2020 Giro d'Italia

Four Dark Horses Who Might Upset The Giro d'Italia Favorites

Four Dark Horses Who Might Upset The Giro d'Italia Favorites

The dark horses who could upset the 2020 Giro d'Italia favorites over the next three weeks.

Sep 29, 2020 by Rebecca Reza
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The 2020 Giro d’Italia is days away from beginning the second half of this jam-packed, exceptional racing season. Riders are facing the unknown, with very little recovery time, and isolation from family and friends in order to race. Limited access to the riders, empty finish lines, and scarce fans on roadsides have already made this season a historic one.

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The season has shown us incredible performances both from veterans and young riders alike. The Giro d’Italia should be no exception. The defending champion, Richard Carapaz will not be in attendance, after his late addition to the Tour de France. Many others who would have found themselves on the start line in Sicily, have been forced to change their calendars to allow for participation in the one-day Classics and recovery time for the Vuelta.

Perhaps we will see a veteran like Jakob Fuglsang win his first Grand Tour, or maybe a young star like Ivan Sosa will steal the reins from teammate Geraint Thomas. Here are a few picks for those dark horses lurking in the peloton.

Sam Oomen

In his first year racing on the WorldTour, Oomen finished third on GC at the Critérium du Dauphiné. He later made his debut at the Giro d’Italia in 2018, racing in support for Tom Dumoulin and finished ninth overall. His success continued earning two, top-10 finishes at the Tour de Suisse and Tour of Poland that season.

The Dutchman has suffered some bad luck in his other attempts at grand tours, abandoning his first Vuelta a España in 2017 due to illness, and crashing out of the Giro last season. He was later forced to end the 2019 season prematurely due to an iliac artery problem.

The 25-year-old is fully recovered, and will be one to watch in Italy. He has announced a move to Jumbo-Visma for next season. The signing is a big move for Ooman who has raced with Sunweb since his development years. He will surely want to leave the team with a successful finish in Milan.

Ivan Sosa

One of many Colombian young climbing talents, Sosa made the jump to the WorldTour with Ineos-Grenadiers in 2019. A regular training partner with Egan Bernal, Sosa had a small setback in the early season after breaking his thumb at the Colombian National Championships in February. He was forced to skip the Tour of Colombia, after winning the king of the mountain classification in 2019.

Following lockdown, Sosa restarted his season at the Vuelta a Burgos sharing leadership with Richard Carapaz. He had won the race last season, his biggest victory in his first year on the WorldTour, winning every jersey but one – he finished second in the points classification. In only his 6th racing day of 2020, he took an impressive win on the summit finish for stage 5, outsprinting Mikel Landa, Remco Evenepoel, and Lennard Kämna to the line.

Sosa is sure to be a super domestique for Geraint Thomas, who has been named the GC lead of Ineos-Grenadiers. Should tactics change for any reason, Sosa will be a strong second option for the team.

Giulio Ciccone

Ciccone had an impressive first season on the WorldTour in 2019. The young Italian won a stage and the Giro’s king of the mountain classification. He spent two days in the yellow jersey in his debut at the Tour de France a couple months later.

Climbing is Ciccone’s obvious strong suit, which he will be called upon to use as one of Nibali’s domestiques. He launched his 2020 season with a win at the one-day race Trofeo Laiguieglia in February. The 25-year-old admits his time trials need improvement to truly be considered a GC threat. Racing in support of Nibali will allow him the opportunity to soak up guidance and experience he gains over the three weeks. His calm under pressure mentality will benefit him should he be given the freedom to chase personal goals or when the GC battle heats up.

Wilco Kelderman

Kelderman made his debut at the Giro d’Italia in 2017, though he failed to finish. He capped his season with his best overall finish in a grand tour, just missing the podium for fourth at the Vuelta a España in 2018. His GC potential hit a stumbling block after facing some injuries. Last season he was forced to miss the Giro after suffering a broken collarbone and neck vertebrae at the Volta a Catalunya. He returned to race the Tour de France and the Vuelta a España, where he once again finished in the top ten.

Team Sunweb have yet to designate Kelderman or Oomen as its GC leader. Both will be racing in one of their last big races as they leave Sunweb, Kelderman to Bora-Hansgrohe. The road will likely be the deciding factor between the duo should the team choose not one as the leader.