It's been a perilous week to be a rider in the Giro. Between the winds of Holland and the rains of Italy, it's been a muddy, crash-filled mess. With two weeks yet to ride before they finish in Verona, some of the pre-race favorites are already too far back on time to have a realistic chance of pulling on the final maglia rosa of race champion. Carlos Sastre is already more than 7 minutes back. Brad Wiggins is a further minute behind him. Pippo Pozzato is a full 16 minutes behind the current race leader. That's after just one week of mostly flat-course racing.
The good news is that plenty of pre-race favorites remain at or near the top of general classification, including Alexander Vinokourov (currently in the pink jersey), Cadel Evans (in second, a minute back), teammates Vicenzo Nibali and Ivan Basso (less than 2 minutes behind), and former Giro winners Stefano Garzelli and Damiano Cunego (around 3 minutes back). I would be surprised if the winner is not one of those 6 six riders.