These have been difficult days for Luca Pacioni. The sprinter from Gatteo has seen this moment of his season radically disrupted as a result of the COVID-19. Pacioni had the Tour Poitou-Charentes on his programme, but a few days earlier he was forced out of the final team because of the coronavirus, which has conditioned the normal day-to-day running of the race. “After weeks of hard preparation at altitude to finalise my return to competition, I was forced to stop because of this invisible enemy that has been changing the normality of our lives for more than a year. I was very sad not to be able to put on a bib again and to have to leave everything on stand-by,” he says.

Pacioni, who just turned 28 in mid-August, made his debut early this season, in the team’s first race, but then all the postponements and race suspensions that came between January and March really disrupted his start to the season. That’s why this moment of the season, for which he had prepared with a lot of energy in the altitude of the Alps, was particularly important for him. “Now I’m weak and out of strength. I thought I could somehow maintain the physical condition I had acquired at altitude, but it didn’t happen. Now all I can think about is a full recovery and getting back on the road as soon as possible”.

The first season in the ProTeam category of the EOLO-KOMETA Cycling Team did not have an easy start despite starting quite early, at the end of January in the framework of the recovered Classica Ciutat de Valencia that also was cut in kilometres and route, by the succession of suspensions and postponements that took place in the calendar of the first months. The pandemic and the containment measures had a great impact in the first quarter, although from then on the 2021 campaign has been able to recover a certain normality in its development. However, the Contador Foundation ProTeam has not been an exception in terms of COVID control and prevention, measures imposed by the UCI and the organisers that have required constant vigilance and the allocation of a significant budget for tests and trials that were totally unforeseen until last season. The collaboration with the LifeBrain laboratories has always allowed a good preventive control.

Pacioni did not even undergo the preliminary tests for the Tour Poitou-Charentes. “From one day to the next I started to feel abnormally tired. I couldn’t smell or taste anything. I immediately decided to take a test, even though I had already planned to take a pre-race PCR the next day. The result was positive and I started quarantine immediately. I had to be patient. Now we have to start from scratch. But we will come back stronger,” explains the runner.

The first moments were not easy emotionally. “The world came crashing down on me, I knew I had prepared very well and I was sure I was fine. I had come back from the mountains five days earlier and I had a good feeling for the stage race in France. I felt ready”. Pacioni has signed this season five top ten places in the colours of the EOLO-KOMETA Cycling Team, with a third place in the first stage of the Adriatica-Ionica Race as his best position. In this race Pacioni was fundamental with his work in the defence of Lorenzo Fortunato’s final lead.

[ Atila Madrona (1, 2); PhotoGomezSport (3)]

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