Movistar Team leading on the Passo Sella. // ©

24-05-2016, PROSPORTS Canyon Athletes on the Giro d'Italia

the riders' Lowdown

It’s the final week of the Giro d’Italia. Before the race draws to a conclusion in Turin on Sunday, we put five questions to four Canyon athletes, Lisa Brennauer, Elena Cecchini, Alban Lakata und Nils Politt, for their insight into this year’s race.

 1)      What’s the first thing that comes to your mind when you think of the Giro d’Italia?

Elena Cecchini // CANYON//SRAM Racing: For Italians it’s unique and really special. May is all about one colour: Pink! It’s the most important sporting event of the year. For me, the Giro means passion, tradition, and having picnics and BBQs by the side of the road!

Alban Lakata // Topeak-Ergon Racing Team: It has to be the crowds, the fantastic Tifosi, especially on the big mountain stages. In Italy the cycling fans are something else, both for road and mountain biking, the sport is like a religion down there. 

Lisa Brennauer // CANYON//SRAM Racing: For me it has to be the Maglia Rosa, it’s the symbol of Italian cycling. Riding is Italy is really cool, it feels like you’re being pushed along by this wave of enthusiasm from the Italians, and the Giro is the main event.

Nils Politt // Team Katusha: Anyone who has ridden there knows the roads in Italy go up and down all the time, it’s not an easy place to ride. The enthusiasm of the Tifosi keeps you going though, the atmosphere by the side of the road is incredible.

 2)      Have you ever gone to watch the Giro?

Elena Cecchini: Yeah a few times when it passed close to my home! The last time it came to Friaul was back in 2013 and me and my friends always watch the race on the climbs as you get a better view of the riders. I also rode the Giro Rosa for the first time which was an amazing experience.

Alban Lakata: It came to my region near Lienz in Austria a couple of years ago. One day I would love to go watch on the Zoncolan just to see the race on one of Europe’s most brutal climbs.

Lisa Brennauer: Not yet, unfortunately! I would love to one day when I don’t have to train so I can take it all in. I’d want to watch a mountain time trial or the race climb the Stelvio pass.

Nils Politt: Yeah a long time ago back in 2002 the Giro came to Cologne in Germany for two stages. They practically raced past my house on both days. Now I’m a pro I’d love the chance to race it one day.

3)      Which climbs do you know well in Italy? What are they like?

Elena Cecchini: I’ve ridden the Passo Sella and that was super hard. The Stelvio is definitely on my bucket list. The route for the Giro Rosa goes up the Mortirolo this year which is going to be really difficult.

Alban Lakata: I ride a lot in the Dolomites when training so I know the Passo Sella, the Passo Giau and the Passo Gardena fairly well. This whole area is as good as it gets for riding.

Lisa Brennauer: I’ve never ridden that much in Italy. My brother has told me all about the Stelvio and I really want to do it. The Mortirolo in the Giro Rosa is going to be a real challenge definitely, it’s one of the hardest climbs there is.

Nils Politt: Until now I’ve only ridden the Passo Sella and as a none climber that was tough enough. I don’t think I’ll be able to avoid climbs like the Stelvio or the Mortirolo for the whole of my career, so that’s going to be interesting…

 4)      Which rider have you been most impressed by at this Giro and who would like to see get a stage win?

Elena Cecchini: Marcel Kittel has really impressed me this year with his performance in the prologue time trial and by getting the Maglia Rosa through his sprint finishes in the first few stages. The biggest surprise was definitely Bob Jungels. It looks like we are going to be seeing big things from him in the future. I would love to see a stage win for Alessandro De Marchi. We train together pretty often and he lives in my neighborhood.

Alban Lakata: Honestly I haven’t seen much of the Giro so far. However, I was excited to see my fellow countryman Matthias Brändle get second place at the time trial in Chianti. It would be awesome to see him nab a stage win.

Lisa Brennauer: Bob Jungels really surprised me, but it also makes sense that he would do well. He has a powerful engine and a lot of potential. I’m keeping my fingers crossed for the Movistar and Katusha guys. They definitely have the best bikes!

Nils Politt: Steven Kruijswijk has really surprised me so far. He wasn’t on my radar before the race, but the way he has been riding is impressive and has been fun to watch.

 5)      Who do you think is going to win this year’s Giro?

Elena Cecchini: As an Italian I should really be pulling for Vicenzo Nibali, but honestly I’m a big fan of Alejandro Valverde. On top of that, I also want to see a Canyon bike in pink!

Alban Lakata: I’m currently totally focussed on preparing for my season goal of defending my XCM World Championship title, so I don’t know enough to make a good prediction. Maybe it will end with a Canyon victory!?

Lisa Brennauer: Hard to say, as it is pretty wide open, but if it were up to me Alejandro Valverde would get the win.

Nils Politt: I think, with the time advantage he has, Steven Kruijswijk is going to be hard to beat, but I haven’t totally written off Esteban Chaves yet.