Filippo Ganna has said that he will enjoy more freedom and team leadership at Ineos Grenadiers in 2022 as he seeks to explore his possibilities beyond individual time trials and target the Classics and other road races
The Italian starts his season on Wednesday at Etoile des Bessèges, where last year he showcased his range by soloing to victory on the penultimate stage and then winning the concluding individual time trial.
“I’ve spoken about it with the team. This year, I’ll have my own opportunities too, I’ll have more carte blanche, with the team at my disposal,” Ganna told La Gazzetta dello Sport.
“A calendar has been designed for me, to make the most of my characteristics. There will be nice opportunities to show that I’m not ‘simply’ a time trialist or a track rider.”
After Etoile des Bessèges, Ganna is scheduled to ride the UAE Tour and Paris-Nice, and he will also look to shine at both Milan-San Remo and Paris-Roubaix.
In July he will make his Tour de France debut, and the world time trial champion will be the favourite to claim the first yellow jersey of the race in Copenhagen.
"To take on Paris-Roubaix, I'm working more than normal on my abdominal muscles and the upper part of the body. Once that's done, I'll have to lose some kilos ahead of the Tour," Ganna said.
"My physique is in an 'up and down' phase, which is normal in this period. I'll never be a climber of 70-75kg, it would be unnatural, I can't allow myself to do it. But Cancellara, when he was in yellow, weighed more than 80kg and he defended himself well more than once on the climbs.
"We'll see. For me, it's a 'new' year. I'll do less track, but I might do the European Championships in Munich in August, to score points for the Olympics."
Although Ganna is giving nothing away for now, La Gazzetta dello Sport suggested on Tuesday that he would likely make an attempt on the World Hour Record in Manchester in late August or early September.
The 25-year-old is already the sea-level world record holder in the individual pursuit and he helped the Italian quartet break the outright world record in the team pursuit en route to gold at the Tokyo Olympics last year.
Ganna still has two seasons left on his contract at Ineos Grenadiers and he suggested that he was likely to extend his time with the team beyond the end of his existing deal in 2023.
"I don't think they'll let me go easily," he joked.
"If I have become the Ganna that I am, the merit is also theirs. The support they have given me isn't provided by everyone."
Ganna also expressed support for his teammate Egan Bernal, who suffered life-threatening injuries in a training crash in Colombia last week.
Doctors at Clínica Universidad de La Sabana have expressed optimism at Bernal's recovery, but he remains in hospital after suffering fractures to his vertebrae, femur, kneecaps and ribs, as well as chest trauma and a collapsed lung.
"He has always come back from the problems he has had, and I'm convinced he'll do it again this time," Ganna said.
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