Vicenzo Nibali, Bauke Mollema, and Giulio Ciccone talk about team ambitions and personal goals
There is a buzz in the cycling world. Saturday begins the first Grand Tour of the season and the motivations and expectations are running high.
Below, we have collected the interviews from our three leaders from the Giro d’Italia press conference held Thursday, May 6.
Just being at the start is, for me, a small success. However, the level of condition is an unknown. The last few weeks have been very difficult, I stayed without riding for ten days, then there was rehabilitation and only last week I was able to train consistently again. The result of the medical check-up on Monday was a relief; it means that the recovery was good. Now I can focus on the race, but I want to live it day by day. I don’t want – and I can’t – make any proclamations, except that I want to leave a mark. Even in my head I don’t really know what to expect from this Giro.
There are several factors that will be able to affect my race. The weather, for example, can make the sensations in the fracture area better or worse. What comforts me is that to date, after three weeks, the situation got better and better. It has been a speedy recovery, thanks to a team that helped me and to which I am very grateful. The first step to understand my ambitions and the situation of the wrist is scheduled after the first week. I’ll probably also have a new medical check-up. I need patience and as much serenity as possible.
I’ve tried several solutions to cushion the bumps while riding. The most important will be to put a softer tape and maybe some less air in the tubulars, as well as a dedicated bandage on the wrist. At the moment I have no particular problems pedaling, and this is a big relief. Then, I repeat again, we’ll see day by day how it evolves.
I think we’re here with a really strong team. Vincenzo of course is a bit uncertain about how his form is and how his wrist will be after his accident in training. For myself, I’m not focusing on the general classification. The first week I will take a bit more easy than normal. In the second and third week, I hope there will be chances to go in the breakaway for me.
I think any stage to win is fine for me. I didn’t look at the parcours in deep yet, but in general, I know more or less what we will get. The last week will be super hard; we have Stage 11 with Strade Bianche also. Tomorrow we have an easy day, also Saturday and the first flat days. These will be good days to study the roadbook; then, I will make a plan for which stages to target.
When you’re not riding for GC the preparation is different, training-wise, but also the focus is a bit different. I’m more relaxed than if I would be targeting the GC. In training I’ve focused less on the longer efforts, the longer climbs, this year because I knew already that I wouldn’t go for GC in this Giro. It’s quite different but I think it’s a nice chance to win a stage this year and I’m really happy to be here at the Giro.
Hopefully I can win a stage; I’m very motivated and I like the Giro as a course and I’m sure there will be several chances for me coming up. The course is super hard and there are a lot of stages going up and down, mountain stages, so there will be opportunities and it would be nice to be up there in the breakaways on some days.
If Vincenzo is good and will aim for the GC, then I will also help him. That was always the goal this year. I saw him today on the bike, we rode for three hours today and he looked good. I’m confident he can still be on a very good level. Of course, the preparation wasn’t ideal for him, but we are confident he can still be up there and I will help him as much as possible.
It’s been a bit different approach compared to what I expected. I missed a few days of training after Volta Catalunya due to a tendon inflammation [of the knee], but then I had a very good training camp in Sierra Nevada. I missed Tour of the Alps because I preferred to train to be at the Giro in top condition.
Personally I’m happy with the feeling I have now and this is already a goal achieved. Let’s see what the feedback is on the road. In the first week there is already stages to understand, with two insidious arrivals. About my role, I consider myself as a sort of joker. The first week I’ll have to ride safe and then we’ll see with Vincenzo and Bauke how to play our cards in the best possible way. If Vincenzo will have good chance for the GC, I will be ready to help.
As a team we have everything to be protagonists. We’re three captains with Vincenzo and Bauke, and there’s Moschetti for the sprints, a versatile rider like Brambilla, as well as three good support riders like Mosca, de Kort and Ghebreigzabhier. We have a lot of options to play with. In my thoughts, right now, the goal is a stage win. I’ve never aimed for the overall in a Grand Tour and, at the moment, that’s not the goal. Anyway, let’s be patient and see day by day how the race evolves.
The level of the teams in this Giro is very high; there are many strong contenders especially for the GC such as Bernal, Yates, Evenepoel, Bardet, Vlasov, Landa. I don’t think that we, as a team, are missing anything to be competitive against them. We have to make teamwork our weapon to be successful. Let’s start with maximum serenity and conviction of our means. We have to imagine a growing Giro. Bauke, Vincenzo and I had different approaches to the race, we’ll need a few days to break-in, but it’s right to be ambitious.