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2012 Giro d'Italia Preview: Michele Scarponi Wants To Win On Course

The 2012 Giro d'Italia begins on Saturday. Can the Boulder-based Garmin-Barracuda make a strong showing this year?

Ryder Hesjedal of Canada and Team Garmin-Cervelo rides up the Col du Galibier during stage nineteen of the Tour de France from Modane Valfrejus to Alpe-d'Huez on the Col du Galibier, France.  (Photo by Bryn Lennon/Getty Images)
Ryder Hesjedal of Canada and Team Garmin-Cervelo rides up the Col du Galibier during stage nineteen of the Tour de France from Modane Valfrejus to Alpe-d'Huez on the Col du Galibier, France. (Photo by Bryn Lennon/Getty Images)
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The 2012 Giro d'Italia begins on Saturday, May 5, for what is sure to be an exciting three week race throughout Italy. Michele Scarponi will look to repeat as the champion, but he wants to do it differently this time around. Scarponi captured victory in the 2011 race only after Alberto Contador was stripped of his victories dating back to the 2010 Tour de France due to a positive drug test. That decision came just back in early February. This time Scarponi wants to let it be decided on the course.

This year's race begins with a three-day stop in Denmark before a rest day on May 8. After that, the race makes its tour throughout Italy, beginning in Verona and ending in Milan. The race is expected to be easier this year following the grueling mountain courses the cyclists contended with last year. Still, there will be plenty of the Alps in this year's course.

Garmin-Barracuda (formerly Garmin-Cervelo), the Boulder, CO, based cycling team, will compete in this with a strong group of riders: Jack Bauer, Tyler Farrar, Ryder Hesjedal, Robbie Hunter, Ramuna Navardauskas, Alex Rasmussen, Sebastien Rosseler, Peter Stetina and Christian Vande Velde. Hesjedal is likely favorite among the group to be in contention for overall victory.

Stetina was struck by a car while training on the time-trial course in Denmark, but he was not hurt during the incident.

The Giro d'Italia gets underway on Saturday in Herning. Tune into Universal Sports at 8:00 a.m. MT for coverage of the day's event.

For more on the 2012 Giro d'Italia, visit cycling blog Podium Cafe.