It is the time of the year when every cyclist has the unique opportunity to fight to wear his flag. To change their jersey, which they share with the rest of their teammates, and to wear for a year the kit with the colours of their country, personalised with the team’s sponsors. An honour and a privilege that the EOLO KOMETA riders will fight for this year in Italy, Spain and Hungary.
Italy: hard time trial and long road race
The idea of wearing the tricolour jersey for a whole year is not just an idea: it is a dream. And like all dreams, achieving it is the only thing on one’s mind and the only desire. The EOLO KOMETA riders have put that dream in their sights, in the wonderful scenery of the land around Terme di Comano.
The time trial in Sarche takes place on Thursday. It’s time to get on the ‘goat’ and pedal, to try to get the best time. 25.7 kilometres without breathing, the wind in your face and in your ears the voice of the sports director on the radio asking you to go faster. EOLO KOMETA, for this time trial, will have to give up two key riders like Maestri and Piganzoli (Italian U23 time trial champion last year). Mirco is still struggling with the consequences of the fall suffered in Belgium and will focus only on the road race, while Davide has not yet recovered from the flu that forced him to retire in Slovenia: for him, no Italian championships. Our team will start with Samuele Rivi, Simone Raccani and Andrea Pietrobon: the aim is to do well and to do our best to honour such an important race. And it is Samuele Rivi himself who presents the time trial: “An Italian rider has the duty to honour these races, and we will try to do our best. I know that there are riders who are undoubtedly stronger in this speciality, but my team-mates and I will give it our all. Everything”.
The road race is 227 kilometres long and very tough. The national championships are like this: everyone can win, everyone wants to win, only one can do it. EOLO KOMETA, just like last year, will be among the most numerous teams with fourteen riders at the start and, just like last year, will try to race from the first metre with the aim of winning. “We want to win: the tricolour jersey is an important goal that our team is missing – explains sport director Stefano Zanatta -, so we will try to bring it home. Of course, the favourites are others: Zana, who is the defending champion and is going strong, but also Ciccone. But we are there too: after all, when we said three years ago that we would like to win a stage in the Giro d’Italia, few believed it. Instead, we’ve already won two. So we will try to win on Saturday as well: Albanese, Fortunato, Raccani, Fancellu are riders who can make a difference on a very long and demanding course. The team is good, it has shown that it has a good mentality, in short: we are ready”. And among the guys mentioned by Zanatta, here is Vincenzo Albanese: “I’m coming to this event very well, also strong because of the good results I had in Belgium. The course is very hard, maybe even a bit too hard for my characteristics, but I’m sure I’ll be in the final in front. To play for the victory, but also to try for a good place, which would still be a good result”.
Italian Time Trial Championship (22/6): Samuele Rivi, Simone Raccani and Andrea Pietrobon.
Italian Road Championship (25/6): Alessandro Fancellu, Andrea Garosio, Andrea Pietrobon, Davide Bais, Francesco Gavazzi, Giovanni Lonardi, Lorenzo Fortunato, Mattia Bais, Mirco Maestri, Samuele Rivi, Simone Bevilacqua, Simone Raccani, Vincenzo Albanese.
Toughness and mountains in Spain
The town of San Lorenzo de El Escorial in Madrid, home to the impressive Monastery where King Felipe II used to live and undoubtedly majestic, as it can be glimpsed from a large part of the Sierra de Guadarrama, is hosting a Spanish Championship en route only suitable for great climbers. It will be a 186-kilometre race with two climbs to the Alto de la Cruz Verde at more than 1,200 metres, with more than 3,100 metres of elevation gain.
“It’s a very tough course, with hardly any flat sections,” says sports director Jesús Hernández. Although it’s a mountainous area, the high temperatures, which are about to enter July, will probably be the protagonists and that’s also a factor to take into account. “We compete with only five riders, which puts us at a disadvantage compared to other Spanish teams with more than ten riders on the start line. But at the same time, I think we have an interesting opportunity with our youngsters Fernando Tercero and Álex Martín. I hope they recover well from their crashes in Slovenia”.
In addition, there are two riders who compete at home, in the Community of Madrid: “Diego Pablo Sevilla does not have the best route for him but he will surely do well, as well as Javi Serrano who will race in front of his home crowd although he will focus on helping his team-mates. The same goes for David Martín, a sprinter who will have few options on this tough course”.
“The options are to hold on to the teams with more representation, to bet on Diego Pablo Sevilla, Fernando Tercero and Álex Martín; we will surely do a good job and we will learn something important with such a young team”, concludes Jesús Hernández who competes very close to his home town, on the roads where he has trained so much as a professional cyclist.
Spanish Road Championships (25/6): Álex Martín, David Martín, Javi Serrano, Diego Pablo Sevilla and Fernando Tercero.
Hungary: to retain the title
It won’t be easy for Erik Fetter, but the Hungarian idol will try to retain his national time trial champion’s jersey. A total of 38 kilometres of completely flat course in which he will have to use all his strength on the bike in the quest for the best time.
“The time trial is a really important objective for me, to defend the title I won last year and to wear my country’s flag jersey for another year. I hope to recover well from the last competitions and I will give it my all because I have really big ambitions”.
As for the road race, for Erik Fetter it will be “crazy, very difficult to control because of all the Hungarian teams and riders who will be competing. In the end I will be alone and I have to choose very well who to follow so that I don’t use all my strength”. It won’t be a particularly hard course, the options are very open with 9 laps of 20 kilometres and 3 final 6-kilometre turns with the climb up to the Pannonhalma abbey in each of them: “That favours tactics, unexpected moves. Although my feelings are good and I’m sure we can be in the fight in this race as well”.