Giulio Ciccone had the Giro d'Italia as his biggest goal of the year, however a positive Covid-19 test brought down what had been a strong season up to date. He now restarted racing at the Criterium du Dauphiné having eyes on the Tour de France.
"It hurt a lot to miss the Giro, especially in the first days. If it had been a retirement because of a crash, I would have accepted it better. But I couldn't help it: I had quite severe symptoms, starting with a high fever," Ciccone tells Gazzetta dello Sport. "I was out for a week and then I had another relapse. The first half of May was difficult, but I've been able to build my form consistently for a while now. I'm moving in the right direction to get back to my highest level. I will be ready for the Tour and I am very motivated for my new goals."
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The Trek - Segafredo had a very strong first part of the season, inclusively beating Primoz Roglic and Remco Evenepoel in a summit finish at the Volta a Catalunya. His climbing legs were in place and a home start at the Giro had him very motivated. After finishing 13th in an aggressive Liège-Bastogne-Liège, he had to interrupt his racing plan.
“I knew my worth before I got sick. The results of the spring had already proven that. The Giro ended up going exactly the way I wanted it to. Very often the breakaway made it and quite a lot of tough stages were played out by the climbers. Unfortunately you can't change the past."
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He now switches his goals, naturally refocusing on the Tour de France. There will be plenty hilly and mountain stages where he can succeed, and the Trek - Segafredo rider reveals he won't be aiming at the overall classification:
"The goals for the Tour are simple: to win a stage and win the polka dot jersey. I'm getting married on June 21 and after that I was supposed to go on my honeymoon. Now I travel to the Tour. I think that's also the best thing for a cyclist."
This week at the Criterium du Dauphiné he'll be testing his form, here the goals may be different but the mountain stages will certainly be the main goal. “I have no GC ambitions in the Tour. I especially want to be strong uphill and I know I can do that. The Critérium du Dauphiné is a useful incentive. The Italian championships will also take place before the Tour. I'm sure I'll arrive there in excellent shape," he concluded.