The news just broke and many questions, of course, follow.
The biggest for me is- who will they bring and what will their intentions be?
Are they going to hedge their bets and hold back the Contadors, Klodens and Leipheimers of the world from a full-on GC push (so as to save them for Le Tour) or are they going there to take home the Maglia Rosa? There are no guarantees that they’re going to get into the Tour, so this might be their biggest stage of the year.
Of course, there’s also the question of fitness and form. One can’t just turn it on for a three week stage race. Is anyone ready for such a thing? Have they been prepping “just in case?” So many questions and so little time to sort it all out in time for the start of the race.
Astana given place in Giro field
Organisers of the Giro d’Italia have invited the Astana team to compete in their tour at just one week’s notice.
Astana, thrown out of last year’s Tour de France for doping violations, were originally excluded from the event.
In other Giro news, Petacchi is skipping the race due to bronchitis. Petacchi basically owns the Giro, so that might give some other people a shot at some stage wins. Sad to see him miss out though, as he really is a joy to watch when he’s on form.
Here’s Astana’s team for the race:
- Assan Bazayev
- Antonio Colom
- Alberto Contador
- Vladimir Gusev
- Maxim Iglinskiy
- Andreas Klöden
- Levi Leipheimer
- Andrey Mizurov
- Dmitriy Muravyev
Think they’re going there to win? I do. That’s a strong team. Whatever way you slice it, three guys who have finished on the podium of the Tour de France is a pretty solid foundation and Iglinsky and Gusev have shown me a lot over the past couple of years.
I do wonder who will be their main rider. It might be whoever ends up being on best form. Which is tough to judge in advance since “the big three” have all had pretty solid spring campaigns.