Giro d'Italia - Simon Yates ready to finish the job as Primoz Roglic emerges as potential winner
The Mitchelton-Scott rider from Bury wore the pink jersey of the race leader for 13 of the 19 stages before being left in the wake of a solo attack from Chris Froome on the penultimate day last year.
That crushing blow did not keep Yates down for too long – he went on to win the final Grand Tour of the year, the Vuelta a Espana, in August.
“Now I’ve done it at the Vuelta, I know I can do it again,” said Yates, who is again a leading contender.
“I felt I was so close last year. I was more disappointed for the team because we’d worked so hard over so many stages to get to that point.
“Now I look back with fond memories from that race. I don’t look back at it with any regrets.
“I have a deep passion to go back and try to win.”
He will face stiff competition for the general classifcation from former winners Vincenzo Nibali and Tom Dumoulin as well as rising stars Miguel Angel Lopez and Primoz Roglic, the Slovenian former ski jumper who won last week’s Tour of Romandie and has the most versatile skillset.
Team Ineos, formerly Sky, may struggle to continue their recent dominance of the grand tours with Froome opting not to defend his title and Egan Bernal, their promising young Colombian, being forced to withdraw after breaking his collarbone in a training crash.
The 102nd edition of the Giro d’Italia starts in Bologna with a prologue today and finishes in Verona on Sunday, June 2.