“Saturday’s weather is just a prediction. Nobody knows what it will be like,” Simon Yates said with a shrug. Photo: Daniel dal Zennaro/EPA

BOLOGNA – Simon Yates will be one of the last riders to start Saturday’s Giro d’Italia opening time trial, gambling on the Bologna weather as his rivals set off early to avoid expected rainfall.

Rain and possible thunderstorms have been forecast for the Emilia-Romagna region from 7pm local time, with Mitchelton-Scott rider Yates scheduled to start the 8km race against the clock at 7.43pm.

Yates reckons he is the favourite to win the three-week race but faces competition from other top riders, such as Dutchman Tom Dumoulin – the first to start – Slovenian Primoz Roglic and Italian Vincenzo Nibali who will depart at 5.01pm at the latest.

Yates, however, prefers to know his rivals’ times before the trial, which ends with a punishing 2km climb up to San Luca.

“Saturday’s weather is just a prediction. Nobody knows what it will be like,” the Vuelta champion said with a shrug.

“I normally want to know my opponents’ times and work around that. So, I stick to the plan and start last from my team.”

Yates has unfinished business with the Giro after a spectacular collapse in the 19th stage last year, when he was wearing the race leader’s Maglia Rosa, saw him drop out of contention.

“I’ve dedicated the last 12 months to this race now. I know that time trials will make my task very difficult against the likes of Dumoulin and Roglic, but I won the last time trial I did (at Paris-Nice in March),” the Briton said.

Asked who was the favourite to win the race, which finishes in Verona on June 2, Yates replied: “Me”.

Reuters