By Shane Stokes in Palermo
One year after finishing 61st in his first Giro d'Italia, Matthew Lloyd (Silence-Lotto) returns to the race hoping to build on that debut. Previously third overall in the 2006 Baby Giro, the 24 year-old Australian national champion knows that the experience of finishing last year's Italian Tour will stand to him this time round, and make high placings on stages more possible.
"Obviously being such a long Tour, you have got to take it day by day," he told Cyclingnews. "The form has been pretty good leading into the race. I am looking forward to the mountain stages, obviously, and I suppose it is a pretty open book until we reach the stages where it is going to unfold."
Lloyd was seventh overall in the Settimana Internazionale Coppi e Bartali, then went on to place fifth on stage four of the Vuelta al País Vasco, 25th in both the Amstel Gold race and Flèche Wallonne, and 16th in Liège-Bastogne-Liège. Those results plus a solid week of training after the Classics give him confidence.
"I am optimistic, and hopefully I can find myself in a good position and be strong enough to be there on at least a couple of the days. If not, we will see what happens leading in towards the end of the Giro.
"I would love to try to come in the top ten [on stages], but it is obviously one of those races where the variables and everything like the weather and crashes come into play as well. It should be good, I am optimistic about it and the team is really strong."