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Elia Viviani and yellow jersey holder Vincenzo Nibali at the start
Cannondale sprinter enjoying "the biggest race in the world"
Cannondale's Italian sprinter Elia Viviani has been a key cog in the lead-out train for Peter Sagan at the Tour de France with the team goal of securing a third straight green jersey in Paris. Having been given free rein in the Giro d'Italia sprints in May, Viviani has been playing the domestique role during July but is hopeful of getting his own opportunities later in the race.
"For the time being, I've been here to lead the sprints out for Peter, but in the end of the Tour, if the race for the green jersey is over, I hope to have my chance in the bunch sprints," Viviani told letour.fr. "I was a bit tired after the Giro but now I'm feeling better and better."
Viviani had three top-five finishes at the Giro but missed out on his season goal of winning a Giro stage but has turned his attention to bigger demands of the peloton during July.
"It's a big emotion," he said. "You can tell it's the biggest race in the world. At the Giro, when you know it's going to be a sprint, you take it easy in the first 100 kilometres. It doesn't happen on the Tour. It's full gas all day."
Viviani entered the Giro having beaten Mark Cavendish in two stages at the Tour of Turkey and won stage four of the Tour de Slovénie the week before the Tour. While still adjusting the demands of the Tour, Viviani is hoping that he is getting stronger by the day and is looking for a good result in the third week of the race.
"There's a whole generation of young sprinters like Démare, Coquard, Modolo or myself and I hope our time has come to win stages," he said.
The 25-year-old is also an accomplished track rider and is the reigning European champion in the points race and in the madison with Liam Bertazzo. Viviani also has a silver medal from the 2011 track world championships in the scratch race and is looking to continue racing on the velodrome for the coming seasons.
"I'm not a full time road racer and I'll continue to race on track with the Rio Olympics in mind," he said.