Samuel Sánchez will line up in Naples on Saturday with two clear goals staked out: get a stage win and preferably an overall podium placing to go with it.
'Samu' has stages and podiums to his name in both the Tour de France and the Vuelta a España, meaning his Grand Tour career would come full circle if he was to reach his double-target.
It won't be easy, though - he readily admits that.
"It's an achievable goal. A realistic one? I can't say", he told assembled media in Derio, just outside Bilbao, four days before the year's first Grand Tour gets underway. "It's not impossible. I've twice been on the podium in the Vuelta and I've been third in the Tour after Alberto Contador got disqualified.
"I've got my goals, but I'm aware they'll be hard to reach as there'll be high-calibre riders present that have won Giros and Tours and have finished on the podium in both. They'll be tough to beat. I'd say two spots on the podium are safe bets; those of Wiggins' and Nibali's. The final step on the podium will be keenly contested".
In addition to Wiggins and Nibali, proven Grand Tour contenders like 2011 Tour de France victor Cadel Evans, reigning Giro champion Ryder Hesjedal, perennial candidate Michele Scarponi and wild-cards like Robert Gesink, Beñat Intxausti and Mauro Santambrogio will line up.
While those riders are likely to fear Sánchez just as much as he fears them, a stage victory might be easier to obtain.
"The most realistic goal is to at least win a stage and, with it, complete my collection of Grand Tour stage wins", he stated. "But I won't lose eye of the general classification. Getting a stage win and aiming for the overall do not conflict".
The Euskaltel leader is yet to raise his arms in celebration this year as he's been building steadily for the 'corsa rosa'. He's taken on some of his most cherished races, the Vuelta al País Vasco and the Ardennes Classics to name but a few, fully aware he wasn't at his peak, and he's confident he's taken the right road in the lead-up to the Giro.
"I used Liège-Bastogne-Liège more like a long training ride than competition. There are a few stages in the Giro that are more than 200 kilometres in length, and at home one can't do six and a half hours at race pace. I was lacking the rhythm of competition in Liège, but as I only finished a minute down on the winner I'm pleased. Since then I've been taking it easy at home. I've done my tests, and the numbers indicate I'm in good shape. Now all that's left is to replicate those sensations in the race itself", he concluded.
Photo: Euskaltel Euskadi