Diego Ulissi is aiming for bigger things in the future after impressing so far in the Giro d'Italia.
Ulissi has already won stage five and stage eight of the Giro this year and will look to add more stages to his tally as the race enters its second week.
The Lampre-Merida rider admits he needs to work on his climbing if he is going to be an overall contender, but after his win of stage eight it is clear his climbing has improved.
“My win in Viggiano was like a classic, I understood what’s possible for me. I still suffer on the long and hard climbs. In a few years, I could try for the classification in a grand tour," he was quoted by Cycling Weekly.
Stage eight had a summit finish and Ulissi powered his way to the top, leaving behind Cadel Evans, Nairo Quitana and Rigoberto Uran - all excellent climbers.
Former professional cyclist Michele Bartoli is helping to train some of the Lampre-Merida riders and he believes with his help the riders can grow and Ulissi could have a bright future ahead of him.
Bartoli said: “He had two occasions to win and won both times. If not for the rain and crashes on the stage to Montecassino, he might have had three wins.
“I’m trying to give him my experience that I’ve gained in my years, to help him and the others in Lampre to grow.
“We thought Diego could do well before the Giro. We even thought of the maglia rosa if the team time trial in Belfast went a little better. We were ambitious in the first 10 days the first week.”
“Diego can do well in both the Grand tours and classics, but he needs time to mature. He first has to understand what he wants to do. He goes well on the climbs, he can recover well… Remember last year, he placed second behind Rodríguez in one of the last mountain stages at the Vuelta. He’s shown that he has a good recovery. He’s complete.”
Bartoli knows how it feels to win stages at the Grand Tours, winning two in the Giro in his cycling career as well as being a specialist in winning Classics.
This year Ulissi won a stage in the Tour Down Under as well as finishing first in the Gran Premio Citta di Camaiore.
After the Giro, the 24-year-old will be straight off for the Vuelta a Espana where he will hope to mount a charge for at least a podium finish.
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