Pozzovivo: There's never been a bigger Giro d'Italia

He may be 34 and he may have to share leadership with Alexandre Geniez at the Giro d’Italia this year but Domenico Pozzovivo is determined to arrive at the 100th edition of the race with his best ever form.

The diminutive Italian climber failed to sparkle in last year’s race, reaching Turin in 20th place overall. However, with a slightly reduced pre-Giro race programme and the motivation of the event passing through his home region, the former stage winner is building towards May with extra enthusiasm.

“This is a very important Giro. I’ve done a lot of them in my career but I don’t think there’s been a bigger one,” he told Cyclingnews at the Tour Down Under.

“Also, last year I didn’t have a good race so it’s important that I go back there and re-start things. In the last three days of last year’s race I didn’t have the condition. I also came into the race too tired. This year I’ll change the approach slightly so I can be fresher.”

Helping to prop up AG2R-La Mondiale’s general classification bid will be Frenchman, Alexandre Geniez, who finished ninth in 2015.

“Geniez comes with us this year and he’ll be a co-leader for the race. Matteo Montaguti comes as well but Geniez will be a co-leader with me,” Pozzovivo explained.

“It’s a Giro with a lot of mountains and there’s Etna and Blockhaus. As usual there’s a lot of mountain stages in the final week too. The time trial isn’t too flat so it’s not a bad route for the climbers.”

But for cracking on the stage to Risoul in last year’s Giro, Pozzovivo would have been on course for another top ten overall. He will return once more with the overall classification as his priority. The amplified competition with Vincenzo Nibali, Tom Dumoulin, Thibaut Pinot, Fabio Aru and Geraint Thomas all targeting the race has ensured a higher calibre field, yet Pozzovivo sees that as a plus.

“I’ll go there for GC and if it’s possible I’ll look to take a stage. In previous years there have been a lot of contenders but this year there’s even more. That makes it better because if you can get a result against the biggest and strongest riders then it means more.”

“I can also look forward to stage six that goes near where my wife is from and then stage 7 is in the region where I come from. That’s going to be really special for me too. I’ll have a lot of fun.”

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