Viviani to take lead role at Cofidis

Viviani will be given star status in newly-promoted WorldTour team as he targets Milano-SanRemo and Olympics in 2020.

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FLORENCE, Italy (VN) — Elia Viviani begins a new chapter with Team Cofidis in 2020, and for the first time in his career, he is the out-right star. The Italian moves over from a two-year spell at Deceuninck-Quick-Step and will be leading the French team as it enters the WorldTour in 2020.

Cofidis wanted the Italian sprinter for his points and ability to win – over the past few years, he has won stages in the Giro d’Italia and Tour de France. When the Belgian super-team did not renew him, giving more of its budget for Julian Alaphilippe, Cofidis and Viviani made a deal.

“Why Cofidis? Because they were looking for a high-ranking UCI leader. A winning sprinter that goes strong in the Classics,” Viviani told La Gazzetta dello Sport.

Viviani flew to stage victory in Nancy at the Tour de France this year. He also picked up WorldTour wins in Hamburg, the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Race, and RideLondon. It adds to a palmarès over the years that includes five stages in both the Giro d’Italia and the Vuelta a España.

He admitted in an earlier interview that “things changed” once team Manager Patrick Lefevere renewed Alaphilippe. The Frenchman led the Tour for 14 days and won two stages this summer and required a significant amount of the team’s budget for 2020.

In the coming days, Deceuninck-Quick Step should announce Sam Bennett (coming from Bora-Hansgrohe) as its star sprinter for 2020. Viviani regrets that he had to leave Michael Morkov behind, one of his favored lead-out men.

“Sabatini will be the last man for me in Team Cofidis,” Viviani said. “Simone Consonni in front of him. Simone certainly does not have the experience of Morkov, but that’s the way it is. Then Christophe Laporte could play a big role. He will be important in Milano-Sanremo, my first major goal. He knows how to go well on the Cipressa and Poggio, and everyone speaks well of him. In Australia [For the Tour Down Under], I will have Nathan Haas.”

Cofidis is one of the two teams taking the step up in 2020 to expand the WorldTour from 18 to 20 teams. The French team, managed by Cédric Vasseur, used to always receive invitations to the Tour de France and Vuelta a España, but now it is certain to enter those races and other big events. Viviani tops the team roster in terms of notoriety and UCI points, so he will be the clear leader in the team’s new chapter.

Today, Viviani received his new De Rosa bicycle, the Sk Pininfarina. He will be using the bike, equipped with Campagnolo Record, after years using Shimano with Specialized or Pinarello.

He weighs 75kg now but should drop at 70kg later for the classics, body fat from 10 percent to 7.5 percent. His aim is to be ready, training around Monaco and racing, in order to be fit for two big targets: Milano-Sanremo on March 21 and the Olympics, where he will defend his gold medal in the Omnium.

Like Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) and Chris Froome (Ineos), Viviani will race the Tour de France and head towards Tokyo a week later. He welcomes a three-week Grand Tour in his legs.

He said, “In 2018, after the Giro d’Italia and in 2019, after the Tour de France, I got the best results. This is the way.”

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