Trek-Segafredo have been forced to pivot their Giro d’Italia objectives just days before the start of the race following Giulio Ciccone’s COVID-19 positive.
The Italian, who was excited about the Grande Partenza in his home region of Abruzzo, was expected to fight for mountain stage victories and be a GC challenger at the Corsa Rosa this month.
In his absence Trek-Segafredo will hunt for stage wins on all terrains. The US-registered WorldTour team will look to former world champion Mads Pedersen and 2019 fifth-place finisher Bauke Mollema for success.
Young Eritrean climber Natnael Tesfatsion makes his Grand Tour debut for the team, while countryman Amanuel Ghebreigzabhier also rides along with Daan Hoole, Toms Skujins, Otto Vergaerde, and Alex Kirsch.
Trek-Segafredo announced their Giro d’Italia line-up on social media, using an Italian movie theme for each rider. Pedersen was James Bond in Venice, while Mollema was shown as Jep Gambardella in the The Great Beauty movie.
“At the start of a Grand Tour there’s always a perspective, an idea, a goal and a best scenario to try to achieve,” team directeur sportif Gregory Rast said ahead of Saturday’s opening time trial stage.
“But it is impossible to predict, as of now, what will happen in the 21 days of racing. Cycling is such an unpredictable sport. We must therefore look at the Giro as 21 different goals to aim for, where the team, all together, must focus on a daily basis.
“We must also have the strength and the ability perhaps to adapt our tactics during the race, keeping in mind what we came to the Giro to do: win stages.
“Of course, not having Ciccone is a real pity for us. Our chances of victory in the toughest stages, in the Alps and Dolomites, have been reduced a lot.
“Because of his strength on the climbs and the condition he showed, it was impossible to replace him 100%. But that’s it and we’re now focused on how we carve out our own space on the days when he would have been our leader.”
Ciccone can count three mountain stage wins on his Giro palmarès – at Sestola in 2015 with Bardiani, and then at Ponte di Legno in 2019 and at Cogne last year with Trek. He also won the most recent of Trek’s four Giro jerseys, taking the maglia azzurra of the mountain classification four years ago.
Pedersen, who along with Mollema, is hoping to complete a ‘grand slam’ of Grand Tour stage wins at the race, could be in contention for the ciclamino points jersey, which Giacomo Nizzolo won for the team in 2015 and…
Click Here to Read the Full Original Article at CyclingNews RSS Feed…