After suffering disappointments at his last two races, Elia Viviani (Team Sky) bounced back with a win in the tricky finish in Wrexham on the first stage of the Tour of Britain. With the Worlds just around the corner, Viviani had been hoping for more than a solitary stage win at the Eneco Tour.
Viviani thought that he had messed things up with less than 100 metres to go, but he dug deep and demonstrated his quick thinking that has worked so well on the track to pip Mark Cavendish (Etixx-QuickStep) on the line. “It’s really good for me because it is a good period and my condition is on the top. I was disappointed with the result at Hamburg (Vattenfal Cycleassics) and Plouay because they are big races for me and I didn’t take good results,” said Viviani.
“The sprint is all about a seconds. You wait a second more and you lose and you can have good condition but you need to decide the perfect tactic and you need to start the sprint in the perfect position. It’s really good for the Worlds because it’s a big focus for the last part of the season.”
Team Sky did a large portion of the work during the opening stage, utilising Andy Fenn to drag back the peloton as they tried to keep their GC riders for later in the race. It was then former Tour of Britain stage winner Ben Swift that guided him through the finale. This is Viviani’s first season with Sky and while it hasn’t been his most successful to date he believes that he had made some big leaps forward.
“I have some very strong riders at my disposal and when we have this train I think that we can go to every sprint stage to win,” he said. “I’ve beaten Cav and Greipel a few times. Every year I make a step and this year I think I made a really good step. I have worked hard and we understand and we prepared very well for my main focusses. The Giro d’Italia was the first and now we are on a good road for the last part of the season. I think I did a really good step this season.”
Viviani has been named among the riders expected to travel to Richmond, alongside fellow sprinter Giacomo Nizzolo. Diego Ulissi and Matteo Trentin, who is also at the Tour of Britain, are also on the proposed list for the Italian squad. There are some questions as to whether the course will suit the sprinters or the more classics inclined riders, however, Viviani believes that this latest showing proves he’s where he needs to be for the road race in two weeks’ time.
“I’ve seen the parcours and it’s not simple but it’s not really hard. There are some short climbs with pave so I think I can do well,” said Viviani. “Sure I don’t have a big result in the classics and I can’t go to the Worlds saying I’m one of the favourites. I’m working very hard for this and this result is good for the head and it is also good testing for the legs and the condition. I am really happy for this.”
During his winner’s press conference thoughts also turned to the Olympic Games in Rio Next season. While Viviani is putting in the hard miles on the road this season, he will turn his attentions to the track when it comes to Rio. “For sure, because of the parcours, I will only do the track. The parcours is too hard on the road. It’s a big focus but now I only have the focus for the Worlds road,” he said.
“I think after the Worlds, I will do the European Championships and the first World Cup but I will do a really easy winter, with a training camp in Mallorca, same as last year. I think we will follow the same programme as this year because the Giro will be the big focus and then after the Giro we will decide what the perfect plan is for the Olympics.”
As for the Tour of Britain, he’s got a lead to defend. “When you have a leader’s jersey you try. Tomorrow is hard but for sure I will try. You say I have good condition in the short climbs also I have good resistance and I will try.”