Giro d'Italia Stage 1 Tips: Campenaerts for time trial turn up

Victor Campenaerts at Giro d'Italia
Victor Campenaerts' form of 2019 would see him hard to beat on Stage 1 of the Giro

Ganna's invincibility is now in doubt, writes Jack Houghton, who thinks there are questions around all the market leaders

"This is on the short side of Ganna's ideal distance, and whilst it would be no surprise to see him win, especially in his home race, those odds are too skinny to represent value..."

What's the stage like?

A short individual time trial on a largely flat course around Turin. There will be little to challenge riders, with long, straight stretches favouring the power merchants. As the course crosses the river, at around the midpoint, there are a few corners that will need navigating with care, but otherwise this is a straightforward trial. The fastest rider should win.

Who are the favourites?

Last year, the fastest rider in any time trial was Filippo Ganna, who starts as favourite at around 2.407/5. He won six out of seven in 2020, building on the promise he showed in 2019. Against the backdrop of that form, had anyone priced this up at the start of the season, Ganna would have been long odds-on. But this year his form has been wobblier. He won time trials at the UAE Tour and Etoile de Bessèges, both in February, but has lost three subsequent ones since, including two at the recent Tour de Romandie.

This is on the short side of Ganna's ideal distance, and whilst it would be no surprise to see him win, especially in his home race, those odds are too skinny to represent value.

Who are the most likely outsiders?

Remi Cavagna (4.507/2) won where Ganna failed at the Tour de Romandie, and probably brings the best form into the race against the clock. He would want a longer, harder course to show his best, though, and is likewise hard to back.

As is Remco Evenepoel, whose odds for this have shortened in recent days to around 3.65 at the time of writing. Evenepoel dished out Ganna's sole defeat last season in an individual time trial in the Vuelta a San Juan Internacional and is insanely talented. But for reasons outlined in our Giro Preview, it's hard to back him just yet with any confidence.

Which leaves Victor Campenaerts as the best option for a value bet at around 12.0011/1. The last two seasons haven't seen him at his peak, with his sole time trial outing in Paris-Nice this year being underwhelming at best, but if able to recover his 2019 form, he would be hard to beat on a course that suits. Hopefully his commitment to allow fans to warm-up alongside him for the time trial on virtual cycling platform, Zwift, won't be a distraction, but either way it's worth keeping stakes small at this early point in the Giro.

What effect will it have on the overall market?

There are unlikely to be any significant gaps between the favourites for the General Classification, but a punchy time trial like this will make for some nervous riders, and we may know a bit more by the end of it about who is bringing form to the race.

*Odds correct at the time of writing

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