Bauke Mollema (Trek-Segafredo) will begin his build-up to the Giro d’Italia with a trip to the Southern Hemisphere and the Vuelta a San Juan. Mollema took to Twitter on Saturday morning to confirm the early part of his race programme, which includes the Abu Dhabi Tour, Tirreno-Adriatico and the Volta a Catalunya.
All of it will be in preparation for the Giro d’Italia, where Mollema is targeting the general classification before helping his teammate Alberto Contador at the Tour de France.
More often than not, Mollema has begun his season in Europe at the Mallorca Challenge, but with his season’s goal a little earlier he is keen to get going. The Vuelta a San Juan begins on January 23 and is the earliest start to a season for Mollema since his debut in 2007.
Following his trip to Argentina, Mollema will enjoy nearly a month’s break from racing before the Abu Dhabi Tour, which will be quickly followed by his European debut at Tirreno-Adriatico. Mollema finished ninth at last year’s Race of the Two Seas, despite the cancellation of the queen stage.
In 2016, Mollema had a break from racing following Tirreno-Adriatico and didn’t resume racing until the Vuelta al Pais Vasco and the Ardennes Classics. However, he will keep the momentum going and make his way to Spain for the Volta a Catalunya on March 20. Catalunya, where he is also set to race alongside Contador, will be an opportunity for Mollema to see how he stacks up against his Giro rivals such as Mikel Landa, Steven Kruijswijk and Tejay van Garderen.
Another lengthy gap, and more than likely some altitude training, will separate Catalunya and the start of the Giro d’Italia on May 5 as he looks likely to skip the Ardennes this time around.