The 2020 campaign will be the second in the professional peloton for Antonio Puppio. The lanky Italian cyclist (Samarate, 28 April 1999) is a quiet, good-natured kid who has earned the affection and respect of all his colleagues in just one year because of his great human qualities and his work in the races. He is very powerful, a very good rider and it is in the discipline against the clock that he has earned a place of his own. Puppio, not in vain, came endorsed by his national title and his world bronze in the junior category. In 2019 he also showed an interesting top of speed with his fourth place in the first stage of the Vuelta a Aragón. Dario Andriotto, the second director of Kometa-Xstra, had already warned about this when he was signing up for the continental structure of the Alberto Contador Foundation: “In small groups he has an interesting speed punch”.
“In just a few days what will be my second in the continental category starts and the first thing I want to do is thank all the sponsors of the Alberto Contador Foundation as well as all the staff members and their work for allowing us to continue growing and improving every year. The reading for 2019 is undoubtedly very good, I’ve been able to compete in high level races and I’ve been able to accumulate a lot of experience that this year will be an added value; I’m sure it will be fundamental for all the competitions we do”, says the rider from Samarate. “I have lived many and very good moments but without a doubt my best performances were in the Vuelta a Aragón, the Tour of Hungary and the Giro del Valle de Aosta”.
In these two years several cyclists who have passed through the continental structure have already made the jump to the World Tour as well as to the contipro category, circumstance that reinforces this perception of the team as an unbeatable springboard to the elite of this sport. “Clearly the big teams, the top teams, are looking at the work that is done in the continental teams,” says Puppio, “The continental category, for the young people, has this approach of transitioning to the top. But the results of all this work and the presence of Alberto Contador and Ivan Basso at the helm undoubtedly generate more attention to the Kometa-Xstra’s work”.
How does Antonio Puppio see the team facing this year, with the arrival of seven new faces: “The team has changed a lot, yes, but essentially it still has a very young profile. We have multiple origins, but we are more or less the same age. The bond between us is going to be very important and team spirit is going to be fundamental. Each and every one of us is going to have our chance to do well”.
A big fan of Swiss Fabian Cancellara and a lover of Milano-Sanremo, Puppio is looking ahead to the 2020 campaign with great ambition, having set aside his studies to focus exclusively on cycling: “It’s never easy to combine the two facets and there comes a time when I have to think about how to approach my studies. The best thing was to park them temporarily; not to leave them forever, but to stop. And I decided to focus on the bicycle. I want to see what kind of cyclist I can become. At this point in my life my priority is the bicycle and fighting to get to the top of this sport. For thirteen years of my life studies were a priority, but after starting studies in the field of mathematics I decided to park them temporarily. I will take them up again later on”.
The days before the start of the second Kometa-Xstra Cycling Team concentration at Oliva Nova Beach & Golf Resort were the only time Puppio left his job in the Spanish Levant. Bureaucratic issues with the renewal of his license that they wanted from his management in the first person took him a couple of days to his native Italy. Except for this break, between the previous concentration and the current Puppio has remained in the Comunitat Valenciana, specifically in Jávea. “I have trained very well here. I even managed to get my family to come here for Christmas and New Year. It has been very nice. They have had a great time, I have worked very well. And right now, my batteries are very charged and I am looking forward to our debut in the Challenge of Mallorca”.
In 2019 he spent so much time away from home, between commitments with his team and with his national team, that when the holiday season arrived he didn’t hesitate to spend it at home with his family. No beach or exotic destinations. “Yes, I suppose I’d earned it somehow, but it was a lot of days away from home and the truth is what the body was asking for. My favorite place in the world is my home, even more so after a long time away”.
(automatic translation, sorry for mistakes)
? Atila Madrona