Ciccone ready to kick off ‘most significant’ season

The Trek-Segafredo men's team returns to France for its second race, Tour de la Provence

After Trek-Segafredo’s debut at Étoile de Bessèges, where the team got two podiums with Mads Pedersen (3rd, Stage 3) and Edward Theuns (2nd, Stage 4), the spotlight will now be on the sixth edition of the Tour de la Provence.

The four stages – scheduled from Thursday, Feb. 11 to Sunday, Feb. 14 – will be the hunting grounds for a squad of seven, led by Bauke Mollema and Giulio Ciccone. The experienced Dutchman has already kicked off his season in Bessèges, while the young Italian will pin a race number for the first time this year.

“The mood I feel for this first race is similar to what I feel for the biggest race days. I have a lot of enthusiasm and desire to compete, also to definitely put behind me the difficulties of 2020,” said Ciccone. “After the withdrawal at the Giro I reset everything – mind and body – and I left aside the discouragement and anger for the season.

Giulio Ciccone did not start Stage 14 of the Giro d'Italia after diagnosed with bronchitis.

“I had an operation on my nasal septum to solve a breathing problem that I had been carrying around for ages and I spent many days off the bike, something I’ve rarely done in the past. I’ve recovered very well and in January I put a lot of kilometers into my legs with two training camps, one with the team and one alone. I don’t know how much I can be competitive at the moment, since I have no benchmark so far, but for sure, I’m ready to do my job,” he added.

Tour de la Provence is the beginning of a very important season for me, perhaps the most significant since I've been a pro.

- Giulio Ciccone

“Tour de la Provence is the beginning of a very important season for me, perhaps the most significant since I’ve been a pro. The team has given me great confidence: We have defined an important calendar in which I will have a leading role. It’s an honor for me, but I also feel the burden to bring out my very best.

“The Giro and Vuelta will be the two key events of my season, but my focus will not only be there. On a technical level, I have a calendar built according to my characteristics. I will have several chances to do well and this is very motivating,” explained Ciccone.

Bauke heads into Provence with some tough Bessèges miles in his legs.

For Mollema and Ciccone the most important day will be Saturday, the queen stage, when the race climbs Mont Ventoux to Chalet Reynard (6kms from the top).  For this crucial stage, Danish climber Niklas Eg will provide key support.

The other stages present mixed routes that are not too demanding in altitude, but their outcomes will be anything but predictable.

Matteo Moschetti and Emils Liepins will be the fast wheels for the sprints, while domestiques Koen de Kort and Kiel Reijnen will provide reliable support in all stages. The technical guidance will be entrusted to team directors Grégory Rast and Adriano Baffi.

Emils Liepins and Matteo Moschetti can handle fast finishes.

Trek-Segafredo lineup for Tour de la Provence

  • Giulio Ciccone (ITA)
  • Koen de Kort (NED)
  • Niklas Eg (DEN)
  • Emils Liepins (LAT)
  • Bauke Mollema (NED)
  • Matteo Moschetti (ITA)
  • Kiel Reijnen (USA)