Jesús Hernández, sport director of the EOLO-KOMETA Cycling Team, does not spare words of praise for the two veterans of the first ProTeam squad. “I am delighted with Manu and Gava. They are two magnificent professionals. Proactive, responsive, motivated. People with a long career behind them who put their experience at the service of the team. For me, having them in the team is a plus”. Manu is Manuel Belletti. Gava is Francesco Gavazzi. And Gava was one of the seven riders who made the team’s debut in Valencia. The wind came up, the peloton broke up, the tactical situation was not the best. The young riders were quick to admit the calmness and composure that the Valtellina rider gave them. Calm, damage assessment, intense work, neutralisation. Crisis management applied to sport.

“The key? The key is passion. I love cycling. And one of the most beautiful things in life is to be able to work doing what you love the most, what you love the most. It’s a personal fulfilment,” says the Morbegno rider. 2020 was not an easy campaign for any rider. Gava was no exception. He competed very little, just 14 days, and his last race took place at the end of August, the month in which he turned 36.

“I love the racing life. It doesn’t cost me anything to go out and train, I’m not lazy at all. I am delighted with this new adventure in the EOLO-KOMETA Cycling Team. I am very happy to be part of a team with so many young riders. To show them my experience. To teach them how to ride in a group in certain situations, how to manage the time to eat… Things that are taken for granted but that experience allows you to contextualise. It’s a role that makes me very, very happy”, he adds.

Gava has been a professional since 2007, when he signed for Lampre, where he had enjoyed two experiences as a stagiaire in previous seasons. A long career in which he has enjoyed great moments, with victories in a Grand Tour (Vuelta a España 2011) and successes in races of great renown and tradition (two partial victories in the Itzulia, three in the Vuelta a Portugal, one in the Vuelta a Burgos, one Coppa Agostoni).

Has cycling changed a lot over the years? “A lot! Without a doubt”, he smiles, “Now, for example, the most important thing is the watts, more than the sensations. More than sensations. Races are also much more tactical”. And the bike, we interrupt him. “Disc brakes, electronic derailleur, very light materials… And not only the bike, but also the clothes and accessories. Cycling is immersed in a great evolution. And constant. It is also something that motivates a lot in a sporting career. To experience the change from the inside, year by year, it’s very stimulating”.

Gavazzi is the most veteran rider of the EOLO-KOMETA Cycling Team squad. “It’s an important and beautiful project. It’s in a position to be more of a WorldTour team than a ProTeam, at least than a traditional Italian ProTeam could be. It’s clear that there are differences with a WorldTour team. In the end, every team has its own style, its own atmosphere. The atmosphere here is very good, it’s very familiar. It’s a very nice place,” he concludes.

[ Atila Madrona]

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