Damiano Caruso (BMC) believes his second place finish at the Tour de Suisse could mark a turning point in his career, though the Italian reiterated that his sole duty in July will be to support Richie Porte in his bid to win the Tour de France.
With Porte deployed at the Critérium du Dauphiné, Caruso was handed the reins of team leadership for the Tour de Suisse, where he held the yellow jersey for two days and then placed third in Sunday’s concluding time trial to secure second place, 48 seconds behind Simon Spilak (Katsha-Alpecin).
“I haven’t been a winner up to now but I’ve often gone strongly. Now I’ve changed and I have a dream: to go to the Tour de France in the jersey of Italian national champion,” Caruso told La Gazzetta dello Sport, indicating his determination to win the ‘tricolore’ national champion’s jersey this weekend before traveling to Dusseldorf for the Grand Départ.
This year’s Tour de France will be just the third of Caruso’s career. The Sicilian spent part of May training at altitude with Porte, who confirmed his status as one of the principal favourites for Tour victory after winning the Tour de Romandie and placing second at the Dauphiné. With Tejay van Garderen and possibly Rohan Dennis both absent, Caruso will be Porte’s key lieutenant in the high mountains.
“I’m setting off to be completely by his side, and then if the road presents an opportunity, I’ll try to take it,” Caruso said. “At the Vuelta, on the other hand, I’ll go for the win. But it’s early to talk about that. First there’s the Tour, and that’s already a lot.”
A professional since 2009, Caruso has just one win to his name – a stage of the Settimana Coppi e Bartali in 2013 – but he placed 8th overall at the 2015 Giro and performed strongly at last year’s Tour de France as part of Porte’s guard.
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