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Giulio Ciccone Q&A: Rider looking to learn from Nibali before taking over team leadership

Young Italian will support his older compatriot before looking ahead to his own leadership opportunities. Photos: Joseph Delves

Giulio Ciccone's 2019 season has been one filled with significant achievements and very few notable setbacks. Although it wasn't quite a breakthrough year – Ciccone won a stage of the Giro d'Italia back in 2016 aged just 21 – this year certainly brought his talent to the attention of a far wider audience, both in the peloton and among cycling fans.

Heading his list of accomplishments in 2019 are two stage wins and the KOM jersey at the Giro, along with a second place stage finish at the Tour de France, which was enough to move him into the yellow jersey for a day. If it hadn't been for the climbing antics of Julian Alaphilippe, Ciccone could have held the jersey for a couple more days rather than floating just behind him in second place on GC.

Fresh from an appearance on stage at the Rouleur Classic to launch Trek-Segafredo's Santini-supplied 2020 team kit alongside Lizzie Diegnan, Ciccone spoke to Cyclist about his ambitions in both the short and the long term.

Giulio Ciccone Q&A

Cyclist: How did it feel to wear the yellow jersey at the Tour?

Giulio Ciccone: The yellow jersey is something special for any rider. Wearing it was my one dream when I was young. This year in the Tour, I was in there for the experience so when I took the yellow jersey it was something special.

Cyc: Can you win a Grand Tour?

GC: I think that, in my head, I want to take one GC [victory]. I don’t know when but I think it’s my goal, it’s my next goal, so next year I don’t know if I'll do the Giro, Tour or Vuelta but I will ride a similar programme to Vincenzo Nibali; with him I can take a lot of experience but I need to wait for the GC.

Cyc: So Nibali will be the team leader and you'll be the support rider?

GC: Yeah I think that Vincenzo is the leader. I will be with him but I don’t know especially for what. I think that I will support him but I’m not sure, it depends on the race and the situation before we make the decision [about leadership].

Cyc: Before the Giro, are you planning to race any Spring Classics?

GC: I like Liege-Bastogne-Liege a lot. I did Liege and Fleche [Wallonne] this year, so I think that it’s good to do the Classics before the Giro. But I prefer Liege.

Cyc: Do you think you could win a one-day race?

GC: I don’t know if it’s possible but for sure Liege is now also a target for GC riders and I think it’s possible, it’s possible but it’d be difficult.

Cyc: What’s your main target for next year?

GC: In my head, I think my goal will be a stage win and also to support Vincenzo. So if I can take one stage and then support the team leader I will be happy.

Cyc: Will you ride a complete programme with Vincenzo for the whole year?

GC: I think that I will have a similar programme, it’s not the same but I will have a lot of races with him. I don’t know yet if I will do the Giro, Tour or Vuelta but for sure I will do whichever Grand Tour with him.

Cyc: In your career, which one race would you most like to win before you retire?

GC: I think the Giro d’Italia for me is special and in my head it’s always my dream; so I think that the Giro is my objective, it’s my goal.