Victory in Stirling is not the major surprise some would have you believe, with the Italian all-rounder having already proved he is capable of big stage wins in his short career. The 24-year-old has already bagged a stage at the Giro d’Italia, and last year wore the leader’s jersey in the Tour of Poland after victory in stage one. He also ended the year with success in the Milano-Torino, so he knows exactly what it takes to win the rolling stages.
Already known to be more than capable on a rolling parcours after steady performances at the Giro d’Italia and latterly the Vuelta a Espana last year, Ulissi’s consistency may not have made an impact on the sharp end of the Grand Tour GCs but it has certainly highlighted his ability. When Lampre-Merida signed Rui Costa in the winter, all eyes were expected to be on the world champion’s Tour de France bid. However, Ulissi has proved they are not a one-man team and revealed his own big ambition in post-race interviews – the Milan-San Remo. Although there have been 50 Italian winners of the year’s first Monument, none have won since 2006. As preparations go however, Ulissi has got his own bid off to the perfect start. Watch this space.