Giro Cycling: Time to nibble Nibali

The Giro D’Italia hits the penultimate stage today, and the last in the mountains.  Although it does not feature a summit finish, there are two punishing climbs that could determine the course of this year’s race.

The overall classification has become tremendously tight after the last week’s racing.  If anyone is allowed to break away today then they will need to be from outside the top 10, and serial achiever Mikel Landa looks a worthy stage favourite at around 5/1.

The more interesting dynamic is the outright race.  Long-time favourite Nairo Quintana wears the pink jersey having snatched a 38 second lead over strongman Tom Dumoulin.  A time trial concludes the race tomorrow, and Dumoulin will be confident of clawing back that time-gap from Quintana who lacks the flat speed power to time trial with the best.

Quintana’s Movistar team can therefore be expected to attack on the big climbs in the hope of putting Dumoulin in trouble and adding what will need to be around 30 seconds or more to give Nairo a defendable lead.

The by-product of that dynamic, is a real chance for 3rd and 4th placed riders Vincenzo Nibali and Thibaut Pinot.  They are just 5 and 15 seconds behind Dumoulin respectively.  Neither rider would be likely to outride Dumoulin in a time trial to close those gaps, but equally both are significantly stronger against the clock than Quintana and would have hope of closing the 43 and 53 seconds gaps to the race leader.

If Movistar do crack Dumoulin, then it could be Nibali and Pinot, by matching Quintana’s time who could benefit most if the big Dutchman loses ground.

Quintana is just 2/1 to win the Giro, behind 6/5 Dumoulin, but we think Nibali in particular is at least as likely as Quintana to win from here, and that is rated at 6/1.  We will have some of that and hope he can distance Dumoulin on todays’ hills, and Quintana on tomorrow’s flats.

Recommendation:  V. Nibali, to win the Giro D’Italia, 6/1 Betfred

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