A versatile sextet and unlimited ambition for the Giro d’Italia U23 premiere

Giro d’Italia U23

Ecco il Giro U23! Continental Polartec-Kometa are facing the first big goal of their first season as a professional team. The revived amateur pink race, created in 1970 and reborn in 2017 after a four-year silence (2013-2016), will once again claim 2018 as the great stage event of formative cycling, faithful to the vigor and strength with which it was recovered a year ago. Polartec-Kometa, a debutant, will be one of the thirty squads that will take the start in Forli. Matteo Moschetti, Diego Pablo Sevilla, Michel Ries, Patrick Gamper, Isaac Cantón and Juan Pedro López, who is making his debut with the continental after his recent promotion from the U23 structure, will be the six riders who will begin to make history for the Madrid team. Names for all terrains, riders for all roles.

Among the 30 squads called up, a majority come from Italy (15). Spain (Polartec-Kometa, Lizarte) and the United Kingdom have two teams each. China, Russia, the United States, Colombia, Belgium, the Netherlands, France, Switzerland, Austria, Kazakhstan and the Principality of Monaco are represented by a formation. The Giro Baby, a universal date. Moser (1971), Battaglin (1972), Baronchelli (1973), Ugrumov (1984), Konishev (1988), Belli (1990), Casagrande (1991), Pantani (1992), Simoni (1993), Piepoli (1994), Di Luca (1998), Cataldo (2006) or Betancur (2010) are some of the winners of a race whose last champion was the Russian Sivakov. Joseba Albizu’s second place overall in 2002, beaten only by Giuseppe Muraglia, is the ceiling of the Spanish participations.

With a view to 2018, the proposed route to be developed between Thursday 7 and Saturday 16 by the routes of Emilia-Romagna, Lombardy, Trentino and Veneto presents variety and theoretical opportunities for all, if more or less dictated by the evolution of the race itself, although in the U23 round will be special weight of the mountains and ambushes. Three mountain finals (Passo Maniva and Malga di Dimaro; Pian delle Fugazze a couple of stages later) are completed with an early hill finish on the second day (Sestola) and a difficult day on the road to Asiago which, like the 2017 Giro, has to manage the passage through Mount Grappa and Foza on its itinerary.

From the perspective of the time trial, a timed epilogue has been added to the first day’s prologue, which is another of the novelties of this year’s Giro; and undoubtedly, the most mediatic: The last chrono, very broken and demanding for the fields where the vines that will feed the bottles of the prosecco appellation of origin grow, will present a new distribution of the start of the race for the cyclists who are fighting for the general classification according to the time they have among themselves in the classification; a change proposed by the coach Davide Cassani and set in motion with the approval of the International Cycling Union, with an experiment point and another more than serious test point. This second and definitive sector of the last stage will have live television. “In essence,” Cassani explains about this’Real Time’ time trial, “there will be a general classification updated meter by meter. According to the finish line, we will immediately have the first places in the final GC of the Giro d’Italia U23”.

Jesús Hernández, director of Polartec-Kometa: “This is one of the most important races on the U23 calendar and we are looking forward to it. This is our first participation in the Giro d’Italia. We have in our ranks the current Italian U23 champion; Matteo Moschetti is one of the cyclists with the most wins this year, and we are going with all the intention of repeating victory in some of the stages that can be played in the sprint with him. And then we have several riders to win stages from a breakaway, we have fast people in small groups, people with a lot of regularity who can make us a good overall… But all this will be marked day by day by the Giro. It is a race in which we have a lot of ambition to be protagonists, and to be so in many different ways. We want to be protagonists every day in the Giro. At the moment we’re starting with a lot of open ambitions, both for the sprints and for the overall and for the stages. But day by day, the race will put us in our place; it will be the race that dictates what it is”.

Matteo Moschetti: “There are three days until the Giro and I can’t wait to start competing.  Last Sunday in Lugano was a very hard day for us, but I hope to have better days in the Giro and try to win some stages and, maybe, why not try to get the points jersey. But of course the other teams are very strong, so it will be very difficult.  But we’re going to fight to get the most out of it”.
Michel Ries: “My form is good. During my last few days in Bormio, I didn’t have any bad feelings.  I think the whole team is very motivated to give everything we have. On the Tour of l´Ain I felt really good in the mountains, so I hope I can make good performances in the Giro in the toughest stages. The Giro is really long, ten stages, so a lot can happen, but I hope I can make a good standings in the general standings”.

Patrick Gamper: “Looking ahead to the Giro these last few weeks I have worked very hard and I am really motivated. I hope to show what I am capable of, because so far I am not very satisfied with my seasons and I would like to translate my good form into results. The Giro reminds me of the Tour l´Avenir, that sort of Tour de France U23 where I wore the yellow jersey for two stages… And I hope I can at least do the same in Italy”.

Juan Pedro Lopez: “They have given me a lot of peace and confidence; they want me to run the Giro and go quietly, without pressure. I’ve got a lot more urge to run it. We’re going to spend the first few days, see how the body responds and then gradually”.

Isaac Canton: “It’s going to be a very nice race and at the same time it’s going to be very long. So many days of competition in a row are going to make it very hard. We’ll go to work well.  I think Matteo can do very well in the sprints, Patrick in the time trial and Michel in the general classification. We have to go as the big block that we are, knowing what our job is. We can do this very well. And why not, to take advantage of any leak that may one day reach the finish line”.

Diego Pablo Sevilla: “I’m in good shape to face the race. I come from a month of May in which I have rested a bit from the first part of the season and I have also been able to train very well. The Giro is a long race and having that point of freshness can benefit me as the days go by. We have riders with options to make a good general and also to win stages. We’re a very well-balanced team and we’re sure to bring some joy”.

Thursday 7 June: Forli-Forli (4.4 km CRI).
Coming June 8: Riccione-Forli (137.7 km).
Saturday 9 June: Nonantola-Sestola (138.2 km).
Sunday 10 June: Saliceto-Mornico al Serio River (164.3 km).
Monday 11 June: Mornico al Serio-Passo Maniva (127.9 km).
Tuesday 12 June: Darfo Boario-Terme – Malga di Dimaro (127.8 km).
Wednesday 13 June: Dimaro Folgarida-Pergine Valsugana (120.7 km).
Thursday 14 June: Schio-Pian delle Fugazze (136.9 km).
Friday 15 June: Levico Terme-Asiago (157.4 km).
Saturday 16 June (a): Conegliano-Valdobbiadene (72.8 km).
Saturday 16 June: Il Muro de Ca´del Poggio-Ca´del Poggio (22.4 km CRI).

(automatic translation, sorry for mistakes)

?  Fundación Contador & Roby Trab