Pozzovivo confirmed as Ag2r-La Mondiale's Giro d'Italia leader

Domenico Pozzovivo has been confirmed as Ag2r-La Mondiale's general classification rider for the Giro d'Italia with the French team naming its nine-riders for the three week race which starts with a 17.6km team time trial from San Lorenzo al Mare to Sanremo on Saturday.

Pozzovivo has won stages at the Volta Ciclista a Catalunya and Giro del Trentino in preparation for the Giro. The Italian climber also finished sixth overall at the Tour Down Under, eighth at Tirreno-Adriatico, third at Volta Ciclista a Catalunya and seventh in Trentino and most recently was eighth at Liège-Bastogne-Liège to confirm his pre-race form.

Supporting Pozzovivo in the mountains will be the best young rider and fifth overall from the 2013 edition of the Giro, Carlos Betancur, who the team's sport director Directeur sportif Laurent Biondi believes will be a rider to watch throughout the race.

"I have the impression that form is reaching a crescendo," Biondi said in L'Equipe. "If Carlos is racing at the same level he was in 2014, he can reach a high ranking in the general classification."

For Pozzovivo, Biondi explained the team's expectation considering his current form.

"He is very diligent, professional and super motivated for this grand tour in his country," he said. "He can target the top five and a stage win."

Former yellow jersey wearer at the Tour de France Rinaldo Nocentini will also be riding in support of his compatriot during his eighth carer Giro while Canadian Hugo Houle is the only rider to be making his grand tour debut at the Giro.

Ag2r-La Mondiale for the Giro d'Italia: Axel Domont, Carlos Betancur, Domenico Pozzovivo, Hubert Dupont, Hugo Houle, Julien Bérard, Matteo Montaguti, Patrick Gretsch and Rinaldo Nocentini. 

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