Simon Yates will lead Team BikeExchange-Jayco at the Giro d'Italia, with the Briton stating that he is aiming for a podium position in Verona at the end of May.
The Australian squad released their eight-man squad for the Corsa Rosa on Monday, with Yates as the absolute leader, but in a press release the team shied away from saying they were targeting pink.
"From an actual racing point of view, you always aim for the podium," Yates said. "We aim for the podium and once we get closer to the last week, we assess if we are in a position to win it or not, then we go at it from there".
The 29-year-old has been close to a "position to win it" before at the Italian Grand Tour, leading the race for 13 days in 2018 before losing out in the final days, and finishing third overall last year.
Yates has won four stages at the Giro in the past, and will be looking to add to this tally over the next few weeks. He comes into the race after two stage wins at the Vuelta Asturias last week.
"I have just finished the Vuelta Asturias and the two stage victories there have confirmed to me the good job done during the recent altitude training camp," he said. "I’ll be leaving for Budapest ready for my fifth Giro d'Italia. I still have memories of the great celebrations on the podium in Milan last year, and it wouldn't be bad to re-live the same emotions again."
The man from Bury impressed at Paris-Nice earlier this year, winning the final stage and finishing second overall, but then had an aborted ride at the Volta a Catalunya due to illness. His team will be hoping that he can repeat his top form in Italy.
"A success in a way is not the end result," Yates said. "I want to go there in my best condition and do the best result possible. If I don’t win then, then that’s ok because somebody is better than me. If I go there and I am not at the level required, then that is a failure for me."
He will be joined by three riders who were on the team last year as well, when he finished third: Michael Hepburn, Chris Juul-Jensen and Callum Scotson. Hepburn is down as road captain for the race.
The US and Italian time trial champions, Lawson Craddock and Matteo Sobrero, are also part of the squad, and Australian climbers Damien Howson and Lucas Hamilton will provide support to Yates on the climbs.
Matt White, the team's head sports director, said: "“he Giro d’Italia has been a big, big goal for the team over last few years and this year is no different. We have a really good squad with a lot of experience in Grand Tours and we will go into the Giro as one of the favourites for the race. It is a challenge we are looking forward to.
"Simon is coming off Vuelta Asturias and it was good preparation for him and for the rest of the team after an altitude block."
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