Road

Viviani prioritizing Sanremo and Tour while keeping Giro ambitions alive

Cofidis sprint and track star all-in for road racing after Olympic omnium defense delayed.

Cofidis sprinter Elia Viviani is planning on a front-loaded schedule when the WorldTour season restarts this August, with early ambitions at Milano-Sanremo and the Tour de France. And despite La Grande Boucle being the grand tour priority for Viviani’s French team, the Italian is harboring hopes for more success at his home race, the Giro d’Italia.

Milano-Sanremo has been center of the 31-year-old’s season since long before the coronavirus shutdown loomed into view. Viviani has made six appearances at the race through his career, yet so far failed to be in the mix come the sprint showdown on the Via Roma.

“I redid the program several times while the calendar changed, but the goal remains the goal of Via Roma,” Viviani told Corriere Della Sera.

The Italian monument is currently scheduled for August 8, but there is still the possibility of it being pushed back by two weeks – and Viviani hopes the potential postponement does get approved.

“On the idea of ​​going there on August 8 without races and 20 days until the Tour, I remain skeptical: it would be better to run it on the 22nd,” Viviani said Monday. “Let’s wait for the official news.”

Shortly after Sanremo, Viviani will be heading up his team at the Tour de France in their first year back in the WorldTour. “This year I am a leader of Cofidis, a French team,” he said. “The priority is the Tour.” The Italian sprinter was one of many signings made by the French outfit this winter as it bolstered its squad in preparation for a return to top-tier competition.

While Viviani may be racing for a stalwart French team, he remains Italian through-and-through. Despite the Giro starting just two weeks after the conclusion of the Tour de France, Viviani is hoping he can return to his home race to replicate his prolific ride in 2018, where he took four victories and two second-places.

“I would like to return to the Giro with the spirit of 2018: at speed from start to finish and the [sprinter’s] jersey on my shoulders,” Viviani said.

Like many, Viviani’s schedule took on a whole new complexion when the Tokyo Olympics were postponed earlier this year. A defense of his omnium gold medal had been a priority at the start of the year, and now, with the Games pushed back 12 months, Viviani is hoping to keep the legs simmering at his local velodrome.

“The track is a project that has inevitably slowed down, but soon I would like to resume training at the Montichiari velodrome,” he said. “The Olympics is a strange goal: without World Cups this winter we risk getting there only with the European championship in the legs… It will be an absurd feeling to have no comparison with the world before Tokyo.”

Viviani found lockdown in Italy a tough experience to bear, expressing his aversion to long hours on the trainer last month. “In the evening I was going to bed thinking of a favorable stage for me or a classic to win,” Viviani told Corriere yesterday.

From now until August, he’ll be dreaming of Milano-Sanremo’s sprint on the Via Roma.