Rafal Majka will lead the Tinkoff team at the Giro d’Italia this month the team has confirmed. The Polish rider will be targeting the podium and a stage victory in his third appearance at the corsa rosa.
Majka has never been outside the top 10 at the Giro, finishing 7th in his first attempt and moving up to sixth the following season before skipping it in favour of the Tour de France in 2015. He made his Grand Tour breakthrough at last year’s Vuelta a Espana when he claimed third overall on the final mountain stage. Majka has had brief flashes of form this season, finishing in the top 10 at the Tour de San Luis and the Ruta del Sol. He was in 15th overall at the Tour de Romandie before abandoning ahead of the final stage on Sunday.
"I really look forward to tackling the Giro now, after months of preparation towards one of my biggest goals of the year,” said Majka. “As a team, we had a good winter, training and getting ready for the season and we have had strong results since starting racing which has built a good momentum. Now we are ready for the first Grand Tour, and I'm excited to be leading the team in Italy.
"I've seen in Romandie that my form is where it needs to be after a solid period of altitude training in Cyprus with the team and ahead of the Giro. I'm happy with how I'm climbing and I think this is where the real differences will be made.”
Majka will have the backing of some serious experience in the form of Matteo Tosatto, who will be riding his 33rd Grand Tour. Tosatto was one of Alberto Contador’s key lieutenants during his successful bid for glory last year, and his experience proved vital when Contador was caught up in a crash on stage 13. Majka will also be able to rely on the Russians Evgeny Petrov, 37, and Pavel Brutt, 34.
"We've got a strong line-up for the race, and it's really good to be able to draw on the experience at this race from the guys like Tosatto, Petrov, and Brutt, and to race alongside [Pawel] Poljanski. I think this is an important strength to have in the team. We have guys that can help me on all the various stages that the race has and then it's up to me to be there when it matters.”
The Giro d’Italia begins on Friday in Apeldoorn with a 9.8km individual time trial and finishes in Torino on May 29.