Who to watch out for this weekend

Success on the Giro meant the Italian, who is nicknamed shark missed out on the Tour, but he returns to the field this year looking to realise his obvious potential.

A powerful climber who also has the pace to win on the flat, Nibali form this season has been somewhat inconsistent, with a failure to finish in the top four of either the Tour de Romandie or Criterium suggesting that all might not be right ## ## . He will have to improve on that to trouble Froome and Contador, but boasts bags of raw talent and the backing of a powerful Astana line up.

He finished eighth in last year race, having previously finished fifth in 2007, and is a former winner of the Vuelta a Espana as well as a three time victor in the Vuelta a Andalucia, with his most recent success coming earlier this year.

It might be a little early for the American to be contending for overall honours on the Tour, but his victory in the recent Criterium du Dauphine, which came courtesy of a sensational performance on the final stage, made seasoned observers reconsider their assessment of what he might be capable of.

American cycling desperately needs a new figurehead after the trauma of the Lance Armstrong years, and having developed through the US collegiate system, Talansky has emerged as his nation great new hope.

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