The Italian looked back at the win he got in the spring using Specialized’s Hell of the North clincher tires.
“I knew I had a good winter, so that allowed me to kick off the season with a lot of confidence, which I think was visible from my first race. I couldn’t have dreamed of a better start than the one I had at the Tour de Provence – where I took two stage wins and the points jersey. I carried the form and the morale I got in France to Omloop, which was my first big rendez-vous of the year and an important goal.
I remember how two days before the race Julian began telling me that I can win the race, that I have strong legs and can bring it home. This motivated me a lot. When the World Champion comes to you and shows how much he believes in you, it just gives you wings. It wasn’t an easy race, but we kept giving our best even and remained committed even when the break was eight minutes clear. Tim was huge again, and then Julian tried his chance and showed his panache, but the headwind worked against him. When he got caught, he told me again that it would be my day and the entire team would work for me, and that gave me extra strength.
The lead-out in the final kilometer was insane, the guys were fantastic and all I had to do was remain in my teammates’ wheel and start the sprint at the right moment. It was just my second time in Omloop, and to win it after crashing at my debut two years ago was incredible, so many emotions.
I remember watching this team crushing the cobbles when I was a kid, so to win one of these races while wearing their jersey gave me huge pride, it was a dream that came true. I knew that the Opening Weekend was a big deal for Deceuninck – Quick-Step and I was glad I could make a lot of people happy with my victory. It also made me confident I can fight for victory in Paris-Roubaix one day. I had two very good years here so far and I am looking forward to the next seasons, where I hope to continue to contribute to the team’s astonishing palmares.”
Photo credit: ©Tim De Waele / Getty Images