Simone Petilli is confident he will be at peak form for the 100th edition of the Giro d’Italia to help deliver positive results for UAE Team Emirates.
The 23-year-old Italian, who debuted at the iconic Corsa Rosa last year, was “honoured” to have featured at the Grand Tour race in his homeland.
And he is hopeful he can improve on an impressive outing that saw him finish 77th overall as well as 16th in the Youth Classification.
“It’s a big month with the Giro d’Italia. I’m in good form but I will be at my best in the next few weeks,” said the Bellano native when speaking to Sport360 at the Liege-Bastogne-Liege race in Belgium last month.
“My best form will be possible at the Giro. That’s my main objective. I stayed in altitude at Mount Etna with the team in training camp in March. I worked hard to be ready for the Liege-Bastogne-Liege race but I think my best form will be now at the Giro.”
Alongside the Tour de France and Vuelta a Espana, the Giro makes up cycling’s holy trinity of races during the season.
And, being Italian and competing in the 100th edition of the Giro is something that resonates even more with climbing specialist Petilli.
“It’s special and as an Italian it’s one of the best races of the season,” he said.
“As a new professional rider last year I raced the Giro for the first time and it was an honour for me. This year, with much more experience, hopefully I will catch some results for me and for the team. I will work well to be ready.”
Previous Giro winners Nairo Quintana (Movistar) and Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain Merida) – who will be looking to make it back-to-back successes and a third Giro crown overall – will be among the favourites.
Team UAE’s main hope will be Portuguese rider Rui Costa following injury to Darwin Atapuma – who finished ninth in last year’s GC with BMC Racing Team – while Sacha Modolo will also be a leading contender for the sprint finishes.
Youngster Petilli will play a supporting role, and that suits him fine.
“I think now I can’t be the leader of the team because we have very strong team,” he said when asked if he has ambitions of one day winning the Giro himself.
“I will help the leaders on the stages and if I can have some opportunities to catch them I will do my best. The route is very hard from start to finish and it and the sport is very dangerous sometimes.”
UAE Team Emirates: Valerio Conti, Roberto Ferrari, Marco Marcato, Sacha Modolo, Simone Petilli, Edward Ravasi (ITA); Matej Mohoric, Jan Polanc (SLO); Rui Costa (POR)
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