Elia Viviani will be looking to get his Quick-Step Floors career off to a winning start when he makes his team debut at the Santos Tour Down Under. Viviani is the team’s leader for the first WorldTour race of the season as they target stage victories, while Enric Mas provides them with a potential contender in the overall classification.
It is Viviani’s first appearance at the Tour Down Under since 2014 and only his third ever start at Australia’s flagship race. For the last two seasons, Viviani has started his year in Argentina, but with Fernando Gaviria set to use the Vuelta a San Juan as his season opener, Quick-Step Floors has sent him to Australia. Viviani is looking forward to a chance to return to the race with his new team.
“I like the Tour Down Under, it’s one of the best races to start the season – with nice stages, spectacular landscapes and fantastic fans, who always create an electric atmosphere – and I’m motivated to kick off the season on the right foot,” he said in a team press release. “It’s a star-studded field at the start and I know it won’t be easy in the sprints, but I have a strong team with a good lead-out and this gives me confidence for my debut in the Quick-Step Floors kit, which I’m eager to show in Australia.”
Viviani joined Quick-Step Floors this winter after cutting his contract short with Team Sky. He will link up with former Liquigas teammate Fabio Sabatini, who will be his lead-out man. Dane Michael Mørkøv also joins the Italian’s lead-out train after switching from the Katusha team over the winter. Dries Devenyns, Florian Senechal and Eros Capecchi complete the team for the one-week race.
This year’s Tour Down Under, which begins on January 16, has a strong sprint line-up. World Champion Peter Sagan is the headline act in the sprint pack with San Bennett as back-up, while Caleb Ewan is the home favourite. Record stage winner and former overall victor, Andre Greipel is back and Viviani’s former team has new signing Kristoffer Halvorsen and Chris Lawless.
Quick-Step Floors for Tour Down Under: Eros Capecchi, Dries Devenyns, Enric Mas, Michael Mørkøv, Fabio Sabatini, Florian Senechal, Elia Viviani.
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