Pozzovivo to double up with Giro d'Italia and Tour de France in 2016

Domenico Pozzovivo has outlined the structure of his 2016 season, which will be build around a Grand Tour double of the Giro d'Italia and Tour de France

There was talk about the Italian, who turned 33 on Monday, making his debut at the Tour next year, and he has given confirmation of this, along with the rest of his early-season calendar, to Italian newspaper Gazzetta dello Sport

He will return to the Italian Grand Tour, where he has four top 10 finishes, for the 10th time in his career, and will target the general classification, though he will assume joint leadership with his Ag2r La Mondiale teammate, Jean-Christophe Peraud. At the Tour he will take on support duties for undisputed leader Romain Bardet but is still eyeing a high overall finish. 

"Peraud will also be there and we will be co-leaders," Pozzovivo said of next year's Giro, according to Gazzetta. "My goal is to finish in the top five, but better still if I can beat my fifth place of 2014, which is my best result."

Pozzovivo went into this year's edition of the race as one of the outside favourites, but his race was over as early as stage three when he suffered a horror crash and lay motionless on the road for a short while, before being taken to hospital and escaping serious facial injuries. 

Pozzovivo will finally make his Tour de France debut after three years at Ag2r-La Mondiale. Before joining the French WorldTour team he rode for Italian Pro Continental teams,

"I'm really motivated by the idea," he said. "As time goes by, there is less and less opportunity to take part. I will be a secondary leader - I will ride in support of Bardet. But finishing in the top 10 would give me great satisfaction."

Pozzovivo will begin his 2016 season early, as he did this year, at the Tour Down Under, before riding the Tour of Oman in February, Tirreno-Adriatico in March, and the Giro del Trentino in April. After a fifth place finish in 2014 and eighth this year, Liège-Bastogne-Liège will once again be on the menu as the final race ahead of the Giro. 

This year he enjoyed a consistent start to the season, which helped in his billing as someone who might challenge Alberto Contador at the Giro. He was sixth overall at the Tour Down Under, eighth at Tirreno-Adriatico, third at the Volta a Catalunya with a stage win, and seventh at the Giro del Trentino with a stage win. 

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