The Italian fast man is confident ahead of his tenth career Grand Tour start.
Best sprinter of the past 18 months, Elia Viviani is returning at the Tour de France for the first time since 2014 with a clear objective in his mind: to get at least a win and complete his set of Grand Tour stage victories, which at this moment counts a total of eight successes at the Giro d’Italia and Vuelta a España.
Now back in the standard Deceuninck – Quick-Step kit after an impressive twelve months in the famed Italian Champion jersey, the 30-year-old talked about his expectations at the team’s pre-race press conference, hosted Thursday afternoon in the unique and spectacular setting of Lidl Sterrebeek, which gave a warm welcome to riders and guests alike, making this event a truly special one.
“We want to start well, but we are aware it won’t be just us in the bunch gallops. I don’t know how many opportunities there will be for the sprinters over the next three weeks, but that’s not important; the most important thing is to kick off the race on the right foot on Saturday.”
So far this season, Elia has earned six victories, all on the World Tour, at Tour Down Under, Cadel Evans Road Race, UAE Tour, Tirreno-Adriatico and Tour de Suisse, and it was at the latter that his well-oiled sprint train made headlines with the way they stomped their authority on the race and delivered the experienced Italian in a perfect position from where he blasted to two consecutive victories.
“We know how strong we are and what our lead-out is capable of. I am very happy to have these guys around me, you could already see at the Tour de Suisse how easy they make my life and I am confident we can be there, in the thick of the action, at the right moment. When it comes to sprinting it’s not just about power, but also about precision, and we are focused and committed on what we have to do”, concluded Elia, the active Italian rider with the most wins to his name, hours before attending the team presentation.
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