Geraint Thomas enters the 2020 Giro d’Italia as a +100 pre-race favorite. Photo by filip bossuyt (flickr).
- The Giro d’Italia begins Saturday, Oct. 3rd, in Sicily
- 2018 Tour de France champion Geraint Thomas is the race favorite
- Where is the best wagering value in this year’s Giro d’Italia?
Normally, the Giro d’Italia takes place in May, and this year’s event was scheduled to begin in Hungary for the very first time.
COVID-19 changed those plans. Saturday (Oct. 3rd), the 103rd edition of the race gets going with an individual time trial in Sicily.
Team Ineos, which has dominated cycling over the past decade, had a disappointing Tour de France. They will look to salvage their season with in Italy with 2018 Tour de France-winner Geraint Thomas as team leader and pre-race favorite.
Thomas isn’t the only viable candidate. Let’s consider the odds for the top contenders in the General Classification, and see where we can find betting value.
Giro d’Italia Winner Odds
|Geraint Thomas (Ineos)||+100|
|Simon Yates (Mitchelton-Scott)||+300|
|Jakob Fuglsang (Astana)||+550|
|Steven Kruijswijk (Jumbo-Visma)||+700|
|Vincenzo Nibali (Trek – Segafredo)||+800|
|Aleksandr Vlasov (Astana)||+1100|
|Rafal Majka (BORA – hansgrohe)||+2200|
|Wilco Kelderman (Team Sunweb)||+3300|
|Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana)||+3300|
|Joao Almeida (Deceuninck – Quick Step)||+5000|
|Giulio Ciccone (Trek – Segafredo)||+8000|
Odds as of Oct. 1st, 2020, at DraftKings.
Over the last five years, each Giro d’Italia has been won by a different rider representing five separate teams. Italian riders have won the event on 41 occasions, with no other country capturing the title more than three times. Race favorite Geraint Thomas is from Wales and top challenger Simon Yates is a native of Manchester. Ineos’ Chris Froome is the only rider from the UK to win (2018).
This year’s route is a throwback. There are three individual time trials, one at the start, one in the middle, and one at the end. The major climbing is all backloaded into the last five days of the competition.
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Geraint Thomas Is A Deserving Favorite
Thomas isn’t sexy in the way that 22-year-old Tadej Pogačar single handedly stole the Tour de France this year, but he is solid and consistent. Backed by the strongest team, he won the Tour de France in 2018, and finished second last year.
Thomas is still riding for Ineos, and what that means is up in the air. They have been so good for so long but had a very poor Tour de France.
Their roster for the Giro looks solid and Thomas is a reliable, veteran rider.
There Are Plenty of Viable Contenders
Simon Yates looked like he might win the Giro d’Italia each of the last two years. In 2018, he took three early stages and seemed well on his way. Then he cracked on the Colle delle Finestre and faded to 21st. Last year, when expectations were high, he never mounted a strong charge and finished eighth.
This year, Yates finished third in the Tour de Pologne and won the Tirreno-Adriatico. His victory in the 2018 Vuelta a España is proof he can win a Grand Tour.
This might be it for Jakob Fuglsang, his last realistic chance to win a Grand Tour. The 35-year-old had raced in the Tour de France each of the last seven years but saw this year’s Giro course and decided to put all his eggs in Italy’s basket.
Fuglsang had a strong 2019, winning the Critérium du Dauphiné and Liège-Bastogne-Liège. Recently, he won the Il Lombardia, finished 14th in the Tirreno-Adriatico, and is coming off a fifth-place effort at the worlds.
Team Jumbo-Visma absolutely dominated the Tour de France, until the individual time trial on the penultimate stage. Steven Kruijswijk will represent Jumbo in Italy, and if they have the best team, which seems likely, he should be in great shape.
Kruijswijk has finished among the top five in each Grand Tour and seemed on his way to victory in the Giro when he crashed on the second-to-last stage in 2016.
Vincenzo Nibali is an all time great largely because of his work in this race. He won it in 2013 and 2016, and has finished on the podium six times.
Nibali has won all three Grand Tours and, while he is past his prime, the mountains that will decide the 2020 event are the same ones where he snatched victory during the 2016 running. You simply can’t count out someone who has dominated an event, but his 2020 form is not remarkable.
What About a Longshot?
In a race that is full of veterans, some of whom may be past their prime, Astana’s Aleksandr Vlasov is making his Grand Tour debut.
The 24-year-old has wins this year in the Mont Ventoux Dénivelé Challenge and Giro dell’Emilia.
Vlasov’s teammate Miguel Angel Lopez is the only GC contender who participated in the Tour de France. He rode well, finishing sixth and winning Stage 17.
Lopez has completed six Grand Tours and been among the top ten in all of them. If he has legs after riding three weeks in France, he certainly is viable at a big price.
Dave Friedman has covered professional and college sports for two decades. From ESPN to the Associated Press, Regional Sports Networks, Metro Networks, and many local outlets, he has written about and broadcast major and minor events throughout the country.