Basso, Hesjedal, Nibali, Sanchez and Wiggins talk about their early years and reveal their heroes

Five men expected to challenge for the maglia rosa in this year’s Giro d’Italia have been recounting their early memories of cycling in the latest video released by organisers ahead of the start of the race in Naples five weeks tomorrow.

Of the five, two-time winner Ivan Basso of Cannondale and defending champion Ryder Hesjedal of Garmin Barracuda will be hoping to top the podium again when the race concludes in Brescia three weeks later, with the other rides featured in the video – Vincenzo Nibali, now with Astana, plus Samuel Sanchez of Euskaltel and of course Sky’s Bradley Wiggins –expected to be their chief rivals.

The five were also asked who their own favourite riders were when they were growing up, with Miguel Indurain, twice a Giro winner, the most popular pick.

Perhaps a result of it his formative years being spent in mountain biking, Hesjedal has gone for two names from that discipline, both from his native British Columbia.

Those are double MTB XC world champion Roland Green and a rider given in the caption as ‘André Sessler’ – we’re guessing that's actually another mountain biker, Andreas Hestler, who represented Canada at the 1996 Olympics, as Hesjedal would do in 2004 before switching to the road full-time.

Meanwhile, the Gazzetta dello Sport reports today that Wiggins, whose next race will be the Giro del Trentino from 16-19 April followed by Liege-Bastogne-Liege on 21 April, will head back to Italy after the latter race to undertake a recce of two stages that are expected to be influential - Stage 10, with its summit finish on the Altopiano del Montasio, and Stage 20, which finishes at the Tre Cime di Lavaredo in the Dolomites on the penultimate day of the race.

Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.