Viviani: Milan-San Remo is the only Monument I can win

Elia Viviani has enjoyed a prolific first season with Quick-Step Floors, and is now readying himself for an attempt at winning Milan-San Remo in March.

Viviani told Belgian website on Monday that he thought the Italian one-day race was the only Monument that he was capable of winning, and that it was his main goal for 2019.

He also told the website that he would have to "wait and see" whether he rides the Giro d'Italia – which he rode in 2018, taking four stage victories there – or the Tour de France, which he missed this year in favour of teammate Fernando Gaviria leading the team there, with the Colombian taking two stage wins.

But with Gaviria having moved on to UAE Team Emirates for 2019, Viviani is once again the undisputed top-dog sprinter at the team that will be called Deceuninck-QuickStep next year.

"On one hand, I'd like to be at the start of the Giro as the Italian champion, as the finish is in my native region [Veneto]," the 29-year-old told Sporza.
"On the other hand, the time is right for the Tour de France, with Fernando no longer racing for us, and with the Tour starting in Brussels, and me riding for a Belgian team. But let's wait and see how I start the season," he said.

Having taken those four stage wins at the Giro, and then another three Grand Tour stage victories at this year's Vuelta a España, Viviani wants to complete the set.

"Tour stage wins are still missing from my palmarès," he said, but before a decision is made as to what his summer programme will be, Viviani will be concentrating on Milan-San Remo at the start of spring.

"San Remo is my first, main goal of 2019," he said. "La Primavera is perhaps the only monument that I can win, so I'm going to work very hard to win it.

"It's a strange race. You can feel great and yet it can suddenly all be over 10 kilometres from the finish," he continued. "That happened to me this year. I was ready to sprint for second place [behind solo winner Vincenzo Nibali]. On the Via Roma, I pushed on the pedals and suddenly I had nothing left in the tank. Which is perhaps not that unusual after almost 300 kilometres of racing."

Viviani had to be content with 19th place on the day, but he says the support of his new Quick-Step team this year has been instrumental in what the Italian calls the best year of his career so far.

"I made the step up thanks to the team, who built a nice group around me and made me a leader, which also helped to make me mentally stronger," said Viviani. "The team is in good hands, but at the same time we're also a family: the riders and the management are very close to each other, which helps you to achieve results."

Having won the Gent Six with Iljo Keisse at the weekend, Viviani now goes into the off-season with the confidence that comes with having had such a successful year. Besides his Grand Tour stage victories, he also won stages at the Tour Down Under, the Dubai Tour, the Abu Dhabi Tour and the Adriatica Ionica, as well as one-day wins at the Driedaagse De Panne and the EuroEyes Cyclassics Hamburg.

"Every year, I push my limits," said Viviani. "I reached my goal at the Olympic Games [winning gold on the track in the omnium in 2016], and now I dream of winning big races on the road.

"I was close at Gent-Wevelgem," he said, referring to his second place at the Belgian one-day race in March, where he was beaten by Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe). "Now Milan-San Remo is also on my wish list."

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