The 27-year-old returns to racing at the Tour de Luxembourg, after his unfortunate crash at the Settimana Ciclistica Italiana, and looks with confidence to the last races of the season.
“One month off the bike is a long time, but I’m feeling well. The form is already good, but with just one month of training in the legs you can’t reach your best condition. At the same time, I’m confident for the next races. The only way is to restart racing and for sure that will help to reach my best level again. The fracture wasn’t super bad, but I needed to stay off the bike for one month. My goal was to make a comeback before the end of the season, and now I’m happy to be in Luxembourg as it’s less than two months after my crash and that’s great as I recovered really well. I’m eager to race again.”
“I worked hard in Livigno together with the team for three weeks to prepare for the second part of the season. At the end of the training camp the team gave me the opportunity to participate at the Settimana Ciclistica Italiana with the national team to try to improve ahead of the next races, but I was unlucky and crashed. When I was in the hospital, I knew that racing the Vuelta or the European Championships wasn’t an option anymore. The doctor wasn’t that optimistic at first about my fracture, because I had to stay around 30-40 days without training on my bike. I thought I wouldn’t come back anymore this year, and that I needed to wait for 2022.”
“But after 30 days without doing anything, just staying at home and hoping for time to pass faster, I restarted on my bike and the feeling was good, as I could train without pain. Then I could accelerate a bit with the exercises and training. I trained the first two weeks at home, and after that I decided to go to Tignes, because in an altitude training camp you can train harder and your body reacts in a different way. So I went to Tignes for 15 days and I’m sure that that work will pay off.”
“I already had an unlucky Giro d’Italia, because I got sick after the Tour de Romandie and then I suffered from knee tendinitis which made me retire from the Giro. Then I crashed in July, and for a whole month I couldn’t bike, I didn’t do anything that involved the bike or racing, and I switched off my social media. I just stayed at home, I went to the beach in the afternoon and read some books and thought about different things and not just about cycling. Crashes can happen, it’s part of cycling. You work hard, you try to arrive at the race in perfect condition, but a crash can change everything. Then you just have to stay focused and look for a new goal, in my case to come back before the end of the season. The team knows my situation, I know the situation, we know what happened, and because of that I wasn’t stressed.”
“My family came and tried to help me at home, especially mentally. For ten days I didn’t want to talk a lot, but then my family was there and they are always with me when I’m having a difficult time. You need your family close to you. Now I want to come back to racing like usual, motivated, and to try to help the team to get some good results. At the same time I worked hard, because I want to give everything regardless of the race. I go to the race to do my best and to do my job. In this team I just need to ride and try to improve myself, and that’s what I’ll try to do.”
Photo credit: ©Wout Beel