The Wolfpack will take on the five-day Italian stage race this week.
A stage finish at the Giro d’Italia on several occasions, Riccione will welcome the peloton for the opening day of the competition, one that will be very much to the liking of the attackers and puncheurs, who’ll have plenty of opportunities to go for the win. One day later, a short and steep uphill finish in Longione promises to spice things up before the most difficult stage of this edition, on the roads of San Marino.
Taking in a dozen climbs, including a tough 5.7km one that will be tackled five times, stage 3 will weigh heavily on the general classification, which should be pretty much set in stone at the end of the day, despite two more hilly stages, one in Montecatini Terme and another one around Cantagrillo, a small town in the province of Pistoia.
Running its 37th edition this week, Settimana Internazionale Coppi e Bartali will see James Knox make his first appearance with the Wolfpack since last season’s Vuelta a España. The British climber will be joined by Mattia Cattaneo, French Champion Rémi Cavagna, Czech ITT Champion Josef Cerny and Mauro Schmid.
“Every day of the race, which this year won’t feature a team time trial, will be a hard one. We don’t have a leader, but all our guys come here with a lot of motivation and so we’ll take it day by day and try to make the most of it. We are delighted to have James back in the team. He was out with injury and the most important thing for him will be to feel the race rhythm again. With the other guys we will try to do our best and hopefully get some good results”, said Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl sports director Klaas Lodewyck.
Photo credit: ©Wout Beel