Vincenzo Nibali: It would be great to have Chris Froome ride the Giro
Current champion Vincenzo Nibali commented that he would "want Tour de France winner Chris Froome to ride the 100th edition of the race".
The comments made after the presentation of the route of the 2017 Giro d'Italia could have been inspired by Froome himself, who posted in a tweet that he loved the route, in leaked information the day before the official presentation.
"I think for him, even if it's just one time in his life, he should come and try the Giro d'Italia," said Nibali to news agency AFP.
"He would realize how much affection there is here, how much love there is for cycling and how important the Giro is. If he came, we'd all be happy."
In the past the three-time Tour de France champion said that his participation in the Italian race would affect his preparations for the French Grand To, but Froome could be suggesting his intentions.
Giro d'Italia director Mauro Vegni thinks that winning the 100th edition will be tempting for top riders like Froome, Contador and Chaves. "I think we're right when we say the Giro d'Italia is the 'toughest race in the world, in the world's most beautiful place'. It summarizes the Giro d'Italia, especially for the 100th edition," he said.
Nibali is expected to excel with his new team Bahrain-Merida and the route speaks to him on a personal level. "It's a unique occasion, it's the 100th edition, it comes to my island of Sardinia, my home. It's very interesting. I like it."
"In this respect it's very balanced and similar to the ones I've won in the past," he said, but carefully added "This Giro will require a lot of energy and you'll need to be ready from the start."
Indeed stage 4 back on the mainland climbs up to the top of Mount Etna and will be the first big GC test, as Mario Cipollini pointed out. The last week is particularly brutal with several key mountain stages before the final time trial into Milan.
It will surely be a course for some epic racing.