Later this month some of the best climbers and time-trial riders in the world will compete at the Giro d’Italia and with Alberto Contador not returning to defend his title a new champion must be crowned.

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One of the favourites is Italian Vincenzo Nibali who won the Giro in 2013. He has spent the last two years focusing on the Tour de France but now is hoping to dominate as he did in 2013. The course suits him well but his current form isn’t known given the very mixed season he has had so far. He looked good at the Tour of Oman but in his last race, the Giro del Trentino, he was well of pace and finished just 21st.

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Another rider to watch is the Spaniard Mikel Landa. This is the first time that Landa will be leading a team in a grand tour after he joined Team Sky thanks to a fantastic 2015 where he won two mountain stages and finished third overall at the Giro. He is often considered one of the best climbers in the sport and will be worth keeping an eye on in the mountain stages. However, it is known that time-trials are somewhat of a weak spot and the three of them in this year’s race are sure to be a concern. Furthermore, he was ill at the start of the year and although he won last month’s Giro del Trentino it is not known if he is fit enough for this three week trial.

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Fans should also keep an eye on Alejandro Valverde who incredibly is riding his first Giro d’Italia in his 15 year professional career. He has finished on the podium in three of his past five grand tours and should be a real contender for the pink jersey. He is going into the race having won La Fleche Wallonne and Vuelta a Castilla y Leon in recent weeks as well as the Ruta del Sol earlier in the year.