'Sprinting in Team Sky is different to sprinting in other teams'

Elia Viviani talks about how sprinting in Team Sky differs to other teams

Elia Viviani sprinting to a win for Team Sky. Photo: Graham Watson

(Image credit: Watson)

Team Sky's focus on stage races with star Chris Froome makes it different than other teams when it comes to sprinting, says its top star Elia Viviani.

The Olympic Omnium champion has to survive mostly on his own when he races in the Giro d'Italia and the Tour de France, has not been an option with the team's focus on the overall.

"It's different than other teams, for sure," the Italian told Cycling Weekly before the start of the Abu Dhabi Tour.

"In races like the Tour de France, it's hard for a sprinter to participate. Or the Dauphiné, for instance. Also in the Giro, maybe we do not go with a super lead-out, but then there are races like Abu Dhabi, the Dubai Tour. Abu Dhabi and Qatar will be WorldTour next year, and I'll have a strong lead-out for those races.

"But I never complained because I manage a sprint on my own. Many times, I do it that way. It's fine that way," the Italian said.

When the Giro d'Italia visited Genoa last year, Viviani led Team Sky to a stage win. This year, he hoped to do the same, but only managed second place. The team had its focus primarily on Mikel Landa, regardless.

Prior to joining Team Sky, Viviani raced the Tour de France with Cannondale and recorded a 17th place. He has improved drastically, but with Froome needing his helpers to win the yellow jersey, Viviani does not even put up his hand for the world's biggest race.

"My career is long. Sooner or later, I'll go to the Tour de France. For now, I've only won a stage in the Giro. I want to win many others. I want to win many more in the Giro before I try in the Tour de France," he added.

"I don't think about it for next year. In 2017, I want to prepare for Milan-San Remo and then after that, think only of the Giro and winning many stages there. Maybe the Vuelta a España could be a good end of year option."

Viviani talks about his toughest day on the bike

Next year, though, Viviani will be Team Sky's number one sprinter with Ben Swift leaving to join TJ-Lampre.

"He will have his chance in a new project and find new motivation. For sure, I'm going to miss Swift, because, besides being a great person, he's a great rider within the team,” continued Viviani.

“I'll miss him in my lead outs. Many times, I won because he gave me a lead-out. Here in Abu Dhabi last year, he worked impressively [when I won]. I'll now have to have him as a rival. He'll need to be controlled because in races like Milan-San Remo he is one of the strongest riders."

Viviani sat on his gold and blue Pinarello as he spoke. The team and bike manufacture presented him it as a gift when he returned from Rio de Janeiro with the Omnium win. He said the event could become "even easier" for road riders to consider with the timed events taken out in favour of the endurance events.

"It also means that it allows you not to take too much time away from road racing. This year, it nearly 'ruined' my season on the road to prepare for the Olympics," Viviani explained. "When you win, it's all good, but thinking back, I pulled out of the Giro and didn't have big wins."

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