Picking a winner in the unpredictable, passionate atmosphere of Italy's crazy Giro d'Italia is virtually impossible - I mean, the lead rider could get punched out of the race by a fan, for goodness' sake. But Mike Tomalaris, brave man that he is, will have a crack ...
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7 Apr 2015 - 11:32 PM  UPDATED 13 Apr 2015 - 3:36 PM

Trying to pick a winner is never easy when it comes to a Grand Tour, but this year's Giro appears to be tougher than ever.

Mind you it's pretty much always a lottery when it comes to selecting a winner for a three-week epic such as this.

The likely suspects are there - Danilo Di Luca. Paolo Savoldelli and Gilberto Simoni – but I feel the chances of an Italian securing the Italy's biggest race may not be so clear-cut in 2008.

If season form is an indication – that's even trickier.

The Tirreno-Adriatico in March cannot be used as a form guide.

Fabian Cancellara won the week-long race but CSC is saving his legs for another assault on the Tour de France – no doubt.

That being the case one might look at the results from the Paris-Nice.

Gerolsteiner's Davide Rebellin could well be seen as the Italian most likely to conquer the Giro – he was brilliant in March!

Of the non-Italians in with a show, you don't have to be an Einstein in leaning towards Levi Leipheimer who has the best form following his overall victory on home soil in the Tour of California in February.

In the mix is Alberto Contador who has a lot to prove after his controversial non-inclusion at this year's Tour de France. The Giro may well be Contador's Tour de France in 2008.

But it's Team Astana's 11th hour inclusion which raises doubts as preparation is obviously an issue.

Rabobank's Russian strongman Denis Menchov is also primed for a shot at the maglia rosa as he always saves his best for the Giro and Vuelta – as was evident when winning Spain's Grand Tour in 2005.

And what about Australia's national champion Matty Lloyd?

He's had some encouraging top 10 results for Silence-Lotto on the roads of Europe this season.

You can never discount an Aussie who wears the green and gold jersey, but at just 24 years of age, Lloyd's time on the top podium may have to wait for another year.

That said, for what it's worth – here's my top five prediction for overall honours.

  1. LEVI LEIPHEIMER – USA - (ASTANA)
  2. DAVID REBELLIN – ITA - (GEROLSTEINER)
  3. ALBERTO CONTADOR – ESP - (ASTANA)
  4. DENIS MENCHOV – RUS - (RABOBANK)
  5. DANILO DI LUCA - ITA – (LPR BRAKES)

The nine Australians selected to compete in the Giro are:
GRAEME BROWN - RABOBANK
NICK GATES – SILENCE LOTTO
ADAM HANSEN – HIGH ROAD
MATT HAYMAN - RABOBANK
MATT LLOYD – SILENCE LOTTO
ROBBIE McEWEN – SILENCE LOTTO
BRAD McGEE - CSC
STUART O'GRADY - CSC
CHRIS SUTTON - SLIPSTREAM