Bora-hansgrohe ready for 2017 Giro d'Italia challenge

Bennett aiming for a stage win with Konrad eyeing off GC

German WorldTour Bora-hansgrohe line out for its debut Giro d'Italia Friday in Sardinia with its two leaders Sam Bennett and Patrick Konrad ready to challenge for stage wins and the GC.

Bora-hansgrohe have ridden the Tour de France and Vuelta a Espana as a wild card team with the Giro it's first Grand Tour as a WorldTour team. As the Pro-Continental NetApp squad, the team also rode the 2012 edition of the Giro.

Christian Pömer, chief sports director for Bora-hansgrohe at the Giro, will be aiming to deliver Bennett to stage wins across the three-week race while balancing the GC aspirations of Konrad in his second Grand Tour.

"Our goal for this 100th edition of the Giro d'Italia is to go for stage victories, for the GC we will take it day by day. I think we have some really good opportunities with Sam Bennett and Matteo Pelucchi in the sprints," Pömer said. "Sam proved in Paris – Nice that he is an excellent sprinter and some stages in this year's Giro suit him very well. But we will also try to win stages with Patrick Konrad in the mountains. Patrick had a good preparation for this Grand Tour and he is very motivated to make his mark in this 100th edition of the Giro d'Italia."

Bennett comes into the race off the back of a training camp and 22nd place in a wet and cold Eschborn-Frankfurt. With his confidence boosting Paris-Nice stage in the pocket, the Irishman is looking for an early win.

"I am looking forward to this Giro d'Italia, it's the 100th edition which is very special to be part of," Bennett said. "My preparations went pretty good with the altitude camp in the Sierra Nevada, where I could do my training very individually this time. Of course, my goal is to win a stage. After my first WorldTour win in Paris-Nice, I am ready to take my first stage in a Grand Tour."

Like Bennett, Konrad has only previously ridden the Tour but with a seventh place at the Vuelta al Pais Vasco the 25-year-old is excited by the challenge.

"I am here as the team’s leader, which is a new situation for me. I hope to adapt well to this challenge and show that I have the potential to be a Grand Tour contender in the future," said Konrad who was 65th at last year's Tour.

"In this Giro, our big goal as a team is to take a stage win and I will also focus on that. I'll try to take every opportunity that occurs. At one day, this may means I’ll struggle, but this is a risk I have to take. I don't have any result in my mind for the GC, I want to ride aggressive and also try something in the high mountains in the last week. Then we’ll see the outcome." 

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