The presentation of the teams took place outside Apeldoorn City Hall (Gemeente) in the Market Square (Marktplein) before huge crowds.
Local stars Tom Dumoulin and his Lotto NL-Jumbo team were the most popular but the great names of the 99th Giro d’Italia d’Italia, including Vincenzo Nibali, Fabian Cancellara, Alejandro Valverde and Marcel Kittel, also received a warm welcome on the eve of the inaugural 9.8km time trial that starts tomorrow inside Apeldoorn indoor velodrome, where the 2011 Track World Championships took place.
Alejandro Valverde: “I’m happy to be here. My preparation for the Giro d’Italia has been perfect. I don’t think preparing for this race is very different from preparing for the other Grand Tours. I’m focused. I’m strong. I have the desire and ambition to do well. In the first few stages in the Netherlands, I’ll have to pay attention to everything and race at the front. My main goal is first place overall in Turin, but if I finish second or third or take a stage win, I can be happy too. The course suits me. There are time trials but hilly ones so it shouldn’t be a problem. I’m confident”.
Esteban Chaves: “We come to the Giro d’Italia calmly and collectedly. We’ll race the first few stages for stage wins with Caleb [Ewan]. Tomorrow’s time trial is dead flat and very fast. It’ll suit track specialists. We have this kind of rider in the team [Michael Hepburn who was a world champion in Apeldoorn in 2011]. Orica-GreenEdge has more climbers than in the past. I feel strong and motivated. I hope you’ll see a very competitive Esteban Chaves. I’m here for a result on GC”.
Fabian Cancellara: “I’m disappointed. I came here with great hopes to win the time trial on day 1 and get the pink jersey but last night, I had fever. Fortunately, it’s gone so I will take the start but this is definitely not the best preparation for my main goal. I didn’t ride my bike today and I’ll only do the time trial tomorrow. Luckily, there aren’t mountains at the beginning of the Giro”.
The day before the opening stage of the 99th Giro d’italia, the final pre-race press conferences took place at Race Headquarters in Apeldoorn Omnisport.
TEAM LOTTO NL – JUMBO
Steven Kruijswijk: “I’m fully confident of doing great at the Giro d’Italia. I’ve had good preparation and I know my form is good after my race last weekend [5th at the Tour de Yorkshire]. I got my best result in a Grand Tour at the Giro last year, when I finished seventh, so it’s a natural target to aim for the top 10 again although, in fact, I’m hoping for a few positions higher than last year. I’m in the same shape as I was a year ago. I learnt a lot from last year’s Giro. I know that I can fight with the best in the final, mountainous week. To start a Grand Tour in the Netherlands isn’t new to me. As a neo pro, I started my first Giro in Amsterdam in 2010. I also rode the Tour de France which started in Utrecht last year so I know how big it is and how much our fans expect from us. Cycling is very popular here. Everyone rides a bike in Holland. It’s an advantage for us to race on home soil and a great opportunity to show ourselves”.
ETIXX – QUICK STEP
Marcel Kittel: “One of the reasons for me to come to the Giro d’Italia this year is the abundance of opportunities for sprint finishes, especially here in the Netherlands but also later in Italy. The big start has a strong Dutch character. People here are really passionate about cycling. As always, I don’t want to put a number on the quantity of victories that would make my Giro a good one or not. But I’m confident. It’s hard to say if I’m in my 2014 Tour de France shape but I’m sure we’ll fight for victories. I’m not a GC rider but it would be great to have the Maglia Rosa, so I’ll do my best in the time trial on Friday and then focus on the sprints. André Greipel and I have similar characteristics while Viviani, Modolo and Démare can also climb well and go for more difficult stages as well. I’ll ride the Giro till the end”.