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"Next year we start with the ambition to finish on the podium," Pozzovivo tells Net1News

Photo: Sirotti

AG2R CITROEN TEAM

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21.11.2013 @ 16:20 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Prior to the 2013 season, Domenico Pozzovivo left his familiar surroundings in the Bardiani team to sign his first contract with a ProTeam when he joined Ag2r-La Mondiale. Having finished in the top 10 in both the Giro d'Italia and the Vuelta a Espana, the tiny Italian enjoyed a very successful year and is now targeting the podium in his home grand tour.

 

Domenico Pozzovivo was long known as one of the greatest Italian climbing talents and became a familiar name among cycling fans when he finished 9th in the 2008 Giro d'Italia. For many years, he did, however, fail to live up to his promises in his home grand tour while he was riding as the leader of the Italian Bardiani team and he had a reputation of being a perennial disappointment in the race that mattered the most for his team.

 

In 2012, his luck finally changed when he won a stage and finished 8th overall in the race and he had probably his best year ever. His good results were enough to finally earn him what appeared to be a long overdue contract with a WorldTour team when he was signed by Ag2r-La Mondiale for the 2013 season.

 

His first season in his new colours were a major success as he finished in the top 10 in both the Giro and his debut Vuelta. While he failed to win a race in his maiden year with the French team, he marked himself out as one of the best grand tour riders in the world.

 

In 2013, he shared captaincy duties in the Giro with Carlos Betancur but next year he will be the sole leader of the squad in the Italian grand tour. While Betancur will join forces with Jean-Christophe Peraud and Romain Bardet as leaders in the Tour de France, the Giro will be Pozzovivo's territory.

 

In 2013, he was severely hampered by two broken ribs that he suffered in the Giro d'Italia but he still managed to finish in 10th. In the Vuelta, he showed his true potential when he finished 6th overall despite losing unnecessary time on a windy day.

 

Next year he aims even higher in the Giro.

 

"Next year we start with the ambition to finish on the podium," he told Net1News.

 

The course for the Giro will be very mountainous and so suits Pozzovivo well. The same is likely to be the case for the Vuelta and so the Italian will once again put his focus on the Spanish race in the second half of the year.

 

"I am certainly focused on the Giro but I do not forget about the Vuelta," he said. "It is good for me and after mainly losing ground because of the echelons, I know that I can turn it into "my" race."

 

Many were surprised to see Pozzovivo sign for a French team but he doesn't regret his decision.

 

"I will say that I was right to change the air," he said. "My goal was to finish in the top 10 on GC in the Giro d'Italia and the Vuelta, and I did. It even happened despite bad luck. I was in poor physical condition in the Giro as I had broken two ribs in the Giro del Trentino but I held on for all three weeks and even resisted the cold that usually is a disadvantage for me."

 

Pozzovivo ended his season in the GP Beghelli on October 13 and will join the Ag2r-La Mondiale team at their first team gathering in Montgenevre.

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