8th Trofej Umag / Umag Trophy
31st Trofej Poreč / Poreč Trophy

Bathed by the waters of the Adriatic, the idyllic peninsula of Istria is from a geographical perspective the great protagonist of the next two weeks of competitions of the Kometa-Xstra Cycling Team. Places of beautiful villages with medieval aesthetics and beautiful coastal prints in a land of dense history. The continental formation of the Alberto Contador Foundation returns to some surroundings that were already discovered last season by a triptych of Croatian competitions that have this area as the scene of their dispute. Two one-day races and a lap by stages that proposes a couple of mousetrap arrivals and where a small time trial is not missing are the menu of a period of races for which the Hungarian Erik Fetter, the Spaniards Alejandro Ropero and Diego Pablo Sevilla and the Italians Giacomo Garavaglia, Antonio Puppio and Riccardo Verza have been called. This is a new event in which they will have to compete directly with teams in the same category, without a World Tour and with a maximum of two professional continental teams.

Indirectly, the ‘Croatian triptych’ has had a rather turbulent prologue due to the appearance of a series of cases of coronavirus which, in view of the health policies implemented by the Italian and Croatian authorities, raised some questions about mobility and logistics. “Here where I live there were no preventive measures as such, since the closest case to our house is about 70 kilometres away and the areas where I usually train are even further away, since I usually go to the mountains. More than the virus itself, the concern was about the possible blockade both inside and outside Italy, the doubts whether one could leave the country or not. You can’t ignore that it’s a serious problem, of course, but you can’t panic either: you have to follow some simple rules to protect yourself and others,” says Giacomo Garavaglia when asked about the events of the last few days.

Two of the six riders called for these commitments, both Diego Pablo Sevilla and Antonio Puppio, have the experience of 2019. Sevilla, from Madrid, is approached about his memories of a year ago and he explains perfectly the typology of the races they will face: “The two classics were held on both circuits. The routes were good, some sections of asphalt were a little rough, some roads were narrow, but the arrivals took place on good, wide roads. Both are days when you can indeed have a sprint, but also, if team members with that ability to shoot get away, they might have a chance at a breakaway because in the peloton those formations will wash their hands of it. In the end it is a race without so much control, where catching the good break from the start is more complex and also controlling the race is more difficult. The Istrian Spring Race does have more crumbs because of the prologue and because of those two hill finishes, one more for fast men and others equally more for climbers. In general, these are dates where we can do well”.

Hungary’s Erik Fetter is looking forward to the trip to Croatia with a lot of motivation. “I think these races really present us with very good opportunities to show our strength and be able to achieve some good results. Personally I am looking forward to it, especially because my debut with the team was not as I expected due to a series of problems, but I think I am in good shape and it is time to prove it. Giacomo Garavaglia is also very encouraged: “We must continue with everything the team has done in Antalya,” he says.

The races.
4th March: 8th Umag Trophy: Stella Maris Resort-Stella Maris Resort (161 km).

March 8: 31º Poreč Trophy: Poreč – Tar (156 km).

(automatic translation, sorry for mistakes)

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