Quick-Step Floors have enjoyed a record-breaking year, with 73 UCI wins scored by 14 riders in 22 countries. Over the next weeks we will look back on the 10 biggest moments for the team, and today we continue with Elia's superb run at his home Grand Tour.
The stand-out sprinter of 2018, Elia Viviani came into the 101st Giro d'Italia having already left his mark on several races in the Quick-Step Floors jersey, a sparkling run of success that put him at the top of the maglia ciclamino contenders list. Despite the six victories he had amassed up until that point, the 29-year-old lined out in Jerusalem with a huge motivation and hunger for success, and didn't waste any time in making his intentions clear.
A storming start saw Elia claim the first two flat stages of the Corsa Rosa, in Tel Aviv and Eilat, and move himself into the lead of the points classification, with a commanding advantage over his rivals, who realized even before the Giro went to mainland Italy that it was going to be a one-horse race for the iconic maglia ciclamino.
"Those two days in Israel weren't easy, as the peloton was very nervous. It wasn't just that many riders wanted to take the spoils on the opening weekend, but we also faced some strong winds and a combined total of 3 000 vertical meters, which only added to the difficulty, but fortunately I overcame all these obstacles with the help of an outstanding Quick-Step Floors team and took a lot of confidence from our flying start", Elia said looking back at his brace of wins.
Nervessa della Battaglia – a small town lying in the Province of Veneto – was the site of Viviani's third success, made even more special by the fact that it came on familiar roads, which he knew since his junior days. Four days later, in the driving rain that accompanied the bunch as they rode to Iseo, Elia was again piloted by a flawless Quick-Step Floors train – comprising Michael Mørkøv, Fabio Sabatini and Zdenek Stybar – which seriously stretched out the pack before leaving him in an ideal position with 200 meters to go.
Nothing and no one could stop the maglia ciclamino wearer from capturing another spectacular win and wrapping up the points classification in style, a triumph which he got to fully enjoy in Rome, on the beautiful Via dei Fori Imperiali, where the season's Grand Tour concluded.
"Arriving there with four victories and the jersey made for a perfect Giro, one which wouldn't have been possible without my phenomenal teammates, who worked so hard throughout those three weeks. On the flat, they gave me a perfect lead-out, while in the tough mountain stages they always stayed by my side and helped me arrive safely at the finish. Taking home the maglia ciclamino, won in the past by so many great names in the history of our sport, was really a dream come true and gave me huge satisfaction and pride, while also fueling my motivation for the second part of the season", concluded Elia, the first home rider in 12 years to rack up four stage victories at a single Giro d'Italia edition.
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