Having put the difficult moments of this spring to bed, the Italian is looking forward to the second part of the season.

“The year started out well, and I won a race at my first race, the Tour of Oman. But a bit after that I suffered from mononucleosis and couldn’t train for 50 days. I really couldn’t do anything, I just needed to rest and try to recover. I felt tired every minute of every day, I couldn’t do a single thing, which was frustrating. I tried to walk in the morning for 40 minutes, but my body felt empty, I didn’t have any energy.”

“The team’s doctor called me every day to keep me motivated and to boost my morale. Every day it felt like I trained for ten hours, I was that tired. Especially for us as professional cyclists it’s difficult, when you don’t feel good and you can’t do your job. It was very hard, because now during the last two years, every time I reached a good form I got problems. Last year I stopped at the Giro for tendinitis and then I crashed at the Settimana Ciclistica Italiana. This year I was again really motivated, but then another problem occurred and I needed to stop again.”

Not just a number

“The first ten days I was really sick, I stayed in bed and slept all day long. Then I recovered a bit, I started to feel a bit better. I tried to think about other things, to do something different. I didn’t watch any race, I preferred to think about something different, just normal things that people do in their normal life. I felt a lot of support from the staff and my teammates, they checked in on me and asked me how I felt. This was really nice, to feel their support at all times. I’m not just a number, but you feel you’re human and they always think about you.”

“I restarted training at the end of April, and the first two weeks was just easy. It was like I restarted a new season, I needed to build up step by step. After 50 days it’s impossible you still have your form like before. Of course, I’m an athlete so my body still knows how it feels to ride a bike, fortunately. In the beginning one hour on the bike felt like seven hours on the bike. It’s normal, it’s like you restart after the winter break.”

Searching for a good form on altitude

“After two weeks I discussed with the trainer and the doctor to go on altitude to try to reach a good condition to come back. Actually, I did twelve days with Andrea and Mattia in Switzerland, and then last week I trained in Livigno. I did a total of 21 days in altitude, to try to build up the form and to be ready for this important race. I feel good, I’m really happy to be back with the team, to feel the atmosphere. To see all the staff, my teammates, to restart my life as a professional rider and to do my job. When you live a normal life it’s completely different, sometimes you forget how the cycling life works. I’m here and I’m ready to go for the next goal.”

“We are right in the middle of the season, we still have a lot of races in front of us. I don’t know my calendar of races, I take it race by race, we start here and then I go to the National Championships. After this block of racing in June we will decide the program for the coming months.”


Photo credit: ©Tim De Waele / Getty Images

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