Grand Tour season in cycling gets off the blocks Saturday morning (in the U.S. It's the afternoon in Italy!) with the Giro d'Italia. The United Kingdom's Bradley Wiggins looks to secure another Grand Tour win after his triumphant Tour de France performance in 2012, and SB Nation's cycling blog, Podium Cafe, explains why this year's Giro d'Italia is so intriguing.
The reigning Tour de France champion pulled the unusual move of announcing his intention to focus on the 2013 Giro d'Italia over the winter, with a nod to the Giro's traditions and his desire to expand his horizons -- an unusual if not unheard-of decision that has the potential to set this year's race on fire. A reigning Tour champion has often been seen using the Giro for some race miles, but rarely has one set aside his desire to repeat success on the biggest stage for a shot at glory in the world's #2 race. For virtually everyone who can make choices of this nature, it's all about the Tour.
Stage 1 got underway just after 8:20 a.m. ET — 2:20 p.m. local time — but it won't be broadcast until 9:45 a.m. ET on beIN Sport, which is available on Comcast, Dish Network, Verizon FiOS and DirecTV.
The Giro d'Italia opens in Naples with Stage 1, which is 130 kilometers and largely flat. It's a circuit stage, which means there's going to be a lot of repetition. The winner will be awarded the race's first pink jersey, which is expected to go to Mark Cavendish because of the stage's finishing sprint.