After three stages of the 2015 Giro d'Italia, Elia Viviani had a stage win to his name and was leading the points classification. Fast-forward to 2016 and the Team Sky sprinter is yet to stand on the podium with Marcel Kittel dominating the two field sprints held in the Netherlands before the race heads to Italy and resumes in Catanzaro.
With a stacked sprinters field and Kittel in top-form, Viviani explained he is content with his early sensations from the 99th edition of the Giro.
"We're really focused for the whole Giro in the best form. At the moment, when Kittel is perfect, second is a good result," Viviani told reporters after stage 3 having led the the peloton behind the Etixx-Quick Step sprinter.
Viviani had placed himself on Kittel's wheel before the German opened up his sprint but was unable to match the high-end speed. The 27-year-old explained that he believes Kittel's is the best wheel to follow in the final, and is a tactic he will continue to employ.
"If he makes an error, he makes an error. My focus is to take his wheel then keep trying. Sometimes you can go faster and maybe win," he added.
With several climbs featuring late in stage 4 likely to shake out the sprinters, Viviani will save his legs for the flatter days despite the Italian more likely to make the selection over the hills than the heavier Kittel.
"We know we can improve. After three weeks without racing I should get better day-by-day. We want to do the best we can on the flat stages - stage five is the next one. Stage seven is another one so I will focus on those stages, take as many points as we can and try to win," he said on his team website.
While Viviani will be free to pursue his personal ambition on the sprint stages he will also turn domestique with Sky aiming to win the Giro overall with Mikel Landa with an early-stage win likely to take some pressure off the British squad.
"All the team worked well and I was able to move up to the front each time without any problems," he said. "There were crashes but we were safe all day. It was a real Dutch stage like you'd expect with these roads. Now we head back to Italy and Mikel is feeling good. He's not lost a lot of time in the time trial so I think we're in a good position now. We can start the second part of the Giro."
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