Our team returns to the race where we have won 26 stages and 11 secondary classifications since 2005.
Winner of the famed maglia ciclamino last year, when he captured a whooping four stages, Elia Viviani will make his sixth Giro d’Italia appearance after a consistent first part of the season, which resulted in four victories, all at World Tour level. The 30-year-old comes at the start in Bologna with the beautiful and iconic Italian Champion jersey on his shoulders, an extra motivation for the best sprinter of 2018 to add to his growing palmares.
Twice winner of the best young rider classification (2016, 2017), Bob Jungels returns at the Corsa Rosa after two years hoping to be again a major player in the general classification, like he was at his previous outings, when he finished each time in the top 10. With two victories (Tour Colombia stage 3 and Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne) under his belt this year, Bob is confident that he can be a protagonist, aided also by the almost 70 kilometers of individual time trial at the 102nd edition (Bologna, San Marino and Verona).
The experienced Eros Capecchi, Fabio Sabatini, Florian Sénéchal and Pieter Serry – who between them have nearly 50 Grand Tour starts – will also be on Deceuninck – Quick-Step’s squad for the first three-week race of the year, which will be rounded by two Grand Tour debutants: neo-pro Mikkel Honoré, who has impressed as part of the team’s Ardennes Classics contingent, and James Knox, a top 10 finisher this season at the UAE Tour.
The race will kick off from the city that is home to the world’s oldest university for just the second time in its history, but unlike 1994, when the sprinters had their time in the sun, the time trialists will be the one in the spotlight now, on the tough uphill finish to Santuario della Madonna di San Luca. Between Bologna and Verona (where the Giro d’Italia will conclude for the first time since 2010), the sprinters will have their fair share of chances, but ultimately the climbers will be provided with more opportunities to shine and make the difference.
“We come here with two leaders: Elia Viviani – who backed by a very strong sprint train, will look to win again stages in front of his home crowd, this time in the Italian National Champion jersey – and Bob, who’s going to have another tilt at the GC favoured by the three stages against the clock. There’s a number of stages which should be important in the fight for the overall – from Ceresole Reale and Courmayeur to the one featuring both Gavia and Mortirolo – but the plan is to take it day by day and see what happens”, explained sports director Davide Bramati, who’ll lead the team from the car together with Klaas Lodewyck and Rik van Slycke.
Photo credit: ©Tim De Waele/ Getty Images