Visconti: At Bahrain Merida I'll learn how to win again

Italian set to ride Giro with Nibali in 2017

Giovanni Visconti is hoping that a move to Bahrain Merida will help him return to winning ways after five years at Movistar.

The 33-year-old has won two stages in the Giro d'Italia, both of which came in 2013, but he has ridden in the service of Nairo Quintana and Alejandro Valverde for a number of years. He also picked up the mountains classification at the Giro in 2015 – the last major title of his career so far.

Although he will carry out a similar super-domestique role for his fellow Sicilian and new team leader, Vincenzo Nibali, at the Bahrain team, Visconti is looking to having a greater number of opportunities to ride for himself.

"I hope to return to winning races because in the last five years I think I've forgotten a little bit how to win," Visconti told Cyclingnews at the Tour of Britain.

"I'm happy, though. There will be new targets, a new team and new teammates. It's important when you go past the age of thirty to have a challenge like this is your career.

"At a team like Movistar there are champions like Alejandro Valverde and Nairo Quintana. It's normal that you work for those guys and with that you can forget how to win. I've won 30 races in my career, though, and I'm hoping to return to winning ways next year."

Visconti has ridden for several teams during his career, including Milram, QuickStep and Farnese Vini. The three-time Italian national champion's move to Bahrain Merida came about after Nibali – a long-term friend – reached out to him. Visconti was one of the first riders to be announced on the new WorldTour team.

"He called me and he's seen how I've worked for my team and for riders like Valverde. I'm going to help Nibali but also have my own chances in some of the races like the Classics," said Visconti, who turns 34 in January.

Race programmes for 2017 are far from certain and riders with GC aspirations will wait to see the parcours of the Giro, Tour de France and Vuelta a Espana before making any official announcements. However, Visconti hinted that he would ride the Giro in 2017 and that Nibali would return to defend the title he won this year.

Details of the 2017 Giro big start will be announced next week, with the race reportedly set to begin in Sardinia, while a visit to Sicily, where Nibali hails from, is also rumoured. The full route will be presented in Milan on October 25.

"The team will be strong but it won't be that strong in the first season at the Tour de France. I think that's normal for the first year for a team but normally I think it will be Nibali for the Giro and I'll be with him," Visconti said..

"I would like to do the Tour but for the first year and with the new team I think the Giro is the most natural fit."

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