The 20-year-old Italian climber shared his thoughts after his first race with Deceuninck – Quick-Step.

The first weeks of the new season went very well. I did two training camps with the team, one in Calpe and one in the Algarve. It allowed me to train in perfect conditions, each day without missing one training ride. I immediately felt welcome in the team and received lots of help from my teammates. Davide Ballerini was my roommate in both those training camps and was of great help to me. He gave me some good advice on how to train.

It’s nice to have some other Italian riders in the team and staff who speak Italian. I would say it’s definitely an advantage and it makes communication a little bit easier.

I’m part of the Wolfpack now and it’s a dream come true.

I’ve always considered this team to be the most united, the one resembling the most to a family of all the World Tour teams, and I wasn’t wrong. From the day I arrived, I immediately understood that the strength of this squad is the group. Everyone is willing to help one another and ready to give 100% to the team.

Good signs in France

The Tour de la Provence was my first professional race and without a shadow of a doubt it went beyond my expectations. Arriving fifth on an uphill finish alongside champions who normally fight for the win in the Tour the France is something I would have never expected. I’ve surprised myself there. To be honest, after that fifth place on day two, I was hoping for a better result for myself on the Mont Ventoux. But when you look at the race results, you can see that there are only great riders in front of me.

So, for now I can be satisfied with my performance, knowing that I still have to improve on the longer climbs. I’m on the right path and I hope I can continue to get better and develop as a rider. Surely, this first race experience is something I will never forget. It’s a bit like your first day of school. Above all, I will remember the advice that was given to me by the more experienced teammates.

Looking forward to the next races

I live in Lanzada, Sondrio, a small village 1000 meters above sea level in the Valtellina mountains. It’s not exactly an ideal place to train because I always have to go down to the valley by car, since there are only climbs here in the mountains. But it’s become a habit and I don’t mind doing it. I live amidst the ski slopes, but I rarely go skiing myself as the preparations for the new season start already in November. I got the love for cycling at a very young age, transmitted by my father and older brother. Already at the age of six I started doing cycling races. Winter sports are obviously very popular here, but it’s now nice to see that thanks to my brother and me cycling is also gaining popularity in the area.

Now it’s time for the Belgian Classics, a period I look forward to. I hope and expect the team to get great results, like they do every year. I will not participate in any of these classics, but I will be supporting my teammates.

My race program leads me to the Drôme and Ardèche region in less than two weeks’ time, followed by the Volta a Catalunya, on the last week of March.

After my results in the Tour de la Provence, the expectations are quite high, but it’s important to always keep your feet on the ground, especially as this is my first pro season. The further you go into the season, the more the level in the peloton increases, and already from Catalunya the pace will be much higher. This year, I won’t participate in any of the Grand Tours, but my dream is to one day take part in the Giro d’Italia or the Tour de France, as these are the biggest races a climber can dream of.


Photo credit: ©Luc Claessen / Getty Images

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14/02/2020 - Race report