After starting his 2023 season with a three-month search for a new team, 40-year-old Domenico Pozzovivo is back at the upcoming Giro d’Italia and aiming for an eighth career top-10 placing in Rome.
The veteran climber eventually signed with Israel-Premier Tech in early March after his Intermarché-Circus-Wanty contract wasn’t renewed last season. He’s already taken on the Settimana Coppi e Bartali, finishing sixth, and the Tour of the Alps in preparation to lead his new squad at the Giro.
When the peloton rolls out at the Grande Partenza in Abruzzo next Saturday, Pozzovivo will be doing so for the 17th time, well more than any of his rivals, and one off the record of perennial 1970s Giro competitor Wladimiro Panizza.
Despite his status as a Giro ultra veteran having made his debut in 2005, ‘the flea from Policoro’ is expected to be in the GC mix once again after finishing eighth last year.
“I’m not competing to win the Giro. The goal is to go for a top 10. That would be a great result for me, considering my preparation and age,” Pozzovivo told WielerFlits (opens in new tab) recently.
“The Giro is very important to me, especially because I haven’t ridden that many races this year. That’s why the Tour of the Alps was an important step towards the Giro, even if I didn’t have my best days there.”
Pozzovivo, who finished fifth at the Giro d’Italia in 2014 and 2018, has had one of the shortest lead-ins to the race of his long career, having logged only 10 race days so far in 2023. Still, despite a lack of race days and a pre-season spent training without a team, Pozzovivo has shown some form and is ready for May.
“It was good to really put in some deep effort and see how my fitness is,” he said. “I also wanted to gain race rhythm, especially the gear that you only have in races and not during training. Then you can really ride in the peloton without stress.”
He said that spending the winter without a contract, and thus no team training camps or concrete goals for the spring, was tough but added that his return to racing with his new team was a perfect start.
Sixth place at Coppi e Bartali included a fifth place on the hilly stage 4 and a second place behind the in-form Ben Healy in Forlì a day earlier.
“That period was difficult,” Pozzovivo said of the winter. “Especially when the season had already started. I had to stay motivated then, but in the end, I joined a good team in Israel-Premier Tech. I’m very happy that I can race after this difficult period.
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