There again, where he likes to be: in a race, in the middle of the group, with a number attached to his back. 118 days have passed since the last time: it was the Veneto Classic, which came at the end of a season that was hard to believe for how beautiful it had been. For that victory on the Zoncolan, for that confirmation on the Monte Grappa, for everything that came to give the world a new Lorenzo Fortunato. Able to think like a winner, able to pedal with the serenity needed to get to the front. There again, on the roads of Murcia, at the debut of a season that who knows what it will bring: for Fortunato, for his companions, for the EOLO-KOMETA. A season that we can’t wait to know and live, day after day.
“I feel like it – says Lorenzo decisively – because this has been a long winter, and I feel like starting again. A long winter but at the same time an important one: I’ve worked better than usual, more quietly than usual. And what made the difference was the knowledge: I know where my limits are, I know where I have to improve, and we went to work on those.”
A different rider, compared to the one who had faced the 2021 season ignoring all the wonderful things that would happen. Different in the legs? Maybe. In the head? Sure. “Last year I was dreaming of winning and working to try to do it. This year I know I can win because it happened, and I’m working to do it again. And it’s different, very different. And it’s kind of like a switch that goes on, click: and what was a dark room lights up and things can be seen clearly, can be touched, can be grabbed whereas before you could only imagine them. And for me, that switch turned on during the Giro d’Italia.”
And the great thing is that in the desire to return to racing, there is not only the desire to pedal. “No – continues Fortu – because there is also the desire of the team: to be with the companions, to return to share the days with the boys of the staff, to return to what is a second family in all respects. Compared to last year, the team has grown a lot and in all aspects, and I want to live it“.
What is the Fortunato runner thinking about today? “About tomorrow’s race. And then, I can’t deny it, the month of May: our participation in the Giro isn’t official yet but I’m thinking about that, because a rider who is strong on the climbs can only think about the Giro. The most beautiful climbs are there. And I’ve already studied it a little bit, already in the first weeks there are two beautiful stages like Etna and Blockhaus, and then the third wonderful week, and in between many nervous stages where anything can happen. How can I not think about that?”
And so, let the thoughts – or dreams, or goals: call them what you will – go free. But first, smiling, with Lorenzo we talk about a particular teammate: the captain, the veteran, his roommate, a friend. Francesco Gavazzi. “He is exactly that: a friend. Because I rely totally on him, for what concerns the bike but also for what concerns life. I know that he would give 100 percent for me, and just as a father does, he tries to make me avoid the mistakes he may have already made. And so, if I really have to express a wish, this is what I ask: that he wins a stage in the next Giro d’Italia, because he deserves it. Because Gava is someone who keeps little for himself, and gives everything for others”.
Francesco Caielli @eolokometacyclingteam – Maurizio Borserini