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Ruta del Sol

Domenico Pozzovivo in support of his new teammates

Italian rider Domenico Pozzovivo reinforces Intermaché – Wanty – Gobert Matériaux and will wear the colors of the Belgian World Team starting this Wednesday at the Vuelta a Andalucia Ruta Ciclista Del Sol (2.Pro, 16-20/02). The climber from Basilicata starts his eighteenth season as a professional rider, during which he finished seven times in the top ten of a Grand Tour. He ended the Giro d’Italia twice in fifth place in fifteen participations and took a stage victory in 2012.

The former winner of the Tour of Trentin made an incredible comeback in the peloton in 2020, several months after a training accident in which he sustained multiple fractures. As a teammate of Louis Meintjes within Qhubeka NextHash, he finished eleventh in the Tour of Italy and sixth in the Tour of Switzerland.

Domenico Pozzovivo will start his season in Andalucia under the direction of Steven De Neef and Ioannis Tamouridis, alongside riders who already competed in this region earlier this week. Belgian riders Jan Bakelants and Kobe Goossens, Frenchman Théo Delacroix, Eritrean sprinter Biniam Girmay and Hungarian rider Barnabás Peákparticipated in the Clasica Jaén on Monday. The seventh man in the line up is Taco van der Hoorn, who was part of the winning team of Alexander Kristoff in the Clasica de Almeria last Sunday.

On Wednesday they will start the Ruta del Sol in Ubrique with a 14.5 kilometers climb, it is a sneak peak of what is on the menu for the next five days. Every stage has about 3000 altimeters to overcome and three stages will finish uphill. The last 15 kilometers in the opening stage contain the Alto La Parilla (8km at 3.7%) and a 1.3 kilometer long slope (7.2%) to the finish in Iznajar. The day after, the finish in Alcalá la Real is on a 3.4km slope with a very steep final kilometer (11.5%). On Friday and Saturday, the terrain is more suitable for strong sprinters, after which the final classification will be locked in the fifth and final stage at the top of the Alto de Chiclana de Segura (6.4km at 5.6%).

« The opportunity to race for Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux is very important to me. Since my accident and the doubts of the doctors about the possibility to ride a bike again, I am driven by a strong desire to show that I can still approach the level I was racing at before. I love to challenge myself and I want to prove that I am still able to finish in the top ten of a Grand Tour in my second career. This winter, I never ceased training. I’m satisfied with my current form and very much looking forward to get the season started in the Ruta del Sol. My new teammates already showed fantastic performances the past couple of weeks, so I’m motivated to support them this week. For myself it will be a good test during which I will learn more about my working points. I’m excited to get to know my new teammates and staff, luckily I can rely on my experience to adapt fast to this new environment. I want to thank Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux for this opportunity, I’m very eager to show them that they made the right choice! »

« The addition of Domenico Pozzovivo to our group of climbers will open many doors for us, as he is a solid reinforcement for the Grand Tours and time trials. Domenico shows a lot of ambition, so I’m pleased that we can aim for a top ten in all three Grand Tours thanks to him and Louis Meintjes. We experienced in the latest Vuelta how important a GC leader is to drive the team and moreover, our young riders will benefit from his experience and learn from his professionalism. Also our Italian partners are enthusiastic about the arrival of Domenico in our team. We have good memories in Italy thanks to our riders and historical sponsors. Let’s hope that Domenico can shine on Sicilian roads, in Abruzzo and the rest of the country during the Giro d’Italia which is so important for our partner Vini Zabù. »

Stage 1 (16/02): Ubrique – Iznajar (200,7km)
Stage 2 (17/02): Arachinoda – Alcala La Real (150,6km) 
Stage 3 (18/02): Lucena – Otura (152,6km)
Stage 4 (19/02): Cullar Vega – Baza (165,6km)
Stage 5 (20/02): Huesa – Chilana de Segura (167,1km) 


General Classification


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