• Mitchelton-Scott sports director Matt White addresses the media (Getty Images)Source: Getty Images
Mitchelton-Scott sports director Matt White believes the 2020 Giro d’Italia is set to go right down to the wire.
SBS Cycling Central

13 Oct 2020 - 10:30 AM 

The event, originally scheduled in May, was postponed due to the coronavirus outbreak and has since seen Joao Almeida lead the overall standings through week one.

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Ruben Guerreiro became the first Portuguese rider to win on the Giro d’Italia in 31 years when he claimed the tough ninth stage on Monday morning (AEDT). Australia's Jai Hindley moved into the top 10 as his Sunweb team mate Wilco Kelderman jumped to second place overall, Hindley's compatriot Lucas Hamilton attacking on the final climb.

Speaking to Cycling Central’s Christophe Mallet and David McKenzie, White admitted the short turnaround from the Tour de France had left the Italian race wide open.

“This race is going to be won at the death,” White said.

“It’s not a very deep general classification group left. I think a lot of teams went very full-on in the Tour de France, with the mindset that maybe the Giro doesn’t go ahead.

“Some teams have come here with weaker teams than normal because they sent everybody to the Tour.

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Winning the 2020 Tour de France on his debut, now 22-year-old Tadej Pogačar reflected on the insane end to the campaign that saw him snatch victory in the individual time trial from fellow countryman Primož Roglič.

“I don’t see a team here that is strong enough to control the mountain stages day in, day out.

“I see some great riders and great leaders, but I don’t see a lot of strong teams around them.

“And if there’s any race that can dish up a surprise, it’s this one. If you get caught between groups on some of these mountain stages, you’re losing minutes, not seconds.

“If I was to pick a podium at the moment, I think (Vincenzo) Nibali is definitely the one to beat.”

The Australian also confirmed the impact inclement weather could have on the event’s outcome - aside from the virus' lingering presence.

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Simon Yates has been forced to withdraw from the Giro D'Italia after testing positive for COVID-19

“We could be up for some pretty feral weather and it will be very interesting to see what stages get run and if stages are adjusted,” he added.

“Knowing the Italians, the show will go on and it makes for some pretty exciting, epic racing in the last week.”

The Giro will continue on Tuesday night, with Stage 10 taking place between San Salvo and Tortoreto Lido.