Domenico Pozzovivo and his AG2R-La Mondiale teammates bounced back at the Giro del Trentino on Thursday, with the French team taking on Team Sky and the Italian climber going on to win the third stage to Fierozzo.
Pozzovivo lost 1:26 on Wednesday’s stage when Porte attacked after seeing him in difficulty. No longer an overall contender or a threat to Porte’s race lead, Pozzovivo focused on winning the stage, attacking alone with two kilometres to go. He was able to stay away and celebrated with his now familiar gesture of highlighting his lack of stature with his hand on his head.
"This Giro started well for us with a solid performance in the team time trial but we lacked a bit in the finale of the stage yesterday," Pozzovivo explained. "Today we were better organised tactically and rode a near perfect race. It’s important to pick your moment, and I knew where I had to attack because I’ve raced on this climb before. I went for it a bit far out but I managed my effort. I knew I’d got it with 500m to go."
"We told each other that we had to bounce back after yesterday, so tried to take on Team Sky. We had guys in the break and then we’d planned that Romain (Bardet) would try to do something on the Redebus climb, while I’d wait for the finale because I’m not in the GC."
"I felt good and I’ve been training well this year. I wanted to be on form here so I’m ready for the Giro d’Italia. I’ve been coming back from an operation (after fracturing his tibia and fibula in a training crash last summer)."
A Giro d’Italia contender
Pozzovivo finished fifth overall in the 2014 Giro d’Italia and considers himself a contender for a podium place this year through he knows he will face a battle with Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo), Richie Porte (Team Sky), Rigoberto Uran (Etixx-Quickstep) and Fabio Aru (Astana).
Pozzovivo will share team leadership with Carlos Betancur and be backed by a solid AG2R-La Mondiale team.
"I think there are five us up for a podium spot. Being on the podium would be a great result for me and I’d also like to win a stage, too. I’ve gone close in recent years."
"I’m perhaps a little too calculating in my tactics but that’s my character. I’ve probably got to come up with something special during the Giro. But I hope to not lose too much in the time trial. It’s long and will be important but it’s late in the race, so perhaps the time gaps will be smaller."
"Porte has shown he’s in great shape and he’ll be a tough client. I’m perhaps one step down from him but I known I’m suited to the Giro d’Italia climbs."
Before focusing on the Giro d’Italia, Pozzovivo will also ride Sunday’s Liège-Bastogne-Liège. He finished fifth last year after being on the attack on the final climb with Dan Martin and Giampaolo Caruso.