Ciccone ready to lead Trek-Segafredo on his Vuelta a España debut
Giulio Ciccone is expected to lead Trek-Segafredo at Vuelta a España, taking responsibility for the team’s overall challenge early on after unexpectedly falling into the role of Giro d’Italia.
It’s the start of the 26-year-old Vuelta – despite having raced six editions of the Giro d’Italia and one Tour de France – and it’s the Grand Tour he’s working towards this year, along with his leadership role. on the Spanish circuit announced at the start of the season.
“We have a runner, Ciccone, who deserves the greatest trust and the greatest support,” Trek-Segafredo manager Gregory Rast said in a statement. “For the first time in his career, he will drive a GT as the only leader, and we intend to put him in the best possible conditions to leave his mark. To be a leader is to carry the weight of responsibility, and for this reason, we need each teammate to do their best to help them.
Alongside Ciccone when he leaves Burgos on August 14, there will be the experience of Kenny Elissonde and Gianluca Brambilla, both of whom have five Vuelta a España behind them. Spanish riders Juan Pedro Lopez and Antonio Nibali will be there for the climbs, with Alex Kirsch and Kiel Reijnen for the flat and mixed stages. 20-year-old Quinn Simmons will also be on board to make his Grand Tour debut.
Ciccone’s best Grand Tour result so far is 16th place in the Giro d’Italia in 2019 as he raced in support of Bauke Mollema, although he may have improved considerably without his crash in the Italian race this year. Ciccone entered with the plan to attack and try to win stages, but ended up focusing on the overall after Vincenzo Nibali, who struggled with a broken wrist to line up, took suffered a number of setbacks. He climbed to fourth place overall and was sixth before a crash in Stage 17, which led him to retire before the start the next day.
Ciccone will now have the opportunity to see what he can do when he is the supported rider for the general classification of a Grand Tour from the start.
“Giulio’s skills are well suited to this race, that’s a fact, and that’s why it’s fair to aim for a strong placement in the overall standings as a starting target,” said Rast. “If we include this year’s hapless Giro, it will only be the second time he’s tried to take on a three-week GC challenge, but we believe he has enough determination and character to do so. do well.
Yaroslav Popovych, director of Trek-Segafredo during the race alongside Rast, said he believes the structure of this year’s race will make the overall standings quite unpredictable.
“I see at least five valid GC contenders, and if I have to point out the number one favorite, I say [Primož] Roglič, both for his strength and the desire for revenge he will have after the Tour, ”Popovych said.
“I expect Jumbo-Visma to be the benchmark team, the one who will try to control the race. But with so many opportunities to attack and several drivers ready to get them into trouble, I see an exciting challenge for the fans. Needless to say, we want to be in the game.