the Tour de France has been injured in the Italian race.
To get round this issue, Tinkoff – Saxo team owner Oleg Tinkov has offered to pay the four major contenders for the Tour de France €1 million to race the Giro, the Tour de France and the Vuelta a Espana. Contador, Froome, Vincenzo Nibali and Nairo Quintana haven’t apparently taken up the offer because it seems that the risks involved may impact their chances of success in any of them.