The race's first stage, the emotion of making your Grand Tour debut in front of the home fans, Panini stickers stress – it's all here, in our Italian rider's blog.
When I got the news from our sport director Davide Bramati that I will ride the 100th edition of the Giro d'Italia, I was over the moon. The Giro is one of the biggest events in Italy, you dream of being part of it from a young age, so to be here and make my Grand Tour debut is a moment I will always cherish.
Thursday evening, at the team presentation, I hit the ceiling when I went to the stage together with my teammates, in front of so many passionate people. It's just my second season as a pro, not many people know me, but to hear my name there made me feel like I was one of the top riders in the world. After the presentation and also before the start of the first stage, fans came to me to take pictures, to give them autographs and do a selfie. It was selfie, selfie, selfie, everyone's crazy about it. But, at the same time, I was happy to meet so many people and talk with them, even if for a brief moment.
Can't say I was nervous ahead of the first stage, but what I can tell you is that I was very excited. After all, how many riders can say they made their debut in a three-week race at their home Grand Tour? I was fully focused during the stage, because it was an important day for us. Ok, we didn't get a good result, but it's only the beginning of the race, the motivation is there and we are very united and confident in our forces.
I want to help the team win some stages, and I'm ready to ride my heart out for Fernando and Bob. On a personal note, I want to arrive in Milan and complete this Giro, it would be really special. Of course, the third week will bring many hurdles in my way, especially the stage with Mortirolo and Passo Stelvio, where there will be a great deal of suffering on the bike, but I will give everything I have to reach the final day.
Saturday morning, I noticed I made the news with the troubles I have finding my sticker. So far, I bought 400 stickers, but had no luck, there's no "Davide Martinelli" sticker in there and this annoyed me at one point. Fortunately, many fans contacted me on Twitter and on Instagram and said they will come to the Quick-Step Floors bus to bring me the sticker in exchange for a team bottle, so there is still hope. If everything goes well, by the time the Giro d'Italia will come to a conclusion, I will have around 15-20 stickers with my picture.
Photo credit: ©BrakeThrough Media