Filippo Ganna: I'll need to be at 110% to take first yellow jersey at Tour de France
World time trial champion on COVID-19 precautions and new material
Filippo Ganna’s thoughts turn to the opening time trial of the Tour de France in Copenhagen after he reclaimed the Italian title in the discipline on Wednesday afternoon. The Ineos scorched around the 35.6km course in Friuli at almost 53kph to beat Mattia Cattaneo (QuickStep-AlphaVinyl) by 36 seconds.
“It’s a nice confirmation in view of the Tour,” Ganna said, according to La Gazzetta dello Sport.
“I suffered a bit with the heat and the humidity. I was struggling a bit and I couldn’t manage to find the right great. But we expected that, because I’ve just come down from altitude.”
The time trial concluded at the uncovered track in San Giovanni al Natisone, where Miguel Indurain first tested Pinarello’s Espada monocoque frame in 1994. For Ganna, Wednesday’s event allowed him a first competitive outing on the newest version of Pinarello’s Bolide time trial bike.
“We’ve tried 90% of the new material but there’s still the last 10% to come for Copenhagen,” said Ganna, who will vie with riders including Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma), Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates) and Stefan Küng (Groupama-FDJ) for the first yellow jersey in Denmark. Ganna pipped Van Aert to win the 31km time trial to La Bâtie d’Urfé at this month's Critérium du Dauphiné.
“The tricolour jersey is very important but for the yellow jersey, I’ll need to be at 110%. The condition wasn’t super here, and I’ll need to do some fine tuning in the last few days. I’ll look to arrive fresh to the start, like I did at the Giro in the past two years.”
The world time trial champion confirmed that he would not ride the Italian National Championships road race in Puglia this weekend so as to limit his travel and potential exposure to COVID-19 ahead of the Tour.
“We have to accept the internal rules,” said Ganna, who added that caution was the order of the day in the build-up to his Tour debut.
“Just look around, we know [COVID-19] is there but practically nobody is wearing a mask. People should have more respect for athletes.
“I’m exaggerating a little but before the pandemic, we would almost race even with pneumonia, but now it's called COVID-19 and even after winning a stage they will send you home if you have it, as it did to [Aleksandr] Vlasov at the Tour of Switzerland.
It’s necessary to be more careful and to see what happens in the next few days. The next rivals to overcome are the PCR tests.”
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Barry Ryan is Head of Features at Cyclingnews. He has covered professional cycling since 2010, reporting from the Tour de France, Giro d’Italia and events from Argentina to Japan. His writing has appeared in The Independent, Procycling and Cycling Plus. He is the author of The Ascent: Sean Kelly, Stephen Roche and the Rise of Irish Cycling’s Golden Generation, published by Gill Books.