Elia Viviani (Team Sky) says that while he’s not yet fully recovered from his efforts at the Giro d’Italia, he believes there is plenty of time to rectify that before the first European Games in Baku. Viviani will don the blue of Italy as he targets success in the road race. The Games will open this Friday 12 June, but the men’s road race does not take place until nine days later.
“After the Giro I gave myself a ‘soft’ week, I cycled mostly for pleasure without exceeding two and a half to three hours riding. The Giro was tough and I needed to regain some power,” he said in an interview with Tuttobiciweb. “I have started pedaling with greater intensity because Baku is ahead. There is still enough time to evaluate what the Giro gave me and fix what I took away.”
Viviani completed the Giro d’Italia for the third time this year, claiming his first Grand Tour stage win on day two of the race. His consistency in the sprints put him in contention for the red points jersey, which he wore for 11 days of the race. However, he faded in the final week and had to relinquish the jersey to his compatriot Giacomo Nizzolo (Trek Factory Racing) and, in the end, finished fourth in the competition.
“In the last stages in the sprint I was less powerful than I was in the first days. I have no regret about losing the red jersey. The goal was to get results from the stage victory. Giacomo is very resilient and suffered less than me the third week and in most stages, unlike me, he could count on a whole team entirely in his service.”
Since the Giro d’Italia, Viviani has also had a brief spell back on the track at the Gran Premio Città di Montichiari. The event was cut short due to leaks, but Viviani was pleased with his performance nonetheless and believes that the experiences of the last month will pay dividends next season.
“[It] was supposed to last two days and, instead, was cancelled after the first 24 hours. I was able to ride the first two events in the Omnium and get good results,” he explained. “In the pursuit I even posted my personal best, which is not bad considering that it was the first time I touched the track bike for a while. These events have given me valuable guidance for the program next year. The Giro will be excellent preparation for the Olympics.”
For now, though, the focus is on Baku and the men’s road race. Viviani will be one of the favourites for victory, along with his Italian teammate Nizzolo, but says that with so few in support it will be a hard race to control. “The real unknown is to manage the race with so few riders per team,” he said.
“Reduced teams complicate things and makes for an unusual race, which should be decided with a sprint but it is not definite. We are on alert and ready to do well on a demanding but not hard course, it will be difficult to control things for 220 kilometres. Among the opponents are Belgium and the Netherlands who have teams to be reckoned with. We will give it our all.”