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2 May 2018

Two days to the Giro d'Italia Big Start: quotes from the protagonists

Today, a number of the Giro d’Italia’s favourites shared their pre-race thoughts at a press conference. The 101st Giro d’Italia.

Team Sunweb

Tom Dumoulin: “It’s not the end of the world if I don’t perform in the opening time trial, but it would be nice to get a good result and hopefully win it. I haven’t seen the course yet but, in the book, it seems hilly, so it’s good. My first impressions of Israel have been great. I arrived late last night but I couldn’t resist the urge to visit the old city of Jerusalem, so I headed over on my bike. People were looking at me a bit funny, wondering who’s this guy with normal clothes on a race bike… Being the defending champion of the Giro, the difference is how people look at me but I haven’t changed. I was maybe too eager to show myself to the world at the beginning of the season but, after I reflected on what went wrong in the spring, I’m more confident in my capabilities at the start of the Giro. I’ve also learned from last year how to overcome the difficult moments. But I haven’t ‘reckonned’ any of the mountain stages for this year.”

Team Sky

Chris Froome: “To participate in the Giro is a decision I came to with the team during the winter. It’s been almost a decade since I first started the Giro in the country that welcomed me as a neo-pro with Barloworld and I’m back to win the event. It’s a huge motivation to try and win three Grand Tours in a row. From the feelings I’ve had at the Tour of the Alps, I’m ready to win but I can’t say this is gonna be the result in three weeks’ time. I’ve got an extremely versatile team to help me in every part of the race. I’m not going to rely on the time trials to win the Giro. It’s a full package. I’m glad I ‘reckonned’ the Zoncolan and the time trial [in Trentino]. I already knew the Colle delle Finestre. It’s a tough race ahead. We had security concerns before coming to Israel but it’s all been fantastic. We rode with the Israel junior team this morning. Hopefully the Giro starting here will inspire young cyclists and there will be prominent riders from this part of the world on the pro scene in a few years.”

UAE Team Emirates

Fabio Aru: “Coming to Israel yesterday, we realized the temperature is pretty high. We’ll have to pay attention to hydration. On the roads of stage 2 and stage 3, the wind will also be a factor that should not be underestimated. The opening time trial is a tricky course with lots of ups and downs. I had a great desire to return to the Giro. It’s a crossroads in my career; it’s the right time to win the Giro. I’ve never felt young because I’ve raced with responsibilities albeit with no stress, almost since the beginning; in fact, since 2014. In our team, I feel the serenity and the harmony to do well. There are about 15 riders who are here for GC. In addition to Pinot, Pozzovivo and Lopez, who were in great form at the Tour of the Alps, and Froome, who was in a similar condition to me, there’s Chaves, [Simon] Yates, Bennett and Woods, who are among the climbers to watch. I don’t think the Zoncolan or the Jafferau will decide the race… all 21 stages will.”

Groupama-FDJ

Thibaut Pinot: “This is my first visit to Israel and I’m surprised by how beautiful it is. But it’s hot and that’s not my forte. However, the heat would be a problem for me in the mountains, not during the first three stages I guess. Last year I finished 1’20’’ down on Tom Dumoulin. It’s not much but I lost some time in the time trials and I was kind of sick in the second week. This year, I hope to not waste any time so I can make the podium. It’s great to have won the Tour of the Alps, beating Froome, Lopez and others, but each rider’s form can be different 15 days before a Grand Tour. I won’t let myself get carried away by this result. Maybe my rivals will mark me more. Most importantly, I want to be in great shape to attack in the mountains.”

Quick – Step Floors

Elia Viviani: “It’s a good experience to start the Giro in Israel. One of the beauties of cycling is to see a lot of places in the world. I’m delighted to be here in Jerusalem, a beautiful city with a lot of history. I’m yet to see the course of the time trial and decide if I race it flat out to target the Maglia Rosa later on or reserve strength for the following two days in which I want to win. With races in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, I’m used to winning in the desert and I’m confident to continue this winning streak. I’m here to complete the Giro. After I had a bad experience of going home after eight days, I don’t want that to happen again. An amazing scenery awaits us in Rome for the conclusive stage. It’s an extra motivation. Every time I start the Giro, I aim for the cyclamen jersey but my first goal is to win a stage or more. I’d love to reach Rome with three stage victories and the cyclamen jersey.”

Trek-Segafredo

Gianluca Brambilla: “For me it’s a bit strange to arrive at the Giro d’Italia with only a few days of racing. After the Abu Dhabi Tour, I’ve been off the bike for 20 days as I contracted pneumonia. Then I trained well and I did not come back straight to racing. I waited for the Tour of Croatia. My goal is to try and make a good GC. As I’ve shown in the past, I prefer to take a stage victory instead of a position outside the top 10 on GC. I start the race by focusing on the top 10 but, if it doesn’t work out, I think I have a stage victory in my legs.”

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