Your favourite race and climb?
Tour of Flanders. Everyone knows that is my dream to win it…sooner or later. Climb in the meaning of brutal ascent and fascinating, as an Italian I rate the Stelvio. But not my favourite in the meaning that I like climbing it. No way it suits me. My favourite kind of climbs are the short steep and pavé hills that you face in Belgium classics.
Your best or most memorable result in pro cycling?
My first WorldTour victory at Paris-Nice. I took it wearing this team jersey, therefore is also more meaningful.
What are your personal ambitions for the season?
Taking as much victories as possible. Doing well in the Classics and supporting my team when required.
You are nicknamed ‘The Cobra’. Where did it come from?
I inherited it from my uncle. It was a driver and his fans named him like that. When I started racing as a kid, local people called me in the same way and it was like that year after year, when my popularity grown and that’s it. Nothing in particular related to me.
What is it about Belgian fans and their love for you?
Belgian races have always fascinated me, and I think I’ve transmitted them this passion since the first time I was racing there. There’s not any other particular reason. This link has been steadily reinforced over the years, with a group of dedicated fans that follow me at the races, waving flags and coming to meet me every time is allowed.
You’re known as “Rain Man” for winning in wet conditions. What tips do you have for riding in the rain?
I believe that mind is important in such conditions. You know, when the 60% of the group is like an underdog, because if their mind dislike bad weather since the start of the race, this mood will affect their performance. Otherwise, I’ve always handled the cold and the rain, both for training and for racing. So I’m comfortable with it and this help me giving my best as always.
You are in your 5th season of racing under the name ‘Bahrain’ How have you found the journey so far?
I’m very happy to have chosen this team, that has always enhanced my qualities and trusted in me. They gave me the opportunity to grow in the WorldTour and they have always made me feel well and in the right place to be. Being always the leader in the races that suit you, it’s something I appreciate very much.
What are your thoughts on the Merida Reacto you will be racing this season?
I’m riding on a Merida bike since my first season here, therefore I know this weapon very well and it’s part of me now…I was always the first be given the every new Reacto model and it always happened that I was also the first to win with it.
Critérium du Dauphiné - Points classification 6th June, 2021,
Critérium du Dauphiné - Stage 3 1st June, 2021,
Tour de Romandie - Points classification 2nd May, 2021,
Tour de Romandie - Stage 2 29th April, 2021,
La Route d'Occitanie - La Dépêche du Midi - Stage 2 2nd August, 2020,
Gran Premio Bruno Beghelli 6th October, 2019,
Deutschland Tour - Points classification 1st September, 2019,
Tour of Oman - Stage 4 19th February, 2019,
Coppa Bernocchi 14th September, 2017,
De Brabantse Pijl - La Flèche Brabançonne 12th April, 2017,
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