BMC Racing Team have announced its Giro d'Italia team built around the general classification ambitions of Damiano Caruso and helping Philippe Gilbert to first week stage wins. Caruso, ninth overall at the 2014 Vuelta a España, will be making his third career appearance at the Italian grand tour which he last rode in 2013 finishing 19th overall.
Sport director Valerio Piva outlined the team's ambition for the race, explaining that placing Caruso in the maglia rosa is the first goal.
"We will try to make a good start in the team time trial and maybe try to win one of the first stages," Piva said. "The rest of the race we will support Damiano. He will have the support of Darwin Atapuma in the climbs, so hopefully a top five result in the general classification would be nice."
Caruso finished 27th overall at the Tour de Romandie in preparation for the Giro while 14th overall at Tirreno-Adriatico and 21st at the Tour of Oman are his two other stage race results this season.
"This year, I have a big opportunity and the team has given me a big responsibility," Caruso said. "Last year, I did a good Vuelta and now I want to improve on that result in the Giro. I think I am realistic in wanting to be top 10, but in my heart, I hope to do better. This year, the Giro has a very hard start. The first five or six stages are very hard in Liguria and Toscana. It is very important to be ready from the start."
Gilbert will start the Giro uncertain over his condition as he continues to recover from injury and as a result, the stage winner from the 2009 edition of the race isn't setting any lofty ambitions.
"The Giro will be difficult because I am still suffering from my crash at Flèche Wallonne ," Gilbert said. "I have done a lot of work to recover, but my goals have kind of changed because I do not know if I will be at my best level. I am hoping to do a good start with the team in the team time trial and then see day-by-day what I can do."
Stefan Küng, who soloed to a stage victory at the Tour de Romandie last week, will make his Giro debut with sport director Fabio Baldato explaining the 21-year-old thrilled with the news of his call up.
"I remember when we talked to Stefan about doing the Giro," Baldato said. "His eyes got very big and he was really excited. This will be a good experience for him and I am sure he and the other young guys like Rick and Silvan can contribute. Doing a three-week race really helps you take the next step toward becoming a stronger, more experienced rider. You see their body and their attitude change in a grand tour much more than in a one-week week race or a classic."
Brent Bookwalter is the only rider selected from the 2014 team as four riders make their Giro debuts with Silvan Dillier, Küng and Rick Zabel all making their grand tour debuts.
BMC for the Giro d'Italia: Darwin Atapuma (Col), Brent Bookwalter (USA), Marcus Burghardt (Ger), Damiano Caruso (Ita), Silvan Dillier (Sui), Philippe Gilbert (Bel), Stefan Küng (Sui), Klaas Lodewyck (Bel) and Rick Zabel (Ger).
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