“EOLO is not just a sponsor. We, where others do not reach”
Luca Spada, founder and president of EOLO, talks about himself in this long interview
You have to try it, such a thing. You have to try to find yourself alone on top of a mountain, with the fatigue that violates every muscle and lungs in search of oxygen. With your legs hurting, with your body trying to get your head to stop by screaming “Enough, please stop”. You have to try it, the real effort: you have to try it and know it in order to then respect it, seek it out, love it.
Someone like Luca Spada knows fatigue well and has learned to call it “you”. One who for passion and for a way of being one day decided to tie his shoes and start running in the mountains: where underfoot there are only paths and there is no plain, where the cold and snow arrive without asking allowed, where the most bestial effort is compensated by the beauty of what is around and is mitigated by the silence of the wind. And then the fatigue becomes normality, and little changes if you are sweating on the hardest climb of Tor Des Géants (one of the most grueling races in the world, around Mont Blanc: Spada has done it three times) or if you are working for carry on the daily life of a company like his Eolo. Fatigue becomes necessity.
“I can’t – he tells us – imagine a life without fatigue, I can’t conceive of a sport that doesn’t somehow contemplate fatigue: that’s why I got passionate about running and started running in the mountains. The first trails, which then became ultra-trails, which then became the indescribable beauty of the Tor. My life is marked by sport, every year I run about thirty trails and my daily agenda is built around my training”.
The race, the trails. Then, the bicycle arrived …
And it all started a little by chance. The age, the first ailments, the many kilometers of running: at one point my trainer suggested that I include a couple of bike workouts in my weekly program, just to differentiate. At first, it seemed like a waste of time to me …
I was so drastic, in my concept of fatigue, that I refused any mechanical means: for me sport was only muscles, legs and heart. The bike was an unacceptable help, so I did my first rides on a mountain bike that was a very heavy “cancello”.
And then, I started discovering the beauties of cycling. The fascination given by the possibility of covering more kilometers and discovering routes that were previously forbidden to me: longer tours each time, Mottarone, Lake Maggiore. I discovered that it is nice to go out on a bike in company, sharing the effort and the beauty. I tasted the unique pleasure you get when you are in the wake and there is someone in front of you who takes the wind for a while in your place. My “cancello” quickly became a more beautiful, lighter bike. And now I find myself thinking that I am more a cyclist than a trail runner.
For Luca Spada cycling means riding a bike, and a lot. But cycling now means something else: it means EOLO-KOMETA, the team born a few months ago but already full of desire to grow.
An adventure born of an emotion, a passion transmitted, the strength of a project. I watched cycling little or nothing, just a few stages of the Giro d’Italia on TV: that’s why when I started talking about this idea in the family, they all took me for crazy.
Can you tell us how this story was born?
For a few months I had started pedaling, and since for me there is no sport without a bit of competition, I had signed up for a race: the Tre Valli Varesine Granfondo. There, a little by chance, I met Ivan Basso: others followed that meeting, and with the passage of time the idea became more and more concrete and truer. The final spark broke out when Ivan invited me to a team retreat in Oliva, Spain: for the first time I came into contact with that world, and I liked that world. Much.
A few months ago the family took you for mad. And now?
Now, they are all in the team: all involved, all fans, all passionate. At the opening race in Valencia I was in the ammiraglia, halfway through the race the group broke in two. My son Alessandro immediately phoned me very worried: “What is going on?”. Here, this gives an idea of how much my whole family is now ideally in race with us, every day.
An Italian team, but at the same time a very “varesino” team. How much does Luca Spada love his territory?
Varese is a concept I believe in, I believe very much: I care as a man and I care as an entrepreneur. EOLO was born here, and EOLO would not have been born if our territory had not had those economic, social, orographic conditions that have allowed our existence. EOLO would not exist if there were no Campo dei Fiori. EOLO would not exist if I had not been born and spent my childhood in Malgesso, a small village of a thousand souls where the only connection with the normal world was the only bus that went to and from Varese every day. For me, taking the bicycle to go to the newsstands to buy my IT magazines, which I then devoured, was a necessity, and immediately I felt the need for “connection”: for me, and for all those who lived in places like the my.
And what has this varesinity translated into?
In a special attachment, a gratitude that leads me to always remember our being territorial: EOLO grew up, he brought “the Internet where others do not reach”, and my choice has always been to take young people from this land to work with me. I believe that more than sixty young people from ITC Tosi work in EOLO, for example. And the birth of my trail running team also goes in this sense: to make the people of our area run, and to make them run on our mountains.
What is Campo dei Fiori for Luca Spada?
My mountain. I was born in Malgesso, and Campo dei Fiori was there to be my guardian. Then I moved to Bodio and he was still there to watch. It is the mountain that accompanied me, the one that helped me to understand and make my father’s passion for the mountains my own. The theater of the first walks, the first outings by bike, the first escapes with girlfriends to take to the Belvedere to borrow a little of that beauty and impress. And then, Campo dei Fiori is EOLO: there, our first antenna was born.
What does it mean to see the Eolo logo on the team jerseys?
It is not just a name on a shirt, there is much more. This team has become part of the Eolo family in all respects: it is a piece of us, it is an extension of our company. The team will be the protagonist of our communication activities, it will talk and tell itself to our employees and our customers, it will grow up in an extended project that also includes the Kratos brand in a virtuous sharing between sport and nutrition.
A name: Ivan Basso …
The person my wife is getting jealous of: I see and hear more Ivan than she does. Ivan and I are very, very similar: I too, like him, when I put my head in something I become almost paranoid because I live it in an all-encompassing way. Like him, I too am a freak of details, of precision, of things done well. Like him, I too have learned that in life as in sport, having a good “engine” is important but it is not enough because you need your head. Ivan has set up a nice toy, and …
I have wonderful sensations, because I believe that this project was born under a lucky star and is the son of a series of almost incredible astral conjunctions. I met Ivan almost by chance, and soon after his team jumped two sponsors so he came to me to propose this project. Then I immediately found myself in tune with Giacomo Pedranzini and Kometa. A network of entrepreneurs and friends has formed around this project: Valerio De Molli, Paolo Orrigoni, Rinaldo Ballerio…
What do you expect from this team?
Being in the Giro d’Italia in the first year of life is already an incredible result, a splendid starting point. I expect this group to grow and build, day after day, to achieve stable and credible results. I am not interested in “everything immediately”, I ask for constant growth and a team that is increasingly recognized for its seriousness: our riders will be serious, educated guys, capable of transmitting the right values to make young people passionate about this sport. For them to follow cycling, but also for them to practice cycling. And when I talk about values, I mean everything: those that cyclists will make their own because we will have been good at transmitting them. And our example, the example of a company that does not look for shortcuts, the example of a brand like Kratos that puts nothing in its products that is not absolutely natural and healthy, rejecting any “chemical” loophole, will ensure that all our riders are healthy bearers of consistency and sportiness. Always.
And then, some victories too …
Of course, then we also expect victories: sure. But I don’t want the new Froome or the new Sagan to come out of this team. I want this team to always show the strength of our group and its ability to excite, to give goosebumps. I expect to hear the fans, after seeing the group go by, say “Here, did you see what a spectacle those of EOLO-KOMETA?”.
[📷 Atila Madrona]