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BMC Racing is aimed squarely at victory the Giro d’Italia’s opening team time trial, and the pink leader’s jersey that would come with it.
The team won last year’s team time trial world championships, and brings a wealth of time trial prowess to the Giro in the form of Marcus Burghardt, American Brent Bookwalter, and Stefan Küng, a former individual pursuit champion on the track who won a stage of the Tour de Romandie last week.
If all goes to plan, a good ride in the technical team event will line up BMC’s new GC hope, Damiano Caruso, for a run at the top-five overall.
“We will try to make a good start in the team time trial and maybe try to win one of the first stages,” said sport director Valerio Piva. “The rest of the race we will support Damiano. He will have the support of Darwin Atapuma in the climbs, so hopefully a top-five result in the general classification would be nice.”
Caruso, 27, who was ninth in last year’s Vuelta a España, is new to BMC.
“This year, I have a big opportunity and the team has given me a big responsibility,” the Italian said. “Last year, I did a good Vuelta and now I want to improve on that result in the Giro. I think I am realistic in wanting to be top 10, but in my heart, I hope to do better. This year, the Giro has a very hard start. The first five or six stages are very hard in Liguria and Toscana. It is very important to be ready from the start.”
Philippe Gilbert, who is recovering from a crash at La Flèche Wallonne, will take the start in San Lorenzo al Mare as well, but says he will take the race “day by day.”
“The Giro will be difficult because I am still suffering from my crash at Flèche Wallonne,” Gilbert said. “I have done a lot of work to recover, but my goals have kind of changed because I do not know if I will be at my best level.”