Gaviria and Jungels ready for the Giro d’Italia
The two riders talked of their ambitions ahead of the season's first Grand Tour.
Quick-Step Floors, who since its inception has won 59 Grand Tour stages, comes with a balanced and motivated outfit to the start of the 100th Giro d'Italia, where the team is aiming to be again among the protagonists and add to its impressive haul of victories. A mixture of youth and experience, the nine-man squad which will line up in Alghero on Friday afternoon will count on Fernando Gaviria and Bob Jungels, two of the hottest prospects in the peloton, to carry the flag for the team during the three weeks of the Corsa Rosa.
Since joining Quick-Step Floors, Fernando Gaviria made a name for himself as one of the fastest men in the sport, winning 13 races and adding a cluster of podium places to his continuously growing palmares. The Colombian, who proved his talent on numerous occasions, will be one of the most watched riders in the first two weeks, during which the sprinters will have seven opportunities to fight for victory, and even though the road that lies ahead is a tough and complicated one, he is keen on not yielding under pressure and making the most out of his presence at the Giro.
"A Grand Tour is a new experience for me, so I don't know how things will go. Many important sprinters are at the start, but I will try to do my best. I won't hide the fact that I am a bit nervous, but I think it's absolutely normal, considering is my debut in a three-week race, which is different from anything I've ever done until this point of my career", said Fernando Gaviria at the press conference on the eve of the race.
The 22-year-old, who moved this season to Italy, the country which witnessed his maiden World Tour victory, continued: "I've trained at home in the past weeks, the condition is there and I'm very motivated. Racing a Grand Tour is a big chance and I'm very excited about it, and at the same time grateful to the team for this opportunity. People have asked me about winning the points jersey, but I'm not thinking of it. My real goal is to arrive in Milan and finish the race."
At the 2016 Giro d'Italia, his first Grand Tour with Quick-Step Floors, Bob Jungels put in a solid all-round performance which propelled him to sixth in the general classification and at the top of the best young riders rankings. A year later, the Luxembourg Champion returns to the race which heralded his Grand Tour potential, confident but at the same time aware that a stiff test, with many challenges, awaits between Alghero and Milan.
"I am prepared to fight and give everything. I don't count myself as one of the favourites, many strong guys are here and the race is long and tough. We will take on some legendary climbs, but ultimately it's the riders that make the race. I have a lot of respect for the Giro and for my opponents, but I'm not scared of them. I know everyone's talking of the last week as being crucial, but in my opinion also the time trial stages will weigh heavily in the outcome", said the 24-year-old, one of the only two Luxembourgers to ever don the famed maglia rosa.
Photo credit: ©Tim De Waele