After hurtling our way through the classics season we now find ourselves on the precipice of 2016’s first grand tour of the season – the Giro d’Italia. The oncoming explosive battle for the overall win will be ignited right away with a head to head battle between Fabian Cancellara and Tom Dumoulin in a 9.8km prologue round the Dutch streets of Apeldoorn, set to determine who will see their shoulders emblazoned with the maglia rosa at the end of the day.
Fabian Cancellara is the standout contender for today’s race against the clock, the Swiss legend appeared in fantastic form during the spring and has long circled this as a huge target in his farewell season. Unfortunately for ‘Spartacus’, the last 24hrs has seen him suffer from a bout of stomach flu, but he appears in high spirits having confirmed that he will participate regardless. This year has seen him return to an extremely high level of time trialling for the first time in several seasons and he will be the man to beat; even if still sweating out the flu.
Tom Dumoulin has joined the ranks of the elite time trial specialists during the previous couple of seasons, but today’s prologue does not exactly play to his strengths. The Dutchman usually performs best when the terrain gets bumpy, so this course which comprises greatly of flat straights is likely to hinder him somewhat. On the other hand, home motivation and support has often been a source for stage wins at grand tours such as this and there will no doubt be plenty around to help him over the line.
Anton Vorobyev will be on many pundits ‘ones to watch’ list for this curtain raising prologue in the Dutch streets, hoping to fly under the radar and steal a win from beneath the big name riders’ noses. The young Russian rider was U23 World Champion in 2012 and comes here after a very impressive showing at Circuit Cycliste Sarthe which featured wins upon both the time trial and queen stage.
Bob Jungels always remains a threat on these short blasts against the clock given his ability to dish out the power, but would have preferred either a hillier or more technically demanding course to truly be a favourite.
Jos Van Emden shall be another source of home support during this prologue, the thirty-one year old Dutch rider looking to build upon recent efforts in prologues to win here; no doubt a long held ambition of his in the build-up to 2016’s Giro d’Italia.
1st Fabian Cancellara 2nd Tom Dumoulin 3rd Anton Vorobyev