World time trial champion Filippo Ganna has told Eurosport he would rather focus on winning more stages in Grand Tours than go after the overall win in GC.
Ganna says he is aware that many in cycling see him as a future Grand Tour winner, given his remarkable ability in the individual time trial. A strong performance against the clock has become something of a prerequisite for Tour de France winners in the last decade.
“A lot of people think I can win a Grand Tour, but to win a Giro, I would need to lose too much weight," he told The Cycling Show, which is available to watch now on Eurosport Player.
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"And I think that if I lost that much weight, I would have to sacrifice too much power.”
Indeed, power and weight are inextricably linked with one dipping roughly relational to the other. However, there are plenty of examples of larger riders shedding weight at Ineos and going on to be fearsome competitors in the Grand Tours. Sir Bradley Wiggins and Geraint Thomas spring to mind.
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For Ganna, though, general classification holds less appeal than the fun of crossing the line first.
“I’d prefer to win more stages than a Grand Tour,” he said.
The 24-year-old credits the environment at Ineos for his fantastic 2020 season, in which he won a staggering four stages of the Giro, one each at the BinckBank Tour and Tirreno-Adriatico, plus the national and world titles in the ITT.
“I don’t feel any pressure,” Ganna continued. “I am lucky to have a big team supporting me, and they don’t put any pressure on me for the moment.
“If a day arrives where they say ‘tomorrow, you need to win’ that would be harder for me mentally. But for the moment they say ‘Pippo, go to ride, take your time – if you win you win’.”
Ganna also recalled last year's Giro d’Italia in more detail, explaining that it was never originally the plan for him to come away with his quartet of victories.
“It [was] a really amazing three weeks because it’s my first big Giro and I arrived with a goal to win the first stage, and after to be a support for G.”
‘G’, Geraint Thomas of course, crashed out of the Giro on Stage 3, throwing the door open for Ganna to ride with greater freedom. This resulted in the opening day victory he’d targeted, plus wins in both the other TTs, and a road stage win to boot, while teammate Tao Geoghegan Hart soared to the overall title.
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The interview with Ganna concluded with an intriguing teaser for a tilt at the individual pursuit world record, with a goal of setting the first sub-four minute time in history. He is the current record-holder with a time of 4:01.934.
“We [the Italian national pursuit squad] have a big dream with the team pursuit, and when I win this one I can focus 100% on my individual pursuit – and try to arrive down on four minutes.
“Why not try before the finish of the year, no?”
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