Giro D'Italia 2013: Nibali is no sure thing as Evans readies attack

22May 2013

Giro Italia


It might not have been the hoped-for ride-to-glory for Wiggins that was precited, but Jack Houghton thinks his slim profits can be bolstered by further bets on Cadel  Evans and Rafal Majka.


It might not be for the reasons I had hoped, but as things stand, it looks as if this year's Giro is going to return an (albeit small) profit.


A pre-race recommendation of Stefano Pirazzi at 7.00 in the mountain classification is now all-but certain to deliver, and the profits from this will cover  losing bets on Wilco Kelderman in the young rider classification, and more significantly, Bradley Wiggins in the outright market.


Not that I'm celebrating. My betting on this year's race was centred on a big Wiggins punt, and for reasons that aren't quite clear, that now looks like a very bad bet  indeed. The kindest explanation of Wiggins' performance - and the one being put out by Team Sky - points to a slow puncture during the individual time trial and a  subsequent chest infection as the chief reasons as to why he was unable to challenge for Giro glory.


The forums have been less kind, though. Whilst it's no doubt true that Wiggins suffered from uncontrollable bad luck at times, it's also fair to say that his  misfortunes were confounded, and compounded, by his unwillingness, or inability, to ride aggressively in that first week, especially downhill in wet conditions. So  rather than taking a lead into the first individual time trial, he instead had to chase his main rivals: making the slow puncture more meaningful than it otherwise  needed to be.


How Wiggins comes out of the Giro remains to be seen, but it is likely he will ride in either the Dauphine or Tour of Switzerland, before taking up a support role  behind Chris Froome in this year's Tour de France.


As for what remains of the Giro's overall classification, the market would have us believe that Vincenzo Nibali only has to stay on his bike to claim victory in  Brescia on Sunday. And watching him and his Astana team ably defend the Maglia Rosa on Tuesday's medium mountain stage, some might think that the 1.05  represents fair odds.


I'm not so sure, though. Whilst Nibali is clearly now the overwhelming favourite to win his second Grand Tour, it's not quite going to be the stroll across Northern  Italy that those odds represent. Wednesday's predominantly flat stage 17 may not present any serious opportunities for Niabli's rivals to attack him - provided he can  get over a nasty climb 17km out, it's a stage Mark Cavendish and his fellow sprinters will be targeting - but there then follows three big days where Cadel  Evans, especially, will be throwing everything into an assault on overall honours.


And Thursday's individual time trial will likely be crucial. At a little over 20km, it's a fairly consistent climb up to a summit finish at 1,200m, with the gradient  rarely deviating much from an average six per cent, save for a short, flatter section midway through. Nibali's performance in the first individual time trial, on stage  eight, where he only lost a few seconds to Wiggins, was a huge surprise to many (myself included), but when analysing the times that day more closely, it is apparent  that Nibali kept himself in contention with aggressive descending in the early stages. Nibali was the quickest of the day through the first checkpoint, but then lost  time to some of his main rivals on the final climb. Evans, for one, rode the second half 12 seconds quicker than Nibali.


If that pattern is repeated here - with Nibali slower than Evans when time-trialling uphill - it's possible that the Australian could take upwards of 30 seconds out of  his Italian adversary, as well as picking up potential time bonuses. If that is to happen, it's likely that Nibali will drift markedly in price as he has to defend a  slimmed-down lead in the two punishing mountain-top-finishing stages that follow. It's hardly a sure thing, but for this reason, at the odds, I'm going to have a small  interest in Cadel Evans at 23.0 in the expectation that his odds will shorten after Thursday's stage.




In the young rider classification, although Wilco Kelderman is now a distant third, nearly ten minutes behind, there is still money to be made in the market. Carlos  Betancour is favourite at around 1.50, but with only a five-second lead over Rafal Majka, it is the latter named who represents value at 2.74 and is  worth a decent punt. Majka was nearly two minutes quicker than Betancour in the first time trial, and there is every reason to believe he will finish Thursday's time  trial wearing the white jersey again.



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Keywords: Giro, Italia, Nibali, Evans

Source: Betfair

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