To celebrate our training camp in beautiful Val di Fassa, we wanted to find out what made cycling in Italy so special.
For that reason, we spoke to our trio of Italian riders – Andrea Bagioli, Davide Ballerini, and Mattia Cattaneo – as well as our legendary sports director Davide Bramati, about Italy’s love affair with cycling and what it is like to ride around this stunning country.
The training camp is going really well. We are very motivated to do a solid block of work and get those kilometers under the belt before August. This camp is really special because it is the first time that we have been together in a long time, which is not normal for such a close team. Normally in July we are all at the races, but everything has been different this year.
The passion of the fans in Italy is so special. In Italy, cycling is second as a sport only to football and it has been popular since the time of Fausto Coppi and Gino Bartali. Every Italian knows the Giro d’Italia, so for me as an Italian it is a big dream of mine to race in it in the future.
In Val di Fassa I feel like I am at home. Where I live, I am surrounded by mountains and I train a lot on the long climbs. In my opinion, the Dolomites are the most beautiful mountains in Italy and it’s always a pleasure being here.
After the enforced break because of Covid-19, we have not seen each other for a long time. It was fantastic to see all the staff and my teammates again and really great to be able to welcome them to Italy. Our preparation has gone well so far, with the group looking strong and super motivated.
It is hard to pick just one thing that I love about Italian cycling. There is obviously the stunning scenery, from the mountains, the small villages and towns, to the areas by the sea. But more than that is the people, who are so passionate and love cycling. I always love to race on home roads and feel the warmth of the people.
Cycling for me is a dream and to be able to train like this on Italian roads, with these guys, is very special.
Everyone here is so dedicated and this area of Italy is perfect to allow us to focus and work hard to be in shape for the return to racing.
To hold a training camp in Italy is fantastic, especially here in Val di Fassa. There are a lot of tough climbs, good food, and it’s just an amazing place for the Wolfpack to prepare the second part of the season. For sure it is an almost perfect location for an altitude training camp and even on our rest days we get to see the mountains and just enjoy these unique and breathtaking surroundings.
Cycling in Italy is so diverse. Personally, I love the mountains, the cities, the rolling landscape of the hills of Tuscany and Marche – we have everything and it is a really nice place to go on bike, to see the nature and enjoy riding.
For the Italian people the cycling is a passion. A lot of people see cycling as a moment of freedom to get away from the stress of everyday life and a way to visit a lot of places, such as the Dolomites. These mountains have a historic place in the legends of the Giro and you can feel that every time you ride here.
For Italians, to ride a bike is a special way to see this country and the stunning mountains surrounding us in Val di Fassa is proof of that. I also love cycling because every day is a fresh challenge to be better than I was the day before.
So, to be in Val di Fassa for this training camp is quite special because I used to ride a lot of these climbs when I was training and it reminds me about the passion and the sacrifice that it takes to be a professional cyclist.
For me, coming to a place as beautiful as Val di Fassa, with its amazing views and hard climbs, with this incredible group is special. We can build on our morale and camaraderie, as well some hard training. After three weeks of training on these mountains, the guys will be strong and ready to start again.
Photo credit: ©Wout Beel