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Marco Pastonesi: “Quintana is the big favourite for the Giro”

This is the Giro week and that means you will find here an analysis of the favourites, all the details of the parcours, but also many interviews. The first one is with Gazzetta dello Sport’s Marco Pastonesi, a journalist who needs no further presentation. Last week-end, he was kind enough to make some time for the following interview, not only on the Giro, but also on the main Italian riders and the problems cycling encounters in his country for some time now.

– Mister Pastonesi, what do you think of the results Italian riders had this season?

The results weren’t so good. The Italian cycling is always in trouble, we are looking for some good riders for the Classics, and in the meantime we aren’t at the top. We are still waiting for good news. There are some fine riders, but they aren’t champions.

– What are the causes of this problems?

The level of the other countries is much higher than before. In Italy, because of the crisis, there are less riders than in the past, less sponsorships, less teams, less room on the tv and newspapers, and this is why the world of cycling is suffering.

– One rider expected to be at the top is Moreno Moser, but he was disappointing this year so far.

We’re waiting for him, but it’s not easy, because his rivals are very tough. We don’t know what’s going on with Moser, he too doesn’t know. He feels well, but in races he can’t manage to stay with the main group. Let’s see him in the Giro d’Italia, maybe something will change.

– Are you satisfied with Vincenzo Nibali’s results this year?

Vincenzo Nibali is doing well, he didn’t win a race so far, but a victory is close. His main goal of the season is the Tour de France and I hope he’ll be ready by then, but even tough he is very strong, I don’t think he’ll be at the same level with Chris Froome and Alberto Contador. He will attack, as it’s in his nature, and this is why we love him, because he does it also when it’s not possible.

– What are your expectations for the Giro?

Contador and Froome will not be in the race, but the level is very good. There will be Nairo Quintana, who I think is the big favourite, Joaquim Rodriguez, who’s very loved here in Italy, Fabio Aru, who we hope to become more consistent in the next years. Michele Scarponi is very competitive, but not Ivan Basso, whose career I think is over. Let’s not forget Cadel Evans, practically he is Italian, we consider him Italian and love him very much, because he’s an example for everybody. It will be very exciting to have Evans among the favourites. Another tough challenger will be Rigoberto Uran, who made quite an impression last year. Daniel Martin proved to be a very good rider not only for the Classics, but also for the Grand Tours, and he’ll have a chance to show his real level. I fear that his team mate, Ryder Hesjedal, will not be at his best, I think he’s going down. We will have an exciting battle on the mountains, especially in the last week. Anyway, all of these riders should know that the Giro is more tough and has more surprises than the Tour de France. Something can happen everywhere.

– Who could be the surprise of this Giro?

My pick is Fabio Aru, but not for the first places. He still isn’t ready for three weeks, but I hope he can win a stage and get used with such a race. Is important for him not to feel the pressure. I like also Diego Rosa, because he’s always on the attack, but he still has to develop. I also think Domenico Pozzovivo can be the highest placed Italian rider. He is a pocket climber, but very powerful, and now is in the best years of his career

– What do you think the podium of the Giro will be?

Nairo Quintana, Joaquim Rodriguez, and Michele Scarponi, but I have to tell you that I was never good at making a prediction. I’m always wrong.

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